I’m going to tell you something that is easy, but which will open your mind, in this article. I am going to tell you how to make your martial art of Karate into Kung fu. And, of course, you should be able to make your martial art of Kung Fu into Karate. The fact of the matter is that the various styles of Karate developed from Kung fu. For hundreds of years Okinawa was the center of commerce for the far east, and every art, soldier, ambassador, or whatever, came through the doors, and the arts gathered, were dissected, and reorganized to the extreme. Still, there are only so many things you can do with the body, and the main differences that you are going to find are going to be stylistic. A block is a block, a punch is a punch, a kick is a kick, and a technique is a technique. Shotokan used to be Te, Uechi Ryu used to be Pan Gai Noon, and so on. That said, let’s look at a couple of the stylistic differences and what to do about them. First the stances one will find in Kung Fu are lower, have more flourishing, and are badly altered by the students desire for art. What I am saying is that somebody will sink into his back stance, put the ball of the foot forward, and tweak the hell out of the back stance just so they can feel, and put on the image of having more power. Nothing wrong with more power, but this is a show of power, and not the real thing, not the real chi power that is available to a student of the true art. The stances common to karate are usually a bit higher, and they put more emphasis on snapping the hips into the move being done. Nothing wrong with this, but in the case of the back stance, for instance, the back leg is usually turned out too far, splitting the intention, and immobilizing the stance. Now, if you want proof, take a gander at images of classical stances in kung fu and karate and see if I haven’t described what is happening accurately. Moving up to the arms, the kung fu people swing the arms in a more circular fashion, and they have smoother, more liquid motions. Karate students, on the other hand, explode the power outward in a more linear fashion, and turn the hips sharper. So the energy and motion involved in the two arts, vary from explosive lines to swinging arcs. So, if you want to change your karate into a kung fu type of style, simply align the turn of your stance with the turn of your hips and let the arms circle larger. If you want to change from kung fu into karate, snap the hips and make the circles tighter and more linear. Yes, I know this sounds too easy, but, try it for for a few weeks and you will be immensely surprised, you are going to tap into a world of different power, and that power, karate if you are kung fu, kung fu if you are karate, is amazing. Now, before the purists of the various arts get ahold of me, let me make a point. There is ballet and there is ballroom and there is jazz and there is…and in the martial arts, scratch the surface of the styles, and you will find the fundamental principles that are heart and soul to the immense power and art the human being can tap into and generate. So, whether you practice a kung fu like mantis, or a style of karate like shotokan, give yourself a chance, play with what I have told you here, and let your art flower.
Al Case has studied martial arts 4O+ years, including several systems of Kenpo, Karate, Kung Fu, Pa Kua, Tai Chi, and more. He is a writer for the magazines with hundreds of articles and a column, and he is the originator of Matrixing and Neutonics. You can sample Matrixing Technology by getting his free ebook at Monster Martial Arts.