How Long Does It Take To Learn Kung Fu?

A common question many parents have for their kids when considering a martial arts is reasonable one. How long will it take to learn, master, or earn a ‘black belt’? With Chinese Kung Fu in its many forms, it is no different. It is not at all out of the ordinary to count the costs before doing anything, time being one of them.

Kung Fu takes 3 to 5 years to learn to a good proficiency. Portions of it can be utilized immediately for health and fitness and some aspects of self defense can be available to the student with 1 to 2 years. To become a master in many of the systems of Kung Fu it takes a lifetime.

Read on to find out what makes this time frame fairly standard across the board in most styles of Kung Fu. There are some systems though that will take much longer. Proficiency in application is also a more individual aspect as opposed to mastering each technique itself.

What Causes Martial Arts Like Kung Fu To Take Years To Learn?

These styles of martial arts were passed down from generation to generation and took many years to teach and master. Much of them were developed from wartime battles where survivors would relay to their families how to survive such situations.

Kung Fu is a combination of many different styles. As a term, it can refer to various Chinese martial arts. In China, it also will refer back to any kind of practice, learning, or study that will require the student to use patience, energy, and time to learn various moves.

When directed specifically to a martial art, it takes hard work and practice, usually in some kind of ancient Chinese fighting method.

Many students are excited to train and want to know how long it may take them to master the style they are interested in. The answer often surprises them for how long they will need to stay dedicated and keep practicing. Each student is different and some can master the skills faster than others, though it is a good idea to temper expectations to give the best experience to all of our students.

When you practice with a quality instructor or ‘shifu‘, you will not just learn a few techniques and be sent out with false knowledge about how well you understand Kung Fu. The teacher will strive to help all of their students continue on with their studies until they are true Masters of any style of Kung Fu that they desire. This takes time.

Have you ever wondered what the name of a Chinese Kung Fu uniform is? Many know the Japanese and Korean names for the uniforms in their styles. Find out why many don’t know the name of the uniforms they wear even while training in a Kung Fu style. Read my article here on what Kung Fu uniforms are called.

How Long Do I Need to Practice Kung Fu to Master It?

The amount of time it takes to learn Kung Fu and become a Master will really depend on the type of Kung Fu that you want to learn. There are a few options that can be done within a few years with the right time and dedication. However, there are some types of Kung Fu that may take ten or more years before the student can master it.

Before you jump in and decide to try out Kung Fu, it is important to remember this is a process that takes time. There are some techniques that are easy and some that are more difficult. You can learn Kung Fu step by step along the way. But to completely master any style of Kung Fu, you must be dedicated and ready to put in work for a long time.

This does not mean that Kung Fu can’t be fun to learn. But you can’t go into this assuming that a few classes is enough to help you master all of the techniques and steps that you need. A good Master will help you see small progressions often, but there are so many steps to learning Kung Fu that it will take time to accomplish.

What Influences How Long It Takes to Learn Kung Fu?

There are a few factors that will influence how long it takes you to learn Kung Fu. Not everyone will learn at the same rate. This is why there is usually a range of time for each learner. Plus, there are many different types of Kung Fu for the student to learn and each one has its own level of difficulty. Some of the factors that help determine how long it takes to learn Kung Fu include:

The Style

There are several different styles of Kung Fu that the student can learn. Some are more difficult than the others and will therefor take longer to learn. For example, Shaolin Kung Fu was developed more than 1500 years ago at the Shaolin monastery and is one of the most sophisticated types of Kung Fu available. This one can take the student 10 to 15 years to master with careful training.

On the other hand, options like Wing Chun are more similar to some of the self-defense courses that is common in the Western world. It does have some more complex moves and requires fast movements to see success. Yet, compared to other forms of Kung Fu, this one is a little easier and may only need a few years for the student to begin mastering it.

Tai Chi is one of the most popular styles of Kung Fu out there and has millions of followers throughout the world. This method requires flexibility and softness and does not allow for violence to be used.

The idea is to complement and even mirror the movements of the other person until the opponent has run out of strength. The movements themselves are not difficult, but learning how to mirror the opponent takes time and concentration. This for some can take decades.

For a good in depth yet concise explanation and list of some of the most popular styles of Kung Fu, visit a well done page here

The Master You Choose

The Master the student chooses to work with can determine how long it takes them to learn Kung Fu. Some Masters are better at explaining the various techniques of each Kung Fu than others and this can make a difference in how well the student is able to learn.

If the student is dedicated to learning Kung Fu to proficiency and follows the advice of their Master for some time, but struggles to see improvements, it may be time to consider a new Master. Just make sure it is the master, and not the lack of the student, that is the main problem here.

The Students Dedication

For a student to master Kung Fu, regardless of the style, they need to be dedicated. They must show up for each class and may attention. They must spend time practicing at home. Only doing things during the class and forgetting about it until the next class will slow down the learning. The student must also pay attention and be willing to try things that are difficult and out of their comfort zone.

Kung Fu may sound like a lot of fun and a great hobby. But if you would like to master Kung Fu, you need to be dedicated and ready to go. It is easy to tell when someone is not fully dedicated to learning these styles and most in this group will drop out and stop before they get anywhere near mastering the techniques. Kung Fu can be enjoyable, but it is also a lot of hard work too.

Benefits Of Taking The Time To Learn Kung Fu

There are health benefits to the study of any martial art. Kung fu is no different. The physical and mental health benefits though are usually only associated with long term training and study. This works well with most martial arts like Kung Fu since they usually all take many years to master.

In a study done by researchers at the University of Sydney, NSW, Australia, evidence showed that the physiological benefits in the form of increased aerobic capacity were readily apparent after long term study in many Kung Fu styles. There was also significant increase in bone density in the same practitioners.

With many years of training, not only will the student gain self defense and confidence, the additional benefits to the body and mind are sizable. Long-term Kung Fu practice can result in increase mental and physical health.

There are many reasons to set learning Kung Fu to proficiency as a long term goal. It will be well worth the time spent.

The Time To Learn Kung Fu Takeaway…

When you are ready to get started with learning any kind of style of Kung Fu, it is important to find the right school to make that dream a reality. Quality Kung Fu masters who have the right experience to help you learn Kung Fu can actually change your life.

Regardless of your age, the right instruction can give you the strength and discipline you need reach your goal. In 3 to 5 years you can simply be 3 to 5 years older, or you can be that age with the knowledge and proficiency you desire. The clock is ticking.

Mathew Booe

Mathew Booe is a father of four, husband to Jackie since 1994, retired international competitor with over 50 wins, an international seminar instructor, a master instructor of hundreds of Little Ninjas each week, and the one bringing you the great content like you just read. Sign up for the newsletter to hear about his upcoming books before they are released to the public.

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