After a years of training an old master invites his pupil to follow him , after a while , on a special place a master reveals a secret and deadly technique to his student making him invincible . Secret technique was passed down from generation to generation to only one chosen student to keep it and pass the knowledge further when the time comes. The technique was invented by a famous ancestor who fought many battles for justice and freedom and it can be used only as the last resort in fight to defend oppressed and misfortunate who cannot defend them self .
This is a general plot for many kung fu movies and Wuxia novels , a righteous hero after a futile effort to reach justice is usually taught some secret powerful technique by an old master and with that knowledge he can finally defeat evil .
Stories about secret techniques have real historical foundation. Martial arts in the past were marginal activity reserved for army, police and mercenaries of all kinds( bodyguards , bounty hunters , caravan guards , ect) . Martial arts and martial skills were an occupation, a source of income and fighting systems were not even shown lightly to an outsiders, giving up the secrets of the system was contra productive in economical sense and also could be potentially dangerous in possible future confrontation . People from one school of fighting generally didn’t know anything about other styles.
Today , situation is completely different and martial artists realized that the best way to improve their systems is to be open and exchange experience with other people. Having a secret techniques today is a nonsense, simply because there are no secrets any more , and those secret , closed systems , although still exist are declining and are on the way of extinction .
Today , “secret” knowledge is only used in certain kind of schools to attract people who still believe in old legends and mix fiction with reality . Secret techniques in a sense of something technical that no one else knows and will make someone a formidable fighter is , forgive me for being blunt , are pure crap . Martial excellence is a consequence of hard training not some secret movement unknown to anyone else.
So ,are there secrets in kung fu today . The answer is yes and no . No , because nothing is hidden , everything is open , on the plain sight , the only requirement is dedication and hard work. And yes , there are secrets , but not in a sense mentioned above.
There are things in kung fu that cannot be explained by words , they come after years of dedicated training and are highly personal experiences , different for each practitioner . Depends of the style or the goal in training , these things can be related to physical or mental or even spiritual transformation and change . Some of these achievements are often called qi , sometimes something else , but it is not possible to define them or explain them , simply , either practitioner is on the level to feel them or not , he can perform something or not , simple as that . In that sense there are secrets , because talking to someone who doesn’t have a proper experience is useless , either will person dismiss claims as false , and won’t believe it is possible , or will try to force the achievement which is completely wrong and contra productive