Historically Shaolin Kung Fu is synonymous with Self Defence. For centuries Shaolin Monks have been developing and refining hand to hand combat to protect themselves against outlaws and bandits.
Violence is not something the Monks seek, nor do they wish to harm any living creature human or otherwise. But if their lives are threatened, and there is no peaceful option then force will be used to restore harmony.
Self-preservation is natural and a right we are all entitled to, but we still have to be careful as we have to consider the laws of our country, as excessive use of force may land us in trouble.
Hand to hand combat is either designed to injure, kill or to restrain. As a result we have two distinct approaches to Self Defence. Both have their place and it is a personal choice to which type of school we choose.
The fact is, if we are unlucky enough to suffer an unprovoked attack it’s not always possible to know whether it will be life threatening or not. Even if someone is pointing a hand gun or knife at you, it doesn’t necessarily mean they intend to kill you with it.
So in some instances we just won’t know the intent at the moment of the attack. The attacker may be a harmless drunk or a real psychopath wanting to kill you. As all attacks are not a matter of life or death, training in lethal techniques is not in my opinion necessary unless we are serving in the armed forces.
If and when we need to use what we have trained, it is important to realise that an hour a week is not going to be enough to embed a reflex memory into our bodies. If we are to react instinctively, we must be able to set into motion our training using full power and intent without constraint or moral hesitation. So there is no point in choosing a school that trains in lethal techniques if you know that you have reservations in executing what you have learnt.
Whether through fear or by nature, many of us have strong natural psychological barriers against hurting a fellow human being, even when attacked. Kicking an attacker in the groin is one thing, but breaking someone’s neck is another.
If we are to improve the chances of making our Self defence training work in real life situations, then we must address our training seriously. For a start we must be happy with the contents of the curriculum, and then commit ourselves to train to the point, where reactions become natural and instinctive. Without reaching the level where we have instilled muscle memory, it’s highly unlikely we will be able react the way we have trained.
This maybe a simple technique such as throwing your hands out into an attacker’s face but for it to be instinctive, one needs to train it repetitively. But above all, our techniques need to be simple and easy to execute. Having a whole arsenal of techniques is more likely to confuse you rather than help you.
Effective self-defence training should be based around a few basic techniques, which are natural, solid and practical. The other and equally important part of the training is the focus on spatial awareness and tactical implementation. Just like any physical technique, awareness can also be trained, and no system can be effective without it.
To reduce the chance of us freezing or panicking, Kung fu is effective as it offers a way of life in its approach to training. The more your training becomes a part of you, the higher the likelihood your reactions will surface naturally even in the most highly charged and stressful encounter.
At the Shaolin Ancestors School we offer an effective approach to Self-Defence, a practical way to enjoy light exercise, leading to a way of life that can only enrich body and mind. Shaolin Ancestors is an Internal Kung Fu system and the movements and karma we instill will not only prepare you for physical confrontation, but also improve your physical health and well-being. For that reason the Ancestors system is a practice that stays with you and in turn becomes a harmonious way of life.