Kung Fu Basics Gym 149

Kinesiology Department, S.F. State University
Instructor: Valerie Lee
1. Catalog Description
KIN 148 Kung Fu Basics. 1 Unit
Introduction to Chinese Martial Arts which involves leg postures, hand movements, body positions, breath exercises, and mental development.
2. Required Background of Experience: None
3. Expected Outcomes:
a. Knowledge and skill in the fundamental principles and techniques of Kung Fu theory.
b. Skill in balance and control of one’s body with focus and clarity.
c. Appreciation of the Kung Fu concept of discipline and its application in one’s daily life.
d. Ability to understand and evaluate Kung Fu concepts for health maintenance and self-enrichment.
e. Knowledge of select technical skills and an aesthetic overview of kung fu philosophy
4.  Required reading: Listed handouts and other selected articles provided.
‘Ba Shi: The foundation of Kung fu’ Inside Kung fu by Richard Miller
‘Sword Polishers Record by Sifu Adam Hsu
5.  Minimum Student Supplied materials
Appropriate footwear, loose clothing
Notebook or class journal highly recommended
6.  Expanded Description of Content and Method
The development of kung fu skills with emphasis on balance, body strengthening, mental clarity and focus. Intergration of Kung Fu skills in daily life with an emphasis on peer co-operation, and communication.
a. A brief history of Kung Fu
b. A background and benefits of kung Fu discipline.
c. Explanation and practice of basic stances, kicking, punches, and hand positions based on practical application.
d. Longfist system: Hand movements and footwork.
7.  Grading Policy: CR/NCR recommended.

Methods of Evaluation Scale

Quality of participation 40% 100-90 A
Skill & Attendance 30% 89-80 B
Exam 20% 79-70 C/CR
Learning attitude, etiquette 10% 69-60 D/NCR
59-below F

Grading Guideline – Kung Fu Basics 148 Valerie Lee

C/NC does not affect your GPA. Only grades can affect your GPA. If you are planning to apply for graduate school they will look at the C/NC and consider it as a C, but it is not part of your GPA. Attendance is crucial for grading (see syllabi)

These are areas of class participation that I consider for grading.

Leading warm-ups

Commit to memory the sequence of the warm-ups. Start promptly by announcement supplemented by hand gesturing or clapping hands. Project your voice to the whole room. Keep the warm-ups to 15-20 minutes. Because of the time consideration limit the verbal dialog and keep the voice commands concise and brief.

Although the time is very short, it is very crucial part of the class in that it allows for independent and interactive study while reviewing the new moves from the previous class. Studies show that people need to have material repeated at least 6 times to have a significant retention.

Leading Basics

Teams 1 and 2 will alternate weeks. Commit to memory the sequence of the basics. Announce the basic, count first, and then begin the basic movement. The count for each basic is an 8 count sometimes doubled. New moves are always doubled. Projecting your voice and pacing the movements are important elements to remember.

Horse Stances

Read and review the handout on the eight stances.
Alternate the first four and second four. Feet and arms start and end at the same time. Keep the stances holding and transitioning at the same level from start to finish. Ideally the there are no up and down movements at the mid level. The breathing method of one whole breath per stance is an important element to remember here.


Commit to memory the sequence of the form. There are 16 movements to the Linking Longfist form. Remember to always start with the left foot, starting and ending movements at the same time. Clear understanding of each stance transition in the form is an important element in correct form practice.

Final Exam and Note book

There is a practical and written exam on the last 2 days of class. Mandatory attendance required. Notes from the Basics guideline are due. Attendance is an important aspect of an activity class.

A grade 0-2 absences allowed B Grade 3-4 C Grade 5-6 absences D Grade 7-8


Student Essays:

Leah Flores Fall 2002
Awaken & Enliven your Mindful Body

Today, I received the handout that listed different parts of the body and their corresponding “internal” components. At first, I thought this list was a little far-fetched. The hair corresponding to the thoughts sounded strange to me, and I was not entirely sure what the sifu wanted me to learn from this. So, just as a little experiment, I decided to perform reeling silk with the list in mind.

This semester has been one of my hardest academically, and so I look for any chance to relax and take a break from my studies. I like to perform reeling silk when I want to take a break from my studies or I need to stop stressing too much. However, I only knew the physical part of reeling silk and only had a vague idea of the mental part of it. I took the list and chose one of the body parts to focus on, since trying to focus on all the body parts would stress me out even more and defeat the purpose of relaxing. Since my neck was sore and stiff from sitting at a computer all day typing, I decided to focus on my neck. The corresponding internal part to the neck is “transforming ideas into actions”.

So I went into performing reeling silk. I first started with the left hand only and then the right hand only as a sort of warm up. Then I put both hands together and performed the whole movement. As I was performing the whole movement, I started to slowly focus on my neck and kept in mind its corresponding principle “transforming ideas into actions”. I really didn’t know what benefits my neck might receive from this focus, but I kept with it. After awhile, and without even realizing it, my neck sort of felt like it was uncurling, and it released the tension it had been holding for so long. My head started to feel much clearer, and then the meaning of the words “transforming ideas into action” became clear to me.

Before I did reeling silk, I had been sitting at a computer for a very long time trying to pound out a decent paper for one of my classes. After awhile, I just couldn’t think straight. I knew what I wanted to say and I had all these ideas, but I just couldn’t find the words to type them so that they made sense. After doing reeling silk with the focus on my neck and its component, my head felt clear, so clear that the words I had been searching for automatically came to me and I was able to type them up with no problems. So the neck really does transform ideas into action. The neck seems like a pipe that conducts materials to the rest of the body and to the head. When it is tensed, it was like blocking the pipe, restricting its flow. In my case, my stiff neck was cutting off the flow of my ideas. Being made aware of this helped me to relax, and it was as if the pipe opened up again and let my ideas flow down my arms and hands to my fingers so I could type them out. I learned a very important lessen in mindfulness and the purpose of the list that sifu handed out.

Antonio C-Romo 12/07/05
“Head to the Sky, Feet to the Earth”

One of the first lessons I received when taking the kung fu class this semester was to gain and to remain balanced. One morning the Sifu told us to keep our “head to the sky and feet to the earth” while warming up and this phrase was repeated throughout the semester. The martial art of kung fu presents numerous challenges and there are two in particular that have been present for me since the first day. The first is the physical challenges of coordinating movements to perform the basics, stances and forms and to transition from one movement to the next. Achieving fluidity and balance has been especially challenging. The other challenge refers to learning and understanding the basic philosophy of kung fu. The abundance of significance in the movements and the history behind it make it an activity of extra importance.

The phrase “head to the sky, feet to the earth” is insightful and descriptive in that it entails a spirit of orientation and being upright and rooted. By orientating my head with the sky and my feet with the earth has continued to serve as a cue when I teeter off balance while practicing kung fu. I have used this mantra outside the classroom as well. At the beginning of the semester my girlfriend of two years and I suddenly broke up. We were living together for 1 year prior to our break up and when she moved out it felt like part of my universe came crashing down. The life I had grown use to and was in relative harmony with ended and a piece of me went with it. By keeping my head to the sky and my feet to the earth I was able to remain as focused and balanced as I could. When performing kung fu I found that the movements and techniques helped heal my fractured state.

In a deeper sense I used kung fu to express my stress and disorientation in light of my situation and in turn kung fu provided me with the physical and spiritual strength to properly cope with tough times. Now, regardless of what happens in life, I will continually use the phrase as a motivator to try and stay balanced in this potentially unbalanced world.


Authentic Kung Fu Usage

A Spring 1998 Workshop by Master Adam Hsu
Sponsored by the Kung Fu Club




Kung-Fu Usage a workshop by Master Adam Hsu.
written by Nathan Brito

Master Adam Hsu gave a workshop on kung-fu usage at SFSU during the spring semester of 1998. The workshop was sponsored by the kung-fu club at SFSU of which I am a member. I was lucky to attend and will convey one or two main points that Adam Hsu touched upon.

Adam Hsu began with a talk on the important role kung-fu usage plays in the preservation of traditional kung-fu. To drive his point home, Adam Hsu told a story in which he and several other distinguished kung-fu practitioners were asked to judge a tournament. The sparring in the tournament consisted of punches and kicks, with very little advanced technique, causing Adam Hsu to remark one of his fellow judges that ³Those are our ancestors fighting up there², meaning that the combatants had reverted to primitive natural fighting.

Students without proper instruction in kung-fu usage will not fully understand the principals of kung-fu. The participants in the tournament had without a doubt spent months or years practicing and refining their forms, but they lacked the knowledge of the practical applications contained therein, thus could not fight in a true kung-fu manner.

There exists, said Adam Hsu, a gap between kung-fu training and kung-fu fighting, a gap that does not exist in other disciplines. Adam Hsu used the art of boxing to illustrate his point. A boxer trains on the heavy bag to build strength, the speed bag to build quickness, and jumps rope to build stamina–all of these training techniques relate directly to how a boxer fights when they enter the ring. This is not so with kung-fu. Kung-fu students practice their respective forms but are not instructed on how to use the movements in actual sparring.

Forms are not practiced for their sake alone, they contain the movements which provide the basis for kung-fu usage. The practice of forms without emphasis on usage, strips the movements of their power and practicality and leaves empty choreographed movements.