The stamina, body strength, flexibility and co-ordination introduced in the preparation level all need to be maintained. The foundation class takes the student on to the core skills of San Shou, free form sparring. It should now become clearer how the preparatory techniques help the smooth, controlled and correct performance of combat punches and kicks.
The fundamentals of the foundation class are the individual punches and kicks. When a student is starting the beginning level, he or she faces the hardest challenge; the introduction of wholly new movements. But the foundation class draws on the essence of those movements which the student has acquired through the previous level. For instance, how one drives the whole body behind a punch or the balance and control of the hips required in a kick. It takes the essence of these movements and develops them into the combat applicable punches and kicks that will be honed through out this class.
It is also worth noting that correct breathing is important to gong fu training. It makes the movements easier and sharper, it builds up combination skills and their speed and it improves your internal power. Breathing is something the martial artist should be aware of as he or she practises her kicks, punches and combinations.
Combinations are highly significant in this class. These are advanced techniques that are superior to individual skills. Combinations are fast and do no give an opponent time to react. They also contain good strategies. For example, punching high and kicking low or using one attack to set up another.
The foundation class also introduces the first part of the xiao hong quan form. These traditional forms requires the student to be mentally and physically alert. Practising the form improves the martial artist’s co-ordination. The continuous movements of the form develop breath control and the synchronisation of the breathing with the movement. Contained within the form are also good techniques which will contribute to your San Shou skill.
To move on to the next level, a student must pass a foundation exam with a minimum of 60 points out of a possible 100. The student needs to demonstrate knowledge of the Chinese names of the Shaolin gong fu movements and answer questions on the theory behind the gong fu.