Nowadays, movies like Kung Fu Panda and The Forbidden City, which have some Chinese kung fu, are really popular in Hollywood. This traditional Chinese martial art is getting more recognizable on the world stage.
However, scenarios in movies are just one side of kung fu that people see. Kung fu is not all about fighting. Instead, it’s about inner strength and self-developing.
You may have a memory of being bullied by some kids when you were young. You may have ever hoped that you can be stronger and learn how to fight. You may even have admired those who can do taekwondo and kung fu.
But for the kung fu master Jack Morgan, this should not be your motivation to take up the art.
Morgan grew up in Australia but his parents are English. He has been doing martial arts for 35 years. He worked as a martial arts instructor when he was in U.K. with 200 to 300 students.
But Morgan gradually realized he couldn’t deal with such a big class, doing the same thing over and over.
He felt he wasn’t enjoying martial arts anymore.
Morgan’s wife lived in Canada, so he decided to move out to Canada. Then he opened his own kung fu learning school to do private and small group lessons.
“I do keep my hand in traditional kung fu because that’s where I started everything. My origin was from there,” Morgan said.
The reason for Morgan to get into the kung fu field is simple.
“My uncle has a girlfriend in a movie theater in England. And he would take me to the movie theater to see his girlfriend. So I started to see Bruce Lee’s movies. And you know what, I thought this is fantastic! This is what I want to be,” Morgan said.
Morgan started to learn kung fu when he was in Australia.
“Kung fu is probably the most special martial art there is. It’s the oldest martial art as well. ” Morgan said.
“Kung fu is not about going out on the street and beating people up. But because of movies, that’s what people see, it’s all about fighting. It’s about going out and hurting people,” Morgan said.
According to Morgan, commercial martial art schools teach taekwondo and karate a lot. However, kung fu is different and has always been mystical and hidden.
“The problem is, in Canada people don’t know the difference between kung fu and karate. Even my wife used to call me a karate instructor, but I’m not. I’m a kung fu instructor.”
From the years of experience in teaching traditional Chinese kung fu in England and Canada, the philosophy Morgan developed is to teach flexibility in both the mind and the body.
“I teach the philosophies of not to fight. When you do the lesson, you will see some of the philosophies in the body language. The problem here is, no one knows the value of proper kung fu training,” Morgan said.
Morgan believed that traditional Chinese cultures are humble, and that’s why kung fu is secretive.
“Kung fu is the most intelligent form of exercise and self-defence. In the old days, you have to know someone to learn kung fu. The thing is, you have to know the difference between martial arts and the Chinese philosophy in kung fu,” Morgan added.
“My students, both in England and here, (they have) all different backgrounds. (Including) Indian, Chinese, white people, and black people. The reason they mainly come to (learn) kung fu, is because they like the philosophies. They tried taekwondo and they discovered that was not what they’ve seen in the movies. So what is Jackie Chen doing? And finally and the end of the line, they know that’s kung fu.”
The new culture of fighting is cage fighting now, and it is a very violent sport.
“The parents saw those on TV and thought martial arts schools are all like that. Most traditional martial art schools now are having some difficulties,” Morgan said.
But still, Morgan wanted to keep going in this business and let more people know what the true kung fu is.
“Inner strength is very hard to practise. You have to have outer strength, that’s the easiest way to get inner strength. You can’t have inner strength and then look for outer strength, because a lot of people don’t know inner strength. Inner strength is one of the main reasons why so many kids were getting bullied. There is no inner strength in them.
How does the inner strength come? It’s from experiencing things and then making yourself stronger. If you think you are like a superman, you will get confidence,” Morgan said.
Kung fu’s philosophy of how to train the mind and body as one is very important. The mind and body have to be involved to do the same thing. If you separate them, it won’t work well.
“My system is to develop outside very quickly, and then the inside, it comes with meditation,” Morgan said.
Morgan’s student Jack Gaun is 61 years old. He has practised kung fu for more than two years. His whole family loved kung fu and all joined Morgan’s class.
“I was born in Canada, but I like Chinese kung fu. My son likes Jackie Chan a lot. One day we saw Morgan’s flyer and it sounded really interesting. So me and my wife and our two sons all went to the kung fu class,” Gaun said.
Gaun believed this is an activity that his family can enjoy together. He and his wife learned about how to do the breathing exercise as a stress relief from Morgan.
“My sons took the class separately. We like Jack Morgan because he sorted all the classes according to our abilities, ages, health, and physical fitness and so on. His approach is based on the individual. It’s very different from most martial arts instructors. Morgan is knowledgeable about all of these, not just kung fu,” Gaun said.
Mrs. Gaun is learning Chinese and the whole family is very interested Chinese culture now.
Hoping to let more and more people know the true concept and humble side of kung fu, Morgan wishes them to practise both inner and outer strength in their lives.
All martial arts should be “an art form”. And the best arts are painted from the bottom of our hearts.