Frequently Asked Questions
How can I tell if a Sifu is teaching a genuine shao-lin kung fu style?
we can answer this question, the first question
should be, "What is an authentic kung fu style?"
To those who have no background in Shao-lin Kung Fu, it can be confusing. What
makes a style authentic? Well, all styles are authentic in there own
right. Even a style that is created today is authentic in a way. The
real question is whether the style taught at your
school of choice came from traditional lines from China and/or a famous
master. Even in noted styles in China today there are numerous versions
of styles. No one can ever be sure what is the first art, or which
style is the purest form.
As always, the best way to assure yourself is
to do a little research. By going to a good school under a noted
teacher with a good line of heritage you can be sure you are getting a
version that is accepted as traditional. By sticking to noted masters
or their disciples you can be fairly sure your style is what the teacher
When it comes to famous styles of kung fu, such as Tan Tway, or Chang Ch'uan,
it is not hard to track down very informative books on their history and
where they came form. Once you see a few versions of these styles you
will know they are all very much the same, with the exception of a few
moves here or there. No one can say which of these versions is more
pure or authentic then the other. But generally speaking, Chang Ch'uan
always looks like Chang Ch'uan.
After training for some time, you can recognize styles for what they are.
Spring Legs, no matter what version
you pick, always looks like spring legs. Again there may be small
differences in approach or small moves, but in general it will appear
much like other versions of this famous style.
Even today there are noted masters of the past, such as Yang Chang Fu,
who practiced styles that differed from his or her teacher's style. So which
is better? No one can say.
In many cases, the reputation of the master is what
attracts people to a style. Bruce Lee style is an example of this.
Many wanted his style simply because
Lee advocated it. But his style was itself created from many existing styles.
So if you are looking for traditional styles that are
considered authentic, track down the teacher first and look at his or her
background, then look into the form itself. If it is a famous style
there will be much written about it, and it will be an easy matter to
see find out if you are in fact studying is a good version of the style you seek.
Kung Fu history goes back very far, and little is known of the true roots
of many styles. The general rule is to stay within the main stream of
the style you seek and not study styles that can not be tracked downed
to a noted master, or styles that different dramatically from the known styles.
Even today in the Shao-lin Temple there are styles that can not be
authenticated as a so called pure version, for the pure version of any
one style does not exists. Kung Fu comes from the minds of many people,
not just one person. Therefore you will see differences even in so
called authentic traditional styles. But by staying within the main
stream of forms and styles you can not make a major error in choice.
It would be like asking which of the all the Bible translations is the best
or purest? No one can say, but we can say as long as that Bible follows
within the main stream of thought, it is authentic.
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