Hu Long Temple
Frequently Asked Questions
Even if you have trained in Martial Arts before, or you are a complete novice, it is always important to understand that every Club, Association or School may be different. From etiquette, culture, tradition, movements and uniform, all aspects can differ from School to School, even if the training style may be similar. Please take your time to read through the most frequently asked questions we’ve collated from our experience over the past thirty years, as some of your own questions may be answered here. We also encourage you to come to watch a class if you are unsure or feel you are not ready to try it out. There, you will be able to speak with one of the Masters, Instructors, or a fellow Student. Alternatively, please feel free to contact us, and we will be more than happy to speak with you.
No, although we are a Buddhist-run school (ran by Buddhist lay-monks and lay-nuns), we do not expect everybody that attends to be Buddhist, nor do we plan on preaching or converting anyone! If you wish to learn more about Chan Buddhism, we are always happy to speak with you about it.
You can be any age, there really is no limit. We mix our ages together in all our main classes as it is important that everybody trains together and learns from each other. We do host some child-only, adult-only or senior-only workshops in specific areas of Martial Arts, however, we mostly encourage all ages train together. Our youngest student to date has been 4 years old, with our eldest regular student being 70 years old, so there’s no excuse!
Absolutely not. The majority of our classes are made up of people who have never trained before, to people who have trained in all sorts of other Martial Arts, a little or a lot. Everybody trains together doing the same drills and exercises. We believe in mixing different abilities together so that you can all learn from example. You will be guided by your Shifu as well as Assistant Instructors to support your training throughout your time with us.
Learning from previous experience and other disciplines will always benefit you. You may find you naturally begin to compare the differences to your previous style(s) and etiquette, however, this can be more damaging than good depending on your expectations. All we ask is for you to enter with an open mind and with a clean slate. We train in the traditional way based on traditional Shaolin culture. You may have to relearn different styles of punching, kicking, stances and forms which can have an affect on your muscle memory, especially if you have been training in a particular style for a very long time. With patience and practice, you will get there!
Every new member is requested to fill out a medical form where you can state any current or previous injuries/illnesses and medication you may be taking. You must also speak to Shifu Matt or Kim-Leng about this, just in case of an emergency, or if we need to tailor your training to suit your needs. We believe all training sessions should be open to everyone regardless of their ability, age or background. Generally, we ask you to listen to your body during your training — the closer in tune with your body you are, the more you will be able to understand what it needs. We hold Taiji and Qi Gong classes that are massively beneficial for your health. These are soft, flowing, peaceful movements that focus on specific breathing techniques to help regulate the body’s ‘Chi’, stimulating your body’s immune system, strengthening your internal organs, and improving your mental and physical wellbeing and awareness. We encourage all our students to attend Taiji and Qi Gong class not only for their health, but to help with their Kung Fu training. You cannot have hard, without soft — after practising in Taiji and Qi Gong, you will gain a better understanding of your Kung Fu, increase your stamina, suppleness, muscle strength and focus. Qi Gong classes take place every Friday, Taiji classes take place outdoors once a month as a 3 hour class that also incorporates Qi Gong, Silk-Reeling and Meditation practice.
Please bring some comfortable stretchy jogging bottoms or leggings (preferably black), a t-shirt or vest top, and supportive sports trainers. After you’ve had your first four initial lessons and if you wish to continue your training with us, you will be required to become a member and have a uniform. This will include a Hu Long Temple t-shirt, black Kung-Fu trousers, and a pair of Kung-Fu shoes. If you are training in Sanda as well, you will be required to wear protective gear. This includes a gum-shield and gloves for light / no contact. Semi or Full-contact requires a gum-sheild, gloves, head-guard, body-guard, groin-guard and optional shin-pads (All of this is mandatory for children). We do not sell protective equipment, however, you can purchase them from Blitz
online and we can recommend what is best to order.
Every Wednesday and Sunday we train in Sanda which is otherwise known as ‘Sanshou’. Sanda is a full-contact combat sport and self-defence system and is now a trial Olympic sport. Sanda was originally developed by monks as a safer way to practise free-fighting. It encompasses kickboxing with floor-techniques, sweeps, grappling, and throws, initially practised bare-hand but since becoming a recognised sport, uses gloves and body protection. Sanda is not seen as a style in itself, it is taught alongside the traditional Kung Fu practise. You will be expected to attend our Sanda classes in order for you to experience all aspects of Shaolin Kung Fu, but you will not
be expected to fight full-contact if you have had no previous experience of full-contact fights before, or for any other specific reason we would have discussed with you. In order for you to feel comfortable and get used to sparring, you will be introduced to semi-contact fighting and the pressure on you will vary whilst you learn and your confidence and martial skills adapt and grow. Some people may find the idea of Sanda rather scary or intimidating, but it is one of the greatest ways of getting to know yourself and learning self-defence in a very controlled and safe way. We do not tolerate big egos or any form of bullying, and that includes inside the ring. Our Sanda students range from all ages, abilities and both men and women from a multitude of backgrounds train on a weekly basis. Although Sanda can feel confrontational, it can help develop all areas of your Kung Fu as well as both your physical and mental health when taught and practised under the correct guidance. We compete both nationally and internationally in Sanshou competitions for those who wish to learn to compete, however this is mostly taught on a one-to-one basis due to the high intensity of training.
Weapons are taught to students who have been training with us for a sufficient amount of time and show sound understanding of basics, forms and application. The weapon is seen as an extension to your body, hence it requires the same understanding of footwork, precision, coordination and timing as the basics. Weapons are taught as forms, and then introduced with partners and then applications to enhance your coordination, strategy and body conditioning. Our Wednesday classes are dedicated to weapons training and Beginners classes, so you will see prime examples of these forms by other students during your session.
You can be at any level of fitness to train with us, we advise that you go at your own pace and be mindful and aware of what you’re physically capable of. For example, if you haven’t done any exercise for a while, then you’re stamina may be low which will cause you to be puffed out a lot quicker. In the same way if you feel light headed when you’re training or you need water, then stop immediately and take your time. It’s very easy to push yourself too hard too quickly when you’re trying to keep up with everyone else, however, we do expect you to try your best and if you feel the burn (in a healthy way) then allow that to help you develop your body and your mind. Our more intense classes are Traditional Kung Fu, Sanda and Weapons training due to the drills, power training and forms we practise (which are almost like a sprint work-out on the body). Our ‘softer’ classes are in Taji Chuan and Qi Gong — these should be practised by all levels of fitness as they are more internally focussed. Although these movements are gentle and flowing, they can be practised in a ‘deeper’ and more ‘intense’ way which can cause you to sweat even without running around. They were designed to improve your health, settle the mind, increase circulation and rejuvenate your Chi (‘life force’) which is why these movements are used in hospitals all over China and often practised by the elderly to keep them healthy and strong. Overall, with practise, your fitness levels will increase, your stamina will get better, as will your focus and flexibility. If you keep at it, your body will get stronger and fitter which will ultimately result in a healthier, happier you!