I built my martial art studio in 2012. It is a representation of myself and the Kung Fu that I have developed over the past 40 years. The facility is located on my property in Wisconsin USA. I'm in a pretty secluded location in the country - it's perfect for training. "The Studio" as I call it, includes a 600 square foot main training hall, an iron palm / wooden dummy room, an office, and an outdoor training area. The facility is small by US standards, but large enough to train a small group of students.
Personally, I am drawn to the more traditional and rustic methods of Kung Fu training. I think the appearance of my studio reflects this. There are no mirrors or padded floors, weapon racks adorn the back wall, and there are altars to my martial art ancestors. I used to teach a lot of private lessons here. Over the past few years I have become very recluse and shut the studio down to the public. I still spend most of my time at here, practicing the ways of Kung Fu.
What is Kung Fu?
I think most people out there understand that Kung fu is a generic term used to describe a wide variety of Chinese martial art systems. However, it is more proper to describe Kung Fu as a high level of skill that is developed through hard work over a long period of time. To understand this you must first understand the true meaning of the phrase Kung Fu. In Chinese Kung fu ( 功夫) is a compound of two words, combining 功 (kung) meaning "achievement", and 夫 ( fū) which is alternately treated as a word for "man." The literal rendering of this interpretation would be that kung fu means "achievement of man." Its connotation is that of a great accomplishment arrived at by great effort of time and energy.
Not everybody can develop Kung Fu, or at least not to the same level. It takes discipline and commitment.
My Martial Art Philosophy
There are many effective martial art systems.
No martial art or fighting system can stand on its own without the skilled hands of a seasoned expert to back it up.
The key to developing quality martial art skills is in the training methods.
Martial art training should be serious and follow a structured goal oriented regimen.
The way you practice and express martial art skills will change constantly as you grow.
There are three elements crucial to any form of martial arts training:
1. Technical Skill Training: Learning the movements and theories of the method you have choosen.
2. Physical Conditioning: Developing quality in your movement (ie. speed, power, timing, balance, etc.)
3. Practical Applications: Testing the development of your Kung Fu.
In the beginning most martial art training should focus on the physical elements. You must be determined and committed to training every day. Through this rigorous daily process the body is developed first, which in turn develops the mind by exercising the will and testing your personal commitment to achieving a goal. Finally, if you stay with the martial arts long enough the human spirit (or the subconscious) is affected. Then through this we arrive at what I call the "Physical Intellectual Awakening." To put it more simply, you have developed a mind body connection.
Wing Chun Training
Wing Chun training at RWC involves learning the six fighting forms, practicing the subsequent solo training drills, and learning a large variety of partner training drills. There is a heavy emphasis placed on stance development. A strong stance is the key to striking power. There are many exercises designed to develop a strong stance. All of the stance training exercises include hand movements, some are more dynamic than others.
Agility and mobility are crucial skills in Wing Chun. We must learn to move fast and strike hard from any angle. This is why I start students working on the wooden dummy right away at my school. There is alot of footwork and angulating involved in dummy training, you have to move around like you're fighting.
Stance training and wooden dummy training compliment each other. One is hard with elements of softness, the other is soft with elements of hardness. One develops a solid structure and powerful strikes, while the other teaches you how to move and adjust that structure as you evade, attack, and strike.
Iron Skills Training
There are many forms of Iron Skills training. I practice a few variations of three different methods. They are Iron Ring Training , Iron Hoop Training, and Iron Palm Training. The movements of each method are easy to learn. But the training can be very difficult. Iron Skills training is a solitary practice, it requires an investment of both time and money. The money part is easy but you will have to make the investment to collection the training gear you will need. Once you begin training it is all about dedication and persistance.