It is known that kung fu training, especially Shaolin training, is a great form of exercise, but why is that? What makes kung fu training such a great source of exercise? The answer lies in the purpose of kung fu training. Yes, it is a form of self defense but it's main purpose is to make the body strong and develop true kung fu power that is needed to make the self defense techniques actually work. One of the main principles of Shaolin kung fu is:
"If you practice forms without fundamentals, you will have nothing in your old age." Good training must start from the very beginning with the focus on the fundamentals of stances, stretching and kicking. Students must strive to perfect their stances, flexibility and kicking abilities. This takes constant practice to achieve. It is extremely important because as the body gets older the waist and legs become stiff creating pain to the lower back, hips and knees. The greater your flexibility and range of stances and kicking, the less pain there will be in your older years. Fundamental training also works on building a strong body. Exercises like snake turnovers and punch & push, enhances the upper body strength dramatically. Kicking line drills and individual form drills build tremendous endurance, cardiovascular and full body strength.
Strong bodies feel better, get sick less, recuperate faster and don't get injured easily. These are the jewels that fundamental training in kung fu will give you that will be appreciated as you get older. Kung Fu training can be considered food for the soul since it makes you feel good internally and externally. It feeds your body and your mind, making you calmer and more passionate about your everyday life.