Kung Fu. Jiu Jitsu. Tae kwon do, Krav Maga, Wing Chun, Muay Thai…the list of martial arts styles is nearly endless, each one focuses on different aspects of energy, motion, and force. So why do we think Kung Fu is the best? Because were totally biased and we love Kung Fu!!!
Kung Fu is, at its core is one of the most complete martial arts you can study. Encompassing a variety of forms and at least 1,500 years of history. In this case Kung Fu could just mean Chinese Martial arts but I’m speaking more specifically about the Shaolin and the arts or practitioners that were heavily influenced by their teachings.
Kung Fu has created and absorbed many hundreds of techniques over the centuries that either influenced or came from many martial arts systems – including some techniques that originated in the Shaolin temples, were added to other systems, and came back to the temple with an entirely fresh and new perspective. Martial arts is constantly refining and upgrading its theories and practices. In some Shaolin temples, fighters can train for 10 hours a day, mastering their mind and body, and still have much to learn.
The humongous amount of knowledge led to Masters specializing in particular sets of techniques or falling into a particular style. This is where “styles” or “ways” of martial arts come from. A particular practitioner gave preferential treatment and saw great benefit to the soft style, and hence Tia Chi comes along. Another practitioner prefers to use knees, elbows, feet and fists hence Muay Thai and Karate. When the the need arose to get around undetected, you can begin to imagine how Ninjutsu was developed.
Many of the Martial Arts that exist today arose out of a need, a desire or a philosophy of a just a single practitioner. These individuals are commonly known as Grandmasters. These people changed world and their names are honored throughout history. As a Grandmaster aged he would often name his most dedicated and proven disciple to be the new Grandmaster in order to see over the students and carry on the ways and the style of the art form.
Getting to why we think Kung Fu is the best (and of course we are totally biased), this is Kung Fu for Life after all... Let’s look at some of the Martial Arts you may be considering getting involved in.
Karate - is an excellent martial art, but it’s nearly all hardstyle and very energy-intensive – how long can you last in a real fight if you have the pedal to the floor the whole time? Kung Fu for Life often receives some criticism for taking some influence from this wonderful art and is hence “not real Kung Fu” but if you talk to any Karate practitioner they will tell you that the two systems are not the same. We teach to meet hardness with softness wherever possible, this saves on energy and perhaps could be used as a combative advantage. Also using softer techniques reduces injuries like bruising and bone fractures.
Wing Chun - designed specifically for the defense of women. Truly one of the noblest of goals and a credit to the practitioners and teachers who carry it forward. This system is technically Kung Fu and is, at least of women in legend, derived from the Shaolin arts. There is no merit in criticizing this or any other martial arts system except to say that perhaps Shaolin Kung Fu incorporates a larger variety of techniques that may be of more benefit.
Boxing - (which may not be a “martial” art) teaches you to fight with your hands, block with your arms and bob and weave through punches. It’s not very useful if you are on the ground, or if your opponent knows how to kick. It’s a blast for young men and other sport enthusiast but the love tends wear off (for most, at least) after a few hard punches to the face.
Muay Thai – The King of Martial Arts - at least that’s what it always says in the posters. People love the fitness aspect of this art, they tell us that it’s fun and a great way to stay in shape. The only complaints that here about this is that it’s not a super forgiving sport and can be potentially dangerous. It may not the best sport if you have injuries or limitations. We're not sure what the mental aspect of the training is but we've always been told never to underestimate a Thai Fighter.
The list and the discussion could potentially go on forever. We don’t have that much time, but we can tell you that if you train with Kung Fu for Life we will do everything we can to make sure that you become the best possible version of yourself.
Kung Fu will help you embrace and incorporate the mind/body connection. We will help you train your reflexes, accuracy, timing, control, reaction speed and more. Mental discipline and focus will become your ally as you take regular fighting moves and combine them with chi and pure effort. In fact, there is potential in our school for some of the highest-level practitioners to train thousands techniques in the various forms and patterns taught in this system. When you are ready we will give the tools you need to help pass down this great art on to the next generation and lay bricks in this continuously built art form.
Kung Fu is the birthplace of many other martial arts. So many systems are derived directly from it – but they tend to focus and simplify complex sets of movements in order to make them easier to master. The wide variety of moves in our system tends to require more study and more skill but usually has an advantage over the simplified form, as it can accommodate for more situations. For example, some systems will only teach attack or defense from one angle or one distance, but our training gives you multiple ways to either attack or defend from a variety of distances and angles. This allows you to appreciate how details like footing or hand placement can affect the outcome of a fight.
Our system is designed to help you progress and move at your own pace – not requiring you, but giving you the opportunity to master each individual step fully before moving on to the next!
We view Kung Fu as an art form, which means you can combine the moves in your own unique way, like creating a painting out of the component colours. In a combination of both hard and soft style, you will learn which is most useful to you in a combat situation. You will be allowed to make extensive use of your body to gain leverage and give you the most efficient way to deal with an adversary.
The admitted drawback to this kind of extensive training, is that it takes longer than most people are willing to commit – as is true with most of high quality and form. In our school it is much more about focus, and form, and full understanding of each technique, than it is about being fast and forceful. It is about the details, the fine-tuning, the exact knowledge of what you are capable of, and how to go a little bit further every time you practice. It’s about the little things, like controlling your breathe so you can conserve energy and react effectively. It’s about training your mind through meditation and mindfulness to be as sharp as your physical skills.
Keep in mind, though, that if we have criticized another martial art, it is only about the worst example of them. Each discipline will have fantastic students and teachers, as well as terrible ones. To be very clear the definition of a terrible student or teacher is firstly determined by attitude and respect, everything else is secondary.
Speaking specifically of Kung Fu, we know for sure how well-rounded and useful it is – not just physically, but mentally as well.
Kung Fu for Life is open 6 days a week, and we make custom made programs for each student at a reasonable cost. Our school is designed to allow you to work around injuries, and busy schedules. So don’t be afraid to drop by today or you can call us at (403) 243-5433
We've heard people say that the “style” is not as important as the as the student who studies it. It follows that saying is also true for teachers and we hope it is. As our students and professional teachers are some the best people that we have ever found.
Our system is tough when it needs to be, but is carried forward by some of the most kind-hearted and caring individuals you will ever meet. We're very proud family that we’ve built here.
It’s a question we hear often: why do you have student teachers?
The answer is actually quite simple: teaching martial arts techniques is part of becoming a black belt, because you can’t be an expert at anything if you haven’t taught it. It forces you to draw on all your knowledge, and when you are asked questions you’ve never thought of before, it makes you branch out and apply what you know in new ways.
Student teaching is an important part of your training journey, and an important step in making you a stronger, faster, and more adept martial artist when it comes to efficiency of motion and technique. Masters say that teaching is better for learning than when you are actually trying to learn as a student.
In teaching, you usually put 100% effort into showing it, and doing it yourself, and thinking about the finer points slowly, always critiquing your own technique – and even after all of that, you are often put on the spot to answer questions. Even if your performance is flawless, you have to know the answer when you are asked, “Why do you do it this way?” and be able to express it in words. As soon as you can explain the answer, it makes much more sense to you as well, and you have improved not only someone else’s knowledge, but your own. These are important steps toward becoming the best you can be!
After you teach something, it is nearly impossible for you yourself to forget. For example, when you give small feedback such us, “Move your knee this way to make the movement more fluid”, and your student can tell the difference, you’ll be more likely remember that moment and that advice for yourself down the road when you do the same movements. Thus student teaching can be very mutually beneficial.
In addition, having student teachers in our classes keeps costs down for the studio as a whole, and varying the instructors helps each student become well-rounded and responsive to different styles. Since different teachers emphasize different concepts, and have varying approaches to their lessons, there is more likely to be something useful that sticks with every student by doing it this way.
Overall, teaching and training others is the fastest way for students to progress along their final path to a black belt – you are usually only allowed to begin training others after you have achieved brown belt (which is 2-6 years depending on the person). It is a tremendous emotional boost to know that you’re contributing to the studio and to others, and since the skills we teach aren’t meant to be used out in the field, it’s nice to feel you have a purpose when you are using it to train others in the studio. One of the people you teach may have to use the skills they’ve learned one day in order to save their life, even if you never have to!
A student teacher here once said that student teaching makes you immortal, because your personal spin on the subject you teach can end up being passed on for decades, or maybe even hundreds of years. Your personal fingerprint could be left on the art for a very long time, passed on to the next generation of learners; you can see this in students who learned from specific black belts and carry the knowledge with them like a torch. You can spot it in how someone holds their knee, or their stance, in the slight weight shifts from one teacher’s style to another. It is a way of passing down your own self-expression.
Student teaching has another big effect: it increases your appreciation for teachers from then on. You will know it isn’t easy, and will notice other teacher’s techniques and mannerisms. You’ll like how they physically show some things, and just speak about others, and you’ll question in your mind why they chose to do it that way – leading you to think more deeply about what you’re learning, and causing you to take something from that for your practice and for your own teachings in the future. You will also appreciate being a student even more after you’ve taught, gaining a sense of satisfaction from the experience. You may even start to feel like you’ve “made it”…as long as you remember that there is always more to learn!
And lastly? You can also learn things from your students that you may have never thought of… while you’re teaching them. Since even our teachers are students, we encourage everyone to always keep learning and improving!
One of the biggest questions that people ask – to themselves, to others, to nobody in particular – is this: what is the meaning of life? Why am I here? Maybe they are looking for an easy answer, or maybe they are wondering if the things they are doing are “worth it”. But the actual truth is both very simple, and quite complex.
Life can be viewed as pointless, unless you create your own meaning within it – and this is dependent on your own philosophy and your own approach to it. Many people get up, go to work, and punch in and out mindlessly, always looking forward to their next days off so they can drink or do nothing or binge on TV and junk food. And all the while, the clock is ticking, their health is declining, and they are getting older and older. The imbalance between working too much, a bad diet, bad habits, and stress takes a terrible toll on our health, and over time, all the small decisions we make can add up to big problems. Drinking, smoking, lack of sleep, frustration…other people will see it in us and subconsciously pick up those negative emotions.
Recognizing these traits is the first step to fixing them, but we must also do something about them in order to overcome them. This is why we encourage our students to set goals for themselves – an endpoint, a place that they can work towards, so they know they are progressing and making good choices for themselves.
Think about a goal like acquiring a black belt, or an orange belt. This requires lots of mental and physical training – though it is nothing impossible, if done in a series of very small steps over a long period of time. The discipline needed to achieve these goals often reverberates back into your regular life, and the strong habits developed here in the kung fu studio can translate into achieving more in your everyday life.
For example, think about the last time you went out to drink with your friends – chances are the bill can get very high, very quickly. Imagine all the money you have ever spent, accumulated over dozens of weekends out at the bar or on 6-packs every Saturday night at home, added up over years. And at the end of it all, what have you achieved? What you have gotten out of it? We can safely say, nothing as healthy or as useful as the discipline you would get from setting proper goals and working toward them in all aspects of your life.
If you chose today to redirect all that money toward getting healthy with kung fu training, you would not only keep more of it in the long run, but you would steer clear of many bad situations, gain improved health and fitness (which can add years to your life, instead of shortening it), and have a series of goals to constantly work toward. It would give you a reason to not drink – when was the last time you saw a black belt get drunk and lose control?
It’s always sad to see some people leave school after grade 12 and simply stop learning, and lose the motivation to strive for more. Years down the road, you won’t feel proud of drinking every weekend, and wasting your potential, but if you work hard towards the goals you’ve set for yourself and systematically achieve them, there will be no stopping you. The best things in life take dedication, commitment and sacrifice – but that’s what makes them worth the journey, because the people who can reach those goals are rare!
For you, it may not be about the money. Plenty of people have high-paying jobs that they will never leave, but they go home completely unfulfilled and feeling lost and unhappy – financially they are successful, but by every other measurement, they are miserable. Taking up proper hobbies and walking the longer, more winding path to your goals is one of the best ways to remedy this. We have many people just like this who come in to our studio, searching for fulfillment and meaning, and when they set their goals and reach them, the difference in their mood and attitude is incredible. They feel they have purpose, they feel they are advancing, and they are moving forward, both physically and mentally. There is something new to look forward to and they are no longer stuck in the same mindless loop.
We have an introductory program for people like this to give kung fu a try, and you’ll know very quickly if our teachings help give you direction. You’ll meet positive people, you’ll get a new outlook, and when you see how much this affects your life, you’re going to love it! We even have a limited-time sale on this right now, so there’s never been a better time to give martial arts a try. You can come take the plunge with something new… or go back to a job you dislike, and Netflix on the couch every night, watching your life slide by and thinking of all the things you could have done someday. The choice is yours to make!
Call Kung Fu for Life today and experience all the positive benefits, both direct and indirect, that our training can offer. From the improvements in your muscles to your mind, in your breathing to your body, in your health to your happiness, you’ll be very glad that you did!
Kung Fu For Kids Recreation
One of the biggest shows on Netflix right now is “Cobra Kai” – a Karate Kid spinoff that shines a spotlight at the role of martial arts throughout life, with old rivalries that move into a new generation. A major theme of the show highlights how childhood is one of the most influential periods of our entire lives: it’s where we develop the habits, hobbies, and discipline that we will carry with us through the years. We learn social skills, how to deal with adversity, and how to focus our skills and energy into meaningful outlets – so with all that said, is learning a martial art a good kids’ activity? We think so!
8 Benefits of Martial Arts for Kids
There are all kinds of reasons why kung fu is a good sport for kids, but the best way to know is to simply see for yourself. While COVID restrictions have made drop-ins difficult, you can still contact us about getting an information session or taking part in a class with your son or daughter, helping them find out on their own how much fun it can be to learn crucial skills while getting a workout at the same time. Our non-competitive environment is the perfect place to hone the art, and who knows? They might stick with it, and become a kung fu teacher themselves, continuing the circle of knowledge and sending a message to the next generation that they can achieve their goals, too.
Call us or use our contact form to enroll your child in one of the best kids’ activities in Calgary, and find out more about why people are getting into kung fu for life!
The Art Of Kung Fu Meditation
When you hear about martial arts, the first thing you think of is probably a blazing fast flurry of fists and kicks, or maybe a pair of nunchakus flying through the air. But one of the largest aspects of the entire culture of martial arts has much more to do with the mind than with the body that holds it – and it’s arguably one of the most important skills to master. We are, of course, talking about meditation.
Kung Fu For Healing
It’s a story that’s common all over the world: disease or disability strikes someone without warning, or sometimes, even an apparent cause. Most of us know someone that has struggled with cancer, arthritis, joint degradation, or another condition that has greatly reduced their quality of life. Often these people are told that there isn’t anything that can be done to improve their outlook, mobility, or treatment. But is it as simple as that?
Benefits of Meditation for Health
For years, our (now-retired) Grandmaster trained people on how to be more mindful of themselves, and gave advice on how to take better care of their body through better care of the mind. This method, when combined with the right professional medical advice, can help improve attitudes and outlooks in a battle against disease.
For example, people suffering from cancer may find solace, strength, and greater inner peace in meditation and controlled breathing exercises. This can improve their quality of life – even if they cannot do anything about the cancer itself. One former KFFL student, suffering from COPD, prostate cancer, and borderline diabetes several years ago, has recovered from those conditions thanks to western medicines, but still follows meditative practice and a mindful approach to life. For him specifically, the tranquility and focus he is able to achieve help him on his journey forward, and with any new difficulties he may encounter.
These positive health impacts are noticeable, but they do require commitment and willpower. Just like when a doctor tells you that you need to take pills three times a day for a month, being consistent with exercises and mindfulness will provide benefits for you. They may vary from one person to the next, but we have yet to hear of a person not gaining something valuable from the teachings of martial arts.
Medical Treatments and Kung Fu
We want to stress that none of our exercises are intended to replace medical treatment, nor to be considered more important when getting opinions. The best approach considers both sides and uses that to create a custom exercise and meditation plan.
Everyone – even the former Grandmaster, skilled as he is – should go to the doctor for regular medical checkups, and from there, one can use the findings and advice to focus energy and make recovery easier. This conscious evocation of the placebo effect can be a useful tool, but it is not right for everyone and is not enough on its own. Look at it as another way to help the healing process and enable the right mindset for hope and health.
If you have joint, muscle, nerve, breathing, or organ issues – or any other health problems that don’t require a quarantine – why not supplement your medical appointments with custom meditation, exercises, and routines? You don’t even have to wait until you’re in the kung fu studio to get started, as there are plenty of resources you can use at home and in your daily life with great mental health benefits as well. We want to see you be the best and healthiest you can be, and the best way to do that is to listen to your doctors and your own body.
If you’re interested in learning more about the value of meditation and martial arts, we’re always happy to answer your questions. We firmly believe that an enhanced life is possible with the right approach – and that disciplines like kung fu help you get there!
Kung Fu Competition Training vs. Self-defense Training
It is important to understand that you don’t have to compete in order to learn self-defense. The origin of our system, shaolin, was never meant for competition. It was designed to create good health, focus of mind and body, and of course learning to defend oneself.
Sometimes what you might think looks barbaric in the fighting ring, is actually civilized when compared to advance self-defense training. Ring fighting contains only a portion of true Kung Fu/ martial arts.
Let us start by saying, there is only one true competitor in your life and that is the person looking back at you in the mirror. We will explain in point-form the main differences of self-defense and competition training.
So let’s address each one for now - competition versus self-defense.
1. Limited space, this is also often the case in self-defense as a matter of fact, much less space is usually available compared to the ring. So close-quarters fighting techniques is an absolute must. Sometimes there is much more space than you would ever find in a ring. Remember that the only thing that matters in self-defense is self-preservation, you must do whatever it takes, including running away. There’s no rules, no competition, no crowd to impress, just defending yourself! True self-defense has a foundation in both common sense and ethics. Before you ever lift your hand to hurt another human being, it must be warranted.
2. A referee is there to ensure that no competitor gets out of hand, gets severely injured or killed. He is the calming agent between the two fighters, reminding them at all times to follow the rules.
In self –defense, of course, there is no such person mediating anything or protecting you from what your assailant is going to do to you, it is just you and your attacker. There is only one outcome and it must be that you survive. You aren’t a winner or victor but rather the survivor for life not glory.
3. Rules. There are all kinds of rules in competition, and you can thank civilized man for that. Just remember there’s no rules in self-defense, except maybe the law and that’s only after the fact, unless you’re very lucky. In Roman times, the spectators were the true barbarians and they promoted the violence. Unfortunately, you still see some of that today, not just in martial arts but in many sports, more blood, more cheering, lots of big mouths calling out for more violence… it’s easy when it’s not their own blood.
4. Prearranged time in competition, this allows many variables to be somewhat predictable within reason, good fighters know this and plan a couple surprises for their opponents. Self-defense situations always have an element of surprise which causes confusion, fear, hesitation, and sometimes locking of the body (also known as freezing). Which is natural but nonetheless can be very irritating and restricting. Examples of this are, you can be carrying your groceries to your car, riding on the bus, sitting at a donut shop, or any number of tasks we do every day when an attacker comes at you. One of the best ways to avoid these predicaments is to remain aware of your surroundings at all times which allows you more options than just self-defense. This could include calling 9-1-1, avoiding the potential danger by exiting, or finding another way around it. Good teaching promotes the understanding of self-defense is far more than just hand to hand combat.
5. Know your opponent. For competition there are many ways to study the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent. For example, watching recordings of past fights, physically seeing their fights, watching old interviews, and yet there are still many other ways. In self-defense, obviously, there are no such observations possible. There is little to no idea of your attacker’s skill or intentions, other than obvious postures. How do you compensate for this? There are numerous ways, but no matter which you choose, you are forced to react (after exhausting all non-violent measures). You have to use any techniques that will work and must exert 100% effort until the threat is gone. When the attacker has forced you to the point of no return... fight for your life!
6. Rounds. There are 2-3 minute rounds with rest in-between. In Self-defense there is no rest, as I mentioned before no referee, no choice, and no rules.
Most self-defense if properly taught will only last a couple of seconds, maximum a minute, any self-defense that lasts longer is considered a very long time. The energy used during that minute is equivalent to over half an hour of an intense work out, depending on the intensity used. As well, you are dealing with other energy draining problems such as nervous tension, possible lock up, anxiety, maybe fear (which is totally okay). Remember hurting others is not normal or natural, even in our own self-defense. Like we said before you must defend yourself!
7. You get time to prepare for the fight, sometimes months. Pre-fight warm up in competition is also possible. As a matter of fact, it is absolutely necessary in order to prevent injury and have better reflexes and movement. Self-defense must include cold response training methods. This can be very difficult to do because the lack of a warmup that may cause injuries to occur. We don’t do it all the time, but often enough to make it work. However, our students always step into the martial arts hall with a certain state of readiness. Because of this our main teaching methods always include situational awareness training, which is an important tool for self-preservation. Obviously you can’t know when a self-defense situation will occur so there is no chance for a warm up. The main tools of mental preparation for this case are conscious and subconscious recall.
8. In competition there are two people who want to fight, both want to win but only one will. Both are already warmed up, they have been training for months and have done their homework beforehand. In Self-defense there is at least one aggressor and one defender who does not want to be in the situation at all. An attacker usually makes the first move and has the element of surprise. If you have no inclination of the attack and get surprised, being aware of your surroundings beforehand and having proper training can put the advantage back in your corner.
9. No exit strategy. In the ring, no one wants out. However in self-defense there are many exit strategies. A good martial arts teacher will show you the way to leave a situation or at least come up with a non-violent solution. Peace should always be the top priority.
10. Your trainer is right there with you in the corner of the ring. This is an amazing advantage. If you could have your teacher right there telling you what to do when you get attacked it would seem 10x easier. Unfortunately there is no chance of this ever happening. The best you can hope for is that you listened so carefully to your teacher that the master’s words flow to you like water; as if they were right there with you, telling you what to do, while you’re getting attacked. Otherwise (and for the most part this is always true), you’re on your own and every move is your call. Whether it’s the right or wrong move it’s totally up to you.
Training for competition is good for health and self-defense, but you DO NOT NEED to compete in order to learn excellent self-defense, because there is only one true competitor in your life, and that’s the person looking back at you in the mirror.
Is The Canadian Government Being Unfair?
When it comes to weapons in society and how people should be able to use them, it’s hard to settle on an answer that suits everyone. It seems that the only thing that everyone involved agrees on is that all weapons, no matter how large or small, should only be wielded by those with the training and knowledge necessary to use them properly. Today we want to discuss some of the restrictions on martial arts weapons that you may not even know exist.
Many of the weapons that you might think of when you hear the words “martial arts”, such as nun-chuks, bo staffs, sais, and small clubs, originated as farming equipment in China. In the 1600s, the Chinese government outlawed weaponry for civilians, but also required that they were able to defend themselves and the country if needed. Due to this, they created new techniques with the objects they had on hand, and many of the modern symbols of martial arts were born.
Just like many other household items, like kitchen knives or construction tools, the danger of these weapons depends on who is wielding them. Yet, strangely, while you can own as many knives, chainsaws, nail guns, sledgehammers, baseball bats, and shovels as you want, you cannot own – or even carry! – nun-chuks, three-sectioned staffs, self-opening blades, or ninja stars in Canada. It’s illegal for you to own them, or even transport them for the sole purpose of training somewhere else!
This can be disappointing for martial artists, as it’s a double standard: we trust carpenters, arborists, and chefs with their tools, which are all equally lethal. We allow hunters to bring guns and crossbows into the wilderness, once they’ve shown that they know what they’re doing with them – and if someone gets hurt, we hold them responsible. Why is it not the same with martial arts weapons?
Now, we are not advocating that our students should be able to carry around potentially lethal objects and wave them around for fun – far from it. What we do want is for our students to be able to become familiar with, respect, and transport these traditional martial arts tools to a safe training session without fear of breaking the law, just like plenty of other people do with the tools of their trade. After all, why would a disciplined and knowledgeable martial artist be any more likely to cause trouble than anyone else, who could simply walk into any hardware store and choose from hundreds of potential weapons available? How dangerous is a chainsaw or a set of bolt cutters compared a sai or a set of nun-chuks?
There is a necessary and implicit trust present in many places of society. Just because someone wants to learn how to use a traditional martial arts weapon effectively does not mean that they will have any desire to hurt anyone, or ever use them beyond the walls of the gym. For example, we don’t assume that every gun owner is angry or maniacal – why would we treat martial artists any differently?
So what do you think? Would you like to see reform in the laws, and allow qualified martial artists to own and transport these weapons? Or do you think the risks are too high for the relatively small amount of people that would benefit from such a change?
Kung Fu Retreat
With the cold weather of the last few weeks, many people in Calgary are daydreaming about getting away in the summer and taking some time to escape the stresses of life in the city. If you’re already looking forward to long, hot days, mountain air, exercise, and the peace and quiet of meditation, then we have the perfect opportunity for you!
Kung Fu For Life is now accepting registrations for our summer seminar, which runs for your choice of 3-5 days on the shores of the beautiful and warm Christina Lake, BC. Your accommodations with the Grand Master, a simple one-minute walk from the beach, will be your home base during your stay, and the solitude and peace will allow you to practice meditating on the three levels that you will learn while you are there. However, the retreat is also aimed at building up physical skills as well, and the rugged landscape allows for in-depth training of both self-defence and endurance training.
The entire seminar is designed in such a way as to accommodate the level of fitness you are currently at, while enhancing each individual during the sessions of direct kung fu training with the Grand Master. Feel your energy return as you cleanse pollutants from your body and mind – all the smog, chemicals, distractions, light and sound interference of the city will be removed, allowing your mind to soar. Liberate your inner strength, cultivate your inner chi to a higher level, and develop a better insight into yourself and how you fit into this world. The structure of the days-long events is like a year’s worth of training all at once, since the direct lessons and knowledge from the Grand Master gives you the ability to streamline your skills and become your best “you”, and improve more quickly.
You will learn how to take energy from within in order to go beyond what you think you can do – what you believe you are limited to, based on your physical strength. Feel the pure joy of training on mountain edges, near waterfalls, and out in the beauty of nature, and appreciate the cleansing rush of vitality that comes over you as the days go on. As you meditate, you will learn how to push yourself to the limit – and learn much more about you in the process!
The price of the seminar includes training and accommodation, but please plan for your own travel arrangements and food for the duration of your stay. For more information, you can contact us by email or call us at 403-243-5433. And if you’re already hooked, simply fill out the attached form and get ready to have one of the greatest self-discovery experiences of your entire life!
How is Kung Fu different from other Martial Arts?
When you hear the words “kung fu”, your first thought might be about a series of movies featuring a fighting panda – but many people assume that kung fu is interchangeable with all the other fighting styles you hear about. While these styles are all related, the differences actually go much further than that!
Kung fu, as we think of it today, began more than 1,500 years ago in China as a method of training, in honour of the Buddha, designed to strengthen the connection between the body and the mind. To the monks who created it, this connection between the spirit and the physical body was the most important part of the entire practice, and they developed exercises over the years, decades, and centuries that enhanced this aspect – noticing the many health benefits in the process.
Focusing on meaningful actions that trained the body and the mind to work together, and to improve reactions and perception, the martial art of kung fu emerged over time, but that was only one expression of the discipline – and not even the main one, at that! The emphasis on unity and feeling “at one” with oneself was, and still is, the underlying goal, and following meditative physical techniques bridges that gap. As the fighting form developed, the organized system created many off-shoot versions as well, which you have more than likely heard of: tae kwon do, karate, jujitsu, judo, wing chun, and many others. That means that kung fu is the ancestor of all of these, which focused on and tweaked specific philosophies of movement and attacking/defending to form the new styles.
Kung fu, which can be roughly translated as “skill and art”, is a term that describes a dedication to doing something to the very best of your ability. In fact, this doesn’t even have to be fighting at all – if you engage your whole body and mind towards any art form, be it painting, writing, or anything else, you can confidently say that this, too, is kung fu. The self-defense version that most people envision with these words is, more specifically, “wushu kung fu”, or “military skills and art”. Beyond that, our training style is what’s called “Moh Pai”, a.k.a Shaolin Kempo – an ancient Eastern self-defense philosophy that has been tailored to a North American lifestyle. (One such change is the coloured belt system as you progress in skill, which in its original Chinese form is a new sash every ten years!)
So why is the fighting style still called “kung fu” if it has all these other aspects? Well, it comes down to the healthy mind/body connection and expression. You must use and practice with your body, and be well in control of it in order to have a strong spiritual connection to it. You must be able to defend it against harm, and that is where the self-defense comes in. It is hard to explain, but kung fu is even more so about being ready – physically and mentally – for every situation, than it is about actually fighting.
Our main goal at Kung Fu for Life is not to create fighters that can deal out excessive damage. It is to foster awareness of one’s self, to improve the health of each of our students, and to individually work with them one-on-one so that they get a personalized path to success as they learn more about our techniques. We give our students confidence in every situation – not simply physical confrontations – because they know and trust themselves and their instincts. Even when things escalate, our primary ideal is to defend rather than attack, to protect ourselves rather than harm others. That is the true spirit of kung fu: to highlight how everything is connected and that we should all work towards being better, together.
When it comes to martial arts, there’s no such thing as “the best”: they are, after all, art forms, and those are always subjective, like a painting or a poem. As long as they are done safely and to the very best of one’s ability, that is all that matters – and at Kung Fu for Life, that is what our tenets are based on.
If you are interested in learning more about our kung fu classes, don’t be afraid to ask! You can contact us through our site or even visit our studio, conveniently located beside the 39 Ave C-Train station. We look forward to meeting you!