Don't sweat it. Before I got involved deeply in martial arts and began studying my art of choice, I hadn't the faintest knowledge of vernacular like that. Most people, even those who've been involved in martial arts for many, many years, still don't realize some stuff like that.
Shaolin Nam Pai Chuan. Very cool. I don't have firsthand experience with it myself, but I'll tell you what I know of it and my take. If you want to break away from the kickboxing stuff, this is a good way to do it. The term "Chuan" means, generally, "fist" or "boxing". That information, coupled with the knowledge that it's a southern style, tells you that it's very hand oriented. Your kicks will probably be primarily below the waist - even throwing a body kick will be 'rare' (not unheared of though, by any means). Basically, southern styles focus on fighting on the inside, pounding their body and head with your hands using short power, and taking their legs from them with low kicks. Your stances will most likely look more like what'd you see from a western boxer. Those super deep stances, and the super tall stances are normally seen in northern styles rather than southern (with some exceptions), so don't worry about those. You'll probably pick up some good trapping techniques and develop some short power, which would be spiffy for clinch/dirty boxing, I'd think, and maybe even ground and pound to a point.
Like I said, I don't have firsthand experience, so I can't tell you if they'd have much in the way of throws or takedowns, or how extensively they cover Chin Na.
Most importantly though, just go check the place out, y'know? I can tell you all this stuff, but if it's not a legit kwoon or the sifu is just a tool, wasting your time studying there could be very, very worthless. Not to mention, there's always differences from one kwoon to another, one sifu to another, one branch to another, so on. So, while I can very easily picture what you'll probably see there, I could be totally off on specifics, and they might absolutely suck.
So, yeah, check it out duder, see if you're feelin' it or not.
Then again, you could always just take up the western boxing. Nothing wrong with that. I just feel like the Shaolin Nam Pai Chuan is just a different, more inclusive approach that would set you apart a bit more, and might work more for you with your size than western boxing might. Totally up to you and what you're feelin' more though.
(Eep! So lengthy! Sorry!)
I really appreciate that long reply lol. I've emailed the Sifu and I'm supposed to be going down there on Monday night, 8-10. Hopefully I'll like it but we'll see how it goes. Here is he email he sent me:
Thanks for your message.
The level of sparring we undertake often depends on factors such as the time until the next grading etc. Generally I'll have a session concentrating on sparring once in every two or three weeks; with NPC being a broad art there is a lot of other material to cover as well. Nam Pai Chuan sparring has recently switched to light contact (10-20% power, full speed) rather than the full contact sparring we engaged in up until this year, in a bid to try to encourage technique over sheer strength and brutality.
The classes I teach tend to cover self-defence/practical techniques because it's an area of interest of mine, but of course we study many traditional MA techniques and forms. NPC is solidly based on a branch of southern-style shaolin but with input from other arts. Hence, much of what you could learn would be very applicable to real-life situations, with the traditional forms and drills reinforcing aspects such as correct stance and practice of striking techniques.
If you'd like to know anything more please feel free to email me.
It sounds very good! I'd love to give it a try but of course, if I don't like it there are probably other clubs around in my city. This one is just the closest.