1. How much does it cost?
Lesson: Varies depending on class (see Classes)
Membership - First Year (not required to come and try it out) £50 (includes Kung Fu suit and insurance necessary for sparring)
Membership - Subsequent Years £25 (includes insurance for sparring)
Grading: £30 (includes sash and certificate)
Additional Suits: £25 each
2. Do I need a certain level of fitness/strength/flexibility/etc to come along and train? Will I be able to keep up?
These are all things that you will improve through training, and you will not be forced to do anything that you cannot do. There tends to be a range of fitness levels/flexibility etc within a class, but in any case it is improving yourself that is the aim, starting where ever you are at now. Higher level students tend to do extra fitness training outside class, but for beginners that is not necessary.
3. Can you recommend any Books/DVDs I can use for study between classes?
Due to the rarity of the Classic Tiger System there are no Books/DVDs available at the moment. If you are keen to practice between classes, ask your instructor to give you homework!
4. I am quite big in build and quite heavy, will I be able to use the Tiger System as it was intended?
The Tiger System teaches you how you use your weight efficiently and after you have learn how to use it properly it can be a big advantage! The tiger system can be used and interpreted in different ways to maximise your natural advantages. This counts the same for small builds.
5. Can all ages come and train?
Although there is no strict age limit as such, some of the technique are very dangerous and therefore should only really be taught to people who are mature enough to know when not to use them!
6. Do you do sparring?
Yes, sparring (play-fighting) is considered an important part of the Tiger System, however it is generally not competitive sparring with mits and armour. The level of contact is decided by you and the person you are sparring with, and will always be light to begin with. Nobody will ever be trying to cause you harm, because we are all on the same team! Sparring is the most useful way to try out techniques and sequences of techniques in a "live" situation, practicing footwork, and most importantly, learning about natural reactions and distance.
7. What types of things do you do in one of your classes?
Classes usually consist of some type of warm-up and stretching session, and include some of the following: basic training (strikes, kicks, stamps, blocks and grabs), technique practice on pads and in pairs (precision, power, speed and footwork), form work (patterns), applications of these forms (defensive and offensive), and sparring. There will also be some Qi Gong (relaxed breathing forms) practice.
8. What is a "form" or "pattern"?
"Forms" or "patterns" (aka 'kata' in Japanese) are expressions used for a string of techniques put together specifically to teach core moves and ideas of the martial arts system. These are usually handed down over generations of martial arts experts, and will be designed for beginners, intermediates or advanced students to practice and use as their "bible". The first form in the Tiger System is called "Tiger Enters Forest".
9. I have done another martial art before this. Is this a problem?
Having done another martial art is usually of an advantage, as you will know and understand a lot of the basics, which you can build on. Some people find it difficult to change their 'style', and can get frustrated with initial slow progress in things that are unfamiliar or taught differently. If you stick with the training, you will find that expanding your repertoire is a very positive and enriching experience. Often black sashes learn a new style within the family of styles of which Tiger is one: Bird, Snake, Lion, or Dragon for example (see History and Links). We also have several students and instructors who are black sashes/belts in other styles, and they very much like mixing and matching all the techniques they have learned!