What is a kung fu 功夫 style?
Lau pai 流派 in Cantonese, or liu pai in Mandarin, is a “style” or lit. “stream/tributary”. The term describes differing “streams”, or “schools of thought”. A kung fu 功夫 style (lau pai 流派) attempts to use a specific strategy, a unique approach, to defeating an opponent or group of opponents.
For example; a given style may focus on the importance of a certain weapon. The school may promote the said weapon as being unique and powerful. A different style may advocate throwing (like judo) as superior, and thus becomes their style of combat. Others prefer kicking, and so it goes on.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Chinese martial art styles. The simple logic is that individuals all have different ideas and opinions on how best to defeat an opponent. Styles range from the practical to the pathetic. The potential student should enter being informed and aware.
In ancient times combat was categorised in two main parts – civil and military. However, styles of today have now become categorised under many sub divisions, which is not only confusing, but also irrelevant in practical terms. There are many styles that are entirely devoted to mental and physical development. These should not be practiced if the exponent is in need of self defence capability.
At the Jin Si Sum 戦士心 institute, we practice Maan Mut Ji Do 萬物之道 or “Way of Ten Thousand Things”. The art/style is practical and severe. Training sessions quickly reveal the character of the style so no one can be mislead in any way. The essence of our style is to create nerve pain for our opponents. That can mean bone breaks, tendon tearing, and soft area piercing. We can use weapons or an unarmed approach. The style cannot be used in sport applications.