Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Solo Training Regimens

While teaching at the Hung Sing Martial Arts Association I sometimes talk to students individually about their feelings in regards to their training progress. While happy with the class and instruction they receive often student’s comment that they don’t feel they are progressing fast enough. A simple solution to the problem is usually found when looking at both the composition and frequency of their training program. These students usually only attend a 1 hour class 1-2x per week. They also do no supplementary training outside of these class times. Training in Kung Fu is different form a typical western style weight training regimen. While strength training, it is essential to have rest days between workouts and many programs advocate changing workouts frequently to “confuse” the muscle and promote continued gains. In training Choy Lay Fut the main concern is skill acquisition. This is done through daily training of the same movements in order to build familiarity with the movement. Learning Choy Lay Fut is similar to learning to drive a car. At first you may need to think about every action you take but though many hours of countless repetition of the same actions a season driver acts instinctively to whatever situation they may find themselves in. It’s this kind of familiarity we seek to gain through daily training.

Part of a video record of the training at the Hung Sing Martial Arts Association


Year round training with no rest, even during the hottest days of summer and coldest days of winter, hard training and perseverance are the way to learn real kung fu
The key to gaining progress in the practice of Choy Lay Fut is a consistent and well thought out approach to training. With good planning and even the busiest person can make steady gains in their training and learn the entire curriculum we teach. The 1st step is personal training regimen that can be practiced at home on the days you can’t attend your regular class. The school I’ve trained at for over 10 years, The Ng Family Chinese Martial Arts Association, according to Google maps is 58.4 miles from my home. This has meant that through the years I have only been able to attend 1 class a week on average. Yet despite this distance and low attendance I have been able to become one of the schools top instructors and have kept pace with my training brothers. The way I was able to do this lies in my approach to training. The one day a week I am able to attend class I focus not so much on “getting a workout” as I do learning and absorbing new information. That information I acquired is then trained throughout the week in my own personal daily training regimen.
 
Beginner’s regimen
When my students express concern that they aren’t making progress I always ask them if they train at home. Usually the answer will be to the effect of “I don’t know what to practice”. Each student has different weak points that need work or different goals. With that in mind realize that no 2 student’s regimen should be the same, also over time a student’s needs change with the progress they make in their training. That said, a good guideline for what you need to practice in our system is by following your place in the curriculum and designing your training regimen based on that place and you personal needs.
Below is a sample base program that can be followed by a new student who is a 1st level yellow sash
Warm up
1.     Joint rotations from head to toe
2.     One Circuit of jumping jacks, pushups, sit ups and squats (number depends on personal best)
3.     Stances 1 min each
 
Technique Training
1.     10 Elements- 10x each
2.     5 kicks- 10x each
3.     Ng Lun Ma 3x each
Cool Down
1.     Stretching routine
To be followed daily
Following this basic base routine should take roughly 25 minutes and will cover all the basic needs of a student at this level. As a student’s needs change techniques can be added or exercises changed to reflect the current needs of the student.
Current Training Regimen
Below is my current daily training regimen. This regimen is an example of what a workout regimen will look like at the advanced stages of our curriculum. One thing to take note of, though i have been training in this system for more than 10 years, the fundamentals of this system are practiced 2x per day. This is done to underscore the importance of these basic movements in everything else done in this system. No practitioner of Choy Lay Fut no matter how seasoned is above training the fundamentals
Morning Training
Warm up
1.     Cycling 30 min
2.     Joint rotation
Technique Training
1.     10 elements 10x each, for time
2.     5 kicks 10x each, for time
3.     Ng Lun Ma (original long form)
4.     Ng Lun Choi (original long form)
Cool Down
1.     Stance training 1 min each
2.     Stretch routine
 
Afternoon Training
Warm up
1.     Joint rotation
2.     Jumping jacks
Technique Training
1.     10 elements 10x each with weight
2.     5 kicks 10x each high variations
Wall Bag/ Jong work
1.     Horse stance punch/ Chuen kiu  10x each
2.     Arrow stance punch/ chuen chop 10x each
3.     High low punch/ CLF chut sing 10 x each
4.     Yerng/yum chop combo(on heavy bag)/ Gwa Sau combo (arrow to arrow) 10x each
5.     Bein choi/ pak choi 10x each
Asterisk Footwork Training
1.     Replacement step 10x each direction
2.     Sliding step 10x each direction
Forms Training
Each empty hand form is paired with a weapon from(except #1 which is 3 empty hand forms) and done with no rest. There is a 30 second rest between pairs
1.     Ng Lun Ma- Ng Lun Choi- Siu Ching Kuen
2.     Siu moi fah kuen- ng long bat gwa gwun
3.     Lohan kuen- moi fah dan dao
4.     Siu kau da kuen- moi fah cheung
5.     Lin wan kuen- serng sap jai
6.     Dai kau da kuen- wu dip serng do
7.     Che sin kuen- hung jia pang
8.     Fut jerng- dai dao
9.     Gum pau ping jang kuen- moi fah serng dao
When a performance is coming up I focus this portion of training on 1 form and break it into sections. I train each section 10x then practice the entire form 3x. This is done 2 weeks prior to the performance
Strength training
Monday/Wednesday
Forearm routine
1.     Upside down sit ups- 3 sets of 10
2.     Wrist curl- 3 sets of 10
3.     Reverse wrist curl- 3 sets of 10
4.     Reverse curl- 3 sets of 10
5.     Leverage bar- 3 sets of 10
6.     Leverage bar twist- 3 sets of 10
7.     Wrist roller- 3 windings
 
Tuesday/Thursday
General Developments Routine
1.     Upside down sit up- 3 sets of 10
2.     Clean and press- 2 sets of 10
3.     Curl- 2 sets of 10
4.     Overhead press- 2 sets of 10
5.     Upright row- 2 sets of 10
6.     Squat- 2 sets of 15
7.     Pull up- 2 sets of 10
8.     Bench press- 2 sets of 10
9.     Hanging row- 2 sets of 10
 Though this program seems like a lot of volume the morning session takes roughly an hour and the afternoon session roughly takes 1 hr 45min to 2hrs. In addition to this program which I follow Monday through Thursday Teach my students a minimum of 2 hrs per day during which I drill and spar with them. Friday is my day of rest, Saturdays I train at NFMA and Sunday I train students for 3 hours.

The Sifu can only lead you to the door, you must enter it yourself

As a martial artist it is important that you assess your goals and take the proper steps to achieve them. With proper planning your can take advantage of whatever time you have available to you and make the most out of it.



 
 
 

 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Signature fist of Choy Lay Fut

Some of the techniques of the Choy Lay Fut system are based in these five animal concepts that were passed down from the southern Shaolin temple. Among the five animal techniques, the Choy Lay Fut practitioner is known for one animal technique in particular, the Chop Choi or panther fist. Unlike the tiger which relies on its strength, the panther relies on its speed and accuracy. Utilizing the Chop Choi first requires a firm understanding of the structure, fighting concepts and training methods that all serve to make this technique one of the most devastating strikes in the Choy Lay Fut arsenal
 
Panther Fist
 
The panther is a fast agile animal; in the martial arts the panther represents speed. The Chop Choi is a quick darting punch, similar to the jab from western boxing. The Chop Choi is aimed at specific points such as the ribs, solar plexus, throat and temple. The Choy Lay Fut practitioner makes up for the Chop Choi’s lack of blunt force by quickly and ferociously attacking these weak points on the human anatomy.

The Chop Choi is made by curling the fingers at the second knuckle and placing the thumb against the index finger for support. Correct placement of the thumb is crucial to the formation of the Chop Choi. Correctly done the thumb serves to unify the rest of the digits on the hand into one striking surface. Incorrect formation of the Chop Choi will reduce the amount of force the fore knuckles can support and will not only weaken the strike but can also result in broken fingers. Awkward and unnatural at first, once properly learned the Chop Choi has an advantage over the conventional fist. Using the fore knuckles as the striking surface the Choy lay Fut practitioner reduces the area of impact and concentrates the force of this piercing strike into a smaller target area. In essence, using the fist is used like a spear as opposed to a battering ram. By using the fore knuckles the Choy Lay Fut practitioner will also gain a few inches of extra reach which may seem insignificant, but can make an enormous difference in real life and death combat.


Here I am demonstraiting the a Chop Choi at the front gate of the Original Shaolin Temple in Henan, China



There are many variations of the technique but the most commonly used are Yerng (yang) chop and Yum (yin) chop. The Yerng chop travels at an upward diagonal direction from the waist into the opponent’s torso. Yum chop travels downward from the ear using a twisting motion to further drill the fist into the target. These techniques are usually used in combination to attack the same target area or “gate“. The Gate theory is the division of the body into sections for offense or defense. In Choy lay Fut the body is divided into 12 gates consisting of left/right gates, upper/middle/lower gates, and interior/exterior gates. Opening a gate refers to drawing the opponent’s attention to a certain gate and then attacking it’s opposite gate. Destroying a gate refers to continuously attacking (Lin Wan Kuen) a specific gate until the opponent can no longer defend it. Continuous attack (Lin Wan Kuen) with the Chop Choi is often employed to destroy a gate but can also be used to open it. The slight angle of each the yerng/yum Chop Choi combination can be used to precisely attack around the opponents guard opening the gate.
Students at NFMA practicing the Yerng Chop/Yum chop combination
 
 
Both of these techniques are commonly used from the Horse stance (Mabu) position. The horse stance is used by the Choy lay Fut practitioner in combat from a sideways position. From the front the horse stance has limited strength and exposes many vital targets. However using the side horse stance limits the amount of exposure to attack. Using the correct structure from the side horse stance directs the force of the entire body pushing from the ground directly into the strike while simultaneously transferring the rebounding force of the strike through the body directly into the ground. There is a simple test used by the Choy Lay Fut practitioner to test the structure of both the stance and Chop Choi. Assuming the horse stance position execute a yerng chop and allow a partner to push your fist. The key to this structure is maintaining a straight line from your fist to the rear shoulder, keeping the back straight and the stance sunken. When correctly done the Choy Lay Fut practitioner should only feel the force in the rear leg.
Conditioning the Hand
 
In order to properly use the Chop Choi at full power the Choy lay Fut practitioner needs to undergo special training. There are several training methods traditionally used to gradually reinforce, strengthen and condition the Chop Choi. Until the Chop Choi has been sufficiently conditioned the beginning student can substitute a regular fist while using the fighting concepts previously mentioned.

The first step to attaining a properly conditioned Chop Choi is to reinforce the fist by training the stabilizing muscles in the wrist and hand. Since the striking surface is smaller when using the fore knuckles extra attention should be paid to the stabilizing muscles. This is done by performing pushups while maintaining the Chop Choi fist formation. Most beginners begin this exercise on a thin pad since the hard floor can be painful. In addition if the beginner cannot perform pushups in this position they can also hold the position at varying heights to begin strengthening the fist before performing full pushups.

There are several different methods of training the striking surface of the chop Choi. The two most common are the wall bag and the “iron palm” bag. These bags are can be filled with a variety of substances. In the early stages of training the bags can be filled with rice or dried beans. In the later stages they can be filled with sand, gravel or even steel shot. The iron palm bag is used by sitting in a horse stance and continuously striking the bag with increasing force. This can be done for either a certain number of repetitions or for a predetermined length of time. The wall bag is used by first standing in a natural position and lightly striking the bag. After a sufficient amount of strength has been built, the bag can be struck at full force with the yerng/yum chop combination. Similar to the
iron palm bag the wall bag can be struck for a certain number of repetitions or a predetermined amount of time.

In addition to these strengthening methods, other methods of finger and hand strengthening should be used. Examples include fingertip pushups, grip training, weight training including finger lifts, wrist curls and the wrist roller.
Example of "iron palm" training in Choy Lay Fut

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Martial Arts Forms Application- Static to Free


I was looking at some online martial arts boards earlier and a conversation about forms application caught my eye. For those of you that don’t know what a martial arts form is, a form is a prearranged set of techniques practiced against an imaginary opponent. Below is a basic form practiced in Choy Lay Fut.

 The originally poster had a complaint that he was training in china and never taught the applications to the forms. His response was to characterize all the martial arts training in china as lacking combat effectiveness and to be oriented towards performance. I’ve heard this comment many times and after having trained and witnessed training in china I can see his reasoning. What really was interesting to me though was the counter argument that was presented by others posting on the topic. The most interesting was “I learned this form from Sifu x in china and he showed me the applications to it”. The reason I find this interesting is because it seems that in general people believe if they are shown a specific application to a movement in the form that that form has now become functional for combat. I have seen this reasoning over and over again. The truth is that if I take a martial arts form that I teach and pull out an application show it to a student once or even several times they will never be able to apply it in a fighting situation. While you do need to be taught what the techniques are for, if you wish to apply a technique in a fighting situation, that technique needs to be trained in a progressive manner.

 

Training Progression

The following is the training progression we follow at the Hung Sing Martial Arts Association. I have personally found this progression to be the simplest, most efficient way to take a technique from a form to applying it in a free sparring or fighting situation.

1.       Static Drills.

The first step in this progression in to choose a technique or combination of techniques that you wish to use. These can either be extracted from a form or they can be isolated singular techniques as well as combinations of your own design. You then take chosen techniques and practice them solo, on various training apparatus and with a cooperating partner. It is important that when training with a partner you receive feedback from your partner to determine whether or not you are performing the techniques correctly.

 

2.       Live Drills

The next in step is to take the same techniques into a form of live drilling. Live drilling is a type of training in which you trade the technique with a partner in a more spontaneous manner. For instance if you are training a jab, you will throw the jab at you partner he will defend. Next he will return the jab and you will defend. It is important to note that what makes this drill live is plenty of movement simulating a sparring environment and a focus on breaking the rhythm of the exercise. During this phase of training you can get a feel for the abstract aspects of using the technique such as distancing in relation to the opponent, timing, set up, recovery after execution etc.

 

3.       Limited sparring

Limited sparring is when you isolated a single technique of a set of techniques and apply them freely. The value of this exercise is that it allows you to try new techniques in sparring without being overwhelmed by the variety of techniques used in free sparring. An example of limited sparring(only training chop choi, cross and lam choi) can be found below.

 
 
 

4.       Free Sparring

Eventually as techniques are worked out in the previous 3 steps they can be then added into free sparring. in this video you can see my kungfu brother "Gil" (with the shirt on) applying the same techniques(chop,cross, lam) he trained in the limited sparring session above in a free sparring session with a practitioner of another martial arts system.
 
 

 
 

Training against a resisting opponent

“I train my techniques against a resisting opponent”, is a common phrase on martial arts message boards. Often the people who say this are making the argument that any form of static drilling is not of value because it does not realistically simulate a real fight. They advocate nothing less than free sparring prepares you for combat. While static drilling alone is not enough in order to sufficiently train a person to use a technique in combat it is a very important step. The techniques and concepts found in the Choy Lay Fut system are based on sound scientific principles. That said, many of them go against a person’s natural instincts. A good example is in the use of the Chuen Kiu. When a punch is thrown at the average person their first instinct is to turn or back away.  In order to make the Chuen Kiu effective you step into the punch which is contrary to the natural instincts of a trained person. Without the static drilling of this technique as well as the increase in pressure found at each step of training this technique, or many others, can never be acquired.

 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Traditional Yet Progressive

Traditional Yet Progressive Choy Lay Fut's Hon Jerng Lin Wan Kuen
By Chris Childs
 

In the USA the idea of cross training was introduced by Bruce lee in the late 1960’s. Cross training gained prominence in the 1990’s with the MMA craze caused by cross trained athletes fighting in events like the UFC and Pride. It may surprise many to find out that this idea is not new. The founder of the Choy Lay Fut system was equally open minded as modern athletes in his approach. Chan heung lived from 1801-1881 before the practice of Chinese martial arts gained popularity in the United States. Chan Heung cross trained in two forms of southern Chinese martial art and one form of northern Chinese martial art. These different methods were later blended together to create the Choy Lay Fut style. The creation history of Choy Lay Fut in a way mirrors what mixed martial artists do today. Having trained in both southern and northern methods, Chan Heung was able to take what he believed was the best concepts and techniques to compensate for any apparent weakness that was found in any of the single methods.

This progressive approach was continued by later generations of Choy Lay Fut practitioners. Many of Choy Lay Fut’s past and present practitioners have had experience in multiple styles of martial arts. Fong Yuk Shu for instance was a famous Choy Lay Fut stylist who studied not only under the founder’s son, Chan Koon Pak, but also studied the Lama system under monk jing Han of nam Fook temple. The effect of his cross training can be felt by subsequent generations of his lineage whose Choy lay Fut practice still benefits from the additional insight gained through supplemental lama training. Another of these innovative Choy lay Fut practitioners was a student of Fong Yuk Shu and lived in the early 20th century. His name was To Hon Jerng.

To Hon Jerng’s fighting traditions
Sifu To Hon Jerng was a veteran of real life combat. Born in 1907, to Hon Jerng began his study of the Choy Lay Fut system at an early age under his teacher, Fong Yuk Shu. Through hard work and perseverance To Hon Jerng, at the age of 28, was promoted to head instructor stasis within one of his teacher’s martial arts schools. During the 1933 and 1934 Canton martial arts championships, to Hon Jerng competed in both staff and spear categories earning first and second place respectively. His accomplishments in the martial arts led to become the instructor of an elite militia known as the Da Dao Dui (big blade troops) while teaching at his school Tung Yi Kwoon in his native village of Go Yiu. During the second Sino-Japanese war (1937-1945), the Dai Dao Dui went on covert missions to fend off Japanese invaders. When To Hon Jerng relocated to Hong Kong in 1947 he opened the To Hon Jerng Martial Arts Athletic Academy. He continued to teach Choy Lay Fut using the concepts he gained through his life and death combat experiences. His experiences in close quarter combat prompted to Hon Jerng to create a form combining his most favored tactics for this type of encounter.

The form dubbed Hon Jerng Lin Wan kuen is a combination of Choy Lay Fut’s most effective concepts and techniques. This form combines elements found most notably in the kow Da (cross pattern) and Fut Cheung (Buddha palm) forms. Lin Wan Kuen is a concept used in many Chinese martial arts, and can be roughly translated to mean “continuous attack”. The fundamental idea of this aggressive concept is to overwhelm the opponent with a barrage of continuous but focused attacks. In contrast to sport fighting (I.e. boxing) in which participants often attempt to conserve energy in the early rounds, the concept of “continuous attack” encourages a quick finish. If you have ever been in a real street fight you would know that a real confrontation will rarely last more than a few minutes. Analogically speaking, sport fighting is a marathon, while street fighting is a sprint. This makes the concept of the aggressive continuous attack often necessary of you want to survive a real life confrontation. Having a wealth of experience and the entire Choy Lay Fut curriculum at his disposal when he created this form speaks well to the importance of the Lin Wan Kuen concept.

The concepts
Lin wan Kuen or “continuous attack” is actually more complex than it appears at first examination. Making the assumption that Lin Wan Kuen is simple has left many practitioners to overlook the deeper concepts of this form. If one probes deeper, one will realize that there is more to “continuous attack” than merely chasing after your opponent while throwing punches. Many of Choy Lay Fut’s core concepts 9such as the gate theory), invasive and evasive footwork, and the ten elements come into play in this form.

The gate theory is essential to many Chinese martial arts methods. Draw an imaginary line down the center of your body, and then draw two more lines horizontally, one at the collar bone and one at the waist. Each section inside of these imaginary lines is a “gate”. There are two main ways to get inside a gate. The first is to open it. One way to open a gate is to throw a strike or feint at a different gat (usually the opposing gate) in an attempt to draw the opponent’s attention to that area. When the attention of the opponent is focused on the feinted area you would then strike the desired target at the opposite side. Another way is to “destroy” the gate by non stop attacks to the same target from multiple angles.

Another important factor lies in proper footwork. In order to make Lin Wan Kuen successful you need to constantly advance on your opponent. Veterans of both street and ring fighting will know that once their opponent’s Balance is neutralized they become basically vulnerable. Disrupting you opponent’s base not only reduces his ability to defend himself but will also reduce his striking capacity. Driving forward with “invasive” footwork will not only disrupt your opponent’s balance, but will also increase the power you can generate for your own attacks. Proper evasive footwork requires you to move out of your opponent’s line of attack while putting yourself in position to strike your opponent, giving you the opportunity to drive forward.

The Choy lay Fut system utilizes what is dubbed the “ten elements” to form the basis for its devastating striking techniques. Each element has unique characteristics and methods of use. It is these ten elements that make up the basis of Choy Lay Fut’s techniques. Variations of these elements can be found in every empty hand form and every one of these ten elements can be found in hon Jerng Lin Wan Kuen. Knowing them and their variations is a must for the Lin Wan Kuen form. The Ten elements are as follows.

Kum- Slapping or pressing palm deflection
Na (chuen na)- Shooting arm bridge
Gwa- back fist
Sau- roundhouse punch
Chop- yin/yang fore knuckle strike
Pow- upward power shot
Kup- fist slap
Biu- outward, inside forearm strike
Ding- elbow or “joint” strike
Jong- small upward power shot

Choy lay Fut is well known for its powerful swinging punches like Pow, Gwa, and its signature technique, the Sau. Since Choy Lay Fut is best known for these techniques most people who are familiar with this system would expect to see them in Hon Jerng Lin Wan Kuen. While these techniques are present but the most prominent element of this for is the chop. The “chop choi” (panther fist) exists as several variations. The two most often used variations are the yerng (yang) chop and the yum (yin) chop. The yerng chop begins at the hip and travels slightly upward into the opponent’s torso. The yum chop is also aimed at the body but it travels downward from the ear in a twisting motion drilling into the opponent. It is a combination of yerng chop and yum chop that constitutes the continuous attacks of the Hon Jerng Lin wan Kuen form. Rapid fire use of these techniques are used to ‘destroy” or “clear open” a gate to devastate an opponent.

Perhaps the most important aspect of successfully utilizing the Lin Wan Kuen concept exists mentally. In order to successfully use the continuous attacks prescribed in Lin wan concepts of any style, you must be relentless and ruthless. In contrast to methods like judo or Aikido where your objective is to subdue your opponent without harm, the Lin Wan Kuen method calls for maximum aggression. This concept was well understood by to Hon Jerng during his war time activities where mercy to his opponent might have cost him his life. Though modern society differs for that To Hon Jerng had once lived, a modern day violent encounter could nonetheless cost you your life if you are not prepared to do what is necessary to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Though infused with important concepts and techniques, the Hon Jerng Lin Wan Kuen was designed purely for practical purposes and is devoid of overly complicated movements and sequences. When the adrenaline kicks in during a violent confrontation only the most pragmatic and well practiced movements will still be at your command. Hon Jerng Lin Wan Kuen manifests all of Choy Lay Fut’s most important concepts into the most pragmatic sequences of techniques.

Traditional and Progressive

There has been a lot of criticism against Chinese martial arts being ‘outdated”. The idea that Chinese martial arts are becoming outdated would imply that they are fixed and unable to adapt to the current needs of modern society. This could not be further from the truth. Hon Jerng Lin Wan Kuen is a prime example of this. Though Hon Jerng Lin wan Kuen is a form with set techniques, its concepts and principles can be applied to multiple situations and even to other systems and methods. This makes Hon Jerng Lin Wan Kuen relevant to the lives of many of today’s martial arts practitioners.

It seems the negative criticism expressed by some martial arts practitioners towards the traditional martial artists may come from a lack of understanding or depth of practice. Movements seen in forms are only one physical manifestation of an underlying concept. They are all ideas expressed through movement. If today’s modern cross trainers are truly progressive in their approach they would not be dismissive of traditional practices without fully investigating them. Past Chinese martial arts practitioners like Chan Heung, Fong Yuk Shu and To Hon Jerng knew how to be progressive without abandoning the valuable wealth of knowledge left by their martial arts ancestors. I hope we can all learn by their examples. In doing so, maybe more of today’s martial artists will learn to become traditional yet progressive.


About the Author
Chris Childs is a 6th generation practitioner and instructor of Choy Lay Fut Gung Fu under the supervision of his teacher Sifu Sam Ng (www.ngfamilymartialarts.com). Chris Childs currently teaches in Bourbonnais IL, and can be contacted through his website: www.HungSingChoyLayFut.com
This article originally appeared in the2007 March/April issue of Kungfu Tai Chi Magazine
C) 2007 Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine, reprinted by permission"
 
If you'd like the full version of the article including pictures click on the magazine image above.


Choy Lay Fut as a conceptual method


Choy Lay Fut is often thought to be a vast and complex system of martial arts by both the casual observer and even many students of the system. This line of thinking can be attributed to a large quantity of empty hand and weapons forms practiced by the various schools teaching the system. The number of forms practiced by an individual Choy Lay Fut practitioner can range from only a few to well over forty. If you take into account all the variations and unique forms created by and taught by the different lineages of the system the number of empty hand and weapons forms can easily number in the hundreds. If you include the different apparatus training sets and partner drills, the sheer volume of the system can become such that even a diligent practitioner can seem overwhelmed. The key to making effective use of this vast library of material is through an understanding of the systems core concepts.

                Approaching the system as a conceptual method will allow the Choy Lay Fut practitioner to cut through the vast quantity of material and understand how to effectively apply the system in combat. The conceptual method of training a martial art can be compared to learning a new language. Learning only forms and techniques with no understanding of the concepts behind them is similar to attempting to communicate in a foreign language using a phrase book. You may be able to ask specific questions like “where is the bathroom” but you will not be able to express your own ideas and converse fluently. The conceptual method of learning a martial art is similar to learning a foreign language in its entirety. You begin with the core concepts which can be compared to an alphabet then you move on to combining concepts together which is like forming words. Finally you can put together combinations and apply these concepts where they are needed and, in essence, converse freely with your opponent.
 
Core concepts in the Choy Lay Fut system include the 10 elements, the 5 kicks, asterisk footwork and gate theory. These theories form the basis of the system.
 

10 Elements of Choy Lay Fut

 
 

5 Kicks of Choy Lay Fut