Thursday, 16 April 2009

True Kung Fu kicks

Yesterday at the training, another student and I had the chance to train the 10 set of Tan Tui and 2 Long Fist forms as it is part of our beginner' syllabus. We have been training this for a while, so one would expect us to do well. The truth is, it needs dedication and hard work to shape a diamond from a stone. Our stone, is unfortunatly still a stone. But with each practise, some corners are cut and new angles are shaped. And with training under Mike Laoshi's guidance, one starts to recognise the true Kung Fu in front of him.

Yesterday was such another training. I was doing the side-kick in one of the Long Fist forms, and although I know how to kick (as in Karate kickings and to some extend some Tae Kwon Do kicks). Kung Fu kicks are different: for a start they are not rigid as the Karate ones, a karate kick is like tossing your leg and body around, as if it is a big piece of concrete. So it relies on your muscle power and full explosion of kiai. Kung Fu kick is much more like a spring steel, when done well the body seems independant during the kick. Of course the body, legs and arms are one... but on the same time, Mike laoshi's kicks doesn't force him to place his arms in certain way to ballance his position. Something I have seen a lot with other martial artist. Either they kick and their arms are everywhere, uncontrolled. Or they kick and keep their arms close because they can't do anything else with it.

Mike's kick is different. the kicking doesn't seem to upbalance him, as a matter of fact, he kicks and his upperbody remains natural and ready for the next moves.

Kung Fu kicks are also not like Tae Kwon Do kicks. I regard Tae kwon Do kicks as the most powerful and fastest of any martial arts. BUT...

There is a different: Kung Fu kicks are not overly expressed, it doesn't just aim high for the sake of it. Though in Tae Kwon Do, it is good to be able to kick high, but it can also become a bad habit and leave the practisioner open for counter techniques from the types of Martial Arts with take-downs and wrestling experiences. There is nothing wrong with Tae kwon Do, it is the training methodology from some practisioners that has some flaws. This is the same for most of the Kung Fu practisioners who don't understand the deeper meaning of the art.

What really open my eyes yesterday with Mike Laoshi is that when he showed us his kicks, it is not like 2 teenagers jumping around and pretending they might kick each other when chances occures. When teacher Mike kicks, it is like a katana (Japanese sword) in the middle of a cut. There is no jumping around, no balancing act, no correction in mid air... he just kicked with the agileness of a spring steel. And though he only lightly tapped my chest. It hurts. I know if he would kick me for real, he would send me flying through the back of the space and I wouldn't be able to get up. My fellow student who was doing the same exercise also got a light kick to his chest, and he felt the pain through his back.

Finally, Mike also showed us his Mantis Style kicking is full of distractions during the kicks. he would change his direction, without flaws or delays and you have the feeling being tricked but only after you have been hit.

Humble and with a great sense of humor, Mike laoshi gave us some new inside of the art and told us: "I am too old for this".

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Mike Laoshi is back, training as usual!

For the students in Belgium, Mike Laoshi is back from teaching at seminaries in the states. It would be nice to hear from the participants in the states about the seminaries. Of course during Laoshi's absence, it is important for us to practise both at home and in the training hall.

That is what Kung Fu is about, keep training! :) Never give up!
Many of us came to train in the school during Laoshi's absence, and those who didn't come really missed out a good time with the Kung Fu brothers and sisters together.  There was a chance to exchange knowledge between us and just practising by ourselves. It was a good chance too for us to repeat all the stuff Mike Laoshi has been teaching us so far and enhanced the sense of training independently. Each training methodology has its ability to add skills and experiences from different angles, be it a private or group training with Mike Laoshi, training by ourselves, training alone, a seminar with Mike Laoshi or the other teachers in China or Taiwan. All has its benefits. The key is training, and make time to train. From my encounters with all the masters, I have noticed they have one thing in common: dedication.

With dedication we will get there.

So classes with Mike Laoshi are starting again.