I started my Kung Fu at age 9, the physical aspect of it, the spiritual aspect started from birth, the mental aspect started at age 17. When people ask when I started MA, I go with age 9, so my experience totals 22 yrs, but in actuality, it is in my blood. My Kung Fu is within my father and mother, it is in their genetics & the merging of their genetics brought upon my physical presence.
I see Martial Arts as a way of life, so asking when you started MA is similar to asking how long have you been educated? For the most part everybody starts his or her education from birth, but will everybody get to the PhD level? No. Getting to the Ph.D level is likened to being at the level of which you can claim yourself to be a Martial Artist, which will take at least over 2 decades.
Martial Arts is the development of the Physical, Mental, & Spiritual. The physical is developed since birth but may or may not be aimed towards a high athletic level of development during ones lifespan. The Mental aspect of the Martial Arts is the development of the combative aspect, this formalized, and concentrated, & direct focused training may or may not occur during ones lifetime. The spiritual development may or may not occur during ones lifetime. Most of what is considered “spiritual” or “religious” here in the West is actuality corrupted and would not be considered spiritual training in my eyes.
Kung Fu is the inner discipline you have within to excel, it is a conscious decision you make to place great efforts in developing yourself to reach your potential. My Kung Fu started at age 9, through my focused energies in developing myself as a proficient basketball player and athlete. My spiritual training started before my birth but I did not become conscious of my spiritual training until age 21, the time of my enlightenment. The mental combative aspect of my training in the Martial Arts began at the age of 17 when I first started to receive formalized instruction in Choy Lay Fut Kung Fu from a Sifu.
My total experience is actually the total life experiences I bring to the table. I share everything that I have learned in life, that is my Kung Fu. When people ask, “how long have you been practicing Martial Arts?” It is a difficult question to answer in order to have them gain an immediate understanding of what Martial Arts really means to me. So I go with the basic consistent response of stating that I started at age 9, the time I started to consciously develop myself in Kung Fu.
Realize that I teach Kung Fu, Kung Fu is not a style of the Martial Arts, it is a way of life, it is an inner discipline you have within to excel, you are all studying and learning my “Modern Kung Fu” in which to better understand your own Kung Fu.