Is Kung Fu Offensive or Defensive?


chinese kung fu

Kung Fu, at one point, was the most popular martial art in the US. And it was the martial art initially practiced by martial art icon Bruce Lee. But is Kung Fu offensive or defensive?

Here’s what I know:

Kung Fu is actually a collective term for a variety of Chinese fighting styles, with some styles, such as Tai Chi, being used very little for attack or defense. Other styles of Kung Fu, such as Wing Chun, are used greatly for offense.

But really, most martial arts are a mix of both offense and defense.

After all, martial arts have a spiritual component that guides the practitioners. And in most cases, that teaches us not to just go on the attack. That’s the biggest difference between martial arts and systems that are purely self-defense-oriented such as Krav Maga or Kickboxing.

But there’s a lot more to know.

In this article, we’ll explore whether Kung Fu is good for self-defense and how many types of Kung Fu are there. I will also share the strongest style of Kung Fu.

Let the fun begin.

Is Kung Fu good for self-defense?

Kung Fu, particularly the Luan Ying and Wing Chun styles, are highly effective for self-defense. But other styles of Kung Fu, like Tai Chi, are not good for self-defense unless one already knows other martial arts too.

Remember, Kung Fu is an umbrella term for different styles and is actually a Chinese expression for any pursuit that requires skill acquisition.

As a fighting style, it has a philosophical and spiritual dimension that relates to the refinement of the practitioner. A contest with a trained fighter is not easy to predict. But if a trained Kung Fu fighter had to defend themselves against an untrained fighter, it stands to reason that they would probably give the other party a gruesome beatdown.

Take Wing Chun, a style of Kung Fu employed by the most iconic martial artist, Bruce Lee. 

Its philosophy is so effective that a Wing Chun fighter is almost guaranteed to win virtually any time they contest with untrained (and even trained fighters).

Luan Ying, Wing Chun, and Shaolin Kung Fu are some examples of styles that are effective for self-defense.

Kung Fu equips you with lethal skills that an average streetfighter is not hip to. So, with Kung Fu skills, the probability that you would crush them is high.

You’re probably wondering: if Kung Fu is effective, why is it not employed in MMA?

This is what I explored in a recent article of mine. In it, I looked at which MMA fighter has a Kung Fu background and why are Chinese martial arts not employed in MMA? But I also looked at whether Kung Fu can be used in a real fight.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

How many types of Kung Fu are there?

Some estimate that there are about 400 different styles of Kung Fu. There are two key distinctions: Northern and Southern styles. Examples of the Northern styles include Shaolin, Long Fist, Eagle Claw, and Monkey style, while the Southern styles include Choy Li Fut, Hung Bar, and Wing Chun.

Let’s check out two of the most well-known styles to have an idea of what they’re essentially about.

Shaolin Kung Fu

A style believed to have originated about 1500 years ago by Shaolin monks. It encompasses a variety of techniques that involve kicks and open hand techniques. It’s probably the most complex style because it has over a thousand techniques. Naturally, sub-styles have evolved.

Wing Chun

Believed to have been developed over 300 years ago by two women, Wing Chun is about efficiency, not brawn. The focus is on the upper part of the body and close-range combat.

An adept Wing Chun student is thus equipped to be able to protect themselves against opponents who are stronger and bigger. Like other styles, legend has it that it was a product of studying how animals fight.

In a recent article of mine, I explored whether Kung Fu can be used in a real fight.

I looked at whether Kung Fu and, in particular, Shaolin Kung Fu is effective in a street fight. But I also explored how Bruce Lee morphed Wing Chun into his own martial art called Jeet Kune Do.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Which is the strongest Kung Fu style?

Luan Ying is the strongest Kung Fu style because it’s strategic. While it has a variety of techniques that can be leveraged to beat an opponent, a key part of what makes it the strongest is the fact that it involves crippling an opponent’s ability to defend themselves. 

Fights involve offensive and defensive techniques, right?

What’s likely to happen if you can attack and cripple your opponent’s ability to defend themselves? It’s a no-brainer, right? In fact, one could argue that it’s this “simplistic” insight that makes Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov almost invincible.

Luan Ying involves a variety of smart techniques, such as palm strikes, elbow strikes, low kicks, punches, and forearm trapping. And did I tell you that knee strikes are also allowed?

A knee strike to the face can be absolutely devastating.

In addition to the techniques, Luan Ying fighters do not joke with being in top physical shape, making it easier for them to be stronger and nimbler. The more conditioned fighter always has an edge, right?

Say you’ve decided to learn Kung Fu, can you learn it at home? 

In a recent article, I explained whether you can learn Kung Fu at home and how long it can take to learn it at home. I also looked at the best ways to learn Kung Fu online.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Is Kung Fu better than Karate?

Overall, Kung Fu is better than Karate as it has many styles under its banner, while Karate is one singular art. So, practitioners of Kung Fu have more techniques to learn from different styles. They can mix and match and create the perfect scenario for their goals. But ultimately, Karate is also based on Kung Fu.

Kung Fu is of Chinese ancestry, while Karate is Japanese.

Because you can pick some of the best techniques in different styles of Kung Fu, it might be the way to go. Karate is awesome, but you only have a few techniques at your disposal. 

To discover which one’s better, check out a recent article where I looked at the key differences between both and shared which one’s better. But I also spoke about whether Bruce Lee did Kung Fu or Karate also.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Which martial art is the most defensive?

Aikido is probably the most defensive martial art. This is because it is the art of peace. In Aikido, the goal is never to hurt the opponent. It’s about harmony and peace. But the techniques taught can easily render an opponent incapacitated if no other options are available.

Even when an Aikidoka is attacked, they employ a defensive approach by leveraging the other’s energy and momentum against them. Aikido’s ethos is hard for many to understand, so much so that some people doubt whether it’s really effective.

One needs to understand its philosophy to grasp its apparent contradiction.

Like most eastern martial arts, it has a rich spiritual dimension that relates to the refinement of one’s character and ensuring peace and harmony.

Truth be told, if you’re interested in a martial art that would give you an edge in a street fight, it’s not what I would recommend.

What is Kung Fu? | ART OF ONE DOJO

Conclusion

In the article, we explored whether Kung Fu is good for self-defense and how many types of Kung Fu are there.

We also looked at the strongest style of Kung Fu.

Then, we considered whether Kung Fu is better than Karate. Lastly, we wrapped things up by looking at which martial art is the most defensive.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell was Academy Director for a large martial arts school for over 7 years, and has trained extensively in a variety of martial arts including Brazilian Jiujitsu, different styles of Karate, the Russian Martial Art of Systema, Aikido, and much more.

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