In the world of martial arts, there are some pretty funny ideas.
In the 1970’s, there was not a lot of Chinese martial arts (authentic) to be had. Most of what was out there was of the Northern Shaolin variety. The Southern Shaolin martial systems are very different in structure, philosophy, and execution. The common term given to Chinese martial arts seen in the 70’s was “soft style”. The term was not really meant as an insult, but was usually taken as one. It is still thrown about by some of the martial artists who were brought up in the 70’s.
I do not take offense at the term “soft style” being used to describe my martial art. It is an incorrect term, but not offensive at all. What I am offended by, however, is the attitude taken by Japanese and Korean stylists when they use the term. If they were merely trying to imply that my system of fighting was less rigid than karate or taekwondo, I find no issue. But most of the time, they are trying to imply that Chinese martial arts are inferior.
This is offensive, because it is simply not true.
In no other martial art I have studied have I been able to find the depth of thought that is found in Hung Gar. And moreover, the more I study Hung Gar’s depths, the more I find. Taekwondo is really lacking in this substance, and if I may be so general, all of the Japanese and Korean martial arts could serve themselves well to sit at the feet of their predecessor and learn a few things.
When the Chinese began to teach their art to non-Chinese, they did not divulge the entire art. Such was simply the way of things. So, karate, taekwondo, Tang soo do, etc. are fragments of a larger system. They do not have the depth, because it was never divulged at the time they were being assembled. There are karate practitioners out there trying to rediscover this lost depth, but they are few, and are generally despised by the rest of their collective group.
Call my system soft if you must. In the words of a friend of mine, “There ain’t nothing soft about getting hit.” But please back up your claims of superiority with some action.