Are you curious about Kung Fu training, but not sure where to start?
Starting a new martial art can be intimidating. How do you pick the right discipline? How should you select the right school or instructors? And what martial arts gear will you need to start?
Discovering who you are, what your goals are, and what you will need to achieve them is all part of your journey as a martial artist. But that doesn’t mean that you need to do it all alone.
In that spirit, we’ve assembled this beginners’ guide to Kung Fu to help you figure out what kind of martial arts training you’ll need, where to find it, and what martial arts gear you’ll need.
What is Kung Fu?
The literal translation of kung fu is “skill.” In general, kung fu can refer to any skill that you can achieve through dedicated learning and practice. In martial arts, Kung Fu has become an umbrella term for the hundreds of disciplines and fighting styles that have developed in China. Some of the most recognizable forms of Kung Fu — also known as wushu or quanfa — include Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai chi, and Wing Chun.
What type of Kung Fu is right for me?
The best way to determine which Kung Fu discipline is right for you is a combination of introspection and research. Take some time to reflect on what it is about martial arts and Kung Fu that interests you. Think about what you would like to get out of your training both physically and mentally. Then make a list of training goals. Once you know what it is you like and what you’re looking for, you can start to read up on different martial arts and see which one is best for your philosophy and goals.
How do you find the right Kung Fu school?
Once you know what martial art you want to take and why, you can start to figure out where you want to train. First, make a list of all of the schools in your area that teach your preferred Kung Fu style. Then try as many of them as possible!
Many martial arts gyms will offer a free trial session or a few trial sessions. Don’t be shy about taking them up on the offer. Visiting a martial arts school, meeting their instructors and the people who train there, and getting a taste of their training style is the best way to find the right fit for you. Most martial arts gyms will also be open to any questions you might have. Once you’ve tried out all of your options and had all of your questions answered, you can choose the best place to take your next steps as a martial artist.
If you can’t find a nearby gym that teaches the style of Kung Fu that you’d prefer, you have a couple of options. You can select a backup options from the styles of Kung Fu that are taught in your area. Or you can look for virtual martial arts instruction online.
Can you learn Kung Fu online?
There’s nothing that perfectly replicates the experience of training at a gym with training partners and instructors who can give hands-on feedback in real time. But there are a lot of good online martial arts options for people who aren’t able to, or don’t want to train in person.
You can find Kung Fu instructors and martial artists all over the world who offer classes and individual remote sessions at almost any price-point imaginable. There are even free online courses available.
Of course, not all online Kung Fu classes are created equal. A simple Google search might show you just how many different kinds of classes and how many different styles are available, but it’s probably going to take a little more research to figure out which type of online Kung Fu training is right for you. We recommend applying the same approach to finding the best online martial arts training that you would to finding the right Kung Fu school. Make a list of what’s out there. Compare it to what you’re looking for. Watch sample clips and/or take trial sessions if they’re available. Then pick what feels right for you.
What gear do you need to train Kung Fu?
In any martial art, it’s helpful to consult with your instructor to determine exactly what gear you will need for your training. You can also talk to your training partners to get their opinions on what type of gear works best for them and why.
Here are some suggestions from AWMA.com to get you started, though:
Kung Fu Uniforms: To start with, you’ll need something to wear. The ProForce® Gladiator Kung Fu Uniform comes with a jacket and pants. The jacket features rollback cuffs, a snap-out collar and inside and outside pockets. Its hand-finished buttons come in your choice of white or black. The pants have a drawstring waist, cuffs, and a pack pocket.
If the uniform pants aren’t your style, ProForce® also offers elastic waist Kung Fu pants. These wash and wear pants feature an elastic ribbed waistband and ankle cuffs for a snug and comfortable fit.
Finally, you can complete your training uniform with a sash and a pair of Kung Fu Shoes.
Kung Fu Weapons: Depending on the style of Kung Fu that you choose —and the type of training you pursue within that discipline — you might also want to invest in some training weapons. (And even if you don’t want to train with weapons, you might want to treat yourself to one for decorative purposes.) AWMA offers a wide range of martial arts training and display weapons, including the ProForce® Broad Sword, Standard Broadsword, Double Broadsword, and Kung Fu fans.