by An Jian Qiu,

If you ask any Muay Thai coach… no!

If you ask any Boxing coach… no!

But if you ask some kung fu teachers… the answer is yes?

There are many kung fu schools nowadays who practice applications in a slow, controlled way. This is a great strategy for beginners, who are still learning the movements, but it simply won’t turn you into a real fighter who can compete or defend themselves:

The difference between applying a technique slowly to a willing partner and using a technique in a stressful, high-speed situation is like night and day.

At An Wushu, we believe sparring is of critical importance. A student following our standard schedule performs Sanda (Chinese kickboxing, a mixture of punching, kicking, wrestling and takedowns) 5 days a week: 3 long sessions to build skills and 2 shorter ones to refine them. Most sessions include some sparring and reaction drills.

There are 3 primary reasons for this:

  • There has never been a Grandmaster or Master in the An Family who did not perform true sparring – full speed, full power, trying to overcome an opponent who’s trying to do the same to you
  • There is a difference between moving fast, which you can develop by (for example) hitting a bag, and reacting fast: your ability to see the micro-movements in your opponent’s body and attack them before they can attack you!
  • Imagine you are a champion boxer and are put in a fight with a wrestling champion: very likely, you will hit them often, but they will throw you often, because while you both are very skilled, you may not be used to defending that style of attack. In our current age, most opponents you face will be a boxer, MMA fighter or street fighter. If you haven’t trained these attacks yourself, you won’t see them coming.

At the end of the day, it’s scientific fact that the body develops specifically:

  • If you lift light weights, you won’t be able to lift heavy weights.
  • If you run slowly, you won’t get better at training fast.
  • If you don’t stretch, you won’t become more flexible.

And if you don’t spar… you won’t become a real fighter.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 22.44.23

An Jian Qiu, is the headmaster of An Wushu International Martial Arts School in Dezhou, Shandong Province, China.

For further information on studying at An Wushu or other traditional martial arts schools in China visit www.StudyMartialArts.Org 

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