Friday, 21 May 2010

Kung fu

Was the only student at chi kung and kung fu class last night. It's a small class anyway, and the other students are currently tied up with either holidays, work or exams and studies. It makes for a shorter but more intense class!

We rattled through the usual chi kung stuff, had a short break then went on to kung fu. The structure of the class has changed a bit so that we now start with footwork, practising stances and movement. Last night we covered using the drag and glide steps to move in the bow and arrow stance. We also covered open step and pivoting, working both solo and partner methods. Finally we covered some defensive movements.

From footwork we went onto striking, practicing front and rear palm strikes and front snap kick from the natural poise. We worked these on the pads as well, looking to ensure that foot, waist and arm all move at the same time. It may take a wee bit more time to get that whole kinetic chain working smoothly!

We finished off with some more chi kung practice.

I do like the kung fu class. It's very traditional, emphasising the slow building of skill rather than a headlong rush to acquire 'techniques'. I do sometimes have a brainfart in the middle, defaulting to movements hardwired from other systems. I've noticed that particularly with the front snap kick. In Shaolin kung fu this is delivered as a real flick from a high chambered knee with the toes pointing down. Other styles I have studied would tend to use a low pushing style of kick which would impact with the ball of the foot. I'm still really having to think about this kick!

Sifu is very gentle in the way that he corrects your mistakes, which is nice. He has trained other styles as well so understands where a lot of these are coming from. I find it a very positive experience. It's surprisingly demanding physically though, even though it's a very different training emphasis from say krav maga or MMA.

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