Understand Why Many Kung Fu Practitioners Today Have Knee Problems.
Many Kung Fu students have knee problems later in life. This is not because the Kung Fu is poorly designed, or that Kung Fu should not be trained. This is because many Kung Fu students jump around too much, put too much stress on their knees, and do not use flowing footwork. Using flowing footwork allows a Kung Fu student to move around quickly, but minimize the stress put on their knees.
Training in martial arts and self-defense is important because it allows someone to defend themselves against an attacker. Martial arts are a matter of self-preservation and self-protection. But to be able to defend yourself in a stressful real life self-defense situation you have to train for many hours. Simply knowing the moves will not help in a real self-defense situation because you will be very stressed out and very excited. It is very easy to forget the things you learned in such situations. This is why martial arts students train for so many hours and repeat each move and motion so many times. The goal is for the movements to be committed to muscle memory so that the student can do the moves without having to think about them.
The downside of all of this training is that it can take a toll on a body. This is especially true if the moves are practiced wrong or performed without proper preparation. Kung Fu puts a lot of emphasis on stretching for a reason. While stretching may not be as fun or interesting as lifting weights or practicing strikes it is an important part of training. Many Kung Fu students do not stretch enough and this takes a toll on their body when they train movements over and over for hours.
Kung Fu also places a lot of importance on footwork. Fast footwork is very important to performing moves and defending against attacks. But Kung Fu is not about jumping around or trying to show off. Kung Fu requires flowing footwork that allows for speed and change of direction to be accomplished without putting too much stress on the knees. Your body should give to each step and react like a spring, not a stuff board. This does not just help protect your knees during hours of training, but actually helps you move faster and change direction sooner.
It is possible to learn Kung Fu by yourself, but getting a teacher can be a great way to make sure you are doing the movements correctly and that you will not end up hurting your joints in the long run. Sometimes it takes another set of trained eyes to watch what you are doing and tell if you are doing the correct movements or not. It is a shame when a martial arts student, who is seeking to defend their body and health, ends up hurting their body by training in self-defense incorrectly.