Kung fu suit

classes     taijiquan     baguazhang     self defence     qigong     about us     reviews     a-z


The uniform puts you in the mood. You feel like getting on with the training.
Down to business. Ready for action.

Casual attire

A pair of jeans or jogging bottoms would not produce the same effect.
Pilates trousers are too figure hugging and require a certain physique. Cropped tops are immodest.

Kung fu styles like taijiquan have become widespread and popular. It is important for all practitioners to understand a major weaknesses in the transmission of all Chinese arts; a lack of basic training. In fact, step-by-step training program, standardized terminology, clear explanations and correct interpretations are either entirely missing or woefully scarce.

(Adam Hsu)

Martial arts

Martial arts uniforms have generous groin space.
If you wore jeans to train form, kicks and throwing, you may rupture yourself or be restricted in terms of movement.

Standard uniform

All students wear:

White cotton crew-neck T-shirt
Black cotton kung fu/karate trousers
School badge sewn onto the T-shirt
Flat footwear; preferably not training/sports shoes

All students start out as tai chi for health students. The first two grades are non-martial.

White T-shirt

The onus is upon getting fit, strong, supple, coordinated and relaxed.
Good alignment, ergonomics and elementary physics are all introduced.
Students learn how to focus and work with one another in a constructive manner.

Not a kung fu student

A student who is getting fit by training health material is not a kung fu student.

Black T-shirt

Having gained a foundation level of strength and flexibility, and acquired the introductory skills, the experienced student commences martial training.
The student wears a black T-shirt rather than white.
They are no longer a tai chi for health student. They are taking their first steps to becoming a martial artist.

Kung fu student

A person who is being introduced to martial concepts, simple applications and martial sets is a 'kung fu student'.
But they are not adept or skilled because they lack the ability to use those skills effectively.
Therefore, a black T-shirt is appropriate rather than a changshan.

Not the uniform

Dave Lowry once spoke of inexperienced martial arts students washing their uniform repeatedly in an effort to make it look 'seasoned'.
Lowry pointed out the problem was not with the uniform.

Kung (work)

Kung fu, qigong (chi kung) and neigong (nei kung) are all about hard work.
Notice the word 'kung' in each of the words?
They are all linked in nature.
The presence of 'kung' denotes the need to commit time, practice, patience and effort.

Kung fu training

The experienced syllabus kung fu material includes:

  1. 3-D

  2. Broadsword drills

  3. Chin na applications

  4. Countering punches, kicks & grapples

  5. Double pushing hands

  6. Form applications

  7. Long Yang form (sections 2 & 3)

  8. Martial concepts (intro)

  9. Penetrating defences

  10. Silk arms

  11. Single pushing hands (stepping) 

  12. Small san sau

  13. Stick drills (3 sets)

  14. Stretches & joint work

  15. Yielding/chin na

  16. Yielding/countering

Show your skills

Taijiquan looks like taijiquan.
The form, pushing hands, you know... taijiquan.
If your martial expression of taijiquan does not look like taijiquan, it is probably not taijiquan.


An experienced kung fu student is capable of using taijiquan skills in unrehearsed combat featuring a wide range of unpredictable attacks.
They are a martial artist.

Earn the right

Experienced students wear a 'kung fu suit':

Black cotton changshan
Black cotton kung fu/karate trousers
School badge sewn onto the left upper chest and the neijiaquan patch on the right sleeve

With the requisite repertoire of preliminary martial skills and some fighting ability, the student has earned the right to wear a kung fu suit.

Kung fu is thousands of years old and is a highly developed system of martial art. The student who locates a good kung fu school will find the training thorough and challenging. Kung fu skills, which have been refined over centuries, are not learned easily or quickly. The sincere student, however, through hard work and dedication, will not be disappointed with the results.

(Adam Hsu)

Page created 7 March 1997
Last updated 27 April 2017