One of the things that I've searched for in Kung fu training, is how to practice and train in Kungfu on my own. Though I have a decent base in Kung fu, sometimes life gets busy and I found I haven't practiced for quite awhile. It is not always convenient to find a Kung fu master around or someone to train with, the result is that I end up forgetting what I've learned.
Recently I came across this video below that resembles a lot of what I learned while training with Master Wang in China. These are well grounded basics that will improve your kung fu quickly.
One of the primary important things that you want to work on to make your kung fu better is your flexibility. In the video, there are many exercises that will improve your flexibility as well as power.
One of the first areas that we lose our flexibility, is in our hips. When we are young, our flexibility is really good. Though over time, through sitting in chairs and not needing the dexterity, our tendons begin to shorten up and tighten.
The best method for increasing your flexibility is to work at over time. This allows your tendons and muscles to stretch and repair themselves over a greater length of time.
A routine that I found really useful when training with Master Wang, was to do a 5-10 minute warmup with a light jog. This gets your blood flowing and body becomes warm and limber. Then practice a static stretching, that is where you hold a stretch and slowly go down. Each stretch you can hold for at least 30 seconds to deepen the stretch. After the static stretch, you can do slow moving dynamic stretching. This increases your range. Then return to static stretching, and hold the stretches for around 30 seconds each. You will find that you will deepen the stretch on the second round.
In Northern Shaolin kung fu, kicks are heavily emphasized. I feel these are a good foundation to emphasize simply because many people lack the flexibility, and so it is good focus more on the area of weakness so they become a strength. Also, really good footwork allows you to move around much more quickly and fluidly, it opens you up to a greater range of training possibilities. Although it takes much more hard work to advance in this area, you can see a lot more progress within this area. Afterwards, your kung fu becomes much more impressive as people seem to understand the inherent work ethic it takes to bring footwork and kicks up to a high degree excellence.
The best way to train kicks is simply choose 10 different types of kicks and drill them, one after the other. When training with Master Wang, he would have us do this for our morning training routine. Often times we would push ourselves and do 100 of each, for a total of 1,000 kicks at 8:30am. This will wake you up faster than a deep charged coffee.
Punching is probably the easiest to solo train. You can do a number of training methods, such as using a heavy bag, a wooden dummy, or simply practice in a stance. You can vary your focus, sometimes work on power, other times, speed.
There are many facets for this type of training. You can choose to develop your internal power and you won't need a training partner or a punching bag. In fact, you can test your palm strikes on trees if you wish to see how well you are developing it. When you can shake a young tree from the trunk to the top and let leaves flutter from the sky, you know you are doing good work.
There are many ways to solo train, of course you won't get the biggest payoff as you would from training under a master, but it is better than doing nothing and it keeps you progressing. You can always video your practice and then self-analyze because often times we are blind to what our performance actually is. You can compare the video footage either with your master or other masters online. The important thing is to keep on training.
About the blog
Luke Siljander began training with Master Wang in 2007. He and Master Wang want to share the value of Kung Fu.
Kung Fu is about the application of hard work throughout your life to better yourself and to gain mastery over your body and mind.