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Southern Hospitality [Feb. 1st, 2007|01:04 am]

Good training was to bed had. Good people. Just plain good times. Training on the beach was fun too. Learned some basic shaolin stuff. Had good conversation about goings on in shaolin with Master Liu. Learned Basic forms (a staff, louhan shi ba shou, xiaohong, some qi-gong, some yi jin jing). I would reccomend it to anyone who wants to train for a week everyday in the hot sun and the muggy weather of new orleans and mobile.

Oh yeah first night I was there I entered a sanshou fight. I felt forced into it but I won. Suplex style.


I returned the following year.

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On top of the plateau the view is nice but the mountain seems higher [Sep. 8th, 2006|11:51 pm]
[Current Location |In my newly guilt trip renovated room]
[music |Kids country power]

I had spent a couple years training and learning from the kids in Ann Arbor and Mr. G but I still felt i was missing something in my training. The further I got into my training the more I realizes how deep the tunnel goes. I was barely past the entrance in retrospect. I kept crawling everyday into it even though I was scared. I was scared I am wasting my time. I was scared that I was being fooled once again and that I was learning some BS martial art. I was scared. I crawled back a little bit. I could see and compare all the things I have learned. I saw what Mr. G was teaching was way different than anything I had learned before. It wasgreat. I began feeling that I was part of the group not just the guy that drives 30min to class. 

I entered competitions and of course the first time was scary but the 2nd time around I killed (almost literally...stupid tai chi honky). My focus, my confidence, were getting stronger. I had found my center. I had no problems getting things done. However, reality started getting to me, job, girlfriend, $, social activites, People asking "how's your karate going?"....ugh...<insert scathing remark towards americans view of Martial arts>...I needed a break from it all. I searched for a place of spiritual restoration....and I found it on the internet of all places.

I headed down south to visit Shawn Liu (shi De Ru). It would be time well spent.
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Shaolin is Lost & Ann Arbor Asian Martial Arts Studio [Sep. 5th, 2006|07:19 pm]
[Current Location |"working" in a foreign country]
[music |A/C condenser]

Upon my return from the Big Apple (Which during the time i was there i went and saw the two craters left behind from the twin towers falling. that was interesting.) I went looking for Mr. G and crew again. I went to the tennis club but no one was there...I was slightly upset. I didnt really have anyone to get in contact with and find out where they had been. I gave up rather easily and so I began searching for a school again.

One of the more famous schools in Ann Arbor is the Ann Arbor Asian Martial arts studio (AMAS). Sensei Scott taught Aikido, Karate, Hung-gar kung-fu, and I think Tai chi. I was done with karate and I had previously enjoyed Kung-fu but I wanted to try Aikido. So I did.

Before signing up for the class and signing their contract. I came and watched a class. You are not allowed to walk in and watch a class you will get shoo'd right out. You need an "appointment" to sit on a bench and watch. During the Aikido class there were some dudes and dudettes doing some Kung-fu in a back room. It wasn't very impressive to say the least. I later found out these people were the "senior students"...wow...however, the Aikido class seemed to have an interesting bunch of people in it. The lack of aggression invovled was also appealing to me. The instuctor was also a nice guy too. 

Anyway, after being there for about 2months. I ran into some of Mr. G's students again at the same bar...the same guy too. He was being challenged to a fight by some boxer guy that was obviously drunk. He respectfully declined the drunkard's challenge. He filled me on the meeting place and so forth and I was back on my way to shaolin training.

The AMAS was, again, a good place for beginners but I didn't like the rigidness of the school. There were egos there. There was also the social status there as well ("ooo he's a black belt i need to kiss his ass"). Overall, a good school but not the one for me. Oh and there Kung-fu program looked like it sucked (is that too harsh?).
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USA Shaolin Temple NYC [Aug. 23rd, 2006|06:12 pm]

I had finally found some decent training in the mid-west wasteland. I had found my 'Shaolin'. I was learning a lot about myself and kung-fu from Mr. G and crew. While I still felt I was an outsider to the group, I just maintained a steady training regiment. 

Around the spring of 2002 I decided to take a break from it all and go to a place I had recently discovered and enjoyed thoroughly, New York City. I was accepted to a summer program at NYU and used that as my excuse to my parents. My true purpose was to go to meet and train with  a "real" Shaolin Monk. He taught in Manhattan. It was the first thing I did, went straight to the "temple" and signed up when I got there. I was given living accomodations in Chinatown through NYU, which made for an interesting environment. I would wake up and walk to my class at NYU about 10 blocks. Then I would head to the "temple" for some training. I maintained this routine for my duration. It was great walking to class sore as a mutha and enjoy every step i took for 10 blocks as my muscles ached and strained to move.

Shi Yan Ming (the "monk" at USAST) is a very charismatic man. Always joking in broken english and always remaining very in character. The students were very dedicated to him. The class energy is truely amazing and should be experienced. Everyone is giving 100% attention to there training. And if you aren't someone will let you know. 

The kung fu class that I participated in invovled about an hour of line drills (high kicks, and other similar movements) and then you would continue with that if you were a beginner or you would learn one of the basic forms. I would spend my 2months of daily training doing nothing but the drills until the last day i was there and then i began to learn part of a form.

I also took his Qi-gong class. It was just myself and another young guy in the class with me. Which was nice because you get the personal attention from the Man himself. I'm not sure what I was being taught but i didnt learn the whole thing. And in retrospect it was different from qi-gong I had learned from Mr. G. SYM also seemed like a different person when he taught the qi-gong class as opposed to when he would teach the kung-fu class (which by the way wasnt very often).

Overall, I enjoyed my experience here. I dont think I would go back but that's not saying its not a good school its just not the school for me.


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Shaolin in Ann Arbor [Aug. 22nd, 2006|07:20 pm]
[Current Location |"working"]
[mood |contemplativecontemplative]
[music |buzz of fluorescence]

So my brother was working at a bar one night and he invited me to come see the show and hang out. I obliged and came in early with him and helped him set-up the bands stuff and other odds and ends that occur before a performance. In between all the moving and shuffling there was this guy. In the middle of the dance floor. Doing horse stance! I thought it was interesting and let things play out. He would sometimes bust into a few mantis movements or other kung fu like maneuvers. A bandmate would walk by and they would slap box for a minute and he would return to his stance training. A bouncer, I noticed, was always paying close attention and he approached the stout bearded young man. The chatted for a minute and then the show was beginning so then were left unsaid until after the show the two began discussing their styles. The bouncer was a Jeet Kune Do student (Bruce Lee's modern martial art) and was showing off his tattoo and saying how his style was superior to that of this interesting horse stancer. Then somehow I became part of the conversation and was introduced to AVI aka Horse stance guy on the dance floor. He invited me to his martial arts class, No bullshit Shaolin. That is paraphrased but it was something along those lines. 

I couldn't wait. I went to the first class of the new year. I followed his directions through the snow covered roads and ended up at a tennis club. I went deep into the bowels of the club into the small handball courts. To my surprise there were many students there. Mostly your standard Ann Arbor/ypsi student/musician/organic/neo-hippie fair. Being shy I just kind of played the background and went in and began stretching out and such. Anyway, Long story short, another group of good people. No egos here other than my own. After some introduction and conversation I learned the teacher was Mr. G. Class began without him. Warm-ups, stretching, and some lovely horse stance. I never really practiced it. It wasnt easy. The student teaching the class was running us all through the basics. Then "he" came, Mr. G. Dressed in black and ready to teach. He had us do some exhausting work out. I just remember that after 2YRS of "SHAOLIN KUNG-FU (aka Yue Chia)" I never worked out this hard. One CLASS! 

There is so much more to tell about the training and the times spent with Mr. G and his group of loyal students. However, something are better experienced than spoken to. If you are looking for a great way to stay in shape and let loose some tension from your 9-5 job this is the place. If you are looking for spiritual fulfillment, if you search hard enough you will find it here. If you want a "No-BS" fighting style, well here you go. If you want to practice qi-gong or forms or just hang-out with a good group of people, well send me a msg and I'll invite you.

There are many things that Mr. G is willing to teach. He has taught animal style (mantis, monkey, tiger, white ape), shuai jiao, pa kua, qi-gong, Longfist, Iron Palm, and others during the 3yrs I have trained with all of them. I have seen quite a few new students come in on their first day and proceed to puke up all the toxins half-way through the work-out. I have seen people make astonishing progess in both the personal life and in their kung fu. It's amzaing how a little discipline goes a long way.  
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Shaoling Kung Fu Westland [Aug. 22nd, 2006|03:38 am]
So this is where my journey really began. The place wasn't too far from my house. This school is actually part of the teacher's house. Mr. Tom Smith was my teacher there. He also taught Yoga, Tai Chi, and did some hypono-therapy. Very laid back atmosphere and easy to adjust to, especially a beginner like me. The students here came and went except for a few. The few dedicated students were mostly much higher level than me. One being a brown belt and the other being a black belt of the 2nd or 3rd degree. So a lot of decent training and beatings i did receive. Almost all of his students we very nice and polite and easygoing. 

A typical "kung-fu class" was meditation some push ups and situps and then run through a bunch of techniques (which varied depending on the level of the students). Then possible partner practice and/or forms practice. On the first saturday of each month we would free style spar with one another and that was a learning experience in and of itself. 

The tai chi class consisted of 108 yang style. Also sometimes a yang style staff or sword form as well depending on time. 

The yoga class was weird. I went once. I was the only one there and some creepy old lady taught it and she taught straight from a book and made me feel very dirty. She just looked at me in a gross way and made strange comments (so i wouldnt reccomend that class). The format of the Shaolin temple in westland was very structured. about 1 hour of class for each discpline.

In my time there (approx 2yrs) I moved up to 1st brown belt. At that point I was one of the only people coming consistantly. The others started fading in and out. 

Also during this time I finally came to the realization that I was being taught some thing Japanese. Shaolin Kung fu...japanese?...i dont think so...I always had times where i questioned things but i was naive and didnt know better. Eventually the truth was seen.  The martial art taught here is called YUE CHIA. While it is a legit Martial art, it is not what i came seeking, shaolin. Mr. Smith is a very good teacher and does have a lot to offer for beginners. I wouldn't change how I started in martial arts. I just wish the Shaolin kung fu here wasnt a deception.

Yue Chia Karate is a hybrid of some japanese martial arts and Chinese martial arts created in the mid-20th century by Onishii sensei (a japanese man). The forms taught were mostly Shorin-ryu and your standard karate forms (pinans and so forth).

I am greatful for what i learned there. It started me on this journey. Granted a bumpy start but at least the steps were taken. I slowly began to fade from this school too as the truth showed itself. 

One evening in the late days of wintery December 2001, I came across someone practicing in a peculiar place who would show me what I was searching for.... 
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Beginnings [Aug. 21st, 2006|10:10 pm]
[Current Location |"working"]
[music |car doors slamming]

So I began my fascination of martial arts as most children did, I suppose, with Leonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo, Raphael, Master Splinter, April O'neil (she was hot), Casey Jones (well not so much him), and my personal favorite Oroku Saki a.k.a. The Shredder. I'm sure there were other influences but this is my most memorable. I begged my parents to go to the local community Karate classes at the civic center or whereever they were being held but was always told "no."(with emphasis on the period). So i sufficed with my cartoons and action figures until I was 19. Then in a moment of independence I whipped out the trusty yellow pages (wow who uses yellow pages anymore). I looked through it seeing what was out there. Lots of Tae Kwon Do. Seriously, do we need that many Tae Kwon do studios? Some karate. A bit of Aikido. and the occasionaly Kung-fu school. Nothing popped out at me saying this is the one. So I just begin using this fandangeled thing called the internet and looked up info on martial arts instead of porn. I kept coming across something called shaolin. It explained it as the birthplace of all martial arts. I looked into it....went back to the yellow pages and found a place called "shaolin Kung fu"....little did I know...and the adventure began......
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Objectives [Aug. 21st, 2006|09:43 pm]
[Current Location |"working"]
[mood |coldcold]
[music |air conditioner]

The main objective of this LiveJournal is for everyone to learn some more about Martial arts in their neighborhoods. I enjoy travelling around and meeting other people who practice any style of martial art. I have seen a little in my short period of life. I am realizing the world of martial arts is far vaster than i could have imagined. So I will begin with posts of places I have trained at. Hopefully as things progress some readers or new friends will enlighten me about whats in their neck of the woods and I'll come check it out and let you know about it.

Check out my future posts to learn more about what I have studied and learned over the years.
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