St. Andrews Kung Fu & Taijiquan
Are you interested in learning traditional Chinese Gongfu (Kung Fu) and/or Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan), here in St. Andrews, for free? Read on.
The term "kung fu" was made popular in the west in the 60's and 70's by the boom of Chinese martial arts movies and movie stars, especially the legendary Bruce Lee. Most people think that "kung fu" is a single martial art but the term is actually used to refer to the whole universe of Chinese martial arts, of which there are hundreds.
"Kung fu" translates literally to "human achievement" but is more often interpreted as "time and effort". So "kung fu" is basically something that takes a great deal of time, dedication and effort in order for one to master it. For instance, you can say that learning to play the piano is learning kung fu, but it is almost always used with the meaning of learning a traditional Chinese martial art.
My name is Raúl and I've been a student of Yang's Martial Arts Association in Portugal since 1998, where I've been learning three styles of traditional Chinese Gongfu: Long Fist, White Crane, and Yang style Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan).
I recently moved to St. Andrews and since there's no YMAA school in Scotland, I decided to start a practise group and teach others. Please note that this group has no affiliation whatsoever with YMAA International nor any of it's branches. This is just me, sharing what I've learned.
I'm willing to pass my knowledge to others, providing that they show the necessary principles and integrity. I am not very formal when teaching (or in any other situation, for that matter) and my classes are usually relaxed instead of strictly formal, but I do impose some minor formalities and I do expect people to respect me, the art and their training companions - in and out of class.
Classes are free, at least for now, since we don't have any costs. This also means we have no insurance: this is not an official school; we're just a group of people who meet and practise Gongfu together, so if you want to have insurance, you need to arrange your own.
Since classes are free, I reserve the right to refuse to teach anyone who doesn't respect his/her training partners, or who proves him/herself unworthy of my time or the time of the other students.
We don't have any equipment, we don't have any fees, we don't have any costs and we don't even have a fixed training facility (we practise in places we can book for free; currently this is the Nisbet room at DRA). Eventually, if enough people are interested, we can form a University club or society, so that we can use the Sports Centre or the Students' Union facilities.
For now, all I can promise is that I'll do my best to provide you with a lot of sweat and sore legs (if you go to the Gongfu classes; Taijiquan tends to be much softer), as well as a great feeling of self-conquest, while learning something cool.
Interested? Then fill this form and I'll contact you to let you know more details.
Here's what you should bring to class:
- comfortable, loose clothing;
- flat shoes, if possible;
- water, at least 1 litre;
- towel and extra clothing.
About the extra clothing: there are no showers available for us to use afterwards but I still recommend that you bring at least an extra shirt (or t-shirt, or blouse, or whatever you prefer), because sometimes we'll sweat a lot and you should probably change into something warmer and dry before heading out into the cold.
Thanks for reading and for your interest!