While individuality is valued at Black Mountain Spirit, more about certain things must remain consistent and traditional. One such area of uniformity is of course, the school uniform. Kung Fu uniforms fall into 2 categories. The Kung Fu uniform is the attire worn during class time or during any formal school functions (tournaments, demonstrations etc.).
The reason behind wearing any uniform at all is that in the traditional Kung Fu School, students were dedicated to their school and to their teacher and wanted to make certain that they were identified as belonging to a specific school and calibre of training. For this reason, all students would wear schools colors to show how proud they were to be under their ShiFu. Also on a more traditional note, schools usually made every one wear the same thing so no one would feel inferior, or so that no one could use any disparities of economic or social status in their lives outside of class to create an appearance of superiority to others in class. All would be equal under the teacher.
The school uniform helps to maintain a sense of belonging and friendship amongst class members, regardless of rank, age, or experience. Because of the history Black Mountain Spirit has as a school that always receives top honors at national and international tournaments, as well as the respect personally accorded it’s instructor because of his lifelong experience and dedication to others, Wearing the uniform is a reminder of a student’s affiliation with this great institution, and belonging to something much greater.
Finally, the practicality behind the clothing worn is very important in terms of freedom of movement, temperature regulation, comfort, etc.
Students must wear some version of a Kung Fu uniform whenever present in class, when participating in a demonstration or stage performance, or when representing their kung fu school at a tournament.
2 TYPES OF KUNG FU UNIFORM AT BLACK MOUNTAIN SPIRIT
A minimal Kung Fu class uniform consists of (preferrably but not necessary) black kung fu pants, and one of the varieties of school T-shirt that are made available.
What has become officially accepted as a Kung Fu uniform by by the industry as a whole is nothing more than traditional Chinese clothing; a ‘kung fu shirt’ is simply the same frog-buttoned shirts, with or without mao-style collar, that people have been wearing in China since the beginning of civilization. For these purposes in general, All Chinese Kung Fu styled uniforms are ‘acceptable’, but please check with ShiFu for clarification of any uncertainty (an example of this would be your interest in a kung fu uniform that is Typically associated with Southern Shaolin or Contemporary WuShu styles, while our school practices Northern Shaolin and Classical WuShu). For the sake of uniformity (no pun intended) we ask that students choose their uniforms from the selection provided by Black Mountain Spirit. Uniforms may be purchased outside of the school, but of course, purchasing through the school is an excellent show of support and is both preferred and greatly appreciated! (Although school t-shirts are usually available on premesis, we do not stock Classical Chinese clothing at the school and must be ordered.) Every 3-4 months the school will place a group order, which also provides a good discount (discounted price, no shipping and handling, etc). Every student is welcome to take advantage of these discounts by ordering through the school. Because of the long-term relationships ShiFu has with many distributors, there will always be a better discount available through in-school purchases vs. out-of-school purchases.
Defacing or ‘personalizing’ uniforms by cutting, painting, adding decorative stitching, to any part of the school uniform is considered inappropriate and will be looked upon negatively.
Demonstrations and tournaments are activities in which each participant is representing the school as a whole, single, unified body. There are also public and special occasion demonstrations where we are the only representation of Traditional Chinese Martial Arts (TCMA), and our school will be displaying a wide variety of styles and methods. In both of these situations, a variety of uniforms will be used, everyone in the same style category is wearing the style of uniform usually associated with the style of martial art they are demonstrating.
Traditionally, sashes had nothing to do with rank and everything to do with Health. Chinese Kung Fu techniques are capable of generating Incredible amounts of force, and when it comes to the internal organs, this can be a very trumatic thing. An abdominal hernia is not a simple matter, and can literally lead to death. The ancient masters took this Very Seriously. So, when a sash is made to the proper dimensions and worn in the correct way (like a wedding cumberbund, not like a Swashbuckler’s sash) the sash is tied ‘tightly’ around the entire abdominal/kidney/lower back. In this way the organs are packed together, and the lower body is given support in the exact same way that I weightlifter’s organs are protected and back is supported by a weight lifting belt. Sashes may be worn or not at the discretion of the student. When worn, sashes for all students who are not instructor level will be worn with the knot tied to the left hip, as is tradition. Instructors and assistant instructors will wear their red sashes with the knot to the right hip, as is tradition.
Yes, we wear shoes. There are specific cultural and practical reason why shoes were not worn in Japanese and Korean-styled schools. And there are specific cultural and practical reason why shoes Are worn in our school. 1) In our society, the likelihood of being caught Without shoes outside of your own home is slim to none. 2) There are so many ways that a foot can be injured (which is why shoes were designed in the first place) and wearing shoes keeps them to a minimum. 3) The idea of striking with a clod foot is kind of like punching someone with hands wrapped in leather straps like the Roman Gladiators of old – it gives you an added ‘benefit’ with each strike.
Shoes and boots which have been used outdoors and visibly show dirt, debris, oil, or other contaminants are prohibited on the training floor. In situations such as winter snows, please do your best to ‘kick them off’ before entering, and wipe your feet on the mat upon Thoroughly. Wet shoes will not be permitted on the training floor. For these and other reasons it is best to at some point have a pair of shoes that are only used in the school that are either brought with you or left at the school for you to change into.
HAIR, HATS AND HEADGEAR
Hats or caps are not to be worn on the practice floor.
Hair should be well groomed and pulled back. Outrageous hairstyles, makeup etc. are not acceptable and will be looked upon negatively, particularly at the time of promotion. Regardless of how much ShiFu may appreciate and respect your artsy, expressive nature, many in the professional world that we find ourselves in may not. All jewelry, watches, rings, and other sharp adornments should not be worn in class because they are dangerous during contact.