LEARNING KUNGFU AND LEARNING FROM BOOKS
I've wanted to train in Shaolin for a long time now, seriously train, but there are no schools anywhere in my home state. If it's possible and if I show my willingness to go to Malaysia and stay for a few years, are you willing to take a student for that long? How long would it take to train a student in the traditional style enough for him to be able to practice on his own?
I have not taught regular classes for a few years, but teach intensive courses instead. This is a much better use of my time for myself as well as for my students.
If you are a fresh beginner it is both cheaper and more convenient for you to learn kungfu first from a local kungfu teacher. If there is a certified Shaolin Wahnam kungfu instructor in your area, it is best to learn from him.
Otherwise you can learn from any local kungfu instructor. It does not even matter if you only learn external kungfu forms or gymnastics. When you can perform external kungfu forms reasonably well, you can attend my Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course.
In the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course I do not teach material that can be learnt from other kungfu teachers. Hence, kungfu forms are not taught in the way other teachers normally teach them. Doing so would not be a good use of time in the course. Students attending the course are expected to know and be able to perform reasonably well basic kungfu forms.
The onus of the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course is internal force training and combat application, which are not normally taught in most other kungfu schools. These two aspects are also what many kungfu practitioners have been seeking for years.
All course participants will be able to develop internal force and competently use typical kungfu patterns and skills for combat after the week-long course. They will be able to practice on their own after the course, and if they spend about an hour a day training, they would attain a reasonably high level in a year.
If I learn from books, how would I know that I'm doing it right?
In theory it is easy. If you follow the instructions you should be practicing correctly. But in real life if you have no prior kungfu experience, it is very difficult. Worse, you may follow the instructions exactly and think you have practiced correctly, but in fact you may be doing all wrong.
For example, in executing a pattern called “Black Tiger Steals Heart”, you may follow the instructions in adopting a left Bow-Arrow Stance and thrusting out a right level punch. But in real life, you may be leaning too far forward in your stance, raising your right shoulder, lifting your right heel, and tensing many muscles.
Actually, a great majority of people practicing kungfu today may not be doing it right even though they learn from living instructors. How could they say they are doing kungfu right when they cannot use their kungfu for combat? Many of them do not even have the intelligence to realize this fact nor the courage to admit it.
The above is taken from Questions 2 and 3 of Januray 2005 Part 2 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.
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