At the initial level of learning kung fu the warm up is the most important part of the training; and just so you know, the initial level is the first 3-5 years.
Warm up consists of two parts:
- Joint workout;
- Gun-Fa (methods of workout – the exercises to develop strength, endurance, flexibility, and speed).
In modern times, we divide the workout into two parts to make practitioners more attentive to what they are doing and how they are doing it. The importance of warm up is that it develops the body with maximum efficacy, thus preparing it for further technique practice and subsequent overall body development. In addition it heats muscles and tendons, which reduces the risk of injury.
When warming up the joints you have to make circular movements while striving for the maximum possible flexibility in each major joint. Motions are to be made at least 15-20 times on the each side. If you do less, it will not give the desired effect.
The joint workout for beginners is performed from the head to the feet. You begin from the neck, then go to the wrists, elbows, shoulders, lumbar, upper body, ankles, hips, and knees. Advanced practitioners can warm up in the reverse order.
Joint warm up should be done with medium or slow speed, but your attention should be focused on the quality of your movements. Otherwise the effectiveness of the joint workout is greatly reduced, and as a consequence, there is a strong likelihood of injuries and difficulties in proper execution of technique.
This is the law of kung fu: perform exercises with attention on quality first, keeping in mind that quantity never means quality.