The Shuai Chiao Kungfu Club at The Ohio State University (return)

Instant Kungfu Lesson

Why is "Instant Kungfu" an oxymoron?
Because "Kungfu" means a skill developed with much time and effort.
This is an "instant" lesson -- but to understand it fully will take time and practice.

Introduction to Shuai Chiao Kungfu
Important Points to Remember:
1. Don't "lock-out" or hyper-extend any of your joints.  Your knees should always be
slightly bent, even when standing upright.  Punches and kicks should always be stopped
by muscle tension: not the limits of motion.  The "snap" at the end of a punch should be
like a plucked string, not like a hard, locked, stop.
2. Kungfu exercises and forms can be very stressful on the joints and tendons when done
deeply and forcefully.   You must be aware of your own body and take it easy in the
beginning.  Don't strain to keep up with the advanced Club members on the first day.
You will be able to do everything properly given enough time and practice.  Try to relax
as much as possible and don’t constantly tense your body.
3. Keep breathing!  You should always be exhaling or inhaling.  Do not hold your breath
during techniques or movements.  In general, you should exhale on extensions and power
movements and inhale on contractions and absorbing movements.  Tense your body as
you inhale and relax as you exhale when doing the stances.
Two  basic and essential Kungfu stances:
Horse Stance  (Ma-bu)  
Feet are nearly parallel, pointed straight ahead.  The back is straight with the hips “tucked” in. The knees are pressed out slightly so they are directly over the insteps of your feet.  The horse stance can vary from a wide stance (as shown) to a narrow stance with the feet only a shoulder width apart. 

Front Stance (Gung-bu)  
Also called the “Bow and Arrow” stance, the front leg is bowed forward while the rear leg is as straight as an arrow.  The rear foot should point towards the front, not out to the side.  The front leg supports about 60-80% of the body weight.  The feet are parallel, but are on separate lines a shoulder width apart.  The front knee should not extend past the instep of the foot. 

These two basic stances, with minor variations, are used by almost all martial arts styles, both hard and soft.

Shuai Chiao Traditional Stance Exercises:
The stance exercises of Shuai Chiao provide general training for balance, strength, and flexibility.
 Balance on one foot with the other lifted in front of the supporting leg's knee. Hands are held up over the head, holding an imaginary spear pointed forward.  It is important to relax the hip joint of the “floating” leg, and allow the leg to rotate  outward. This is a very important stance to practice to improve balance and strength.  It will prepare you for the special Shuai Chiao coiling and escaping movements to come.

 In a front stance: front leg bent at the knee with the shin vertical, other leg extended straight to the rear.  The arm on the front leg side projects back to the rear, the rear leg arm is held out to the front.  Both palms are facing up towards the sky.  This stance stretches the tendons of the legs, arms, and shoulders.  Shoulder flexibility is necessary for the correct performance of the hip throw and its many derivatives.  Beginners should use this stance to perfect the foot and hip alignment of the basic front stance.  Advanced students should place the feet on a single narrow line and use the stance for balance training as well.

   Position the feet in a front stance, then sink back and turn hips into more of a horse stance postion.  The arm on the bent leg side arcs protectively over the head, the other arm extends out.  Both hands are in a "tiger's mouth" position.  Be sure the extended leg is slightly bent at the knee, and that its foot has the heel, rather than the toe extended toward the opponent.

Black Dragon Playing in the Waves
 Balance on one leg, with the body pivoted forward at the waist and the other leg extended to the rear.  The hips are square to the ground and front, the back is facing the sky.  Extend both arms to the front so the whole body is parallel to the floor.

Swing the arms upward and back to Search for the Sea.  The hands should be in a "hook" position, with the thumbs and fingers together.  As you inhale, strongly hook the hands and tense the arms, lifting them up and back.  On the exhale, relax the hands completely, and the arms slightly.   Place one foot behind the other, crossing the legs.  Keep the legs straight, and bend forward at the waist, bend the arm on the front leg side and hold the fist next to the waist.  Reach down with the rear-leg arm, and try to touch the ankle of the rear leg. When fully bent over, twist the body toward the fist at the waist and turn the neck to look upward.  This stance stretches the hamstrings and lower back.

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Copyright 2005, MG-3D,  The Shuai Chiao Kungfu Club at OSU

  The Shuai Chiao Kungfu Club at The Ohio State University (return)