Tang Long Kung Fu School
        Genuine Shaolin Kung Fu
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What should I wear?
Students often ask what should they wear in class. We recommend that you wear loose, comfortable clothing such as track suit bottoms and t.shirts. We do not recommend class to be done in bare feet and would advise students to wear trainers that allow flexibility of the foot and ankle (like the Feuye trainers worn by the Shifus).

What if I have never done class before?
If you have never done any type of martial arts before, your first class can be a bit daunting. Don't panic, we have all been there. Although the pace of the class can be quite hectic, we would advise students to go at their own pace until they have achieved the correct level of fitness. No one expects you to remember everything after one lesson. The Shifus always say that as long as you remember one thing from every class you attend you will soon build up your knowledge. Our students tend to find that both their fitness levels and flexibilty improve very quickly once they start training on a regular basis. We would normally recommend that you train at least twice a week for maximum benefit and to enable you to progress to the different levels where you can learn more advanced techniques. Remember, Kung Fu and Tai Chi take determination, concentration and most importantly dedication.

I have done other martial arts before do I still have to join as a beginner?
Everyone starts in the beginners class, regardless of what other disciplines they have learnt in the past. Shaolin Kung Fu is very different from other styles of martial arts and requires students to learn all types of skills and techniques. It really is fitness at a different level.

How should I address/ what should I call the teacher?
Our teachers are referred to as Shifu, which means Master. We normally say 'thank you Shifu at the end of every class as a matter of respect for them teaching us.

Can I become a member and what are the benefits?
Yes, you can become a member if you wish, but it is not complusory. The benefits are that you receive booking preferences for workshops and get discounted prices on class subscriptions/workshops and merchandise.

Is your teaching different from Shaolin Kung Fu being taught in China?
No. As our Masters come from China where they have previously been teaching, they teach the students here in the UK in exactly the same way as they would teach their Shaolin Kung Fu students in China. The only difference being is that the students in China tend to start from a much younger age and practise for hours everyday.

Do I have to study Buddhism or become a Buddhist?
Not at all. While the roots of Shaolin Kung Fu and Buddhism are intrinsincly linked, people from all religions and denominations are welcome to come and learn .

What does internal and external mean?
Shaolin Kung Fu is often referred to as external or hard, which means that all power is directed from the outside.

Tai Chi is in turn referred to as internal as it uses power from within. One of the main differences between Shaolin Kung Fu and other martial arts is that it uses both internal and external power, hard/soft, yin/yang. There is no point in repeatedly kicking or punching if you do not know where your power is coming from or how to direct it. Everything in life has to be balanced and to succeed and become a good martial artist you have to be able to do this. This is why we recommend our students study both Tai Chi and Kung Fu.

What is qi (chi)?
Qi (Chi) is the internal life force or breath. It is said that we acquire our strongest amount of qi when we are still in the womb and that if we do nothing to culitvate this qi throughout our life then it slowly disappears. You cannot see it, touch it or measure it. But through learning to control our breathing and learning to take our breath deep into the abdomen (dan tien) we can replenish our pre-natal qi.

What is qi gong?
Qi gong simply translated means energy work. It is a series of movements, done in a slow and controlled manner a moving meditation, that helps to move the energy (qi) around our body. Practicing qi gong is beneficial for both physical and spiritual gain.

What is Tai Chi?
Like Qi gong, tai chi is a moving meditation where you learn to control your energy. Movements are continuous, circular and flowing and whilst all they are done slowly they are infact fighting techniques such as blocks, strikes, kicks and punches.

Done repeatedly you learn to control the power of the movement in a soft style but beneath the surface, your body is like steel.

What is Shaolin Kung Fu?
Shaolin Kung Fu is a unique martial arts that stands alone form other styles such as Karate, Judo and Tae Kwon Do. Whilst the other disciplines are based on either grappling and throwing techniques (Judo) or the use of hard power with the hands (Karate) or legs (Tae Kwon Do), Shaolin Martial Arts encompasses everything. It is both hard and soft, fluid and very quick, it uses all of the body, contains combination fighting techniques and acrobatics and uses a variety of weapons. It really is the ultimate martial art.

Where did Shaolin Kung Fu come from?
Shaolin Kung Fu is a method of fighting that was developed in the Songshan Shaolin Temple in China. It was based on the  movements of the 18 main animals in Indo-Chinese iconography (e.g., tiger, deer, leopard, cobra, snake, dragon, etc.),  Originally the kung fu was devised by an Indian Monk called Bodhidarma at the beginning of 502CE, He found that the monks , whilst devoted to their meditation, were physically weak from lack of exercise. He realised that in order to meditate for long periods of time, the body needed to be supple, relaxed and strong. In order to overcome this problem he devised a series of exercises based on controlling the breathing, stretching and combined this with the animal forms. The results were to help control the mind and spirit whilst making the body strong, with the ultimate aim of achieveing enlightenment.

How often do you do grading exams?
On average we do grading exams every three months. Students who pass the exams go on to the next level where they will build on their exisiting skills and learn new forms and techniques. However, we alway recommend that students continue to attend the preparation level classes as this is the essential core of our training as it maintains the fitness levels and basics required for all future levels. Unlike other martial art school, we do not offer belts when you have passed to the next grade. This is consitant with training in china. We do however issue you with a grading certificate to show that you have successfully completed your various levels.

How will I know when to enter for my exam?
We feel that students know their own ability better then anyone else and therefore leave it to them to decide when they feel ready. Don't worry if you stay in the beginner level longer then anyone else. After all, you need very good basic skills in order to achieve the best results at higher levels so the longer you stay the more you will improve.

How old do you have to be to study kung fu/tai chi?
We take students from the age of 5 years old. There is no upper age limit. However the kung fu is quite physical so it is really down to the individual as to whether they think they are able to do this. With regards to the Tai Chi, you can practise all of your life, physical strength is not an issue as Tai Chi uses your opponents power. It is also excellent for your health (circulation and breathing), relaxation and maintaining your fitness.
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