Is Kung Fu Safe? (Complete Guide by Style)


Kung Fu was the original martial art to gain popularity in the west. But there are dozens of different styles, and some styles look brutal. So, is Kung Fu safe?

Here’s what I have seen:

On the whole, Kung Fu is safe, particularly gentler styles of Kung Fu such as Tai Chi. The styles more likely to result in injury are the combative styles such as Wing Chun or Sanda.

But that’s just a quick snapshot. In this article, we’ll learn a lot more.

We’ll consider which type of Kung Fu is the safest and if Wing Chun is safer than Karate. We’ll also find out whether Kung Fu is healthy.

Then, we’ll consider if it’s safe for kids. Lastly, we’ll find out which martial art is the safest.

Let the fun begin.

Which type of Kung Fu is safest?

Tai Chi is the safest form of Kung Fu, and it’s so safe that Harvard Medical School even recommends it. It’s a graceful, flowing solo martial art that’s not physically demanding and not practiced against an opponent. In fact, it’s like an easy-going dance.

There’s a fighting component, and I know a Tai Chi master who would easily beat anybody just with Tai Chi moves, but for most of us, it’s largely a series of gentle exercises.

The distinguished Harvard Medical School has the following to say about Tai Chi.

“This gentle form of exercise can help maintain strength, flexibility, and balance and could be the perfect activity for the rest of your life.

Tai chi is often described as “meditation in motion,” but it might well be called “medication in motion.” There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice, which originated in China as a martial art, has value in treating or preventing many health problems. And you can get started even if you aren’t in top shape or the best of health.”

(source)

The intense, demanding, and risky techniques prevalent in other martial arts are absent in Tai Chi. It’s practiced a lot by senior citizens. You’ll agree that’s another sign that it’s safe.

But can Kung Fu be used in a real fight?

Luckily, that’s the theme of a recent article. In it, I explored whether Kung Fu is effective for self-defense and if Shaolin Kung Fu is effective. But I also revealed whether Bruce Lee did Kung Fu.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Is Wing Chun safer than Karate?

Karate is safer than Wing Chun because Wing Chun is a broader and more demanding system. Wing Chun can be deadlier than Karate because of one of its unique points: attacking and defending at the same time. It’s also performed at a faster pace, which increases the likelihood of injuries.

Wing Chun is where Bruce Lee started his martial arts journey before creating his own martial art, which he called Jeet Kune Do.

In addition to attacking and defending at the same time, in Wing Chun, the focus is on the vulnerable parts of an opponent’s body.

One of its signature techniques is hand trapping: it involves trapping the opponent’s hands against their body. Wing Chun offers more possibilities to harm an assailant than Karate, and that makes it a riskier proposition.

But what are you to do about the risks that come with martial arts?

Truth be told, it’s not feasible to eliminate injuries in martial arts. After all, they’re fighting systems. But you can use the following tips to help prevent them.

  • Talk to your doctor before starting any Kung Fu practice
  • Take the time to research the style you’re interested in to be aware of the risks 
  • Ensure that you train under a qualified and seasoned instructor 
  • Don’t neglect proper warm-up and cool-down routines
  • Wear appropriate protective equipment 
  • Drink a lot of water before and after each training session (I do not like to drink water during training sessions)
  • Work on your peripheral vision and reflexes (the risk of being injured is lower if you’re super-alert)

But if an injury occurs, don’t play macho-man. Stop immediately and have it treated if it’s serious.

Is Kung Fu healthy?

Kung Fu is healthy, especially Tai Chi Chuan, which is a form of Kung Fu. Kung Fu is actually an umbrella term used for many different Chinese martial arts, some healthier than others.

But on the whole, Kung Fu does not have any particular traits that make it unhealthy.

In fact, one of its most popular forms, Tai Chi, or Tai Chi Chuan, if we use its full name, has been studied extensively and is deemed healthy. It’s often recommended for a lot of people who even have some health challenges.

One of the factors that make Kung Fu healthy is the fact that it’s a full-body workout. 

When you’re engaged in it, you’re exercising your whole body. The classes are not simply about combat but include a lot of stretches and a variety of drills too (depending on the style and the school).

Kung Fu is healthy because it helps in strengthening different body parts, enhancing one’s flexibility, and general conditioning.

But is it something you can learn at home? 

Not to worry, that’s what I explored in a recent article. I spoke about whether you can teach yourself and how long it would take. But I also shared the best ways to learn it online.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Is Kung Fu safe for kids?

Kung Fu is safe for kids. Classes for kids are adapted to suit the age and are devoid of the dangers that come with classes for adults. Kids’ classes are introductory with age-appropriate speed and power and a curriculum that focuses on having fun and confidence-building exercises.

Most good schools ensure that children are trained in a safe environment without anything that may cause injury.

And the “drills” kids have to practice are not as demanding as what adults are required to do, especially if they’re very young.

The focus is often on harmless stances and moves that do not entail actual fighting. When they do “fight”, it’s usually in such a way that there’s minimal or no contact with others.

And yet, these provide a good foundation that helps them to be able to understand some of the fundamentals of the art. It also helps them endure better, strengthen them, and make them more flexible. It also makes them more confident. And, because it’s not strenuous, it’s just like playing to them. As it should be.

Naturally, the older the kids, the more they’re exposed to more demanding techniques.

Which martial art is the safest?

Aikido is the safest martial art for a style that is effective for self-defense but relatively gentle on the body. Aikido is a soft martial art that’s largely defensive with a “do no harm” ethos.

Once one masters some fundamentals such as how to break falls and how to escape wrist locks, the risk of any major injury declines dramatically.

Having said that, the truth is that any form of sport or martial art that involves fighting carries some risk of injury. How a martial art is practiced, not just its nature, is a factor in whether it’s safe or risky. One of the reasons why Aikido is the safest is that practitioners are not really out to harm each other.

Strange? Actually, it’s one of the fundamentals of Aikido.

The emphasis is on how to leverage the opponent’s energy and momentum and not how to attack them directly. It’s no surprise that it has one of the lowest injury rates.

By the way, can you tell Kung Fu apart from Karate?

A lot of folks find both a tad confusing. But you’re in luck because a recent article of mine is devoted to exploring 9 key differences between both highly popular martial arts.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Surviving 30 Days of Shaolin Kung Fu Training

Conclusion

In the article, we considered which type of Kung Fu is the safest and if Wing Chun is safer than Karate.

After all, the term “Kung Fu” actually refers to a large number of different and largely unrelated styles of Chinese martial arts.

We also found out whether Kung Fu is healthy. Then, we considered if it’s safe for kids. Lastly, we found out which martial art is the safest.


Image by Christoph Schütz from Pixabay

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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