Practical Self-Defense is taught by doing choreographed sets that are shorter form combinations performed on each other. It is practiced with a partner or with multiple opponents. The attacking partner throws a punch or executes a grab or hold and the defender practices the set as a means of learning how to counter the attack. We practice with control and the proper respect for each other and for what we are trying to learn.
Practicing self-defense in this manner assists the Kung Fu practitioner to develop a number of important aspects needed to set oneself apart as a martial artist.
First, using accuracy when blocking and seeking out striking areas. It is important when defending oneself to use the most effective counter with the least amount of effort.
Secondly, the student starts to become comfortable with having someone in their personal comfort zone. By developing this comfort, the martial artist can respond to a breach of his personal space without panic and fear, but with a calm, focused and strong mind.
Thirdly, the student gradually learns the biomechanics of applying the same type of techniques against different sizes, limb lengths, energies and intensities.
As with other aspects of the HealthKick program, the Self-Defense sets start simple and build in intensity and complication when the student is comfortable and ready.
Shaolin Martial Arts
Shaolin Kung Fu is a large technical martial arts system. When using the term "martial arts system" to describe it, one must not compare it to many systems that were passed down door-to-door or by word of mouth. Shaolin Kung Fu absorbed the numerous styles and complex structures of many martial arts that developed throughout China and according to historical records, quantified them into a coherent and highly technical catalogue.
Shaolin Chuanxi (Fighting) routines have hundreds of units starting with open hand forms and working in an orderly manner through dozens of weapons. There are striking and joint locking techniques, sweeping and grappling, acupressure applications and unique qigong exercises. All of these categories contain exercises in which the contents consist of different types and various degrees of difficulty. They are all arranged in an organic and orderly large technical curriculum.
The Shaolin martial arts system is a concrete manifestation of how the human body performs in both offensive and defensive actions. At the core of its many routines is the basic sets of combinations in which the human body can move and perform. All of the styles and designs encompassed within the Shaolin system have their foundation in the ancient Chinese medical understanding of the human body and the Chinese understanding of the laws of human motion.
Many of these studies take into consideration static and dynamic movement, the principles of yin and yang, relaxation, hard and soft movements. The most famous of these studies is the principle of Liu He or the six directions: north, south, east, west, up and down which also correlates to hands and feet together, elbows and knees together, shoulders and hips together along with the combination of heart and mind.
The study of human movement also led to the understanding of man’s ability to develop and harness chi through practical exercises and the use of the mind to develop strength and vitality. Qi development also finds its roots in ancient Chinese wisdom, in the belief of the harmony between man and nature. By adhering to that belief, Shaolin Kung Fu developed by thinking rationally about what is the best and most reasonable structure for the body’s natural movement.
In the long history of Shaolin Kung Fu, one will always find that after examination, this martial arts system eliminates what is useless and constantly refines its innovation and development to make the human body the best at maximizing its ability to defend itself within the most optimal form of human motion.