What to Expect
BKFA is a traditional kung fu school. This means the training is based on the foundation and passing on of knowledge of many generations past. We might occasionally talk about things like history and philosophy, but in class we are more focused on the practice and being present.
In class, you will slowly build skills starting with a strong foundation in the basics. Your first class is usually less than an hour, so that we can show the student stretches and a few techniques to practice between classes. Then at each succeeding class, we build upon skills you have practiced from the previous class.
At BKFA, we have a sash system that will test various milestones that a student reaches. Our levels are unique to our lineage, so the sashes will not transfer to other schools or styles (and vice versa).
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I sign up?
Click here to schedule a time to view a kung fu class or view a trial tai chi class. Observing a kung fu or tai chi class is the best way for prospective students to determine if BKFA is a good fit for them. A simple application process helps ensure a prospective student is a good fit for BKFA. Registration is ongoing so students can apply at any time. Please note we do not currently offer classes for those under 18 years old.
Our school requires students commit to a minimum of attending classes twice a week (calculated quarterly), preferably more often. We feel this is the absolute minimum to make consistent progress and growth in any practice. Students are expected to practice on their own in between classes. Private lessons may be available for sincere students wanting to learn and train that can’t make it to our regularly scheduled group classes due to other commitments. Private students should plan to schedule lessons weekly or every two weeks.
What should I wear to my first class?
Comfortable, loose clothing like a t-shirt and sweatpants and thin-soled shoes that you can move in. Your first two-month commitment will include a school t-shirt, and if you choose to continue training past the first test, kung fu shoes and black kung fu training pants will be required.
How quickly will I progress?
Most students will be asked to test for their first level, Green Sash, 3 months after their first class. Passing this test marks the formal acceptance into the kung fu program. Training during this time will give you a strong foundation for the kung fu basics, which include stances, kicks, and 12 Characters (techniques that embody principles of our style). These carry over to all your years of training, however long you desire to continue. After the Green Sash, you will begin to learn forms and fighting applications. Later, you will progress to additional forms, more advanced applications, conditioning, weapons, sparring and two-person forms.
There are currently 2 “tracks” offered at BKFA for kung fu: the Practitioner Program and the Teacher Program. The Practitioner Program is about 3 years in duration. The Teacher Program is about 10 years in duration (on average).
When can I expect to see results from the training?
Most people begin to see a difference in energy and health benefits within a few weeks. The training is in some ways self-paced, but we will always push you to the edge of your ability to keep challenging you and hold you accountable for your practice. Your progress will depend on how often you practice. How we show up for practice is a direct reflection of how we are able to show up for life. We develop tools to become more aware of our inner obstacles and find ways to release them.
What is the school etiquette?
What we are most concerned about at BKFA is that our community is respectful of each other. Our community is built around training, and we ask that socializing be done outside of class time. Our school can be considered a sanctuary. We ask that students treat the space and each other as such. There will be school events where we build the social side of our kung fu family. Students should be aware and present in class, in order for all to gain the most out of training. The proper way to address your kung fu, tai chi or qigong teacher is “Sifu.”
When do I get to spar?
Sparring will begin after the student has a very strong foundation. Eligibility is based on each individual student’s progression, which depends greatly on how frequently they train and practice. This includes working through fighting applications, two-person forms and conditioning first to ensure that students can spar safely and effectively with skill that embodies our style.
Do we compete in tournaments?
While we do occasionally participate in tournaments, this is not the focus of our school. Rather than being concerned with external competition, our practice is more focused on mind/body integration.
What makes a successful student?
One who is empty. We get a lot of students who have trained a long time in other styles and other types of athletic activity. A student should let go of expectations of how things should be, i.e., I’m good at XYZ (running, cycling, etc.), so I should be good at Kung Fu. Kung fu means skill through effort (hard work). View it as a fun challenge. It won’t be easy, regardless of one’s background. It is a very unique, comprehensive type of training, and students will get the most out of it when looking at it as a new journey.
How will kung fu benefit me?
With regular training, students often notice increased strength, flexibility, range of motion, endurance, energy, and increased mental awareness and focus. The practice may also help with insomnia, anxiety, depression, and peace of mind (by allowing the mind to clear), as well as help move blood and energy, decreasing pain and fatigue. Click here for resources and studies that discuss these benefits.