But why didn’t I stop doing Kung Fu after I “learnt enough techniques”? Firstly, I don’t believe that it is possible to “learn enough techniques”. The number of possibilities one may find themselves in on the streets is immeasurable and different techniques may work differently for different people; I may find a certain technique easier than someone else, and vice versa.
After starting Kung Fu, within a few months I began to see other changes. The first changes were physical changes. I first noticed that my flexibility had begun to increase. This was due to the footwork, kicks and stances involved in Kung Fu. Flexibility helps improve one’s posture, reduce muscle tension, relaxes the body and reduces the risk of injury; All of which are vital in everyday life, especially when the majority of people spend a lot of time throughout the day sitting at a desk. Soon, I also began to realise that my physical capabilities were increasing. Since Kung Fu is a complete body activity. It increases stamina, energy, cardiovascular endurance and strength as well as improving coordination, balance, agility and speed. These enhancements play a large factor in one’s daily life. I, for example, also play squash, and I began to notice that my reaction speed began to increase and my ability to play longer rallies was boosted. Having reliable stamina may also be vital in a self-defence situation. To have the upper hand, one should not get tired before their opponent but be able to stay standing for longer.
Alongside physical changes, I was also met by mental changes. Firstly, my ability to work under pressure increased. A key component of Kung Fu training is emotional control, (not reacting to situations and making the outcome worse for yourself, but controlling your emotional response to ensure everything goes to plan) This helped me gain more control over myself and find my way through difficult situations. Furthermore, because I began to realise that I could handle myself physically, I began to develop greater confidence in myself and my capabilities. I came across as more stable, calm, and self-assured. With sufficient practice, you begin to learn how much you can endure, what you can apply to a real self-defence situation, and that you are capable and strong. I also began to gain focus and concentration. I believe that if you can’t focus effectively, you can’t think effectively. Focus is important as it is what allows you to think clearly. Clarity is an essential ingredient in life and in anything you may pursue.
Though these results do not immediately show in your daily life after beginning Kung Fu, it is undeniable that practising Kung Fu will help you both physically and mentally. All that it requires is consistency and implementation.