When many people think of Shaolin Kung Fu they think of meditation and chi. While it is true that Shaolin Kung Fu does stress meditation and the use of inner energy, it is actually an external form of Chinese martial arts. This means that it is more involved in the external powers and forces. There are many styles of Shaolin Kung Fu which can include many types of attacks and defenses including joint locks, punching, kicking, throws, straight blocking, force direction, and many more. However, the two things that most types of schools of Shaolin Kung Fu all stress is fast handwork and quick footwork. Many Shaolin Kung Fu exercises promote these skills.
When practicing Shaolin Kung Fu, striking it is important to keep the feet moving as you punch. If your feet are planted like roots you will not be able to adjust to the next attack or set up another attack. Your moves must flow from one to another and you must be ready to change your motions in mid-movement in case an opponent launches an attack. You should practice staying light on your feet and moving your weight around. Each attack must leave the door open for another quick attack, or a sudden defense. Your Shaolin Kung Fu exercises should strive for agile footwork while striking, rather than training both aspects independently.
When practicing Shaolin Kung Fu punching you should also have targets that help improve your accuracy and speed. A strong punch is meaningless if it does not hit the target, or is so slow that it is easily blocked or countered. Your punches must also be fast so that you can quickly move into another attack, or react defensively. After a punch is thrown it should be retracted quickly so that arm can defend if needed. Many martial arts shops sell pads that can be mounted on a human body in many places such as the hands, ribs, and legs. Your training partner should wear these pads so that you can practice at full speed and have moving targets. While striking the pads at full speed your training partner should be moving around so that you have a moving target. Hand mounted pads are great because they can be moved very quickly to aid in the training of fast combos. You and your Shaolin Kung Fu training partner can develop a routine in which you strike at the left side of the face, and then the chest. Your partner can move the pad from one location to the next quickly, which forces you to strike two targets as fast as possible.
If your hands are fast and precise, and your footwork is light and agile, you will have quick attacks that cannot be blocked and will be able to react to any defense of offense. Too many people hit a punching bag target with their feet flat. Punching bags do not challenge your precision like a smaller moving target does.