Chinese martial arts have been placed under the umbrella term kung-fu. Therefore, there isn't just one kung fu; there are many different disciplines. You might have seen high-flying kung-fu moves in movies or heard about the self-defense benefits from learning the techniques and strategies in kung fu. If you want to learn but can't find an instructor near you, there are resources readily available to help you.
Depending on how self-motivated you are, learning at home can be quick and painless. If you can find a partner to practice with, you can get close to a classroom experience. The only thing you'll be missing is proper feedback from an instructor.
If you don't have a partner to practice with, things can be a little more tricky. Martial arts are not meant to be isolated. They rely on the interaction you have with an opponent, so that you can actually feel what it's like to hit and get hit by someone. However, if you need to learn at home, you can find expert instruction through videos or books.
It might be difficult to seek out a high-caliber kung fu instructor, but you can garner their information through instructional DVDs. If you need help finding proper instructional videos for beginners, here are a few to get you started:
Shaolin Kung Fu—Fundamental Training
In two different beginner-level courses, you'll go over stretching, fundamental stances, hand drills, walking, hopping, jumping and kicking. This DVD covers the kung fu styles of White Crane and Long Fist.
Shaolin Longfist Kung Fu: Intermediate Sequences
If beginner videos are a little too slow for you, try out this slightly more advanced instructional DVD. You'll learn different forms of Shaolin kung fu that you can use in tournament-style competitions.
Wing Chun Kung Fu: Solid Basics Part 1
Wing Chun kung fu is one of the most well-known forms of kung-fu, partially due to the legendary actor Bruce Lee who trained in this style. You can learn the basics in this instructional DVD. Once you master this video there are more advanced options from the same instructor, Grandmaster Steve Lee Swift.
DVDs are a stepping stone to online kung fu courses. Where a DVD is limited to a few lessons, an online learning platform can have dozens of lessons available at any given time. That way, you don't have to wait before progressing to the next step in kung-fu mastery.
KungFu.Life is an example of one such learning platform. It has a variety of lessons on their site. Some are free to access, and others have a fee The lessons are taught by a 34th-generation Shaolin kung fu disciple.
Wing Chun Online is another platform that offers different memberships. Their online courses are broken down into beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.
Video technology is extremely helpful, but some people prefer old-fashioned books when trying to learn a new skill. Luckily, there are kung fu texts available complete with pictures and written descriptions of different moves.
Art of Shaolin Kung Fu
If learning the moves isn't enough of you, deep dive into the history and meaning behind the martial art with this book. You'll learn about the origins of kung fu and the meanings behind different moves. You'll also cover combat strategies and fighting techniques.
Wing Chun Kung Fu
Grandmaster Ip Chun is the author of this book on Wing Chun. His father, Grandmaster Ip Man, was a legendary teacher who taught Bruce Lee. In this book, the system of Wing Chun kung fu is broken down with over 100 pictures demonstrating different moves. They also include a thorough history lesson of Wing Chun kung fu in the book.
- YMAA Beta: Shaolin Kung Fu—Fundamental Training
- Wing Lam Enterprises: Shaolin Long Fist Kung Fu: Intermediate Sequences
- Amazon: Wing Chun Kung Fu: Solid Basics Part 1
- Kung Fu Life: About
- Amazon: Art of Shaolin Kung Fu: The Secrets of Kung Fu for Self-Defense, Health, and Enlightenment (Tuttle Martial Arts) Paperback – November 15, 2002
- Amazon: Wing Chun Kung Fu: Traditional Chinese Kung Fu for Self-Defense and Health Paperback – July 15, 1998