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I have been training in Chinese martial arts since early 1986, though much of the eight or nine years during which I lived in Athens, Georgia, saw me without a teacher due to a decidedly incomprehensible lack of 'external' Chinese arts to be found there. Although some of the intervening period has been characterized by a lack of physical training (because of the lack of a Sifu, or teacher), martial arts will always be one of those things by which I define myself. Martial arts has a way of doing that to a person, and saying that it's a 'way of life' is far from a trite cliché...it's true.
Martial arts as a way of life
General martial-arts information
Kung-fu styles and schools
Enter the dragons -- martial arts on the screen
Chinese healing and wellness
Or perhaps that should be advanced beginner. I'm not sure.
By way of introduction, and to introduce several martial arts that have crossed my path to one degree (no pun intended) or another, here's my particular martial-arts story...
Although I have had some training in tae kwon do, eclectic 'modern' karate, and just a smidgen of kenpo, my true passion is Chinese martial arts. Chinese martial styles are usually referred to, generically, as 'kung fu' or wushu, and the first thing that you might notice about them is that every family in China seems to have created its own. The staggering diversity of Chinese martial arts can be a great strength, albeit fertile ground for a tad of confusion. Look more closely and you'll almost always find significant commonalities among seemingly disparate styles and systems, and most of the more widely-practiced styles share roots in the Shaolin Buddhist or Taoist temples of ancient China.
Like a lot of people, I'd had an interest in various martial arts for a long time. As a kid, probably like lots of other kids, I pored over comic-book ads that promised mail-order mastery of exotic arts such as hapkido, aikido, and lots of other esoteric practices that ended either with 'do' or 'jitsu, ' a fair number of them quite possibly made up for the comics ("register your hands as lethal weapons!"). These proclamations invariably nestled next to ads that promised instant muscles, not that I've yet seen a seven-year-old kid with a torso and arms like that of the late Charles Atlas (somehow still advertising, online, though his biography neglects to mention that he died long ago). One of my prized possessions when I was still short of reaching my first decade on Earth was a slim, British Know the Game book about judo, a book that my younger brother probably wished I'd never laid eyes on after I used him as my test subject for several of the throws and choke-holds illustrated within. Around that time, and through the middle of the '70s, I stop earnestly tormenting my little brother long enough to join the rest of the world in following the television adventures of barefoot Kwai Chang Caine, in the classic Kung Fu TV series. I used to wonder why he didn't fight more and why it was in slow motion when he did, an odd biomechanical trait shared by my other childhood TV hero, The Six Million Dollar Man. I came close to finally enrolling in a judo class but my family moved to a remote part of New Zealand and that was no longer a possibility. I've never been good at wrestling, anyway!
When I was 13 (well, 13-1/2...that '1/2' is pretty important when you're a kid) I entered a 'Ta Chuan Do' karate school in Blenheim, New Zealand, under the sadistic direction of somebody who made the rogue instructor from the Karate Kid movies look like Mary Poppins. After breaking my arm during a way-too-extreme training session, I was lucky enough to never consider returning -- I guess that you could call it a lucky break. The sado-sensei later absconded to Australia, taking some of his unfortunate students' money with him. That early misadventure, that I don't count as part of my martial arts life (I'd just as soon forget it), kept me away from the idea of martial arts for over seven years. The lesson here, of course, relates to the incredible damage that an incompetent or abusive teacher of any discipline -- be it martial arts, an academic subject, or anything else -- can inflict on his or her students. It was also an early wake-up call for me in recognizing abuse of power when I see it (unhappily enough, I was soon enrolled in a SCUBA course -- diving being a passion far more dear and long-awaited to me at that stage than was martial arts -- led by an instructor whose basic traits were not too far removed from those of the karate teacher).
Eventually, though, I got the drive to give the arts martial another try. I began by looking around Christchurch (New Zealand...a great city that I lived in while at university) for a kenpo school. Ed Parker's kenpo was the system that no less than Elvis Presley was utterly enamored of and is quite an intriguing variant of southern Chinese martial arts. If it was good enough for Elvis, it was good enough for me! As fate would have it, I couldn't find the kenpo school but I did stumble across Chan's Martial Arts. Walking into that studio for the first time, in early 1986, was one of the best moves that I've yet made in my entire life. There, in addition to some tae kwon do during my early tenure, I trained in tam tui (chang chuan -- long fist) under Sifu Chan Seng Chee, and was on my way to total immersion in Chinese martial arts. For two years, about all I did was my university work and martial arts training, training up to three times a day (sometimes more) with Sifu Chan. I helped run the university branch's classes and discovered that there is no match for teaching to enhance a practitioner's own ability, a fact that I later found equally true of academic pursuits. Those were exceptionally good times for me, both because I have yet to devote (or be able to devote) quite that much time and effort to training in the years since and because Mr Chan and because many of his students were among the best people that I have ever known.
I've since discovered that this latter quality is one that most good martial-arts schools have in common, at least to some degree. The Karate Kid was flawed in some aspects of its representation of martial-arts training and development, primarily those related to the time and effort (one literal translation of kung fu) required for proficiency, but it was dead on target in its thesis that the characters and attitudes of students usually correlate with those of the teachers. To me, one of the key hallmarks of a good martial arts school is that it has a family feeling about it to the point that students and teachers inevitably become one big, extended family. I'm still in touch with Sifu Chan and am gratified to see his network of schools expand throughout Australasia as he continues his explorations of tai chi chuan and other martial arts. A good teacher in any discipline is always learning and passing new things on to his or her students, and I have been fortunate in this respect and others to have trained under great teachers.
After leaving New Zealand in late 1987, my next major dose of martial-arts training, after some time in an American 'karate' school (basically the Korean tang soo do) came in southern Chinese ng ying ga, or the 'five animals' system, under Sifu Douglas Lim Wong as part of his White Lotus system. Many Chinese martial arts are based on attributes or actual defensive and offensive moves of animals real and imagined, but the five animals most widespread in and central to Shaolin-based martial arts are the tiger, crane, dragon, leopard, and snake. As part of Sifu Wong's regular classes and as components to his more advanced full-contact fighting classes and forms classes, I also learned elements of a dizzying variety of Shaolin, animal, and other Chinese styles, including a tidbit or two of mok gar (a very unusual and rarely-taught southern style that continues to fascinate me), a good basic chunk of wing chun (excellent for fighting), northern Shaolin, seven-star mantis, southern eagle, and yau kung mon (a relatively modern style derived largely from the particularly lethal white-eyebrow system that was founded by a renegade Shaolin priest).
Sifu Wong has been very well-known in martial arts circles for a long time now, and has produced some famous students, including champions Carrie Ogawa Wong (his wife), James Lew, Albert Leong, and Kenny Perez. Recently, in addition to movie work (that started for him with the 1972 Kung Fu movie that introduced the TV series), Sifu Wong's name has become associated with the martial arts prowess displayed by Lucy Lawless (a fellow New Zealander!) and Kevin Sorbo in Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Great Adventures, two popular TV series shot on location in (as fate would have it) New Zealand. Other cast members also learned their moves from Sifu Wong, who also worked with Jason Scott Lee for the 1993 Bruce Lee biopic, Dragon.
Under Sifu Wong I learned many hand forms (preset sequences of moves) and found that the crane and dragon forms seemed to fit my build and temperament most naturally. Both are a little longer-range than some of the others, and thus well-suited to my long limbs, and involve a fair bit of 'internal' energy and rely less on pure muscular strength. During my four years under Sifu Wong’s tutelage I also learned several weapons forms (double daggers, two staff forms, broadsword, two spear forms, and three-sectional staff) and found that the spear -- the 'king of Chinese weapons' and a weapon that seems to emphasize and develop long reach and fluidity -- seemed most natural to me. As much as I loved the tiger forms, and the broadsword weapon form that I learned, neither seemed as well-suited to me as I'd hoped and I found it a decided challenge to do such forms anywhere near as convincingly as some of my classmates. I still enjoyed those forms, and practiced them diligently as part of my training, but it was apparent that some hand and weapons forms just felt more natural to me, that natural flow being apparent in my execution of various forms. It's typical that some movements or 'themes' of motion will better suit one martial artist than another, this truth being the bottom line that explains much of the evolution of martial arts systems.
The point is that vast systems like southern or northern Chinese martial arts will likely have something for everyone, and different people will find that their own physical and mental makeup predispose them to more naturally acquire certain techniques and excel in certain sub-styles. A compact person with powerful arms and chest, for instance, may feel most at home learning one of the southern Chinese tiger styles whereas someone with long limbs and less bulk may be particularly suited to certain northern Shaolin forms. That's not to say that there's a hard and fast division, but this principle does mirror the genesis of distinctly southern and northern schools -- generally, northern Chinese people (taller and living in more open country) developed styles that emphasize long-range fighting and mobility whereas southern Chinese people (shorter and living in more congested areas) developed styles focused on shorter-range infighting and stability, with less leg work and more fully developed hand work. This is a massive generality, to which plenty of exceptions and hybrids exist, but the history, geography, culture, and dominant physical type of each portion of China led to definite historical division between northern and southern styles.
Training in martial arts is one of the best ways that I know of to really see the truth in affirmations like "I can do anything," and to prove the old adage that "where there's a will, there's a way." If you get into martial arts, of any kind, you'll probably find yourself amazed to at some point realize that you are doing techniques that a month or a year ago you'd perhaps dismissed as impossible for you. Some people will always be stronger than others, or more flexible, or more graceful, but you'd be surprised what a little bit (better yet...a lot) of hard work can accomplish. After all, the true meaning of the term 'kung fu' is not a reference exclusive to martial arts; 'kung fu' translates as a "skill developed over time," "time-effort," or variations thereof. It's not much of a stretch to suggest that development of kung fu relative to martial arts practice has great carry-over potential to the rest of your life and, if you stick with it, you'll find that this is most definitely true. Once you're engaged in martial arts training, with a good teacher, everything else in your life just keeps getting better and better.
For a brief time, after relocating in the late summer of 1992 to pursue graduate degrees at the the University of Georgia, I trained with a young man named Craig Kiessling, who was both an excellent teacher and a powerful martial artist at an early age. Craig taught me northern Shaolin as well as appetizer-sized portions of the very popular southern Chinese style, choy li fut, the internal style of pa kua and that ultimate art, tai chi chu'an. Unfortunately, Craig was soon gone but, while I trained with him, I did expand my appreciation for various martial arts and their philosophies that I had read about but with which I'd never had hands-on experience.
Beginning in late 1997, out of sheer desperation, a similarly-deprived friend (another ex-Californian suffering Shaolin withdrawals) and I commuted to Atlanta to train with Sifu David Dunn. Driving 140 miles or so at least two or three times a week was an act of desperation that I'd considered before but it took a nudge from my first Sifu (during a long-awaited trip back to my native New Zealand) to make me do it, and I'm happy that I did. I learned a lot and am still awed by Sifu Dunn's fluid grace -- I'm not sure that I've ever seen a martial artist who moves quite the way that he does. Sifu Dunn, a student of Yang Jwing Ming and other noted Shaolin proponents, trained me in northern Shaolin (including 'long fist') and the formidable Shaolin Fukien white crane style, as well as very basic elements of such diverse systems as hsing i, monkey (just enough for me to appreciate that its freaky moves have solid self-defense qualities), northern eagle claw, and mantis. Training with Sifu Dunn was like a martial all-you-can-sweat buffet and he gave us a great survey of several Chinese martial traditions. White crane, a southern style that looks very northern and that essentially becomes tai chi at its highest levels, is most definitely a system that I would love to explore in depth if a future next move obligingly sets me down near a legitimate school. My experience also includes a short time with a seven-star praying mantis school, where I also learned half of a Wah Lum mantis weapon form and a Yang-style tai chi form, just to add even more variety to the mix.
Unfortunately, before I knew it I was out of Georgia and had left yet another great teacher and school prematurely. Like Sifu Chan, Sifu Dunn has a strong interest in tai chi, concentrating mostly on Chen style, and many of the attributes of that 'grand ultimate' martial art transfer well to practice of the more 'external' Shaolin training that I'm still primarily interested in. When I feel that I am truly ready for it, I would love to dedicate my training effort to learning tai chi. Ultimately "soft becomes hard and hard becomes soft," meaning that so-called 'external' styles become more 'internal, ' and vice versa, so that everything (assuming the path there is led by a qualified teacher with legitimate lineage who can teach the higher levels of a traditional or otherwise complete system) eventually converges on something that resembles high-level tai-chi chu'an. If you're wondering what all this 'external' and 'internal' business is, please take a look at this excellent analysis.
My next move had me sweating it out three or four times a week, for at least a couple of hours per session, under Sifu David Simons' expert direction at subtropical Bermuda's branch of the Wing Lam kung-fu organization. I was astounded, when I checked the Web in hopes of finding a school that I might be at least halfway happy with, to find that Bermuda boasts at least three 'external' Chinese martial arts schools (two teaching northern Shaolin and one training in wing chun), exactly three more than boasted by the mid-sized Georgia city that I'd been living in. The islands are also loaded with other martial arts schools, including everything from tai chi to ninjitsu. I intended to check all three Chinese schools but never made it past Sifu Simons' class. After that first, nightmarish instructor I've been fortunate to have been taught by excellent teachers and Sifu Simons is no exception.
I'd long known about Sifu Kwong Wing Lam, and had been on his catalog mailing list since my Los Angeles days, but it was the down-to-earth and humble nature of the teacher and the convivial family feeling apparent among his students that sealed the deal for me. The first ten days or so of class, as is always the case (and if you've ever stopped and started running or similar activity you'll begin to know the feeling), were pretty rough in that I could hardly walk for a couple of days after each session, but I'd had enough previous experience of starting over in martial arts to know that this would soon pass. And it did. Soon everything began looking much better, even in corners of my life that presented challenges, and I realized that there was absolutely no reason why I can not be in better physical, mental, and spiritual condition in my late thirties than I was in either my late twenties or late teens. And, yes, I gave the dragon-tail kick (that looks very similar to what I've previously known as a butterfly kick) a try on one of my first nights and -- despite a distinct feeling that I could never hope to master such an acrobatic piece of aerialism -- I know that I will eventually get it if I keep trying to the limits of my evolving abilities. Martial arts is almost unique in that they teach (actually, force) humility and confidence at the same time. The thing that I miss most about Bermuda is, hands down, that Wing Lam school and the excellent teacher whose dedication and patience made my two years in the school such a stellar experience.
Unfortunately, since I began training I haven't yet stayed in one place long enough to reach a particularly high level in any one style, or system of styles, so I have long felt very much like a perpetual intermediate student...leaving just as I was starting to get to a level in a school at which I felt like I was beginning to learn at an exponential rate. I went from northern to southern and then back again, and now find myself again training within a predominantly southern Chinese system. I am overjoyed to be back in California, as of early 2004, and again training with Sifu Douglas Wong and his White Lotus students, some of whom I remember well from the last time that I set foot in his training hall, 12 years earlier. I am starting over to a certain extent, always a necessary and humbling step no matter what the system or the student's experience. I do have the advantage of having already reached a level, recently, at which I can likely learn more quickly and thoroughly than is the case when the typical student starts for the first time or when the more experienced student starts training after an extended break from martial arts. But it's still a lot of hard work, and my body is protesting the effort necessary to build me back up so that I might reap the full benefits of the system. My happiness at returning to the White Lotus fold is not that I might finally have a chance to slowly work my way toward a higher level but that I already know that Sifu Wong runs a great school comprised of great people. The feeling is very much one of coming home, and that's ultimately the sign of a good kung fu school. It's very good to be back.So here I am, near 40 in calendar age and with 20 years of martial arts experience under my belt (or sash), and I’m in the Beginner class again. And that’s fine with me. Anyone who tells you that your goal as a martial artist is to attain black belt level, or secure some other tangible symbol of your status as a martial artist, is either being disingenuous in an attempt to provide incentive to what he or she assumes are goal-obsessed neophytes or is sadly deluded as to the true nature of martial arts. Not that I profess to be the sole holder of the secrets that point the way to the martial arts' true nature. I suspect that such truth is likely to be as multifaceted and infinitely dynamic as are the individual arts themselves and as are the people who train in them. But I do know that, in martial arts, it's entirely the journey that matters. The destination, if we can even know it (and it may be unknowable for any one of us), is not only secondary but is likely to constantly recede before us as we progress and very likely change its nature constantly.
The bottom line is that belts and other indicators of skill level are illusory as a guide to what a martial artist has learned and what he or she might be capable of. A black belt, for example, is truly just a license to explore the system more deeply -- it's very much a beginning, and most definitely not an end. It is not uncommon for a near-beginner or an intermediate student to 'win' sparring bouts with experienced black belts. That doesn't mean that the senior students were somehow less capable as martial artists, it just means that, in that particular physical and mental contest, any one or combination of factors happened to sway the result in the junior student's favor. An instructor who's a good teacher will get excited by, not upset over, a student getting through his or her defenses. As with any decent teacher, or parent (and the traditional role of Chinese martial arts teacher encompasses both), the instructor wants his or her students to be better than they are. This, of course, in addition to the very important fact that there is much more to the study of martial arts than mere sparring. In my case, for example, as much as I love sparring, I'd never have the interest that I have in kung fu if that's all there was to it. Western boxing, for instance, holds no appeal to me. Thai boxing, for that matter, also does not particularly excite me, though I recognize the utility of some of its approach in sparring and self-defense and will happily do Thai boxing drills ‘til the monks come home.
Although sometimes a bit frustrating, there are certain advantages to the unintended 'smorgasbord' approach to martial arts training that's been the hallmark of my participation so far. I know that I'm hardly alone in my somewhat eclectic history of martial arts training, especially given how mobile people in places like the United States tend to be these days. If I was able to choose, perhaps I'd prefer to stick with one system and teacher and learn the system thoroughly, but as things have turned out I've managed to have quite a thorough survey of Chinese martial arts styles and be subjected to a variety of approaches to teaching them and understanding their philosophical underpinnings. It's been a great ride, so far. The one overriding lesson from my somewhat checkered martial arts past is that, as diverse as the Chinese martial arts are (including thousands of 'family styles,' some very esoteric), many of the underlying themes and concepts are similar, and the common ground inside apparently irreconcilable types of movement are often strong.
Martial arts as an inclusive universe
Although I love the on-screen moves of Bruce Lee (a great martial artist beyond his physical ability and movie charisma) and Jackie Chan, and enjoy sparring and simulated streetfighting as a series of high-speed problem-solving exercises, the true essence of martial arts -- its greatest attributes -- are in mental and spiritual development. Related activities such as meditation and chi kung (or qigong, Chinese healing), that are often incorporated into complete systems of Chinese martial arts, can demonstrably have incredible, tangible benefit. The prevalence of Taoist and Zen thought in martial arts has larger lessons for life, as does use of strategy as written by Sun Tzu in China 2300 years ago. I have always found a great deal of Chinese philosophy, particularly Taoism, to be rooted in common sense and careful observation of the natural and human world, that makes its qualities collectively a rarity in most of today's societies.
While I'm on the subject of Taoism, the ancient text, Tao Te Ching, is not the only good example of the Taoist way of life -- our friend Winnie the Pooh, as related in the booksThe Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet cultivates the same implacable calm and acceptance.
General martial-arts resources (primarily related to Chinese martial arts)
Kung Fu, The Homepage
Martial arts guide
SoYouWanna study martial arts
Martial Arts Today
...an online martial-arts magazine (for tai chi, but the concepts apply to other complete systems)
Ultimate Martial Arts
Real Martial Arts
Chinese Wushu Research Institute of Great Britain
Dragonheart: Martial Arts For a Real Life
Martial Arts Instructors Manual
Some Guidelines for Silk Reeling Training
Shaolin History: The Buddhist/Taoist Legacy of Shaolin's Fighting Monks
Kung fu timeline
Shaolin Gung Fu Institute
Journal of Asian Martial Arts
The Dragon's List
...a free kung-fu e-zine
White Tiger Online Magazine
Electronic Journals of Martial Arts and Sciences
Martial Artist's Health Reference Site
Kung Fu Online
Resources for rec.martial-arts
Hyperlinks to Martial Arts Pages
Wushu: Chinese culture, recreation and sports
Raffi's wushu videos
Specific systems and schools of Chinese martial arts
White Lotus Kung Fu
...Sifu Douglas Wong founded the White Lotus system based on extensive experience in a variety of martial arts and teaches in a spacious facility in Northridge, California. Styles taught within the system include ng ying ga (five animals), mok gar, wing chun, tai chi, and others.
Wing Lam Kung Fu
...Sifu Kwong Wing Lam and his instructors teach traditional northern Shaolin, hung gar, Sun and Yang styles of tai chi, and other martial arts at schools in the USA (northern California, Ohio, Wisconsin), Bermuda, and Switzerland. I was recently a member of the Bermuda school. The organization also operates an extensive mail-order equipment business.
Chans Martial Arts International
...Master Chan Seng Chee, and his instructors based in New Zealand and Australia, teach shao chi chuan kung fu and the Sing Ong version of Yang-style tai chi (as well as techniques rooted in Japanese and Korean martial systems). Master Chan's system places great emphasis upon minimizing undue stress and injury to practitioners' bodies.
Yang's Martial Arts Association
...the Association's founder, Dr Yang Jwing-Ming, is a respected proponent of and authority on chi kung, tai chi, white crane, northern Shaolin, chin-na (grappling), martial morality, and other aspects of traditional Chinese martial arts
Sing Ong Tai Chi
...Master Yek Sing Ong and his instructors teach this version of Yang-style tai chi throughout New Zealand, and in Australia, Malaysia, Canada (Quebec), and the USA (Arizona).
Honan Shaolin Wushu
Wah Lum Tam Tui Northern Praying Mantis Kung Fu
...brought to the US by Grandmaster Chan Pui, a phenomenal martial artist, this relatively modern system of praying mantis kung-fu is taught in the Orlando, Florida, home temple alongside Chen and Yang styles of tai chi and chi kung. The Wah Lum Temple now has schools both in the USA (Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire,North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas) and in Brazil.
Seven Star Praying Mantis
...this is probably the most widespread mantis style, and Sifu Jon Funk is a noted and respected teacher and practitioner of the art. Sifu Funk currently has schools in Canada (British Columbia, Ontario), the USA (Illinois, Pennsylvania), and Brazil.
Eight Step Praying Mantis Kung Fu
...a North American organization formed by Grandmaster James Sun that now teaches this mantis style and Sun-style tai chi in the USA (California, Alabama, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey, South Dakota, New York, Texas).
Lily Lau Eagle Claw Kung Fu Federation
...Grandmaster Lily Lau is inheritor of the devastating northern eagle claw system and has schools in the United States (California and Texas) and England. Grandmaster Lau was a noted competitor in '70s tournaments and earlier went through Peking opera school alongside classmates Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung.
Lau Fat Man World Eagle Claw Kung Fu Association
...the British branch of Gini Lau's organization (Lau Fat Man was her father and previous Grandmaster of the style).
Ying Jow Pai
...or, in English, "eagle claw." Master Leung Shum is a respected teacher of both northern eagle claw and Wu-style tai chi and has taught in New York City since the early '70s. Master Shum now also oversees instructors in the US (California, Iowa, New York, Georgia, Pennyslvania, New Mexico), Puerto Rico, and Greece.
Lee's White Leopard Home
...Sifu Johnny Kwong Ming Lee, now living in Dallas, Texas, teaches the northern kung-fu style my jhong law horn as well as Wu-style tai chi, pa kua, and chi kung. He has instructors located in Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas, and Georgia.
Tai Shing Pek Kwar
...better known as "monkey-style" kung fu. This is truly bizarre style, among many bizarre styles, but can be incredibly effective (and entertaining to watch in demonstration). This site describes the Hong Kong-based organization of Grandmaster Chan Sau Chung (the "Monkey King") and includes a lot of very interesting information. The Web site also claims and provides evidence that the system of monkey taught by the incredibly flexible Paulie Zink in the USA is not legitimate in terms of the recorded lineage of the style – I’m not sure who’s right in this dispute, but turf wars that include both legitimate differences of opinion and verifiable cases of outright fraud have always been common in martial arts and probably always will be. I believe that Grandmaster Chan has schools overseas (certainly in Canada and Australia) but I'm not sure of their locations.
The World Wing Chun Kung Fu Association
...the international wing-chun organization founded by Master William Cheung. Long based in Australia, Master Cheung is a prolific author and seminar-presenter and is famous both for his incredible punching speed and for introducing Bruce Lee to Yip Man's wing chun system.
Traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu -- Los Angeles Chapter
...the Web presence of one of William Cheung's schools, this site includes articles on wing chun.
Planet Wing Chun
Wing Chun World
...this site has a lot of links and an index for finding wing chun schools nearest you.
Shaolin Mok Gar Kuen Kung fu and Tai Chi
...I learned some very basic mok gar while training under Sifu Douglas Wong, in the Los Angeles area, and that taste was sufficient to make me ever in search of more training in this elusive style. Although one of the 'five family' styles of southern China, some of which (e.g., hung gar) have become widely-taught and very popular, mok gar is rarely taught in the West and few qualified instructors exist. If you're ever fortunate enough to witness a mok gar practitioner do a form there are two words that might spring immediately to mind (stunned obscenities don't count): (a) incredible, and (b) freaky -- it's a very unusual style, but very effective, and is said to be a particularly potent counter to wing chun. This Web page is that of a British school that teaches mok gar and Wu-style tai chi.
Tat Wong Kung Fu Academy
...San Francisco-based Master Tat Mau Wong has long been one of the leading proponents of choy li fut kung fu in the US and abroad and is highly respected in martial arts communities local, national, and international. He now operates schools in California, Connecticut, and Brazil.
Doc-Fai Wong Martial Arts Centers
...Grandmaster Doc-Fai Wong is another leading figure in choy li fut, also based in San Francisco, and has been a prolific author both of books and of columns in martial-arts magazines. Sifu Wong has also taught and written on Yang-style tai chi and chi-kung and practices Chinese medicine (he also has a PhD in Allied Health Science). Sifu Jason Wong (Doc-Fai's son) is currently head instructor and the school that he has inherited has more than 70 branches in the USA (California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Florida), England, Holland, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Hungary, Italy, Hong Kong, and Tahiti.
Lee Koon Hung Choy Lay Fut Kung Fu Association
...the legendary choy li fut Grandmaster Lee Koon Hung died in 1996 and his younger brother, Li Siu Hung, has since become the (formerly Hong Kong-based) organization's head. The Lee Koon Hung organization offers training in various forms of tai chi and chi kung, as well as choy li fut, in Florida.
Choy Le Fut Home Page
Choy Lee Fut Martial Arts
Seattle Kung-Fu Club
...founded by Sifu John S.S. Leong (another friend of Bruce Lee), in 1963, this school teaches hung gar and tai chi in the heart of Seattle's Chinatown.
Wah Num Kung Fu School
...teaching the amazing (as in scary) pak mei (white eyebrow) style as well as dragon style and jow gar. Sifu Andy Truong teaches in Australia.
White Tiger Kung Fu
..."a family tradition since 1644" -- Grandmaster Doo Wai teaches the southern-Chinese bak fu pai system in San Diego, California.
Bak Fu Pai White Tiger
...more information about this strong southern animal-based system and Doo Wai's school
Pai, Li Lung's Pai Lum Kung Fu page
...produced by a senior student of the late Pai Lum Grandmaster, Daniel K. Pai (who died in 1993), this page includes information about the system and provides contact information for schools in the USA (Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, Florida, Missouri, Washington) and Canada (Nova Scotia).
Hop Gar Kung Fu
...this site belongs to Sifu Ku Chi Wai, who teaches this Tibetan crane-based style in Atlanta, Georgia.
Adam Hsu Kung Fu
...Sifu Hsu teaches and writes about chang chuan (long fist) tai chi, pa kua, ba ji, pi kua, mizong chuan, hsing-I, and northern mantis in his Sunnyvale, California school and has additional schools in the USA (California, Texas, Arkansas, Michigan, and Illinois) and Germany. This site also includes some of Sifu Hsu's interesting articles on martial arts.
...a page in honor of the late Grandmaster Liu Yunqiao that includes information about pi kua and ba ji, that together seem to form a 'meta-system,' and other related styles.
Ba Ji Kung Fu System
Feng Zhi Qiang Martial Academy of North America
(Qiu Zhen Yi Center for Taiji Studies)
...Master Yang Yang, an authority on Chen-style tai chi, heads this, the American branch of his teacher's Chinese school. Yang Yang is one of Sifu David Dunn's teachers and is impressive both as a teacher and as a stylist -- I learned a lot from a one-day workshop with Master Yang. Schools within this organization exist in Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
American Chen Style Tai Chi Association
Wu Style Tai Chi
Pa Kua Chang Kung Fu
The Chin Wu (Ching Mo)
...this Shanghai institution was crucible for many of the Chinese styles practiced today -- this site belongs to a Western Australian branch and has contact information for schools worldwide.
USA Chin Woo Federation
...this site also includes very interesting information on the history of Chin Wu.
Chinese Kung-fu Wu-su
...more interesting information about both 'internal' and 'external' styles on this site -- Grandmaster Alan Lee and his instructors teach Taoist- and Buddhist-based martial arts in New York City.
Lee's Shaolin Kung Fu Academy
...this Vancouver, Washington-based school, headed by Sifu Daniel K. Lee, teaches several styles and has interesting information on each and on the Shaolin system.
Buddha's Wing Fu Page
...teaching eclectic northern and southern Chinese martial arts in Atlanta, Georgia.
...a collection of martial artists who get together to train and have posted a lot of information to the Web about various Chinese styles.
Small Circle JujitsuTM International
...the legendary Professor Wally Jay has schools in the USA (California, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Oregon, and New York) and his expertise and innovation has inspired others worldwide. Although ju jitsu is not a Chinese style, I've included it here because its basics are Chinese -- largely founded from Chinese grappling (chin na) arts such as white crane and eagle claw. Further, Wally Jay's background is as eclectic as was Bruce Lee's and the two converged on several points that transcend stylistic origins.
...from Mark Urbin -- all you need to know about kenpo! Again, although most kenpo is not, strictly speaking, a 'pure' Chinese style (or set of styles), it is heavily-based on Chinese kung fu and in some forms is essentially indistinguishable from southern Chinese styles.
Dillman Karate International
...George Dillman has specialized in investigating the reality of pressure-point attacks and unveiling their appearance as seemingly-innocuous moves in martial arts forms, including those of Japanese and Okinawan styles that retained Chinese-origin chin na. Dillman Karate is represented by affiliates in 31 US states and in Canada, Finland, Italy, New Zealand, and England.
Bruce, Jackie, Sammo, Jet, Chuck, and the others -- martial arts on the screen
Martial Artists of the Silver Screen
Martial Arts Masters of the Movies
Red Flower Society
Bruce Lee -- The Dragon
The Shrine to Bruce Lee
Unofficial Bruce Lee Home Page
Bruce Lee Educational Foundation
Bruce Lee -- Ultimate Fighter
Jackie Chan Online (Germany)
Jackie Chan: Project J
Jackie Chan Zone Jackie Chan Fan Club, USA
The Jet Lee (Li) Homepage
The Ultimate Jet Li Website
Chuck Norris Official Website
The Official Sammohung.com
The Unofficial Cynthia Rothrock Home Page
The Karate Kid Movie Website
Official Billy Jack Website
Xena Online Resources
...Xena and its star, Lucy Lawless, have inspired a huge number of websites...you can find more than a few linked to this site.
The Green Hornet
Kung Fu -- The Original Series Episode Guide
Kung Fu: TV Series Episode Guide
Kung Fu Episode Guide
Chinese culture, philosophy, legends, and history
The Gallery of China -- Chinese Philosophy and Religion
Zen and Taoist Stories
Su Tzu's Chinese Philosophy Page
Chad Hansen's Chinese Philosophy Pages
...including Zen, or Ch'an, Buddhism
Chinese history, map, and
...brace yourself -- China has a lot of history
Chinese Culture Online Library
...an amazing site with a lot of links
China on Site
The China Experience: Exploring Chinese Culture
Yutopian Chinese Culture Page
...Chinese fortune-telling and Taoist thought
Chinese recipes, Feng Shui, Chinese Astrology, herbal medicine
Chinese Astrology, Horoscopes, and Feng Shui
...I'm a dragon, along with Bruce Lee, John Lennon, and my father!...cool...
Chinese Astrology, Chinese Signs, Feng Shui, I Ching, and more!
Historic legends and tales
The grandeur of the Chinese dragon
The Legend of the Chinese Dragon
Traditional Chinese Medicine and chi
...a site that includes chi kung resources
History of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine theory
Traditional Chinese Medicine
The Field of Oriental Medicine --Selected Articles
Chinese patent herbs and medicines
Toxic Contaminants In Chinese Patent Medicines
Chinese food! (now we're talking...)
chinesefood.org: The Ultimate Chinese Food Site
Stuart's Chinese Recipes
Chinese recipes, Feng Shui, Chinese Astrology, herbal medicine
The Art of Chinese Food and
..."if Yan can cook, so can you!"
ChinaVista's Recipe Corner
Global Gourmet: China
Chinese Home-Style Cooking
Recipes for Chinese Dishes
More Chinese recipes
Healthy "Woking" with Lily Loh
Famous Dishes in Shanghai
Hong Kong: Dim Sum Dishes
History of DimSum
Dim Sum Menu
The Chinese Secret (WebMD)
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