This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Project Press-Up

There’s no shame in not being able to do a correct press-up (Really? – Yes). You’d be surprised how many otherwise strong people struggle to do press-ups, for the simple reason that they haven’t trained them properly before. Luckily, there’s a solution to this problem: start where you are now, and get better by practising regularly. In other words – Train!

Earlier in 2018 Instructor Anna Wallen cast an engineer’s eye over the problems people have with press-ups. Her findings and suggested techniques were set out in two posts on what became Project Press-Up.

Not satisfied with just telling you all what to do, Instructor Anna now invites you to a press-up training challenge. The purpose of the challenge is for members who are interested to see how much they can improve their press-ups over a period of time by working all the elements of the press-up, and improving their technique and strength.

The Challenges:

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“Crete was brilliant. I’m not usually one for superlatives – I’m much more of a “well it was good, but…” type of person. However in this case it’s appropriate for me to break character. My first Brilliant Crete camp, and that’s definitely the right description.

Why did I go in the first place though? It wasn’t complicated, I wanted a chance to improve my Kung Fu. And I already knew that spending a day in Dennis’ field makes a difference, so I wanted to see what I could achieve in a week. It also earns me some “cool points” in life and that’s always good. “Where were you last week?” “I was at a week long Kung Fu training camp in Crete, where were you?” Read More

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series 2018 Competition

We gathered in South London – Competition 2018 it is. We met as friends at the door, as competitors on the mats, and left as friends at the end of the day. That’s the way we like to do it. So now it’s time to find out whether our competition diarist, Louis Beazley, achieved the results he was going for. Did his training and preparation pay off?

“So here we are. Another competition over and I hope you all enjoyed it. I also hope that all bruises are fading and any headaches are long since departed.

I’m sure you’ll all be glad to hear this will be my last article for a while, but I couldn’t just leave without letting everyone know how the competition went, and as a result whether my previous pearls of wisdom were valuable information nuggets or just a waste of your time. Read More

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series 2018 Competition

Sparring is tough – and exhausting – and mentally taxing – and did I mention tough? Just gloves and punches and blocking – and the genuine camaraderie that comes from challenging each other – don’t hold back because you are doing no favours – take a breather – ok let’s go again…Sparring Camaraderie. Training and learning together.

In this series of photos Instructors Anna Wallen and Adam Prout give it their all so that each can learn and both can learn. They trust each other and challenge each other and respect each other – that is camaraderie.

Click on any image to open as a gallery.

All Photos taken by Sharon Ngo

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series 2018 Competition

So with the competition coming up this weekend, Louis Beazley who trains in FWC London South with Instructor Richard Wagstaff, is preparing to meet his “friendly” rivals from across the Clubs.  Here is his competition diary as he maps his training on the way to the mats.

“06.04.18 – Dear Sparring Diary

That special date is fast approaching; FWC students from across the UK are training with their eyes on a particular prize, sweat drips, arms ache, knees bend (just a little lower). Read More

Once a year our whole Club gathers for a day of competition. There are patterns competitions, physical challenge competitions (you wouldn’t believe who wins the iron-bridge!), and the much-anticipated sparring competitions. The highs, the lows, the tears, the occasional blood and plenty of bruises. When the sparring finals come up we gather around the mats as exhausted competitors silently scream “Are you not entertained?”. But sparring is for everyone, not just for gladiators. Oriana Pagano, who trains with Instructor Dave Courtney Jones, puts forth a passionate argument calling for more women (and indeed, men) who train with us to take up the gauntlet and try sparring.

“April 2017, Fujian White Crane Kung Fu Club competition. I’m standing near the mat, watching two fellow students spar. I’m still wearing my sparring gear, but I’m relaxed: the women’s competition is over. A young woman, also a Club student, comes and stands next to me to watch the fight. I’ve never seen her before.

“You were very brave,” she tells me after a while.

I turn to her, puzzled.

“To do the sparring” she adds, reading my confusion.

Oh, that.

Wait a minute. That. Why?

Before I know it, we are deep in conversation – the men’s fight blurring into the background noise. The more we talk, the more I get the feeling that she would love to try sparring – yet something is holding her back. So I push on, arguing my case, rattling off all the benefits of sparring, stressing how important it is, especially for women.

For some reason, I want to convince her.

We talk some more until the full-contact sparring brings us back to the competition. We are going to watch it from different corners, so we say goodbye and part ways. Read More

This entry is part 4 of 3 in the series Project Press-Up

Instructor Anna Wallen continues this popular subject with Part 2 of Project Press-up. Now that you know what “embonpoint” means (see Part 1 if unsure) Anna will explain the impact of weight distribution on press-up technique and power. Whilst both men and women can be equally strong and proficient at press-ups women face particular challenges based on their physiology.  Knowing why is not enough, so Anna will also explore what to do about it.

Building up to full press-ups

“I can’t count the number of web videos with buff young hunks helpfully telling me to practise knee press-ups so I can build up to full ones.

I’m a research engineer. I did a quick calculation (it’s what engineers do): knee press-ups require my arms to lift 40% of my bodyweight (not counting the helpful seesaw counterweight of my lower legs, which reduces the work by my arms further). Full press-ups lift 55%. Ten kilos is quite a load to add to my arms in one go, and that’s not counting how much more my core suddenly has to work when I go straight. Read More

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Project Press-Up

On a flight back from training in Egypt last September Instructors Anna Wallen and Sharon Ngo were seated together. “What are your press-ups like?” “Could be better – even after years of trying – blame it on my embonpoint*. You’re an engineer – what can we do about it?” “Pencils and papers to the ready – ” So after numerous stick figures, excuses, experiments, and research, here is Anna’s Project Press-Up report, Part One.

“Done properly, press-ups are one of the simplest and most beneficial exercises there are to improve your Kung Fu and general fitness. However, as in all training, it can be difficult to get the movement exactly right. Many of us can find developing the correct muscles for press-ups problematic. This article focuses on what a press-up entails, what the common problems are and how best to correct them and build up your physique. Read More

Spirituality is not the same as religion. While any religion has spirituality as a core part of its offering, it also has other elements like concepts of faith, morality, doctrine. On the other hand, people can find a spiritual experience in everyday non-religious pursuits. This non-religious type of spirituality was the topic of a festive broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, on the 28th of December 2017 guest edited by poet Ben Okri. You can still catch it on the BBC iPlayer – the relevant segment is in the last 30 minutes. Ben Okri asked the Today’s programme reporter, Sangita Myska, to interview practitioners of a range of non-religious pursuits and she approached Fujian White Crane Kung Fu Instructor Danil Mikhailov for an interview about spirituality and Kung Fu. Only part of their interview made the final broadcast so in this article Danil delves a bit deeper into how the practice of Kung Fu can be a spiritual experience.

“I have practised White Crane Kung Fu for over twenty years, martial arts of any type for over thirty. In fact, my first memory from when I was around four years old is of my father teaching me how to punch correctly Read More

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Seasonal Training

The Northern Hemisphere days are short and the nights are long. What better time than to sit in the house, eat large amounts of sweetened, salted foods, and tell tall tales of your glorious achievements in 2017? Everything starts to wind down now, and it’s nearly two weeks for the regular training sessions to fully re-start. Happy Holidays!! So why do these much-anticipated holidays become bliss for some and hell for others?   The reasons are complex, but Instructor Joshua Villar decided to take the mental bull by the horns and asked the other Instructors, “how do you stay sane and fit over the Winter Holidays?” So, in no particular order, here are the secrets they revealed… Read More