Sport vs self-defence
We do not teach White Crane Kung Fu as a sport but as a means of self-defence. Self-defence situations do not allow preparation time, special stretchy pants, a referee and certainly do not benefit from any rules and regulations designed to prevent serious injury. There is no room for flashy maneuvers and perfect technique, it's the raw concept of staying alive and avoiding as much harm as possible, either to yourself or anyone else. Hopefully it will never happen to you, but if you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in an adverse situation then you may need to employ the tactics that you do not see in sport martial arts. These include striking the eyes, throat or groin, small digit manipulation, fish-hooking the mouth and grabbing the ears and hair, the simple principles which give the smaller person a fighting chance.
One of the most important principles that is developed through the practice of forms (taolu) is awareness of oneself and ones surroundings. By having awareness of the world around us we can avoid a harmful situation before it has developed. This way we all get to go home and wake up the next morning safe and well. One aspect that lies at the heart of many altercations is an over-inflated ego and the desire to look good in front of your mates or teach someone a lesson. Through the practice of White Crane and a nominal amount of intelligence the student will hopefully develop a level of respect and self-confidence that will allow them to ignore other peoples quibbles that are often merely an expression other frustrations.