Our Northern Shaolin Kung Fu classes are intense. They are physically-challenging, engaging and informative. But don’t let that scare you. We work on a personal-progress methodology; you’ll simply be working hard. That is, afterall, the meaning of Kung Fu: mastery through hard work.
I almost forgot an important aspect of these classes: best of all, the Northern Shaolin Kung Fu classes are Fun!
From group and partner drills, breathing exercises and Qigong (also known as Chi Kung), hands-on martial application training, Chinese language patterns (Mandarin & Cantonese), solo practices, philosophical discussions, bonding and team-building exercises, meditations, traditional conditioning drills…to a whole lot more.
Obviously, not each and every class can sustain all of the varied activities to be found within our Kung Fu systems, so instead, we provide a framework that each class will follow. And within that framework is the allowance of these rotating variables.
General Northern Shaolin Kung Fu Class
- Conversations & Chit-Chat before or after class, as students arrive / leave
- Class Announcements, Special Events, Test Day reminders, General Q & A, any new student introductions necessary, etc.
- Open Class Ceremony (bowing in, incense lighting, etc.)
- Full-body Warm up exercises
- Challenging physical Circuit Drill
- Breathing Exercises
- Horse Stance training (sometimes Chinese language practice at the same time or perhaps discussions, etc.)
- Kicking practice (looking at many fine points of physicality, targeting, power, non-telegraphing, relaxing, distance / spacing, timing and more)
- Partner Application Drills
- Solo Practice, tweaks / fixes, learning new material, etc.
- Group Drill (perhaps more partner application drills, multiple attacker games, sensitivity training or one of a wide variety of training methodologies)
- Traditional Body Conditioning (followed by attention to injury-prevention techniques and application of 跌 打 酒 Die Da Jiu or Dit Da Jow)
- Meditative tactics
- Short Closing Discussion, focusing on the identification of personal “Take-Homes“
- Close Class Ceremony
Earlier we mentioned some rotating variables – things that might change up what we do in class.
What might some of these variable activities be that might switch out from time to time?
- Sometimes, as life would have it, the Death of a Wulin member happens.
Sifu teaches about the person and we pay homage by learning a bit about their style.
- We might pull out the “Box of Five Minutes of Fu”
We have a box containing hundreds of 3 x 5 index cards. Students randomly pick through the shuffled deck of cards to see what they will practice continuously for five minutes. They then record the stats on their own personal training worksheet.
- Our Warm-up sets rotate out each month. And sometimes these go nicely with a Monthly Theme.
This can be anything from The Four Basic Strikes (as in Western Boxing) to Footwork, Circular Seeds, Harmonizing Breath with Movement, or Visualizing your Opponent…There’s a wide variety of themes.
- Pad Work
Sometimes we bring out the focus mitts, body pads, etc., and work on striking, speed, focus, precision, combinations or other things.
- Wu De
In the Kung Fu world, we have Wu De, which translates to Martial Virtue. Sometimes Sifu needs to address an unintentional setback a student made, or simply explaining the finer points of this old code of conduct.
Sometimes we just need to keep the house in order. Things in life just come up sometimes and so we might need to make adjustments, as they affect more than one person. Or we might be having a Photo Shoot this Saturday or whoops! Someone just booked us for a Demo!
The Kung Fu Take-Home
Kinda sounds like a Chinese Pick-up / Delivery restaurant, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not too far off.
All classes are two hours. Although that seems like a lot of time, consider the general Kung Fu Class Framework above. Students engage in many different activities in those two hours.
With so much going on, it can be tricky to isolate just what to focus on for out-of-class practice. Luckily, the teacher and advanced students help with that process.
But even so…And that’s just what the “Take Home” discussion is: identifying one or two things from the students’ level that was given some insight or accentuation during that class; and how it can transform into a Short-Term Goal of practice.
Students tend to find this part of the class – closing extremely beneficial.