Monday, September 7, 2009

Does your Kung Fu Change Over Time?


When you’ve been married to a particular system or style of martial arts for a good part of your training life, it’s natural for this question to come up.

The answer to this issue is one that requires self-reflection: Have you changed over a good part of your life?
Are you the same person you were 5 years ago? Do you do things differently now than when you did them 5 years ago?

As you can see, the answer lies with you, not your Kung Fu.

Even without ever cross-training in another martial art, your Kung Fu changes because you change. Whether it’s your body, your lifestyle, your particular stage in life… change is inevitable. It lets you know that things are no longer the same, and your ability to adapt to these ever-changing, ever-evolving scenarios is what separates the good from the best.

You should stop and ask yourself:
How have I developed?
How have I been influenced by my experiences, not only in martial arts, but in life?
Have I become a better person?

And, it can go either way – you could have gotten better, or you can get worse.

With traditional Kung Fu, we tend to think of change as a bad thing, as if we’ve become disloyal to our sifu or to the style. For many of us who have trained under a “square-minded” or old-old school teacher, this is what we have been conditioned to believe – that if we don’t follow things to the letter, we’ll never get the system. So we slave away at filling our cup of our teacher’s teachings until it overflows, believing that our “stuff” is invincible… until we meet better, stronger, smarter, faster adversaries. Then, what? Do you keep doing things the way that you’ve always done because your teacher told you to, or do you change?

The very basis of Kung Fu is to accomplish something through hard work. But, that hard work needs to have a goal that is relevant to both your needs and the conditions of your time period or it merely becomes wasted effort.

Strive to keep your Kung Fu alive.

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