The style of kung fu taught at Kicking Dragon is a hybrid form, comprising mainly of the core of five animals and Seven Star Mantis techniques passed down to our teacher, supplemented by additional techniques and drills from Wing Tsun, and basic Shaolin 'linked fist' form and training. The five animal structures give a core of Tiger and Crane style techniques (and to a lesser extent Leopard, Snake and Dragon) within the areas of strikes, kicks, joint manipulations and takedowns (da, ti, na, and shuai respectively), with the Wing Tsun drills aiding in hand-eye co-ordination and deflection.

As the name of the school suggests, something of an emphasis is also placed on kicking techniques, both high (for training and sparring) and low (for application). The range of the syllabus and teaching, though, is such that most ages and sizes will find their own balance of techniques - for some it may be mostly the long, low, and powerful Tiger hand techniques whilst others may find themselves more at home with faster Mantis, Crane and Wing Tsun style techniques, or at legs length with many kicks.

Unlike many other martial arts schools, Kicking Dragon does not use an extensive grading system. Instead, the student syllabus at Kicking Dragon is divided into three main elements - Basic, Intermediate and Advanced. There is no set duration or time limitation on each of these levels, or pressure to move to the next. We are happy for each student to progress at their own pace and would rather see students enjoying the training and learning correct technique than attempting to rush through the levels.

Basic students are newcomers to the school, and will be taught the essentials and foundations of kung fu, consisting of stances, footwork, strikes, kicks, and self defense techniques. Once a new student has a sufficient grasp of all of these and has decided they wish to remain with the school, there'll be a fairly short grading to make sure they have a good knowledge of the essentials, and it's only when a student gets to this point we'll ask that they pay for insurance, uniform, and so on.

These students continue to build on the beginner foundation, learning the forms (a short Shaolin form at this stage), drills and techniques of the style, starting to focus on partner work to become familiar with the usage of the techniques against an opponent. See the Basics page for more information on the Basic elements.

Intermediate students build on the drills and forms of the basic syllabus, starting to gain an understanding of the reasoning behind the techniques. They learn to switch from one drill or technique to another as appropriate to their opponents actions without breaking flow, and to use the drills and techniques against increasing resistance from opponents. The unarmed forms taught progress in complexity, movement, and flow, alongside the drills. The student also starts to learn full weapons forms and drills at this stage.

Advanced students are those who have gained sufficient understanding and mastery of all of the drills, techniques and forms, to be able to start to mix all drills and techniques against a moving and resisting opponent without breaking flow or losing control of themselves or the opponent. At this level there is little different between the advanced two person drillwork and free sparring. The most advanced forms, both unarmed and weapons, are taught at this stage.

The levels of graded student in the school are marked as follows -

Basic student - No sash
Intermediate student - Plain white sash
Advanced student - white sash with black tags

Passing from one stage to the next will require a grading, which increases in difficulty as the student progresses. A grading fee may apply, but as with all testing, grading, uniform or insurance fees, Kicking Dragon have no desire to make money on them. All we ask is that students help cover the cost of the hall on the grading day, and any uniform or licensing cost.

Assistant instructors are students who have shown enough commitment, ability and understanding of the techniques and concepts of the style, and have passed a separate assistant instructor testing, to be given a role in helping to teach the classes. These are marked by a red sash rather than a white sash.
Full instructors are marked by a black sash.