Updated: Feb 2
I remember when I first started my longfist training in Huaquan (Glorious Boxing) kung fu under my Sifu, Chen Hei Fuk - student of the last Huaquan grandmaster Cai Quiging. I fell in love with this style instantly, even though the training was extremely hard and difficult.
Sifu always insisted on correct and precise postures when practicing. He demanded us to train our forms intensely and discouraged the practice of free style sparring. He referred to “free style sparring” as “messing around.” He would constantly yell “stop messing around and practice!” I remember thinking, but isn’t kung fu for fighting? Why does he not like us to work on our fighting? When my teacher closed his school and moved back to China, I moved on to study other styles, but always kept my love and personal practice of Huaquan. I realized that my longfist training made it a lot easier to learn and absorb the other styles I was learning. When my classmates asked why it came easy for me I simply answered “I am not sure, it must be because of my longfist training background.” Much later, with many years of hard training and a variety of kung fu styles under my belt, I started to realize the true essence and power of this longfist style, Huaquan. As I compared it to the other styles I learned, I started to realize that its techniques are very high level, and the strict demands of “not messing around” that Sifu made on us in our training suddenly made a lot of sense. He didn't mean to "stop messing around" towards fighting only but towards anything that would distract us from training. He wanted us to be focused and disciplined when it came to training and to not allow distractions of any kind to interfere. It is easy to allow life to interfere with training but students need to have focus and discipline when it comes to their training. Without this, it would be virtually impossible to attain the full potential you are capable of achieving in longfist kung fu. I realized that my Sifu viewed “free style sparring” as another form of practice that may get mixed into our longfist training forming bad habits. It wasn't that he was against it, he just viewed it as a lower level training that anyone can do. He had pride for his style of longfist, after all it has been in his family for generations, and he wanted us to live up to the demands it required like to help elevate ourselves to a higher level of thinking and being. I realize today what my Sifu was trying to teach me forty years ago, that the true study of any kung fu style should be to one day truly understand it as much as to understand yourself. This is the road to true mastery! This is what we should all crave, the mastery of our art, ourselves and our life! Now I can see clearly that these are the true treasures hidden within Huaquan kung fu that Sifu insisted diligently that we get as his students. The hidden treasures that we, as students, must strive hard on to extract, to enhance ourselves, our art, and most importantly our life.