I found an interesting documentary on Shaolin Gung-Fu and monks: http://youtube.com/watch?v=jCtp44coLvA. I would like some opinions on the part concerning "ch" and the forms. Chinese forms are exceptionally beautiful, and especially full of grace and fluidity compared to the hard, linear thrusting of karate kata and Taekwondo patterns.
The movements in Kung Fu forms are graceful, just as the movements in ballroom dancing, synchronized swimming, or ice skating are graceful. However, graceful does not translate to useful. If any of this was effective, you would think at least ONE Kung Fu "master" would be a world champion boxer, ultimate fighter, football or basketball player, etc. As demonstrated in so many combative sports and other physical endeavors, basic hard, linear, focused, controlled, and powerful movements are much more effective than soft, circular, "beautiful" movements. As a performance art, Kung Fu is beautiful, as a combative art, it is more hype than substance. No Kung Fu master of any time in history could stop Mike Tyson or Chick Liddel with Kung Fu techniques.
Extreme flexibility is genetic, not trained. A normal person can train and increase flexibility, but extreme flexibility requires extremely elastic ligaments. During the Cold War, communist countries tested children, found the ones with special genetic abilities, and then forced trained the children to exploit these abilities in the Olympics. In Kung Fu, Yoga, and such, thousands of children are force trained at a young age, and then the ones with extreme flexibility ability, or some other special ability, are selected and trained to become "masters." My question is: what happens to the ones who have average genetic composition? What are they trained to do, or are they just discarded?
Start young and indoctrinate, that is the mantra of Kung Fu and other such cults. Does any of this bring the terms brainwashing and child abuse to mind? Just because you have some noble purpose in mind, it does not negate the wrongfulness of what you are doing. Adults can choose whether to harm themselves or not, children have no choice.
Each of the stunts performed in the video is claimed to require hours of training each day in the skill. If you add up all the required hours, they total more than 24 hours. Therefore, it is obvious that no one person can master all the skills. However, if one child is forced to perform a particular skill for hours a day for years, that one child can become a "master" in that skill. Then this "master" performs his particular skill and the martial art promoters imply that all the masters can perform all the skills equally well. Just as in any other sport, the team as a whole may be able to do every skill required in the sport, but each individual team member cannot excel in all aspects of the sport.
If you must feed, clothe, and house yourself and your family, how are you able to train so many hours a day? In ancient times, it took a lot of time and effort just to survive, so the average villager did not have the time to train in a fighting art. For a person to train the required hours, someone or some group had to pay for the training. Sometimes, the group paid the family for the child or the family gave up the child for the good of the family, or to please the group they had been indoctrinated to support.