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#162574 - 06/30/05 03:13 PM Different body types and kung fu
18lohans Offline

Registered: 01/16/05
Posts: 321
I read in one of Adam Hsu's books that Chinese and Westerners have different body types, diets, culture, philosophies, and that all these make teaching kung fu very different. More specifically, it was harder to teach westerners. He had to devise a whole new training program.

I can see how culture and philosophies getting in the way, as the Chinese are more susceptible to a long time of just doing basics in the beginning, while westerners will more likely get bored or think that the intructor has nothing else to teach them.

But I was wondering how does the body type differ between chinese people and westerners? And how would a different diet impact kung fu training?

(Hope this doesn't offend anyone)

#162575 - 06/30/05 07:38 PM Re: Different body types and kung fu [Re: 18lohans]
MAGr Offline

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 1147
Loc: London, home: Athens
Hmm...that is a very interesting point.
If chinese martial arts are based on body mechanics, then having a different boody would necessitate the need to modify the movements of the art to suit the different body.
So the wueston is, how different are lets say caucasian bodies to chinese? I would say not that different.The basic human body is the same wether one limb is longer or muscle development is faster. IMO the basics are done the same and can be applied to any body type because they are the basics. Now appart from that, even two people that have exactly the same physique will (after at least mastering the art to an extent) adapt the art to suit their self.
No two kung fu people who have done the same art will look exactly like the each others. Everyone adapts the art for their specific body type and even their character and temperament.
For example I know one dude who is really direct and is the same in his fighting and he chooses the techniques subconsciously according to this. This other guy Iknow is timid but MASSIVE and he chooses to do takedowns most of the time out of instinct because he doesnt want to break anyones nose and because its easy for him to munipulate the other persons balance.
So up to a point when you are a beginner it does not matter what shape or size you are because you are learning the basics. As you advance you adapt the art for yourself anyway, so I dont think anything needs to be altered specifically to accomodate a certain build.

I might be wrong, and I m sure that more experienced kung fu dudes have one or two things to say about this.

#162576 - 07/01/05 03:09 PM Re: Different body types and kung fu [Re: 18lohans]
BaguaMonk Offline

Registered: 12/18/04
Posts: 404
Even westeners can be developed into a kung fu body, bagua body, taiji body ,etc. It takes time, and as they get older, it gets harder .
Truth comes from the absolute stillness of the mind...

#162577 - 07/01/05 03:31 PM Re: Different body types and kung fu [Re: 18lohans]
monji112000 Offline

Registered: 12/05/04
Posts: 177
In respect to body type, I believe we are at the advantage. JMO

When you have a larger body you have more to work with.. but that doesn't mean that you can't be very powerful with a small body.. its just more possible potential.
How you use your body makes all the difference in the world. Speed can be accomplished with anybody size.

The question you pose is more social.. Westerns expect everything fast, and loose attention quickly. Allot of styles (any MA) choose to abandon older teaching schedules for more “interesting” schedules. For example in older Judo schools a beginner was made the receiver of throws and locks for a couple years. Then when he has masters that end , the throws beginners and the process restarts. In my School my teacher tries to teach in the traditional ways.. (I would assume how his father was taught from Ip Man). So you may do one movement by yourself for a couple hours.. This will continue for months.. You slowly learn to master what you are given. Drills and sparring are added to help apply your learned muscle memory. Even if you are in a large class.. this is how things are run.. .. You only get half answers so that you can find the answer yourself.. ect..
He has never said.. this is how “I teach” but he has mentioned how “teaching the old way” promotes better students. I often see many students stop after a month.. because of the “give know” attitude. I want to learn this and no do this for 3 hours..

pro: strong students who are very patient and loyal. A very strong understanding of the basics and adv. Theory's.

Cons: a small amount of students

Its all about the $$ if you care about $$ then you will prob not follow older methods of learning... think about it people studied martial arts for 10 and 20 years before mastering a style.

A person who truly loves a “art” should not worry about getting money for that art.

#162578 - 07/01/05 05:06 PM Re: Different body types and kung fu [Re: monji112000]
DefenselessChild Offline

Registered: 03/16/05
Posts: 103
I was gonna bite ur head off. Then I noticed the "JMO". Nice.

#162579 - 07/01/05 08:28 PM Re: Different body types and kung fu [Re: 18lohans]
pathfinder7195 Offline

Registered: 02/11/05
Posts: 336
Loc: T.C Michigan, U.S

Body types do effect how someone would learn/train in kung fu. Look at all other sports. Take basketball, centers are tall and tend not to be as quick, guards tend to be smaller but very quick, and your forwards tend to be taller than the guards but smaller than the centers but with quickness. Football is the same way look at the different body types for each position played. Defensive back compared to linemen. Although they all play the same sport each position has it's own training method to fit them best. Why would kung fu be any different?

In our kung fu class we taught everybody the samething but emphasized differnt things for different body types. For example a lot of women have long fingernails not good to make a fist with so we taught them more SD that used scrapping of the fingernails and palms.
Small stocky guys generally like to get inside because of their lack of reach. Tall people generally like to keep their opponents outside to use their reach.

I only meant these as generalizations not as something set in stone but your body type does influence they way you learn kung fu.
We have some onehanded eagleclaw in our style it was learned by my si-gungs sifu who studied under a person with one hand.
Are you reading the "Sword Polisher's Record The Way of Kung Fu"? Very good book.



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