Kung Fu training is hard. Whether it’s your first class or 5,000th class, there is no way to get around it (at least at our school). Intense and consistent physical conditioning is a pre-requisite to develop the “kung fu body” that can successfully employ martial techniques against one or many non-cooperative, determined opponents.
Hard training comes in many forms. First, your muscles will consistently get sore from the numerous exercises and drills that have trained kung fu fighters for centuries. More than anything, your legs and core will be pushed and pushed to get stronger and looser at the same time – no easy feat. Kicks, stances, forms, sparring, and exercises will test your will to overcome exhaustion and pain. For those simply wanting to get in shape, this will take care of you. Second, you will undoubtedly receive bumps and bruises as you learn how to employ your newly learned martial techniques against both cooperative and uncooperative opponents in san shou and sparring. These bumps and bruises will heal and sharpen your skills. A simple way to think about it is that you must be willing to accept bumps and bruises from friends in a controlled environment in order to successfully defend yourself from those meaning to hurt or kill you in an uncontrolled environment. It’s a small sacrifice.
There is more to having heart and courage than to simply withstand the physical struggles of training. Having the heart to consistently attend class, maybe two or three classes a day, even when you are not feeling up to it shows heart. Perhaps you have a minor injury and still train while taking care not to aggravate the injury . Some might feel they’ve reached a plateau that can’t be improved upon and lose confidence. By accepting that training is “the way” and a part of their life, these students will will have the courage to push onward instead of giving up. They will reflect honestly on their relative weaknesses and continue on their path knowing that effort and time are the overwhelming factors in breaking through plateaus and improving both their character and martial skill.
This is why traditional martial arts is so particularly valuable and important for children. Kids facing their fears, weaknesses, struggles, and pains develops strength of character, which is so difficult to acquire. This strength of character, physical fitness, and self-defense skill will prove invaluable to them as adults as it creates massive self-confidence.