Kung-Fu Application Training

Application training is the name given to sparring in Kung-Fu and it is where two students engage in combat to put their own skills to test as they attempt to land blows on each other. By no means do all Kung-Fu schools practise application training. Indeed it is a controversial issue with several different camps espousing a range of contradictory views. Some Kung-Fu styles avoid it all together as they claim their style is too deadly to be used in anything other than mortal combat. Certainly eye-gouging and bone breaking techniques would seem to have little place in a school scenario. Where application training is practised it is done so with safety in mind, so rules and restraint must be applied.

On the other hand, some Traditional Kung-fu schools incorporate free fighting training into their curriculum and application training forms the basis for competition. In China there is a long tradition of masters challenging each other to prove the superiority of their own style and it would be impossible for someone who has not rigorously practised applying their art in a real life combat, to win. This tradition takes place today in organised contests called Sanshou and the competing arena is the same as in the death matches of old – a raised platform called a Lei Tei.

Sparring forms involving two people in unarmed or armed mock combat are another form of application training. Although these are composed of choreographed sequences – a kick from one student and a dodge from the other for example, they teach Kung-Fu students which specific techniques to use in a particular situation. By training over and over again, the correct techniques are ingrained in muscle memory and become second nature to be used in contest, or real-life combat.