Kung fu - isn't an actual style, the literal meaning of Kung fu [gongfu] is to develop skill through time and effort. Most commonly in the west the term is used to mean Chinese martial arts [Wushu]. The goal of this site is to offer practical information on martial arts including articles and videos on tactics and training, there is also a movie review page where I recommend what I feel are the films with the best martial arts, and on the classes page I list information about the martial arts classes and private lessons that I teach in the Twin Cities area.
The best way to evaluate which martial art is right for you is to compare what your goals are with those of the teacher. There are four primary ways that martial arts can be taught. Many styles will combine these four but the instructor must always make choices on what to emphasize and spend class time on as there is limited time. So it's important that students think about their own priorities and pick schools and teachers that have similar goals. Keeping in mind that many instructors will claim to teach all of these, but what percentage of the instruction is spent on each area is important. For example a class that spends 80% of it's time on working out (cardio,stretching, Etc.) and 20% on self defense is quite different then one that does 80% on self defense. There is not a correct mix, your interests and goals will determine what is correct for you.
It can be taught to improve health and well-being, improving flexibility, coordination, balance, muscular strength, and cardiovascular fitness. It can also provide stress-relief.
Learning the most effective means to defend oneself or others, offering an individual more personal security and confidence in their daily life.
Attempting to preserve a style as it was performed in the past. This can include traditional technique and possibly cultural, historical or spiritual aspects.
Competition through modern martial art sports or traditional tournaments.
These four often yield many potential conflicts. While some techniques fit into all four, others only fit into one or two areas. It is important to be able to differentiate between these areas. For example, many people use self defense techniques in competition or competition techniques in self defense, only to find they aren't as effective as they would wish. This does not mean though they are not effective when kept in their original category.
The emphasis of this site and my classes is primarily on health and self defense. Traditional drills and techniques are used as long as they're the most efficient means to accomplish those goals but I don't limit myself to teaching those. Of course many of the ideas and drills discussed are also applicable to competitive martial arts and sports but my focus will be how they help with health and self defense.