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Kung Fu Tai Chi Martial Arts FAQs

Shaolin Kung Fu FAQs

What is the Difference between Karate and Kungfu?

Karate and Tae Kwon Do are considered ‘hard styles’ whereas Kungfu is considered to be a ‘soft style’. In hard styles, when executing punches they are isolated to just the upper body and emphasize rigidness of the shoulders to show power. Northern Shaolin on the other hand, utilizes the leg stances and twisting of the waist to express explosive power. With the twisting, the power of a punch is emphasized through the legs, waist, torso, shoulder, and finally the arm. Many of the Shaolin hand movements are not linear and require more indirect applications. Northern Shaolin has a very good proportion of upper body and lower body applications which include punching, kicking, jumping, crouching, sweeping, throwing, and qin na, just to name a few. To read more about the basic Tan Tui routines, click here.

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How are Shaolin Kungfu classes structured?

Students stretch and do basic kicking drills as a group at the beginning of the class. After the warm ups, the students will do drills and routines, both forms and weapons, based on the focus for the month.

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How do I test and what is the ranking set up?

The progress of the student is individually based since when they learn, they learn as an individual and the train as a group. The Academy follows a standard school sash system and the student will learn the required material and test under the discretion of the instructor. The sash tests are based on forms and weapon routines. Sparring is not required for sash testing. Click to see our Shaolin Kungfu curriculum.

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When would I learn weapons?

There are 4 basic weapons of Northern Shaolin: the staff, broadsword (sabre), straightsword, and spear. The students will get a chance to learn basic routines of each of these weapons, and then progress to the intermediate and advanced level routines afterwards. The instructor will guide the students in terms of which weapons should be learned first. Refer to our Shaolin Curriculum to see the comprehensive training guide.

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What other things do you offer, because I see you teach Wushu and other weapons?

Northern Shaolin is our focus and specialty, and is taught in the group classes. However, we also teach and train the Modern Wushu style forms and weapons, and these are taught through private lessons and workshops. Other Traditional and Modern Wushu forms include praying mantis, double swords, kwan dao, 9-section whip, monkey staff, dagger fighting set, and many others. Again, these styles and sets are extra-curricular and are available for the students to learn through private instruction and workshops.

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What is the age requirement or recommendation that you take in kids?

We normally recommend kids joining Shaolin Kungfu classes at 5 or 6 years old, but we do screen kids at the younger ages and let them participate in a trial class to see how they do with the other kids and instructor.

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What is the age breakup of the classes?

In the kids classes, the age ranges from 6 to 12. Once a student in the kids class reaches 13 years old, we allow them to move into the adult classes to train. The age range in the adult classes typically go anywhere from 13 to 45 with the majority of the students being 14 to 38.

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Tai Chi FAQs

What is the Difference between Kungfu and Tai Chi?

Kungfu is considered an external style and Tai Chi an internal style. Tai Chi moves at a slow meditative pace and focuses on the mind and body and inner energy referred to as ‘qi’ (chi). Tai Chi is known as the ‘ultimate boxing’ and is practiced for several reasons, depending on the individual. Not only does Tai Chi teach theories, applications, and body mechanics, it has also been known to develop coordination, strengthen the body, improve energy levels, improve eating and sleeping habits, reduce joint and back pain, and much more health improvements. When training the Tai Chi forms, the mind and body is relaxed, the joints are slowly moving and the vital organs are being massaged with each movement, improving and balancing the body and mind for optimal overall health.

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How are Tai Chi classes structured?

At the beginning of the class, the students do group stretching and basic footwork that are relevant to the Wu (Hao) Tai Chi system. The Tai Chi forms are performed starting with 13 Step, 24 Step, 32 Step, then 36 Step. Drills for each form are practiced to help one learn the sequence.

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What about Tai Chi applications, I heard that Tai Chi has applications to it other than being trained for health?

Tai Chi is initially trained to develop coordination and awareness of the body and inner energy. The Tai Chi forms are practiced and eventually lead you to Tai Chi applications and push hands. Push hands applies the movements and mechanics in the forms for offensive and defensive applications. Push hands requires developing the ‘listening skills’, which means that you can detect the opponent’s attack upon the touch of their hands or arms in the drills. The attack or reaction to the attack uses the opponent’s force in equal amounts against them with the intent of throwing them off balance or uprooting them.

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Are there any Tai Chi weapons?

At the Academy, we teach the Tai Chi Straightsword and Sabre (Broadsword). These are available to the Warrior Scholar Program students and Instructor Program students, and may be learned after completion of the 36 Step set.

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What is the age range of the classes?

The classes range from people in the ages of 25 to 70 and there are occasions when there are younger people in the class, but there are instances when there are younger students in the class, but hardly ever under 15 years old.

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General Information FAQs

Can I come in and watch a class or try a class out?

Visitors are always welcome to visit the classes, talk to the instructors, and tour the school. We encourage visitors to let us know when they plan to visit and whether or not they plan to try out a class.

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If I wanted to try out, what should I do and what should I wear?

You may call the school and let us know that you will be visiting so we will be prepared to have an instructor on hand to assist you for the introductory lesson. You may wear any type of workout pants that are loose and comfortable, a t-shirt or sweatshirt, and athletic shoes with rubber soles.

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How is tuition and payment set up?

Tuition is collected quarterly (3 months at a time).

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Is there a contract that I am obligated to?

No, there are no contracts that bind you to the classes. The only thing we ask is that tuition is paid 3 months at a time unless the student requests to pay monthly at the higher rate. We encourage a trial class so they can determine their fee & training schedules.

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Do I start at a certain time or can I come in at anytime?

You can start anytime. If you start in the middle of the month, the fee will be pro-rated in the second payment period.

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