Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question that you'd like answered about Eight Step Preying Mantis Kung Fu? Please refer to the Contact section.

Q: What exactly is "Kung Fu" anyway?
A: Kung fu, also spelled "gung fu," is a generic term for martial arts originating in China. A direct translation of the term would be "hard work" or "effort". Eight Step Praying Mantis is a subset, or a single style, of Kung Fu.

Q: Why the different spellings: "Gung Fu" and "Kung Fu?"
A: This is yet another result of western linguists confusing both eastern and western speakers. In the once near-universal Wade-Giles spelling, a Chinese "G" sound was written in English as "K", while what the Chinese pronounced as "K" was transcribed as "K'." Thus if kung fu were to be pronounced with a "k" sound, it would have been written as "k'ung fu." When Bruce Lee introduced American audiences to his martial arts, he both spoke and wrote the American "G", hence "gung fu." Confused? Don't worry about it, so's everyone else.

Q: How is Kung Fu different from Karate, Judo, or Tae Kwon Do?
A: Judo is a sport that involves primarily throwing and grappling. It is very similar to western wrestling, and was invented in the late 1800s by Jigoro Kano, in Japan, specifically as a sport. Karate was originally an Okinawan method of combat that almost completely dispenses with throws. Its blocks are hard and it is a power oriented style. Tae Kwon Do is a Korean art, similar to karate, that emphasizes the feet as weapons and is also very power oriented. Kung Fu has both hard and soft styles. All styles teach the use of throws, grappling holds, weapons, and self defense. It is therefore a more broad and complex system of combat than many other styles. Similar non-Chinese martial arts include Jiu Jitsu (Japan) and Hapkido (Korea).

Q. What is so different about the Eight Step Preying Mantis System?
A: Most styles and systems concentrate on the upper or lower body fighting techniques. The Eight Step system incorporates all ranges of fighting techniques:

  • Punching
  • Kicking
  • Joint Locks
  • Ground Fighting
  • Pressure Points
  • Throwing
  • Knee strikes
  • Elbow strikes
  • Palm strikes
Grandmaster Shyun also teaches Chinese weapons, Tai Chi Chuan, Chi Kung Mediation, and Chinese Medicine. Grandmaster Shyun's future plans are to expand this complete system throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, sponsor a Kung Fu U.S.A Tournament, do a weekly television show on Health and the Fighting Arts, and his most ambitious project—to make a documentary on the "History and Development of the Martial Arts" which will be filmed here and in Asia.

Q: What is the significance of the black belt or sash?
A: Today the black belt or sash is given to martial arts students that have reached an advanced level of skill. In it's historical sense, the black belt signifies that this student has "put in his time" to learn the art. In ancient times, a student in training would wear a plain white belt when beginning training. Over the course of months and years, the white belt would become increasingly dark and dirty. By the time a beginner had mastered his art, his once pristine white belt was now black. When ranking systems began to be developed, the Black Belt was reserved as the mark of a long-time student in honor of this tradition.

Q: How long would it take me to get a black belt (or it's equivalent)?
A: As long as it takes, no longer and rarely sooner. Unlike grade school and college classes that must squirt people through in a given amount of time, a martial art is boundless. That means that advancement is achieved only after the student can DO a certain level of technique. If it takes a month or a year, that is up to the student and his or her abilities, time for practice, and other individual factors. All in all, excepting the most threadbare styles and questionable requirements, it takes at least three years for most skilled people to reach the lowest level of black belt rank.

Q: You mean there are several black belt rank levels?
A: You bet. Most Japanese styles have ten black belt ranks, called dans (Judo has 12, but numbers 11 and 12 may only be awarded posthumously), while Chinese styles often have similar levels or degrees of disciple and master ranks. The highest ranks for most styles wear a red, not black, belt or sash, but there are exceptions. Some schools use no rank belts at all.

Have a question or comment? Please refer to our Contact section.