The scope of Chinese culture is so broad and inclusive; you might be wondering “Where do I start?”
That’s a good question. To answer it you need to ask yourself another: “What do I want to accomplish?”
For some people, this question is easy to answer. If you know, for example, you want to study health and healing, start with Qigong. If you want to study kicking and punching, then start with Kung Fu. If meditation in movement is your thing, try a health focused Tai Chi class. Those who are really ambitious can try it all.
Others might find this question challenging. That’s good because it means you’ll have to pause and reflect inward – a key process in self-cultivation! If you can’t figure out how to reflect inward, then you’ll definitely need to find a teacher. For nothing else, just pick something and try it. Unlike joining the army, you can always change your mind later if you don’t like it.
The next step is finding a teacher. If you live in a major city, especially on the East or West Coast, you’ll have plenty of choices. Elsewhere it’s hit or miss. Visit the schools and try a few classes. Find a teacher and environment that resonates with you. At the end of the day, your ability to connect with the teacher will be just as important as their lineage or teaching ability.
Finally, go to class and practice. No one wants to hear this, but if you want to make progress, you’ll have to put in the work. There is no way around it. Hard work over time is the only way to have any attainment in any art, eastern or western. That is the true meaning of Kung Fu.
If you approach your practice with the enthusiasm and discipline, then you’ll undoubtedly go far. I wish you good luck and great success on your journey!