The Language of Kung-Fu, For Children

Chinese martial arts (Kung-Fu) can be very complex in its coordination. A lot of these are older movements that are reflective of combat ideas employed during the hand-to-hand battles of the Ching Dynasty of China.

It can be a great challenge to replicate these movements, but that challenge improves our coordination, balance, awareness of body structure & energy.

We really value developing this in our students, but recognized the challenge that this is not how people in the West naturally move.

So, we came up with a system of breaking all the movements down into its finest elements, to help kids develop the “language” of Choy Lay Fut Kung-Fu.

We work on generating power with these elements, so we can feel how to put our whole body behind a technique. It’s much easier to do this one move at a time, than trying to do it with a sequenced string of movements.

Once they learn the basic “alphabet”, we play with them on developing fluency with the alphabet, by hitting targets, in a reflexive-responsive way. It becomes so much fun, that they forget that they are actually learning something!

Before they know it, they are putting together strings of these “alphabet” elements together to make more complex sequences - and they are putting their full body and spirit behind it.

We don’t over-correct on details, at first. We just want them to get a general picture of the idea. As they have fun with the general picture of the move, we may add a “secret detail”, to make it more powerful!

This method has proven quite effective with children - think about teaching them how to speak English (if English is your first language) - do we correct every grammatical and syntax error they make when they are learning to communicate with you? No, you (HOPEFULLY) do not! In fact, sometimes, you might adjust your language to theirs, so they can understand you. As they’re vocabulary increases, you are able to teach them more words, and ideas.

The other thing that’s important is to contextualize everything. We show the kids how all these moves would apply in combat, so they have a picture of what the move was used for. Remember when you were learning new vocabulary words in school? What was the common way to understand the definition - to use the word in a sentence. In other words, context. And that is what understanding the combative application of the moves does for kids - it provides context.

In the world of social media, they say content is king. In the world of learning, CONTEXT is king!

Kids learning Kung-Fu as a language has had a great effect in their overall understanding of the art, and ultimately, themselves!