One of the top achievements of traditional martial artists is to be able to contribute knowledge back into the martial circle that can be passed onto future generations. As such, many masters may create their own forms, combat style or even try to create a brand new martial art style. So what makes components must a martial art system have to be considered a complete Kung Fu system?
Firstly, Kung Fu is the embodiment of Chinese Culture and as such for anything to be called Kung Fu it must reflect Chinese customs, values and ethics. The understanding must be deep, otherwise, there would be little difference between what is specifically Kung Fu and what is broadly Martial Art. Although there are over 200 different styles of Kung Fu they all come from the Chinese people and society of a specific time and place. It is a culture which unites all the different Kung Fu styles, not the martial combat aspects.
On the flip side, from a martial and combat aspect for a Kung Fu system to be a complete and good one, the result of training in it should be obvious. Students who put in the hard work should be able to improve their body, mind and spirit over time. Moreover, this progression should be very easy to test and see.
That’s because a good Chinese Martial Art must involve at least these 4 aspects:
- Solo forms (techniques)
- Duo forms (conditioning, reaction, techniques)
- Sparring (reaction, conditioning)
- Weapons (repeat the above 3)
- Stretching, qigong, conditioning
This is how Chinese Kung Fu was trained for combat in the past, and so any good traditional systems being taught today also should contain these 4 training methods no matter the style or lineage.
If only a few aspects are trained and the other parts ignored then many of the original benefits that a traditional Kung Fu system can offer will be missed.
Moreover, if only the practical combat sides are taught without a care for the culture and people, then you may have a great fighting system but the art will be dangerously lacking.