FAQ - Black Crane Kung Fu
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I am not currently in a fit state, am I still able to train?

Whilst fitness helps your training, it is not a requirement before starting training. What you will notice is that your fitness will continue to increase during your training.

I am over 50 years old, Can I still train and is it safe for me to train?

The short answer is yes. Unless there are medical reasons preventing you from training there is no reason that you cannot start or continue training. Black Crane Kung Fu is not a strength based system and so age is not a major factor as it may be in other styles (such as kickboxing or ju jitsu). In the past we have had both male and female students that have been training and were over the age of 50.

Is this style suitable for women and children?

Definitely. The whole principle around our style is to be able to defeat an opponent that has an advantage over us. Examples are larger opponents, stronger opponents or being put in a vunerable position. Because of this we train to defeat those who would beat us if we were using a strength on strength principle. This makes Black Crane Kung Fu suitable for people of all frames and sizes (including children) and not gender specific.

Is this a non-contact sport?

Indeed it is not. First of all Black Crane Kung Fu is not a sport. There are no competitions within our style. Competitions draw away from the real conflict and focus only on points (touch contact on an opponent which is a successful hit). Our style is not a non-contact style. This is not to say that it is a full contact style either. Touch contact is deployed for the earlier grades and contact is gradually applied the further up the student progresses. Of course if you prefer not to make contact then we will respect your decision and not force it upon you. But it is stongly recommended that some contact is made however (see next question).

What is the purpose of making contact?

Unless you can make contact on someone you cannot get a feel for how to strike an opponent or how effective the strike is. It is a totally different feeling to striking a kick bag or to break wooden boards as to hitting a human, although we do use kick bags for full contact training. It is also important that a person understands what it feels like to both recieve and give an attack. If contact is never made then when the situation arises when the strike is needed to be made it will be ineffective as they are not experienced to striking the same target with which they have been training.

Why don't we enter tournaments such as NAS?

Sad to say but tournament fighting is not a measure of martial arts talent. Numerous styles spend a good proportion of their training time on preparation for the next tournament(s) that are coming up. What is wrong with this? Well many tournaments are touch /semi contact and focus only on the first person to get the hit in (no matter how good or bad the strike actually is). If tournament fighting is introduced too early then it encourages bad techniques as the students have not learnt the fundamentals and the ability to control their movements. Also too much time in tournaments also gets the student away from the real focus which should be “How can I protect myself” and puts the earning of trophies above all else.

Why do we wear shoes when we are training?

We wear shoes during training for several reasons:

  1. For hygine reasons.
  2. To prevent injuries. Many toe, feet and ankle injuries can occur much more easily if there is no protection on the feet.
  3. The chances are if you need to use your self defence skills then you will be wearing shoes anyhow and so it is better to practise for the most likely to occur situation.
  4. Shoes will absorb some of the impact that physical activity can affect. In particular the ankles but also prevent jolts to other joints such as the knees and hips.
Is there a Black Crane Kung Fu School near me and what times do they train.

In the training and events section You will be able to find the listing of times and locations.

How much does it cost to join your classes?

It only costs $10 for a one and a half hour training session. This in comparison to other martial arts or sports is quite competitive. A comprehensive students only web site has been set up which contains in depth information about the style, pictures, movies which is also included in the price.

Other fees payable are yearly insurance membership and yearly membership fees. Grading costs are in addition to nightly training fees as well. To get a full list of fees payable click the fees and charges link.

Of the Fees and Charges what do I need to pay before I start?

The insurance is the only fee that is required upfront (apart from nightly fees). This is a $40 for seniors students (16 years+) and $25 for junior students (15 yrs and under) for the year. This covers you for personal injuries and so is a requirement to be paid before training. The application fee does not have to be paid upfront but is required to be paid before your first grading. This will give you about up to 3 months to pay. Also a uniform is not required until after your first grading. Once again giving you about 3 months to save up for it. For more details click the fees and charges link.

Do you have to be religious to join or do you follow any religious beliefs?

Contrary to many beliefs some may have towards martial arts, martial arts does not have to be directly be related to religion. Some of the customs may appear religious in fashion such as bowing. Bowing is a sign of respect not a lowering of oneself. In class both the students and Instructors bow to each other making the respect a mutual relationship.

Being religious or non-religious will not affect the way in which you will conduct your training. Black Crane Kung Fu does not conduct any religious dealings as part of its training in any way. We do however encourage certain events which may be religous to encourage the understanding and culture of the Chinese people.

How long does it take to notice improvement?

Training is very dependant on the individual. Some people learn and adapt faster than others. Gradings are a method used to allow students to understand their position within the school as their skill levels increases. Gradings are held 4 times a year roughly around the same time each year. Gradings are 3 months apart from each other. Initially a new student needs to spend 3 months before they are even graded. If the student has had prior training (such as other styles) then the student may be able to grade higher initially (if they can complete the required criteria). Otherwise a students first belt can be achieved roughtly after 3 months of continuous training.

How long will it take to get my black belt?

Once again this is largely dependant on the individual. A rough guide is around 3 to 3 and a half years of continuous training of at least 2 nights a week.

Students start on White belt until graded. Below shows the rough time required to advance on that belt.

On sucessful completion, when a Gau Jai grades they will become a Si Sheng (black belt with white stripe). This is first degree black belt level.

Is becoming a black belt an indication of a completion of a style?

It can be in some styles as the only difference for higher grades above black belt is the number of people they spar for grading or the introduction of a new form. Black belt is only the beginning within the Black Crane Kung Fu system. It is an achievement in that the student has excelled at demonstrating the basics of our style. It is by no means a simple task as much learning and training is required to get to this point, however once this point is reached it is a stepping stone to a much larger goal. Each level above black belt provides further insight to the principles of our style. Although you have reached a level where you may be able to instruct, you will always remain a student and continue to further your knowledge of Kung Fu.

How safe is Black Crane Kung Fu?

Our training environment is very safe to practice in. All exercises and training movements do not put unneccesary strain on joints or muscles and follow natural body movements. Classes are closely monitored by instructors and are led with expert tuition. Teaching techniques play a large role in the prevention of injury.

For peace of mind all teaching instructors have Federal Government accreditation for martial arts teaching and hold a St John’s Ambulance first aid certificate. On top of this the Black Crane Kung Fu School has public liability insurance AND professional indemnity insurance.This alongside the personal injury insurance that each student has will protect the student in the unlikely event that an injury occurs.

See the Accreditation page for more information.

Why is accreditation important?

The Australian martial arts industry for quite some time was never regulated. This meant that anybody could teach martial arts regardless of training or experience. This led to numerous schools being opened by individuals or groups purely for marketing purposes, and not so concerned about what or who they were teaching. Some of these schools have made their way into current affairs programs, with students getting injured and the teaching instructor not held accountable.

The accreditation program is our guarantee to you that the training we provide to you is Government recognised and adheres to a strict set of guidelines. These guidelines ensure that all aspects of martial arts are considered whether it be insurance, teaching methods or risk management. It also guarantees that our teaching staff have obtained blue cards and have current first aid certificates. The accreditation scheme also ensures that the person teaching you is qualified (i.e. is a black belt standard) and not someone who only has a limited knowledge.

If you do visit some other martial arts schools ask them some of the questions below

  • What happens if i get injured during training?
  • Do you have a cooling off period for membership?
  • Do you have much one on one or partnered off training?
  • Do you have public liability insurance?
  • Do you have professional indemnity insurance?
  • If I hurt someone with something you have taught me where do I stand (i.e. in court)?
  • Are you a black belt standard or how long have you been training? (even if they are wearing a black belt!)
  • Do you receive further instructions from your SiFu or head instructor on a regular basis?
  • Do you have a Blue card? (if teaching persons under 18)
  • Do you have an up to date first aid certificate?

You may be suprised by their answers.
See the accreditation page for more information.

Do you practise forms or Katas?

There is one main form within our system which is our schools form. The first half is taught to students at Toe Jai level (brown) and the full form is taught at Gau Jai level (sash). Each level afterwards is the same movements but this is done on a higher level. In gradings after black level the student is required to create unarmed and weapon forms which shows their interpretation of the style. One of the reasons we only have one form is that too many forms or katas can train a student for a set pattern, which in itself is good for showing how techniques flow together, however it can take away time from other training (in particular partnered off practice) if too much time is spent on forms.

What training uniform do you use for training?

The Black Crane Kung Fu School’s uniform works on the basis of three colours – red, black and white. The white represents the students, the black represents the instructors and the red represents the blood of the school being the teacher or the master of the school. This school has two uniforms, one training uniform and the other a ceremonial uniform for senior students and instructors. The school’s training uniform is the Japanese Gi. Although the Black Crane Kung Fu schools are a Chinese based Martial Arts system, we have found that the Chinese uniforms available in Australia cannot stand up to the training that is carried out within the schools. Therefore we opted for a more robust and hardy uniform which we found in the Japanese Gi, which was also considerably cheaper than the equivalent Chinese uniforms.

The normal training uniform (Japanese Gi) for students within the Black Crane Kung Fu schools is white pants and jacket with a coloured belt depicting their grade. The instructors’ normal training uniform (Japanese Gi) consists of a white jacket with black pants and a black belt depicting their grade. Unlike the students’ uniform, and instructor’s uniform is sectioned off into different parts depicting their training, grade and position within the school. The sleeves of an instructor’s jacket are actually divided into two parts. The bottom of the sleeves represents the personal achievement showing how far that instructor has progresses in their training. This is shown by means of black stripes depicting grading standards within the school. Instructors achieving a high standard during their grading are permitted to wear a single red stripe directly below their first grade on their sleeves. The tops of the sleeves show the instructor’s expertise in Martial Arts Weaponry. An embroidered patch is displayed on top of the sleeve once an instructor reaches the standard of Weapons Instructor, Advanced Weapons Instructor or Weapons Master.

On the front of the normal training uniform (Japanese Gi) is where the student or instructor wears the school badge. This is worn on the left-hand side of the uniform and traditionally covers the heart. In traditional times this was meant to protect the student or instructor from harm.

On the back of the normal instructors’ training uniform (Japanese Gi) is where the school’s name is displayed. An instructor is permitted to have the school’s name embroidered on the back of their uniform. The SiFu or Master of the school wears the embroidered school crest on the back of their uniforms.

The black pants worn by instructors depict their grade as an instructor. When an instructor runs a school they become known as a kwoon Instructor and hold a position in the school as well as an instructor’s grade. The Kwoon Instructor’s position is depicted by a 5cm white stripe that runs down the outside of the instructor’s black pants. When an instructor is in charge of several Kwoons (schools) or a whole region, they become attached to the Headquarters Kwoon and become part of the Headquarters Teaching Staff. The position of these instructors within the schools is depicted by a 5cm red stripe that runs down the outside of the instructor’s black pants. The SiFu or Master of the schools, being the teacher, traditionally wears red training pants, depicting the blood of the school.

The instructors’ grading is also displayed on their normal training uniform (Japanese Gi) in the form of a black belt. SiShengs (assistant instructors) have a white stripe through the centre of their black belt. The white strip is worn on the inside for the men and the outside for women instructors. For instructors of SiDai standard through to SiBak standard, a solid black belt is worn, while SiFu and a Master wear either a black belt with a red stripe through it or a solid red belt.