Can I Learn Kung Fu at Home? (Complete Beginner’s Guide)


Thanks to Bruce Lee, everyone started hearing about Kung Fu. And these days everyone loves learning stuff online. This might leave you wondering, can I learn Kung Fu at home?

Here’s what I know from doing a number of online martial arts classes:

You can learn Kung Fu at home through YouTube videos, online classes, or courses. But a practice dummy is recommended to better understand movements typically done with a partner.

But you’ll eventually want to find a dojo where you can upgrade your skills.

After all, Kung Fu is a contact activity, as in you’ll be better at it when you contend with other people. That way, you’ll learn a lot more about the martial art and yourself, and you’ll have real-life tests to gauge your performance.

But, if you’re constrained for any reason (budget, no dojo around, no time, etc.), the best thing is to get started learning it at home.

In this article, I’ll share vital info that’ll help you make the best of your desire to teach yourself Kung Fu (also known as Gung Fu). And I’ll also share the 4 best ways to learn online, some free and some paid.

Let the fun begin!

Can you teach yourself Kung Fu?

It is possible to teach yourself Kung Fu, even without an instructor or somebody to practice with. Virtual classes, online courses, or YouTube videos provide the best experience seeing the techniques being demonstrated, and virtual classes where the instructor can also see you are the best way to learn.

We’re actually living in the golden age of learning.

This is an era where determined souls can teach themselves almost anything. Most life-changing information is just a few clicks and swipes away. Yes, you can teach yourself if you’re highly motivated and “business-like”.

You can watch the videos over and over again and also practice the moves over and over again.

Teaching yourself won’t be a walk in the park. An in-person class not only provides direct instruction and partners to work with, but it also provides set days and times to practice.

This has a way of getting us to commit. And without that, we have to develop the discipline to practice. So set specific days and times to [practice each week and stick to that schedule as much as possible.

Don’t do it only when you feel like it. Practice at least thrice a week. And at regular intervals. We’re creatures of habit. If you stick with the schedule for a few weeks, you’ll be surprised how easy you’ll start looking forward to it.

The first few weeks will be a little difficult.

Stick with it. After a few weeks, you’ll start wondering how you were ever able to live without Kung Fu (it has so many benefits).

You may want to play your fave music during these periods so that you get to associate something pleasant with the training, which may be challenging when you’re just getting started.

How long will it take to learn Kung Fu at home?

The basics of Kung Fu can be learned in approximately six months practicing two to three times per week. And it may take upwards of a decade to master, and possibly even longer practicing at home alone.

In a dojo, it may take 8 to 10 years to get a black belt in Kung Fu. So, eventually, at-home students should transfer to a dojo to complete their training.

Those who are serious never stop learning, even after they’ve received a black belt, which takes years. In fact, they often see the black belt as simply a milestone, to now begin the path toward mastery.

So, if I were you, I won’t be fixated on how long it’ll take to learn. It’s better to take it as a lifelong pursuit and then follow Kaizen’s principle, which takes the terror out of learning and mastering anything.

Kaizen is about trying to improve continuously.

It’s a Japanese word that means “change for the better” or “continuous improvement.” It makes any goal more approachable because the goal is to get better daily and not make huge leaps in performance.

If you’re torn between Kung Fu and Karate, see this recent article I wrote where I compared both and suggested which one is better.

One of the themes I explored in the article is the fact that while Karate is a specific martial art of Japanese ancestry.

Kung Fu, on the other hand, is a Chinese phrase for “hard work” or any accomplishment that entails the acquisition and use of skills. There are actually many styles of Kung Fu. The most popular is Wing Chun, a style popularized by Bruce Lee.

Just click the link to read the article on my site.

What are the best ways to learn Kung Fu online?

The best way to learn Kung Fu at home online will be to join a live online class where the instructor can also see you or watch YouTube videos on a large TV or computer screen.

There are tons of resources online on how to learn Kung Fu.

There are courses, YouTube videos, books, websites, blogs, podcasts. It’s good to use several resources. But, the best ways are YouTube videos and online courses.

For one, you can see the techniques being displayed, rather than merely reading about them and trying to use your imagination.

But, I’ll suggest you focus on online courses or classes.

Why? A lot of YouTube videos are random productions. They’re decent, don’t get me wrong. However, structured online courses are better. You don’t want to randomly watch videos meant for advanced students when you have no clue what the basic moves are.

Structured courses are more aligned with how we learn and the stages involved.

So, you have stuff for beginners, intermediate and advanced students. With videos on YouTube, you could hop from one to another. There are so many resources, but make one your definitive course. That’ll help you focus.

Here are my top sources for learning Kung Fu online (not paid endorsements):

Platform Name/Link Why I Like It Cost
YouTube Freddie’s Modern Kung Fu Almost 600,000 subscribers, and tons of playlists to help you work on specific things, and over 13,000 videos! Free
Online Course 6 Dragons Kung Fu It’s a home study Kung Fu course from white to black belt but it also allows you to ask questions and submit your videos for feedback. From $1/month up to $512/month depending on the plan
YouTube ShifuYanLei Specific to the Shaolin style of Kung Fu with organized playlists for conditioning, strength training, beginner movements, and overall health and fitness Free
Live Training plus online courses Kung Fu.Life The daily live classes are broadcast from Ireland, so online times are UK-based. However, they also have lots of free training and online courses. They also offer discounts for prepaying. Combination of free and paid options up to $61.58/month (billed in British pounds)

If you like MMA (mixed martial arts), you’re probably curious about Kung Fu’s effectiveness in MMA. That’s what I explored in a recent article of mine. Are there MMA fighters who employ Kung Fu? You might be surprised!

Just click the link to read it on my site.

What are the best Kung Fu moves to learn at home?

The best Kung Fu movements to learn when practicing at home include stances, punches, kicks, and blocks.

This should be in addition to basic strength and conditioning exercises such as pushups, sit-ups, and squats.

Before you get started with Kung Fu moves, you must become more flexible. It’s even dangerous to do some moves if you’ve not already conditioned your body.

Clear out a room, or a part of a room, so you have enough space.

Ensure you’ve got mats on the floor, like these awesome mats from Amazon that are inexpensive and can fold away nicely when you don’t need them.

Then, get started with stretching exercises. Be gentle. Use skipping ropes.

Pushups, punch a bag, stretches, breathing exercises, frog jumps, then squats. In a nutshell, do basic exercises in the first few weeks so that your body can be more supple and strong.

After that, incorporate Kung Fu stances.

With Karate, these would be called katas, although the Chinese forms tend to flow together more and are smoother and less choppy. Depending on the style of Kung Fu you are learning, they may be called taolu, and there are different forms for different types of Kung Fu (Shaolin, Wing Chun, Tai Chi Chuan, etc).

But no matter what they get called, they are like a series of movements performed in order and can be both martial, and almost dance-like.

The most essential Kung Fu forms (with English names) would be:

  • Punch and Toe Kick
  • Windmill
  • Fisted Block
  • Palm Block
  • Double Chop, Palm Strike, Toe Kick
  • Hook Punch and Side Kick

There are the first “moves” to master along with the basic stances such as:

  • Horse Stance
  • Tiger Stance
  • Bow & Arrow Stance
  • Lotus Stance
  • Rooster Stance
  • Empty Stance

Then, work on your punches. Proceed to blocking and kicking. Practice all three on your punching bag (as if it’s your opponent). Then learn how to approach like a dragon, a tiger, and a leopard. Learn how to fly like a crane.

You’ve probably heard of how tough Krav Maga practitioners are.

But, can they beat Kung Fu fighters? I compared both in a recent article of mine. I concluded that Krav Maga could beat Kung Fu. Find out why?

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Do I need mats to do Kung Fu at home?

To learn Kung Fu at home, practicing on foldable martial arts or gymnastic mats is ideal. They should cover an area at least 10 feet by 8 feet.

These will enable safe training that will be easier on the joints over time.

They make training comfy. It’d be hard and risky to train on the bare floor. They’re used in all dojos. It’s more fun to sit on, jump on, or even fall on mats.

Fortunately, I’ve made picking the right one a piece of cake.

I like the foldable mats from BalanceFrom that you can get on Amazon.

They’re made of high-density foam. Each mat has a length of 10 feet and a width of 4 feet, and you can wash it whenever you like.

It has handles and edges made of Velcro.

In case you want to increase the space where you practice, you can easily add more mats by simply attaching them together.

It’s easy to fold and carry around. It’s an Amazon Choice product with over 5,000 perfect reviews.

CLICK HERE to check the current price on Amazon.

Conclusion

Can you teach yourself Kung Fu at home?

Yes, you can. In the preceding paragraphs, we looked at the best ways to teach yourself, how long it’ll take, the best moves to get started with, and whether you’ll be needing mats.

I also recommended one of the best mats you could get.


Photo which requires attribution:

Top 10 Kung Fu Punching Technique For Beginners #1 by David Wong – Qi Life Mastery is licensed under CC2.0 and had a still frame captured for the image.

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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