At ShaoLin Kung Fu of Asheville, we say that we’re a ‘traditional’ kung fu system. By traditional, we mean that our forms and systems are handed down from the ShaoLin Temples of China and/or are based on the kung fu handed down from pre-Mao/pre Cultural Revolution China. During the Revolution, most true kung fu practitioners had to go underground or flee the country, seeking asylum in Indonesia, Mayasia, and other Asian islands and countries. (In fact, there is an amazing documentary called Needle Through Brick that I highly recommend, discussing this part of history. Watch it on Youtube or Hulu.) We’re not a trophy or show system, our goal isn’t to win awards, or to make up forms that are showy or gymnastic. We teach traditional kung fu. Our forms and systems are pretty and artistic, based on animal movements, but have to be street effective.
That being said, we have to keep in mind that traditional kung fu forms were developed to fight against other kung fu practitioners. There are blocks and defenses against kicks, sweeps, back sweeps, etc. Many of the hand blocks and techniques are against someone utilizing similar techniques. What do we do then, if we’re using our kung fu against someone who is using basic boxing or street thuggery (Hopefully, real martial artists don’t go around causing trouble and looking for fights, right?) We have to take the essence of the traditional kung fu forms and adapt them to modern situations. Blocks against La Ma ridge hands or Wing Chun chain punches are not likely to be needed as much as against a haymaker or a push, shove or grab. We modify close quarter defenses and offenses to handle these street techniques. In many kung fu systems, they stayed off the ground since the ground was often a battlefield. Today, many fights go to the ground. So we modify stand up technique to be ground technique. (If I’m standing up, my power from a front snap kick comes from the stable foot; on the ground, the power comes from my hip which is basing on the ground.) We always assume multiple opponents in all our forms, so our forms constantly turn and change direction, change technique, etc. Our weapon forms are traditional, too. Most people don’t carry swords around anymore, nor do people carry the 7 foot Kwon T’ao or 6 foot staffs. No problem. Use the same techniques with a broom or a pool cue, or (and this is really cool) do the same techniques, moves, chops, blocks, and strikes with no weapon, and you still have an incredible fighting form.
So I guess that we’re the “New Traditional” in kung fu. If beauty, hard work, self defense, and an incredible part of history, as old as the ancient Temples and as new as today, appeals to you, come try us out. NO sales pitch; just a lot of hard work.
Si fu Bob
ShaoLin Kung Fu of Asheville 619 Haywood Rd Asheville, NC 28806 828-775-9122 firstname.lastname@example.org