Slow Kung Fu is Better (and being faster doesn’t work.)

Why slower?

So, first the training benefits of slower. (we’ll get the martial application in a minute.)

Start slow to learn then speed it up.

Obviously you need to train at medium and fast speeds on a regular basis.

The thing with the Internal Martial Arts is that we’re always adding layers of depth and refining to a higher level.

So, for example, in the Tai Chi section of the Internal Combat Arts course…

…you learn how to dissipate a punch using movement & softness.

You start slow. That way you learn the skill and no one gets hurt.

Then you have 2 options.

1) Slowly increase the speed until you can do this against a full speed attacker.


2) Refine the skill.

Stay slow or go even slower. Use less movement. Use more softness. While getting even better dissipation of the incoming force.

Of course you should do both.

You also learn a bunch of different ways to generate power in the Internal Combat Arts course. (Around 6 – 8 different methods. I’ll count up exactly how many soon.)

So you learn several of them. Then you have the same two options with each of them.

You use option 2 to continually refine them and increase the amount of power they generate.

Then there’s a third option.

3) Combine.

You take the power methods and the dissipation skill and you start combining them. So they all happen at once. Correctly.

Then we’re back to the first two options… …and of course we do both.

It’s a never ending cycle of refining skills and combining skills.

…and so the ‘start slow to learn’ part of that first statement never ends.

Now the martial benefit of slowness.

We have to assume the attackers are faster than us.

If you don’t make this assumption you are in for a very unpleasant surprise,

…if you ever have to use your art for survival.

So, we must train to use Position, Timing to overcome faster opponents.

(Of course we build speed too.)

The good news is that not only will Position and Timing beat speed.

Position and Timing will continually improve as long as you work on them.

…at some point your speed will decline no matter what you do.

So, if you move faster than your partner you are making a dangerous assumption and building bad habits.

(Moving sooner than your partner is ok. Faster is not.)

Moving at the same speed as your partner(s) is ok.

Moving slower than your partner(s) (and learning to still completely dominate the situation) is better.

The way we often determine speed on slow drills & sparring is:

Go as fast as you can while still being able to see EVERYTHING you and your partner are doing from head to toe. Training this way will rapidly increase the speed at which you perceive everything that is happening around you.

When you start to get good at moving slowly your partners will begin to walk right into things because your position is smarter and they are moving faster than what they can effectively perceive.

So, take all the different push hands games and drills in the Internal Combat Arts Course and spend time training them at an excruciatingly slow speed.

If you put in the time to do that, you’ll find your skill actually increases faster.

One last thing, instead of starting slow and speeding up. Try starting slow and slowing down. This will magnify the benefits discussed above and you’ll get other things out of it as well.

Greatly Improve Your Kung Fu Training in 3 Simple Steps

Here are 3 simple ways to greatly improve your Kung Fu training.

Apply them to your form, your techniques, your applications and especially your drills & sparring.

Just a word of warning first. Simple does not mean easy.


Everything you train today should be a little lower than it was yesterday. And make tomorrow a little lower than today.

Keep at it until your thighs are parallel to the floor.

Don’t compromise structure or softness.

Once you can move as comfortably, easily and softly at thighs parallel as you you can standing up then your work here is done.


How slow can you train without stopping?

Now work on going slower.

Make sure to maintain constant, smooth movement the whole time.

No starts and stops.

This is especially important training for partner drills and sparring.


There’s no end to this one.

Sigung Clear is much softer than I am and he’s still working at it.

His teacher’s, in their 60’s, 70’s & 80’s are much softer than he is and they’re still working at it.

So relax more and deeper and more completely.

…and then become even softer.

Lower, Slower and Softer.

These are not fun to work on.

…mostly because progress feels slow and the more you improve the more you realize how much more room for improvement you still have.

Don’t get discouraged.

Kung Fu training is supposed to taste bitter. Internal Kung Fu even more so.

Even a little bit, done consistently will produce great results…

As long as you have good training methods to start with.

Like the stuff in the 16 week Internal Combat Arts Course. If you join that program and practice the material you’ll get a lot of great stuff out of it.

But if you train that stuff AND apply Lower, Slower, Softer the benefits will be greatly enhanced.


What is Indoor Teaching? & why Kung Fu sucks

I’ve been asked a couple times recently about what exactly the term “Indoor Training” means.

Basically “indoor” is a term for information in a system that is only taught to a privileged few.

In other words it’s stuff that is only taught ‘behind closed doors’ instead of in public.

There are different names for this practice.

Sometimes you have to be a family member or become a disciple to get this info. Some systems are only passed on to one person.

Everyone else is kept in the dark.

No matter how dedicated or how long they study.

Now, this practice makes sense if you go back before modern firearms and you have to worry about war with a nearby city, family or tribe.

But in the modern world this doesn’t protect you from unpleasant folks. They’ll just stock up on firearms, try to run you over with a car or send their lawyers after you.

A lot of things have been lost because of this practice.

And it’s the primary reason there is so much poor quality kung fu and Internal martial arts out there.

There are two reasons this practice continues…


Ignorance comes in a few different forms.

Some people never learn they’ve been held out on. They simply teach what they learned without ever realizing they’re doing themselves, their students and their art a disservice.

Others perpetuate this practice because it’s what they were taught . They were handed this tradition and they never questioned it or considered the damage they’re doing to their students and the art they’re trying to preserve.

And then there’s FEAR…

Fear that the competition will steal their ‘secrets.’

Fear that their students will learn everything they know and then leave. (and maybe become the competition.)

These fears, and those like them, are a fear of losing power and control over others.

(If your goal is power over others I suggest you dream big and go into politics or start a career in our financial industry.)

These fears are destructive.

If a teacher only teaches the good stuff to a few people then a lot of their time is spent teaching not so good stuff.

Their skill level will suffer because of all this time spent working with poor quality training. (which leads to an increase in fear.)

If they only have one or two disciples then they have a huge problem if one goes rogue or is killed in a car wreck.

And all those students who studied for years without developing the skill they should have…

..their skill level will form the basis of the arts reputation in the years to come.

If you are constantly learning and you teach everybody openly…

– then a rogue student will quickly be surpassed by his peers and the loss of a senior student won’t be the end of the system.

– You will never run out of things to teach.

– and with more skilled students your skill will grow faster as well.

There is also an almost legitimate fear that someone they teach will use their knowledge to hurt someone.

Thing is, indoor training is NOT any easier.

It still takes HARDWORK over TIME.

(It’s just much much more effective.)

In today’s world the bad eggs have access to much easier ways to hurt somebody…

And the good eggs…

…The hardworking students who will carry these arts forward…

The don’t need any extra obstacles in their path.

These arts are hard enough already.

The solution is simple.


LEARN the best stuff you can find anywhere you can find it.

Become a shining example of what is possible with these arts.

and TEACH.

Share what you know.

Make sure your students become high quality examples to carry these arts forward.

It’s Simple…

learn, teach and never ever stop.

Sigung Clear was lucky. In the early years of his training he got access to the indoor teaching of some highly skilled teachers.

But instead of trying to coast on that tiny bit of luck, like many folks do,

He added a whole bunch of Hard Work.

Constantly training and seeking out the best teachers and learning the best stuff he could.

Over and over. Again and again.

…for over 30 years now.

To this day he still makes sure to get around 6 weeks of full time (40 hours or more) instruction per year.

(That’s about 240 hrs per year. To put it in perspective if you attend a 2hr class twice a week that’s 208 hrs per year if you never ever miss class.)

That’s why our programs are able to deliver the results that they do.

…because we skip all the BS and start with the good stuff right away.

Our hope is that if we keep doing this often enough and loudly enough more folks will follow our example.

If you’d like try the good stuff approach then go check this out:

Kun Tao

Kun Tao is an extremely deadly form of  the old hand Kung Fu from the temples and family systems of China.

Today it is primarily found in Indonesia and Malaysia.  The Chinese began migrating to the spice islands in the 1200’s and quickly became the largest immigrant population in Indonesia and Malaysia. As a result the islands became a melting pot of Southeast Asian martial arts including Kun Tao.

Kun Tao is 2 words in Cantonese. The word Kun means fist and the word Tao means way. Together they mean Fist Way or Way of the Fist. In Mandarin the words for Fist Way are Chuan Fa. There are approximately 350 known Kun Tao Styles.

Kun Tao is an art form that due to its deadliness was outlawed in the islands and until the last 85 years or so was very rarely taught to non-Chinese and even only rarely taught to non-family members who were Chinese.

Fortunately by the time World War I ended there was a very large mixing of cultures in Indonesia and Malaysia. The Dutch were the primary European colonists in the area establishing plantations and growing such things as tobacco and coffee.

The main source of trade and money in Malaysia were the Chinese and with the large amount of trade both East and West came people from many different cultures and back grounds and multi-generations of people who intermarried and over the centuries had become part of the culture. As this occurred Kun Tao and Silat began to grow beyond its roots and spread outside of the cultures from which they came.

In 1954 when Sukarno came to full power in Indonesia he forced all people of mixed blood and non-Indos to leave or be beheaded. As a result a number of serious Kun Tao and Silat practitioners who were of mixed Indonesian, Dutch and Chinese descent fled the country and went to Holland, other European countries and eventually the United States. As a result Kun Tao and Silat came to the USA and was taught to Americans starting in the early 1960’s.

Kun Tao can now be found in most major cities in the United States.

Kun Tao techniques tend to be devastating close range explosive techniques utilizing rapid fire blasting strikes and rapid grappling breaks. The old hand street Kung Fu training includes specialty palms and jing expressions as well as animal form training and the internal arts of Hsing-I, Pa Kua / Ba Gua and Tai Chi. The primary commonality of most Kun Tao styles and methods is the lethal nature and unique and unmistakable expressive explosiveness of the Kun Tao arts.