At Yang’s Kung Fu School we teach three different styles of Kung Fu: Tai Chi Praying Mantis, Hung Gar, and Tai Chi. Kung fu is a generic term that encompasses all the Chinese martial arts. The most common subcategories include northern and southern (meaning that the style has its origins in either north or south China) and internal and external (generally meaning that the style uses mostly internal energy or external force, although there are other interpretations of the terminology). A third level of distinction is given as either long fist or short fist, referring to long range (fully extended arms and legs) and short range (close enough to grab). Some styles work in a middle range although that distinction is seldom made. Generally speaking the southern styles are recognized by the use of lower, wider stances and very strong arm movements; whereas the northern styles usually employ higher stances more suited to quick leg movement. Blanket statements like this however provide only a rudimentary guideline for identifying a style you haven't seen before. Each system has its own philosophy on movement and attack and defense which is reflected in the techniques and strategies they use.
Most of the traditional Chinese martial arts are made up of a number of forms, both open hand and with weapons. Each form is a collection of techniques put together in a sequence that represents a choreographed fight. Rather than learning dozens or even hundreds of individual techniques, the form offers a structure which, like a mnemonic device, may help the practitioner to remember the techniques more easily as well as learning how to move from one to the next smoothly and quickly. To truly master the forms is to master the style. Of course mastering the forms requires more than merely practicing the movements. Additional training such as body conditioning is essential as well as learning and understanding the use of the techniques within the form.
Learning and practicing the forms is the main focus of our school. Additional training such as the aforementioned is done on an individual basis. This approach is ideally suited to students with a higher level of self discipline and self motivation. The individual level of improvement and rate of advancement is entirely dependent upon the level of personal dedication.
About Sifu Paul Yang
I started my Kung Fu when I was 5 years old from my father learning Southern style Hung Gar style (Tiger and Crane). Two years later my father had no time to teach me and sent me to his Sidya (my father's younger classmate Master Chan to learn Hung Gar and Yang style Tai Chi Chuan. Many years later, Master Chiu came to Vietnam from Hong Kong in charge of Chin Wu school to teach Tai Chi Mantis. I know that and I set up time to learn Northern Silum Tai Chi Praying Mantis from Master Chiu at Chin Wu school until 1969 with Master Chiu then he went back to Hong Kong.