What is Traditional Chinese Gong Fu?
Traditional - refers to a system of knowledge, like a martial art, which has been taught through at least three successive generations, whilst keeping intact its core concepts and methods. Our Tong Bu Dao curriculum is based on martial arts which have been taught for many generations, and therefore can be considered 'traditional'. That being said, the word 'traditional' does not mean 'frozen in time'; as one of our main traditions is the need for innovation, and changing with the times. We carry a famous idiom: "If after 10 years of dedicated daily practice your art looks identical to that of your Shifu, then you have failed as a student, and he has failed as a teacher!". Traditional then, means that we have a well-documented history and curriculum, allowing us to build atop the wisdom of our predecessors in order to practice better martial arts and teach more efficiently and effectively.
Chinese - denotes an affiliation with the Chinese culture, which has a documented history of over 5000 years, and an archaeological history of over 9000 years. Chinese culture is unique not only in the length of its history, but also due to the fact that there had been cultural continuity throughout the ages. Indeed, we can see that ancient writings systems and philosophical ideas, many thousands of years old, still match and correlate with modern Chinese thinking. This extraordinary culture continued to evolve through the eons, and our traditional Chinese martial arts reflect this level of sophistication in their movement and theory.
It is unfortunate that Chinese culture is nowadays frowned upon sometimes, due to the fact that for the past 100 years, China has been occupied by controversial political forces. Nonetheless, what we represent and embody in Blue Jade schools is a beautiful and effective manifestation of the older traditional culture, devoid from such politics and unrelated to them. Just as an elected leader does not represent all the voters, so does the modern Chinese government does not represent the beliefs and way of Blue Jade Martial Arts.
Gong Fu - Is a common traditional Chinese term, often mistakenly spelled as 'Kung Fu'. The term Gong Fu literally means: "Skill acquired through hard work". The Chinese conceive that every person who worked hard at something and achieved an objectively good level of skill, has Gong Fu. A great dancer, a fantastic soccer player, an amazing cook and even an excellent speech writer, can all be said to have 'good Gong Fu'. In time, the words 'Gong Fu' also became an umbrella term to describe all traditional Chinese martial arts, because they all strive to develop Gong Fu. Therefore it is common to say "I practice Gong Fu" and mean to say that you train in the martial arts.
In summary then - in Blue Jade Martial Arts - when we say that we practice and teach 'traditional Chinese Gong Fu', what we mean by that is:
Our Blue Jade schools offer instruction in foremost time-honoured traditions, which came from an ancient fascinating culture, and strive to cultivate within the individual a substantial ability in the martial arts.
But there is more - since the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Traditional Chinese Gongfu also means that our instruction follows the oldschool model of a master and a disciple. The teaching is undertaken in small groups, which become even smaller as one advances through the ranks. Attention to detail in paramount and profound, and the student soon realizes that the depth of theory and application was truly the life-work of many generations. This uncompromising standard of quality-instruction is almost unheard of in modern times, but it commonplace in Blue Jade academies.