Kung fu suit

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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 weakness in the transmission of all Chinese arts; a lack of basic training. In fact, a 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

White T-shirt (health)

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.

Black T-shirt (martial)

Having gained a foundation level of strength and flexibility, and acquired the introductory skills, the intermediate student commences fitness/limited martial training.
The student wears a black T-shirt rather than white. They are taking their first steps to becoming a martial artist.

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 fu suit (taijiquan fighting method)

Competent 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
Belt/sash to hold uniform closed

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 (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.

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

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)

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Page created 7 March 1997
Last updated 09 September 2019