My Life is Kung

When I first found a love for Kung Fu, I was just a kid. I grew up watching Bruce Lee and David Carradine and always thought that they were the epitome of cool. I used to watch Bruce Lee and wanted to be just like him, practicing and pretending I knew the moves in my living room. I lived in a small town, so there was nothing like a Shaolin Kung Fu school anywhere near me, the best I could get was a dated old book from the library. Despite, this, I used that book every day. As I got older, I realized that this book had its limitations. Once I moved out of my small town and into a city, I forgot about my love for Kung Fu for a while. It was not until I was so absolutely frustrated with my job that after my shift was up I randomly walked into a video store and saw the Kung Fu section again. I picked up one of my old favorites and watched it again that night and fell in love again. The next day I looked up places I could learn, and low and behold there was a school even in my neighborhood. I went down to check it out and was nothing short of impressed. I wanted to join in, but felt like I had been left behind since some of the kids in there were already ahead of me, not to mention I did not want to pretend like I knew what I was doing from some movies and an old crusty book. I went in and spoke with a few people who encouraged me to join a beginner class. The day finally came for my class and I was somewhat nervous, but once the class began it felt natural and good. Thankfully, all of that practicing on my own at least could help in that I had some good flexibility and core strength. I started going as much as I could, which was usually three or four times a week, or when I could squeeze it in after work. I started to notice I did not hate my job as much. It was one day after Kung Fu class that I realized it was not that my job was getting easier, but that my mind was not as obsessed with it. I was looking forward to practicing Kung Fu and not thinking about it as much. Kung Fu was actually helping my mental state! I no longer felt defeated and tired every day. I felt energized. I felt like I had more control over my life and that I could conquer more obstacles. Kung Fu helped me gain a level of discipline that I then transferred to my real life. I was in better shape so I also felt better about myself as well, which was a nice added bonus. So if you are needing a new level of focus in your life, and want something that will also be a positive lifestyle change, then why not consider Kung Fu? I still would like thank one of  my friends down in Texas who owns Bill was one of my mentors who has turned me on to Kung-Fu. Feel free to get in touch with him if you have any questions.

Ready to take your first lesson yet?

Kung fu has been practiced in China for generations. Kung fu was popularized in Western culture by many movies throughout the years, and has now become a desireable form of self discipline practiced all around the world. Perhaps you have wanted to dip your feet into the world of martial arts, and you have picked Kung Fu as the discipline you want to practice, but do not know where to start. Do not fret, as this should not be an obstacle in your way. Firstly, you can do some simple web searches to find if there is a Kung Fu school in your city. Most major metropolitan areas have some form of a school. Shaolin Kung Fu is the most popular and common, as well as being a great place to start. There are several different disciplines within Kung Fu, but Shaolin is typically regarded as the standard. If you are not near any schools, you may have to get a bit more creative. In the modern world, with the internet, this has become easier. There is a litany of tutorial video’s you can access, or how to blogs. An other option is that you can go find an instructional book at your local library or book store. The central idea behind any martial art is self discipline, so do not be discouraged if you have to begin by teaching yourself, although it can be harder since you do not have someone to help you or correct you when you are making a mistake. This can prove to be a challenge, and deter people, but do not forget, practice makes perfect!

Once you have found a lesson plan or school you feel comfortable with, you need to begin training. As previously stated, self discipline is the key. That means you have to practice regularly. Beginners will find that they lack the endurance and flexibility to perform all the right moves which can seem discouraging at first, but once again, with enough practice you will persevere and it will feel all the better of an accomplishment. You can begin to track your progress from the first day, but the practice of learning Kung Fu has always traditionally been a life long process, you will not be a master for many years, and should understand that even the masters of Kung Fu practice every day and are still mastering their own techniques. Kung Fu can be a healthy part of your every day life, it provides a good outlet for stress, is a good form of exercise and can teach you a lot about yourself through the act of disciplining yourself. So if you have been interested in Kung Fu, as exercise or because the art fascinates you, go check some stuff out for yourself, you may find that the practice ends up helping you in other parts of your life. Go ahead and sign yourself up for your first beginner class or start your self taught Kung Fu on your own when you are ready.

The Beauty of Animal Style Kung-Fu

I recently was afforded the great privilege to attend a Kung-Fu tournament near me as a guest judge.

Beyond the great honor of sitting with some amazing teachers and masters, I was overwhelmed by some of the events held at the tournament.

In addition to the actual fighting matches, some of which were very exciting, there were a large number of form exhibitions. These exhibitions ranged from children to mature adults, from weapons to a number of martial art styles. The exhibitions which were truly stunning, to me at least, were those a visiting group of shaolin monks. These monks visit tournaments worldwide, demonstrating the beauty of the five animal styles of shaolin Kung-Fu for attendees. Though for this type of exhibition no judging is necessary, if I was to score this group of amazing martial artists on a scale from 1-10, I would definitely have given them an 11!

First up was the monkey style practitioner. This young man put on amazing display of acrobatics and athleticism combined with the sometimes comical displays of monkey-like behavior. Beyond the laughs, to an expert eye at least, was seen the fusing of one of the natural world’s creatures and the resounding discipline of the human spirit.

After the monkey style demonstration came that of the crane style master. The crane style of shaolin Kung-Fu is one of grace and fluidity. Emphasizing wide, sweeping blocks (some of which are closely copied by mainstream Kung-Fu practitioners world-wide) and devastating kicks, this style is one of great beauty.

After the crane demonstration came the mantis style. Mantis is a style of intuitive counter attacks and nerve point striking. Much of the focus of this style is reading an opponent’s body language and moving accordingly to great effect.

Next came the snake style demo. The shaolin snake style is a rapid moving, acrobatic style which utilizes a number of combination strikes in succession to overwhelm an opponent’s defenses. The traditional exhibition form of this style shows its many serpent like movements which are both fascinating and impressive feats of athleticism.

Last came the tiger master, likely the most skilled of the group, both by relative age and excellence of form. This tiger master expertly demonstrated the tiger style’s ferocity and power. This style’s emphasis on power made it able to tear the armor from an opponent’s body in times of battle.

The beauty of the 5 animals of Shaolin are a majestic thing to behold in person. If you ever have the chance to see these amazing styles in action yourself, take it!

Additionally, after the tournament I was able to give the owner of the venue a couple of numbers of roofing contractors I know for a much needed roof repair to stop this horrendous roof leak.

A philosophy missing from today’s culture?


You will forgive me if I muse a bit on what I saw today and how I reflected on it afterwards, but I think perhaps you might finish reading this and agree with me. Perhaps you will have a different perspective as well. An old man can hope.

I found myself paying for gas and a few other things in a convenience store today. As I went to pay for my things I stood in line behind a fit young man, likely in his early twenties. As the young man reached the counter he began a conversation with the clerk, with whom he was obviously acquainted. The young man took a few moments to select from a large number of scratch-off style lottery tickets as the clerk asked him if he was still going to a community college nearby. The young man responded that he wasn’t attending school anymore, saying that he didn’t have the time or desire to do so.

After the young man departed with his beer and lottery tickets, and I with my things and paid for gasoline, I began to think about what I had seen.

Here was a young man, fit and seemingly healthy, with his whole life ahead of him. Circumstances had even made it possible for him to attend college to become a professionally trained and educated…whatever he chose as his goal. And yet he had quit going to college, stating that he didn’t intend to return. This statement in itself was a sad for his potential future, but it was his purchase of several lottery tickets combined with what he said that struck me.

It was clear by his purchase that though he didn’t “have time” to better himself, he did have time to try to get rich with no effort or study. If only he knew Kung-Fu. If only.

That seems like a strange thing to say after such an encounter, you might say to yourself. How would knowing Kung-Fu change his choices, isn’t it a fighting style(s)?

While Kung-Fu does incorporate martial arts, many of which are very beautiful, fighting is not what Kung-Fu is primarily about. The translation of the word Kung-Fu that comes from the Chinese meaning any study or practice that requires patience, energy and time to master. A scientist who studies the universe and has spent years in education could be said to have Kung-Fu. A teenager who plays the violin beautifully after practicing for hours every day could be said to know Kung-Fu. And of course, someone who puts the same time, effort and discipline into martial arts is someone who could have Kung-Fu.

If this young man, so full of potential knew the meaning of Kung-Fu and embraced mastery of his learning towards a potential future, he would have no need of a lottery ticket and the whims of fate to find meaning in wealth. His pursuit of excellence through knowledge and discipline would in many ways become his meaning, without the need of an end goal.

I cannot help but see this present day as full of this young man’s way of thinking. Everyone wants success, but no one wants to practice Kung-Fu to get there.

Kung-Fu Vs. Other Sports

It’s a common question I get when comparing fighting sports to each other. Everyone has their preference and ideas of which ones are more effective in the ‘real-world’ but these guesses are often not very knowledgeable, they simply watch Floyd Mayweather knock someone out and I think boxing is the best sport to fight off attackers. Truth is almost every fighting sport requires a certain amount of finesse and control, especially boxing. There are rules involved, no eye gauging, no kicks, no bites etc. In the real world a fight can get as dirty as they come, I’ve seen grown men flailing around, biting each other when it comes down to it, if you’re really that mad at someone I think anything becomes an option, even if it does hurt your manhood after. With this being said about boxing, you may think the next thing I’m going to say is “Kung-fu is the best real life fighting sport to defend against real life attackers and such”. False, I actually think its one of the worst. You see, its all about looking good. How clean did you strike, how clean was that kick. These things don’t really come into very much play when dealing with a street fight, it doesn’t matter if the kick was clean, it matters that the kick goes into someone face…. Hard. Kung-Fu gets judged on its looks rather than strength. Its not all bad however, Kung-Fu is more than just the flips and looking pretty, it creates patience and instils very important values within ones self, values that can be extremely… Continue reading Kung-Fu Vs. Other Sports

Personal Experience

So a few weeks ago my wife and I were at town seeing a couple of friends at a bar, it was their 10 year wedding anniversary so everything was pretty over the top, we had these beautiful limos, dressed all fancy, having an awesome night until we went into this one particular bar. We knew this bar was predominately populated with younger people but we were okay with that, we were at that point in the night were we just wanted to have fun, no worries. Well everything was fine until one young man tried to ruin it for us. He kept on coming up to us with a few of his buddies saying things like “You’re too old for this place, leave or else”. Keeping in mind this is totally out of the blue. He kept on coming up at different points in the night letting us know how old we were and to leave, shouting more and more offensive things as the night went on (and I’m sure for him the alcohol too). Each time I would tell him pretty much the same thing; “Relax, we’re here to have fun just like you, we don’t want any trouble.” Now that doesn’t make me a coward or scared, that makes me not want to beat this kid to a pulp in front of everyone and ruin his social life by making him the kid that got beaten by an old man lol. Anyway, he still wouldn’t stop and when his insults became directly racially aimed at my Chinese wife, I began to take the steps to react.

Kung Fu Match
Kung Fu Match

Continue reading Personal Experience

Break from Kung-Fu

Okay so I thought I would deviate just this once from Kung-Fu and use my audience as a tool for improvement lol. So, here’s the deal, I’m an aspiring writer, nothing major just wanting to write articles for the local newspaper and that. I have a sample of my writing here and was wondering you guys would be able to review it for me? Let me know of any mistakes and that sort of thing. Thanks and again, this wont be usual, just a one off I think. Okay, here it is:

James K Baxter was a famous New Zealand poet who wrote about political problems as well as personal tragedies. Baxter’s life was one filled with ‘wrong turns’ and mistakes which is evident in through his failed relationships and/love affairs and changes in religious views. His life ended in 1972 in his self acclaimed favorite place, Jerusalem. He was happy there, this in contrast to his early life is a drastic change. This is shown In the difference of morals and tone when comparing his earlier poems to his later ones. His earlier poems include: The Cave, Wild Bees, Rocket Show and The Bay. These poems are identical in their grim ideals and dark imagery. The underlying grim atmosphere these poems create can be linked with each other through the theme of nature. Nature is diverse and explains the highest of highs and lowest of lows. Baxter often informs the audience of his low moods and thoughts through nature.

Wild Bees is a poem Baxter wrote in the 1940s and is telling a reminisce about when he and his friends destroyed a bee hive many years ago. The importance of nature is exaggerated in Wild Bees, much the same as Baxter’s other poems. He expresses his emotions in a simple yet effective way. In Wild Bees allusions are used to describe the destruction of the unsuspecting beehive. He seems to use nature to specify important objects or ideals. This is because Baxter is more ore comfortable talking about these dark emotions through nature. Baxter feels strongly about nature as it acts as a means of successful communication between himself and his audience. “O it was Carthage under the roman torches, or loud with flames and falling timber, troy!” this quote is a representation of the actual destruction of the bee hive which, I’m comparison of falling cartage and troy is much less significant however, in Baxter’s mind they have the same premise, showing how seriously he takes natures and how nature taught and continues to teach him life long lessons about random acts of destruction.

Continue reading Break from Kung-Fu

Kung-Fu Masters

Everyone has his or her own preference for the greatest Kung-Fu masters in the world. This can be a fairly subjective matter seeing as the competitions usually don’t include physical confrontations between two masters. With that being said it can be extremely simple to determine whether or not someone is a proficient Kung-Fu artist or a wannabe scrub. This can come down to things as simple as stance. My personal opinion of the world’s greatest Kung-Fu master would have to be… BRUCE LEE!… I know, you were expecting it to be some not-so-known master but I go for the original Bruce Lee, the guys size and skill is the benchmark for everyone interested in Kung Fu and if you haven’t watched a legitimate video of him showing off his skills, you’re missing out. Ill find one later and post it in this article for you to see. For some reason when I tell people this they say something along the lines of: “No but like, who’s your favourite REAL Kung-Fu master” as if Bruce Lee is a fictional character. Folks, he was a real person with real skill. People just noticed how awesome what he did looked and paid him a whole bunch of money to do it while pretending to be someone else. Sure, its likely that a lot of what he did was enhanced by cinematography but c’mon I mean you need to be pretty bloody good regardless. Here’s a video I found of him playing table tennis against one of Chinas best players back then, what’s the catch? Bruce Lee is playing with nun-chucks instead of a paddle…. Check it out…

Bruce Lee Playing with Nun-Chucks

Continue reading Kung-Fu Masters