This is the list of Frequently Asked Questions about Imperial Dragon Kung Fu and Kung Fu itself. If you are seeking answers to any other questions please use the CONTACT section.

Basic info

What is Kung Fu? - Kung Fu is the broad name given to all Chinese Martial Arts, and on translation of the term means simply, 'skill from effort'.

What does IDKF mean? - IDKF is an abbreviation of Imperial Dragon Kung Fu.

Where did Kung fu originate? - Kung Fu emerged in the Hunan province of China at the Northern Shaolin Temple.

What are Instructors called? - Instructors - those who have attained black sash or higher - are called Sifu, which translates as 'teacher' (not master as is commonly thought) and assistant instructors are called Wasu.

Why do people bow in class? - a common mistake is that this is a sign of power and difference between the ranks, but in truth it is nothing more than a sign of respect from student to teacher, and of course from teacher to student.

Class info

Is it difficult to learn Kung Fu? – As long as you apply effort learning Kung Fu is learnable, though with anything worth doing or learning there is a level of difficulty and perseverance required.

Who can attend class? - The class is open to anyone, male or female, young or old. All levels of fitness and physical ability are taken into account. We do ask that younger students are at least six years old to join the main class though as any younger than this and they may not be quite ready.

Do you need to make an appointment before going to a class for the first time? - IDKF has an open door policy, so there are no booking or appointments needed, but you are of course more than welcome to contact any of the instructors before hand if you so wish.

Can I try a class? – We recommend that you come and watch a class at first, and ask any questions to the instructors who are there. After that we give you a free class to see what you think, and let you decide if you wish to embark on the journey that is Kung Fu.

Who teaches the class? - A Sifu is in charge of each class but is assisted by Wasus, who are assistant instructors who have reached a high level and are trusted to help.

When and where are classes held? - Click on the Classes button above for a list of all current places that you can train.

Rank and advancement

What is your ranking system? – Sashes ... belts ... are worn to denote the level of experience achieved, in the following order: White, Yellow, Orange, Green, Blue, Purple, Brown, and Black. Students who have progressed to at least green sash, and who demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to the study of Imperial Dragon Kung Fu, can be promoted to Wasu or assistant/student instructor rank. Please note that while all instructors (Sifus) have attained at least Black sash this does NOT mean that all people who attain black sash level are automatically instructors ... there is a large difference, and an extra level of commitment, between studying and teaching. Ranking after Black sash level is done in degrees (similar to Dans), and are denoted as a band of gold for each degree earned.

How long will it take me to attain my black sash level? - As long as it takes. There is no rush or race to achieve Black sash level, and in fact it is quite rare that a student actually attains this as it takes years of training, perseverance and commitment to do so. When you make the decision that you really want to achieve Black sash level you will realise that.

When do I get to learn weapons?- You well learn to defend yourself from a multitude of weapons such as baton (baseball bat or stick type weapons) and knife when at a higher grade (Green sash and above), and when you are a black sash you will be taught how to use a weapon as well (such as staff, broadsword, etc).  The first weapon to master is yourself.

Costs and Equipment

How much does it cost? - The first class is free and from then on it costs £3 per class. A yearly membership fee (which also includes insurance with the AMA) is payable after four weeks of training (to give you time to see if you wish to stay) and is £20.

What should I wear? - A loose pair of trousers e.g.. track-suit bottoms or shorts and a plain white or black t-shirt (please note that we don't allow any sport's teams t-shirts, such as football for example, of any sort nor t-shirts with slogans that others may find offensive ... so the plainer the t-shirt the better). After you have taken your first grade (White sash) and before you take your second grade (Yellow sash) you are expected to buy a Kung Fu suit.

What should I bring? You do not need to bring anything special to start Kung Fu, but maybe a drink of water for after the warm-up.

What equipment will I need to get? – When you get up through a couple of ranks you will need a suit and some protective equipment (gum shield, groin and shin guards etc), but these will be explained to you in advance.

Health and condition

Do I need to be in good shape to start? – No all you need is the willingness to try.

How old do I have to be to take a class? Any one over the age of 6 can join IDKF, and there is no upper age limit.

What if I have a health problem, can I still attend class? - You can still attend classes with most health problems but in some cases a letter will be required from a parent (if under 18) or a doctor to ensure that we understand the condition and can teach you as safely as possible.

Miscellaneous questions

What if I would like my children to take classes for the summer only? – Everyone is welcome for any length of time.

Are there many women training at IDKF? – Yes, the class is made up of different genders and age groups.

“Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.” ~ Laozi