Yeah, but will I learn how to fight?
Yes, and no. If all you are looking for is fighting skills, then you have come to the wrong place. We value peace over fighting. The highest level of Kung Fu is called Transcending the Fight, or winning the fight without having to fight. We do this by learning very high level fighting skills.
One thing that separates us from many other martial arts schools is that we do not do Free Sparring. This is where students put on pads and the instructor tells them to just fight. I feel that this is not very responsible and actually slows down a students’ growth. From my years in martial arts I have seen and participated in a lot of free sparring, and it all looks the same with the same few moves. The biggest problems with it are that it teaches aggression rather than a calm and focused mind, it teaches bad habits, and students tend to tense up in the body and the mind. All of these go against what it is that we do here.
What we do is called Controlled Sparring. Students learn two person forms where they are fighting with another student in a controlled setting. Each knows how the other is going to attack and how to defend themselves. At the beginning students just go through the motions as their thinking mind is in control. After a little bit, they learn to flow with the movements and it becomes much like a game of tag. Over time, they start to develop speed, power, and sensitivity. Fighting skills are developed in such a way that students are able to utilize the myriad techniques that they learn, their minds can stay relaxed, and fighting is not done out of anger, stress, or frustration. These skills can then be easily applied to real life settings should the student need to defend themselves.
The ways that we move in fighting are very different than what most people are used to. In addition to using advanced geometry rather than a straight line, we also move as a shadow of our opponent. To quote the Tai Chi Classics, “If my opponent come at me with hardness, I counter with softness. If my opponent attacks to my left, I move to my right.” Everything is based on the principles of Yin and Yang. We dissolve to emptiness, sense the opponent’s movements before they move, use their force against them, and move from a relaxed body and mind.
Everything that we teach is rooted in Tao philosophy, which is all about harmony and balance. Students learn critical thinking skills, empathy, compassion, and most importantly about themselves through this. Through Tao philosophy students learn to value their uniqueness as well as the uniqueness in others. These are very important skills that teach students how to solve problems peacefully rather than just resorting to base violence.
The skills taught at Dragon Phoenix are skills that can be applied to most anywhere in life. Whether dealing with frustrating people, playing sports, learning in school, doing chores, or simply moving through life’s challenges. We dissolve to emptiness while finding balance and harmony in all that we do. Kung Fu is not just a thing that is done, it is a way of life.