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Learning - and teaching - the spectrum

If you are considering Kung Fu or Martial Arts tuition, you may be curious as to what one school teaches versus another, what the culture is like, the experience of the teacher, the experience of the students. All of these things are important to your journey.

Having previously co-run a full-time Kung Fu school for 20 years, working with beginners in groups to advanced 1-2-1 sessions, I started my own school to enhance on some of the things my students enjoyed, moving away from some things they didn’t. Starting Spectrum was all about taking classical Kung Fu, and Hung Gar in particular, to another level and more accessible for students looking for realism in classical Kung Fu. It was a natural progression for me, and so Spectrum was born; my students followed my more positive teaching structure and new syllabus, which also attracted a number of new students.

It may be useful to explain more about my background, what I’ve learned, and my approach.

Many people probably don’t realise that, even before teaching, I actually had experience in many other martial arts styles before finding classical Kung Fu, which eventually became my main art, and my full-time career. This previous fighting experience massively influenced my interpretation and quick learning of Kung Fu fighting skills, and adaptation of styles, as my specialist knowledge and experience in Kung Fu grew.

What I can also tell you is that Kung Fu has a wonderful way of moulding itself to your previous martial arts skills, and opens the door to taking your skills so much further due to the massive amount of forms and fighting principles that have evolved over thousands of years. So if you’re joining Spectrum from a different martial arts background, that’s fine, I’ve been there myself.

When I first started teaching 20 years ago, due to the constraints of the partnership, I was only teaching a small section of the Hung Gar system, which didn't maximise on my full knowledge of the system, and my previous skills, although of course my private students were able to benefit from this behind closed doors. Now teaching the full system of Hung Gar at Spectrum, my focus is on the classical training and fight realism of the various Kung Fu forms, and sparring and partner work that my students take on much earlier on. For me personally, it is all about building people’s confidence for real use of Kung Fu street application, in a positive, safe learning environment, as well as honouring the art form.

For me, realism/realistic application of Kung Fu is key. This is not a sport Wushu class, or a trick-kicking gymnastics YouTube video, that much I can tell you.

Progression, and simply keeping it interesting, is also key to my school, you won’t be on the same drill year in year out, I change things up, making it enjoyable and challenging. There are multiple styles and techniques you can use and mix. Kung Fu offers so many different strategies for use - it’s my job to show you the options. In many ways it could be compared to MMA, but on a huge scale, and with no rules, nor is it a sport.

Ultimately, Spectrum is dedicated to the realism of the classical art and the freedom it brings with it. If you are attacked, you can’t plan your fight in the street based on one particular drill or purely a performance art routine (known as 'empty forms'). You have to be immediately adaptable to the situation when it unfolds, this is what the adaptability of classical Kung Fu has taught me to do from day one. It is imperative that you have the muscle memory from your training, the power-building conditioning and the understanding of real application from your Kung Fu forms to allow you to do this. That's what I specialise in. That is real classical Kung Fu. That is Spectrum Kung Fu.

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