Wide View Philosophy
Know what you know • Learn what you don't • Pursue mastery
KUDAYO Kung Fu embodies the meaning of "kung fu" — achievement through great effort.
This is not limited to martial practice alone, but encompasses all disciplined pursuits of a skill, from writing poetry to digging ditches. Working toward mastery of any skill is kung fu — this we do.
Everything you know contributes to everything else you know. There is more to martial arts than blocks and strikes. There is clear perception of your environment, of your opponent, and of yourself. There are skills not linked to defense that aid your ability to defend. There are more than just opponents to resist, but resistance to oppose.
We have no rankings, belts or other tokens that inflate the ego and distract you from attaining your real goal — mastering yourself. You know what you know, and only you need to know this.
A Living Art & Discipline
Guided by principle, not tradition • Mentored collaboration, not adherence
KUDAYO Kung Fu has its foundation as any other martial art. But unlike most martial arts that strictly adhere to tradition and lineage, our practice is not set in stone. It is challengeable, creative, adaptable... living and evolving to meet the current state of our environment and what each student faces.
There is no "master", but rather a mentor; someone who guides the class but also trains along side you. Even a fellow kung fu brother or sister may become your teacher, or you their's, depending on what we each know and the goal of the training that day. No valuable, trainable knowledge will be wasted.
As long as the core principle of the training is maintained, how we work and shape it is up to us. Only in this way will you truly take ownership of your martial art training and truly understand it.
The Great Tree
Many Roots • One Trunk • Many Branches
KUDAYO Kung Fu's foundation is made of many reaching roots; informed by many disciplines and arts spanning cultures and times, both physical and intellectual.
All physical exercises are designed to build strength, flexibiltiy, agility, coordination, precision, endurance, pain tollerance, bone tempering, speed, responsiveness, and adaptability, all with a controlled, focused mind. These exercises derive from many martial art styles, yoga, ballet, parkour, gymnastics, and others.
Besides physical training, there will be training of the mind outside of the physical context. This training includes most everything else that helps hone mental agility of the student in most any area of life. From the most cerebral, like philosophy, poetry, calligraphy, language, history, debate; to more pragmatic ancient living skills, like gardening, cooking, knitting, pottery, wood working.
The Foundation of Seven
Seven Elements • Seven Forms • Seven Weapons
KUDAYO Kung Fu's curriculum is informed and guided by the metaphor of seven elements: Earth, Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, Spirit, and Void.
There are seven open-hand forms and seven weapon forms, one for each element, all of which incorporates the yin-yang principle throughout. Every form tells a story about the nature of each element translated into practical martial techniques.
Having a story to tell in your practice helps in memorizing sequences and controlling intention for the most effective use of your energy, as well as provide a new vocabulary for communicating details of the skill.
Outside of these forms and other related martial and yoga excercises, the curriculum is entirely open to any edifying and disciplined training.
The Seven Open-hand Forms
You alone, against yourself
There are seven open-hand forms, one for each element. Each element's story is expressed in the techniques, sequence, and intention of the form.
The Spirit Form is the first to be learned by all students. It is physically active, but internally purposed. It teaches the different methods of breathing that support different intentions of attack and defense. It is more about Qigong, Yoga, and basic stances necessary to build the foundation for the rest of your training.
After mastering the Spirit Form, you can learn any of the other five natural element forms in any order and to any degree of proficiency you wish. These forms — Earth, Metal, Water, Wood, and Fire — can be personalized to a degree as long as the intent and basics remain in tact.
The last form to be learned is the Void Form. It is the master's form because it is the most difficult to faithfully accomplish. It is with this form that you train all that you have learned and practiced in a prescribed sequence of techniques and intentions from all open-hand and weapon forms entirely in your mind. No movement. No strength. No breath work. Only calm, centered, controlled imagination of the form. A fighting meditation.
The Seven Weapons & Forms
You and a friend against the enemy
There are seven weapons in the KUDAYO Kung Fu: Jian Sword, Monkey Staff, Monkey Fist, Spear, Knife, Sticks, and Found. Each weapon has a form, and similar to open-hand forms, tells a story of one or more elements to guide intention and help in memorization.
This list of weapons may be modified or added to, depending on what is available or desired to study. But for the purposes of "form" practice, there are the listed seven.
The most versatile of the list is the Found weapon, which can be literally anything you may stumble upon that is itself not a weapon, like garbage can lid, twig, belt, rock, literally anything. This form is not set in that the student is given a random object, and is called upon to author their own short form using that object. This is the most advanced form and requires a solid understanding of all other weapons, and martial techniques.