I want to enroll in a martial arts school in my neighbourhood. The lessons are given by a shaolin monk and the few lessons I followed were really intense and interesting. When I asked if we were going to do sparring exercises, I was told that we were only going to practice on punching bags.
The reasons for this are:
- sparring is considered 'playing'
- Kung fu doesn't focus on fighting, but tries to avoid a fight. Only when no other option is available a 'fighter' finishes it with one blow.
These are reasons that I think are valid, but still it seems strange to me, because if you never 'practice a fight', how can you be prepared?
So my question is, can you effectively learn Kung Fu without sparring?
I want to stress that I don't want to learn it to 'kick ass', but that I do want to be able to defend myself when (if ever) needed.