• What to look for in a Martial Arts School

• Reasons why people study Martial Arts

• Children and the Martial Arts

What is the difference between Kung Fu, Karate, Tae Kwon Do, etc.?
The main difference is their place of origin. Most Martial Arts came from the Chinese arts. They were then transported to Japan, Okinawa, and Korea. Each of the arts developed very much like their culture. The Japanese arts were very strict and rigid and used maximum effort for maximum results. They spend the same time working on punching and kicking. Their fighting style was very linear, strong and straight forward. The Korean styles were predominately kicking styles. They work about 80% kicking and about 20% punching and are very sport oriented. Most Chinese styles work equal punching and equal kicking. You’ll work high kicking as well as low kicking into the legs. You’ll work outside fighting, as well as inside fighting, using elbows and knees. You'll develop skills in joint locking, throws, ground fighting, and a full array of weaponry. You’ll do straight line fighting as well as using a lot of side stepping, and evasion, so you learn how to use their power against them. The Chinese styles were usually very complete arts. 

What type of Chinese Martial Arts do you teach? Is it Northern or Southern?
It is a combination of both. The ancestors of our system traveled throughout China and picked up techniques from all over. We start out more Northern, which is a more long arm style or dealing with larger movements. This trains the students to use their waists for all of their strikes. We then become more of a short fisted Southern style, which is good for inside fighting, which is where most fights end up.

What’s the difference between Tai Chi and Kung Fu?
There is mostly a difference in approach, which ends up very similar. Chinese styles were broken up into WuDong and Shaolin arts. WuDong is considered the internal arts, like Tai Chi, Pa Kua, and Xing Yi. Shaolin was considered the external arts. Tai Chi originated from Kung Fu, which means that the Shaolin arts have the internal components that Tai Chi does. In Tai Chi, you learn how to use the body first, and then we add the arms and legs. In Kung Fu we start by learning to how to use the arms and legs first, and then we add the body into it. Again, they both achieve a similar end result. They just take a different path to get there. 

What is Judo, Jui Jitsu, Hapkido, Aikido, etc.?
Judo is a throwing art, whose forefather is Swa Jou. Aikido, Hapkido, and Jui Jitsu work throws and a lot of joint locking. The forefather of Aikido is Chin-Na. Most traditional Chinese systems have throwing and joint locking as part of their complete system. So, you will be learning the throwing and joint locking here, it’s just not our only emphasis.

What’s your ranking structure? Do you have belts, sashes, or what?
We have 10 ranks under black belt and 10 ranks over black belt. This is a fairly standardized system of ranking in most Martial Arts styles. Some have different color belts and some have several kyu’s within each rank. They still have 10 ranks under and over black belt. In a lot of traditional Chinese systems, it was just beginner, student, and master. When Grandmaster Pai started teaching in this country, he felt it necessary to adopt the ranking structure that we use. In a school situation, it allows the student to know where they stand.

How do I develop attributes like: Discipline, Balance, Confidence etc.? 
Fitness: We will work your body internally with breathing exercises and externally through push ups and sit up type exercises. The aerobic or cardio end is taken care of through punching and kicking drills.
Discipline: Just by coming to classes on a regular basis requires discipline. By doing so, you’ll feel like you have accomplished something. That always feels good; which will encourage you to do more. This process develops very growth oriented individuals.
Confidence/Self esteem: We focus on this right from the very start by imitating a confident disposition. This is done by the way you stand, speak, and move, and eventually becomes a part of you. As you develop the ability to defend your self, this will reinforce that confident disposition.
Balance: Your life, your spirit, and your body all need to be centered or balanced. This is one of the most important aspects of the training you will receive here. The study of the art is like a study of life. You’ll discover your strengths and weaknesses, and then work through it. This makes you a stronger, more balanced individual. We just use the study of fighting as a way to this. Your martial arts training will be a way to maintain balance. 
Focus: Focus is developed through getting your mind off of everything else. In class you won't to have time to think of anything else. You will be concentrating on how to properly execute a punch or kick. You will be focusing on blocking so you don’t get hit. If you develop this in one area of your life, it will carry over into other areas as well.
Stress Relief: Stress relief is achieved in two ways. One, you will be able to yell and scream! This lets you release that trapped aggression and aggravation you feel. Second, you will relieve stress through breathing, meditation and learning what it truly means to relax.

Do you sell martial arts equipment and books?
Yes, we sell a wide variety of martial arts supplies, equipment and books. Uniforms may also be purchased at the Elizabethtown Kung Fu Center.

What weapons do you teach?
Under black belt we teach bo staff (con), nunchaku, and Chinese broadsword (darndo or plum sword). With each weapon we deal with different ranges of attack; short, middle and long range. Other weapons such as the three sectional staff, kuando, and iron whip are taught after black belt. Also available are Modern Arnis classes. In this class we deal with stick (escrima) and knife training. Please see the class schedule for times of Modern Arnis classes.

What is the deadliest style of Martial arts?
We feel that any style of martial arts is effective and deadly. What students get out of their training depends on the teacher and sincerity of the students training a particular style.

What should I look for in a martial arts school?

A. QUALIFIED TEACHER: Credentials are necessary for any "professional" in their field. Most would not seek the advice of a physician who flunked medical school, or retain a lawyer that attended 1⁄2 of law school. When seeking a martial arts teacher, find someone that is authorized by their teacher. To aid in determining the qualifications of a potential martial arts teacher ask the following questions: 

  1. Who's their teacher?

  2. Do they still train with their teacher?

  3. Do they have authorization to teach?

  4. View their "teaching license".

  5. To validate their claims, ask "May I speak with your teacher?"

  6. If their teacher has passed away, did they receive permission to teach before he or she passed away?

Some martial artists may feel interrogated by this line of questioning but as long as you have a very respectful approach, no offense will be taken. Be aware of martial artists that claim to teach multiple styles. Most authentic martial artists refer to this as "Jack of all arts, master of none." Some of these martial artists dabble in one style then another, never truly developing skill in any particular one. One good reason is that true self-discipline is necessary to maintain training & studies to progress in one style. At some point these "martial artists" believe they no longer require a teacher. They open a school with limited knowledge on martial arts and teaching martial arts. Soon someone unfortunately becomes their student. We do not want this to happen to you. This type of teacher will try to entice you with the following:

  1. "I've studied all these styles, see how much I have to offer you."
    Think: Jack of all trades, master of none.

  2. "I am less expensive than the (qualified) teacher across town."
    Think: You get what you pay for. (Most of the time.).

  3. Insulting another teacher, or bragging that their skill is far superior.
    Think: This is not the appropriate behavior of a true professional.


  1. Most authentic teachers live what they teach. Qualities such as honesty, integrity, and self discipline are a large part of their foundation, and what they base their life upon.

  2. These qualities are what is usually passed on to the student, or your child. Most martial arts teachers take on the responsibility of being a "guide", someone who can truly guide you, since they've walked a similar path. Although, your teacher can only point the way in which to live your life, filled with strong character, and a belief in yourself. It's up to you, the student, to follow through with your commitment.

  3. The teacher runs a full time school. This demonstrates a commitment towards teaching and a lifestyle. It demonstrates a confidence in their ability to teach, and rely on it for their livelihood. The student will benefit with more focus on self confidence, discipline, stress release, persistence, accomplishments, fitness, self defense, and so much more.

  4. A school that offers an organized program that's designed for the student to make maximum progress. As with any art (i.e. musical instrument, etc.), there are no short cuts. Discipline is required, and is developed through the proper stages of training. If you find yourself sparring by the second week of training, something's wrong! It's important to first develop your foundation. These are your basics: punching, blocking, kicking, stance work, foot work, etc. It's important to first strengthen, stretch, and condition your body to prepare it for further development as a complete martial artist. If this is not occurring, maybe you're not with a qualified teacher. There are many other stages in your development as a complete martial artist. A qualified teacher will be able to convey this in proper stages. Remember, the job of a teacher is to give you what you need to develop as a complete martial artist, not give you what you've decided you want. This is why you go to a teacher, and why you should dedicate yourself in helping the teacher do their job, by doing what is required of you, the student, to the best of your ability.

  5. Consistent training is important for the student to feel accomplishment, and it lessens the feeling of frustration. A full time school will offer day and evening classes, which allows the student to make maximum progress.

  6. Search for a school that offers separate children and adult classes. The approach of teaching adults and children is different. The pace of learning differs for adults and children. Their reasons for training are different, and motivation for learning are on different levels. Strengths and weaknesses will vary drastically. Separate programs for children and adults involve more time, work, and understanding, which is precisely why many schools don't offer both. Your decision of where you or your children study is critical for proper development, development that goes beyond punching and kicking.

Qualifications of a teacher will make all the difference in the quality of instruction.


Reasons why people study martial arts?

    A total body workout in a fun inspiring way!
    Increased levels of energy, strength, stamina & flexibility!
    Great cardiovascular workouts!

    Empowerment to accomplish & achieve in martial arts & life through increased self defense.
    Accountability for yourself, your health, self protection & awareness lead to personal growth.

    People from all walks of life, with a shared interest.
    People looking for a positive goal oriented activity.
    People just like you.

    "I believe I can" attitude!
    A positive atmosphere to develop a positive attitude.
    This will make you feel complete.

    Learning how to truly relax.
    Stress is the source of most major health problems.
    Eliminate the source & good health will follow.

    Lifestyle changes to keep it off (create healthy habits).
    Breathing exercises to strengthen the internal body (organs, digestion, & circulation).
    This allows the external body (bones, muscles, & tendons) to respond better to physical exercises.

    Elimination of outside distractions.
    Concentration & focus are the cornerstones to quick effective learning, and these create better work & study habits.
    Focused individuals accomplish & enjoy more in life.

    Belief in yourself creates self respect. With self respect comes a non-judgmental attitude towards others.
    Respect for others allows you to focus on good qualities in others.
    The result is a positive state of mind which leads to improved self image.

    Awareness eliminates dangerous situations before they occur.
    Develop self confidence from knowing you can defend yourself.
    Become accountable for your own protection (self reliance).

    Class topics are always changing. This makes exercising interesting.
    Always someone there to motivate you.
    A challenging activity KEEPS you learning and growing.

Is martial arts for everyone?

First, I must say that truly anyone can study Martial Arts. All that is required is a true desire to learn and follow through. The flip side of this is that Martial Arts training may not be the right fit for everyone. I know this sounds like I am contradicting myself, but let's explore this a bit further.

Why would Martial Arts training not be right for some people? Some may not be ready to embrace change in their lives or embrace a healthier lifestyle. Some people simply are not disciplined enough. Some just are not yet prepared mentally to take responsibility for themselves, their lives, their goals, their success, their health, or their ability to protect themselves or loved ones. Some people play the victim role and do not have the strength to step out of the role. I'm sorry to say that for those people, we are not for you.

Statistics say about 1% of our population study some type of Martial Arts. There is a reason for that. Embracing growth and change is difficult to do. We get set in our comfortable ways which propagate lack of drive, responsibility, and eventually our health and well being. We say we want change, but often change seems to be something someone else is supposed to do for us. Or is it? For change to occur, each of us must look at ourselves and start there.

For overall change to occur in a community, a city, a county, a state, a country, the world, we must first start by making a change in ourselves. If a small number of citizens take on the responsibility to incite change, they do so by setting the example of changing themselves. This occurs through a lifestyle change, a lifestyle change that a properly taught Martial Arts program can invoke. A good quality program will continue a tradition of common courtesy, etiquette, and respect.

Martial Arts study is meant to constantly challenge us mentally and physically. It should challenge us to grow, mature, and make better choices in our lives. This only comes through contemplation, inward focus, and the guidance of an experienced teacher. We often come to a crossroads in our lives where we feel the desire to move in a direction. A direction of self cultivation will cause us to live a life well lived. There may be a time in our lives where we think, "Is this all I will do in my life? I work, I eat, I watch TV, and I go to the beach every summer", or "I have a family, but do not set much of an example of a life filled with continuous learning." Our lives should be lived like a journey, where every turn brings us a new adventure. A life where you get to the end and say, "Wow, it's been great!"

If you're reading this article, you have probably come to this crossroad in your life. Only 1% of our population has chosen to take a step in the direction of Martial Arts as a primer for this growth. I can only imagine how many other individuals have come to this point and lacked what it takes to move forward. Do they lack what it takes? Or is it simply fear to take their first step?

You need to take some time to consider what holds you back. A journey of a thousand miles starts with one single step. Life is a journey, not a destination. How is your journey going? Is it filled with "Have To's," just getting through your day, stress, bad eating habits, or complacency? You will come to your crossroads. You will either continue on your present course, or you will find a better way. Traditional Martial Arts training can and will provide a better way for you if you embrace the process. Where will you be mentally and physically in 5 or 10 years if you continue on your present course? So if you are at your personal crossroad, I urge you to take the first step in a new, more positive direction. Whether that is Martial Arts, going back to school, or simply embracing a healthier life style, I encourage you to take that step.

Here at the Elizabethtown Kung Fu Center, we have been helping people just like you take that first step. If you are up for the challenge and ready to step forward, you may set up an initial consultation to discuss your options here at the Elizabethtown Kung Fu Center.

Children and Martial Arts

Martial Arts for children can provide many positive benefits besides basic self-defense. Confidence, self esteem, self discipline, self respect, and focus are but a few of the many benefits your child will develop at the Elizabethtown Kung Fu Center.

One of the most important benefits developed initially is self confidence. This development is from and recognized by the way the child speaks, carries their posture, and through their movement. Continued consistent training develops more confidence, by the psychological effects of being able to defend themselves.

Discipline is achieved by seeing the results of their practice. They come to realize that by doing something on a regular consistent basis, they can and will achieve their martial arts goals. When children see clearly they can accomplish their goals, the learning process excites them. Once experienced in one facet of their life, they unconsciously apply it in other areas, such as school, sports, music, etc. It's simply understanding that learning can and will come with persistence. You just have to do it. At the Elizabethtown Kung Fu center, we provide the motivation and support for you child to facilitate the process. This is a starting point that leads to countless other benefits derived from a study of the martial arts. Martial arts are an excellent impetus to develop pride, willpower, and a strong work ethic in your child.

Next is the health of your child. The activities of our youth greatly influence how we will develop as adults. If a child is brought up in an environment that emphasizes keeping in a good physical condition, they tend to continue such practices as adults. Furthermore, what a child does physically will influence how their bodies develop. The body has a way of providing you with what you need. All you need to do is ask for it on a regular consistent basis. For example, when the body is exercised regularly, the body will rise to the challenge and provide you with strength and flexibility. In essence, we're then telling our children how to develop in these ever so crucial years. The bones, tendons, ligaments, and musculature grow much stronger than they would have in a less active childhood. Muscle tone and flexibility will be much easier to maintain throughout their adult life, simply because this pattern of development has been ingrained early in life.

As parents providing and caring for our children, good martial arts training is a wonderful gift for your child. Many adults wish this gift had been given to them in their youth, especially when they consider their own difficulties maintaining good physical and mental well being.

One final point... not all martial arts schools will develop such benefits. Please take the time to read about what to look for in a good martial arts teacher (see above). This is crucial to understand before enrolling your child in a martial arts school. The person teaching the class will have a major influence on your child. Make sure it's the type of positive influence you desire.

To get more information on classes, times, and current tuition, we recommend setting up a time to visit the Elizabethtown Kung Fu Center with your child. This way, all your questions can be answered, you can meet the teacher, and see the school. You may email us through this site, or call us at (717) 312-7909 to set up an appointment.

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