Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ

Who can join the club?

Students and faculty at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. People interested in training outside of UW-Madison may contact Master Fu Leung or Sifu Tim St. Clair for training arrangements.

When can I join the club?

You may join anytime. It does not matter if it’s mid-semester, but joining at the beginning of a semester is ideal because there is typically a large group of newcomers.

What sort of experience do I need?

Absolutely none. The club accepts members with all ranges of ability and skill from beginner to black belt. You do not already have to “know” martial arts.

I have some martial arts experience from another style or school. Is that okay?

Some experience is great, but it may take some time to adjust to the Eagle Claw System

Will my rank or belts transfer into your system?

While there is rank within our system, we do not focus on belts or testing for belts. Master Fu Leung will be watching your progress closely. You will know that you are progressing and doing well, when he gives you new techniques to master. The information, material and skills are their own reward.

Is there a special uniform that I need?

Nothing special is needed. We do recommend low-soled shoes such as Keds, Vans, Adidas Sambas (indoor soccer shoes), Airwalks or Pumas. You can also purchase shoes just for martial arts. (Note we do not typically practice with bare feet.) Loose fitting exercise pants and a t-shirt are all you need to train. Later on you may wish to purchase sparring gear, a mouth guard and a groin protector. Links to gear retailers are on the Information page.

What is the most important aspect of the club?

The most important aspect of the club is for its members to have fun! We do our best to make the training exciting and rewarding. You will get an excellent workout, increase your strength and flexibility and you will learn a great system of traditional Chinese martial arts. Plus you might also make some life long friends. Our goal is to train hard, but always enjoy what we are doing.

Martial art appears to be a male dominated sport. As a woman who wants to learn martial arts, should I be a bit apprehensive?

Martial arts has the stereotype (perhaps driven by Hollywood and computer games) of being biased toward the male audience. The UW Eagle Claw Kung Fu Club encourages both men and women to train in the club. We learn best by training with a variety of people and some of our best and most skilled fighters are women. See the links section and note the number of national awards won by the women’s team.

Will I learn “self defense”?

The training you undertake is very rigorous and over time may prepare you for situations that could come your way. Although training is not specifically entitled “self-defense” the training is very effective and can be used for protection of one’s self, if the need arises. Special note: Although you may train for many years and feel you can handle almost any situation, always use common sense and your best judgment in a situation and always act within the boundaries of the law.

Will I learn to use weapons such as the Chinese broad sword, staff or spear?

The Eagle Claw system encompasses a wide range of weaponry. For the first semesters of your training you will only focus on “empty hand” (weaponless) techniques. Once you reach a level of proficiency and your mind and body are ready, then weaponry can be taught. To teach weapons too early is dangerous, and too difficult for novices to learn.

What if I can’t make certain practices or if I have to show up late or leave early?

We understand you have demanding schedules, and it is okay to arrive late or leave early. But always make an effort to train because that is the only way to improve! Even when you have exams and papers due, a half hour of training can help you get rid of anxiety and increase focus on your other studies.

How much does training cost?

Per semester fee’s are: $50 for beginners, $75 for intermediate, and $100 for advanced. We also encourage donations for Master Fu. The donations cover his travel expenses, meals, lodging and his invaluable instruction.

Can I just observe a class?

Certainly you may, but the best way to get a feel for the club is if you train a day or two with us. If interested, stop on a scheduled training day and attend one of the training sessions. Remember: you are always welcome in the club, even if you leave for a time and then later decide to come back!

I see that the Eagle Claw Club has been to many tournaments. Do I have to participate in those?

Tournaments are completely optional. Some people like the competition and some don’t. However, we do train both forms and sparring so that you would be ready to compete if you so desire.

Do you have any other general advice for somebody just starting out in the club?

Experience has shown that frequent training is important. If you don’t attend enough practices, then you will not progress. However, you should also remember to eat properly and rest well, otherwise you will not improve. (Frozen pizza and soda pop won’t give you the fuel you need to train.) Even on days, you might not be “officially training,” going over the techniques in your head, light stretching, and other forms of exercise will greatly supplement and benefit your Kung Fu.

I want to sign up, but whom do I contact?

You may contact UW Eagle Claw Instructors via email.

Eagle Claw Kung Fu sports club at the University of Wisconsin, Madison