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Monday, February 28, 2011

The Ip Man Movies List

At least two or three times per week, someone wanders in and says, "I'm here because I saw the movie Ip Man and I want to learn Wing Chun."

Many of these Ip Man enthusiasts have become some of our most dedicated students.

When they come in, after talking about our programs and such, our instructors always ask if they've seen any of the "other" Ip Man movies. Here is a list with trailers of the "other" Ip Man movies already released or in the works for fans:

1. Ip Man 2 (2010) - sequel to Ip Man (2008); stars Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung.

2. Ip Man: The Legend is Born (2010) - prequel to the previous 2 Ip Man movies, starring Dennis To and Sammo Hung. Features a substantial cameo by Ip Man's real-life eldest son, Ip Chun, who portrays Leung Bik (Ip Man's second Sifu). Made by a different production company than its predecessor.

3. The Grandmasters (2011) - stars Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi. Was produced completely separately from the other 3 movies. The teaser trailer doesn't offer much unless you read Chinese, but we have high hopes for this film due to the caliber of its cast and its director, the renowned auteur Wong Kar Wai as well as action choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping.

(Why all the movies about Ip Man? Ip Man's chief claim to fame is having taught Bruce Lee, who popularized Wing Chun/Kung Fu in America... here at our school in Los Angeles we have a photo of the real-life Ip Man hanging in a place of honor, so that all of our students can aspire to be as great, as noble, and as influential as he was known to be.)

-Kung Fu Los Angeles staff

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The 818 Now Features California Academy of Martial Arts

Bryan Mahoney of The 818 Now, one of our local news and opinion websites, recently visited the school. He spent some time speaking with C.A.M.A. parents and instructors and even did a quick "intro" (introductory lesson) with Instructor Paul K. Daniel. 

Check out the link which has photos and video!

NEW GUY IN TOWN: I can say I know Kung Fu

-Kung Fu Los Angeles staff

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Video from Demonstration for Burbank Boy Scouts

Check out video from our kung fu demonstration for the Burbank Boy Scouts Venture Crew 201 on Feb 3, 2011.

-Kung Fu Los Angeles staff

Friday, February 18, 2011

Kung Fu Forms and Mindfulness

What is mindfulness, and how does it apply to Chinese martial arts?

Mindfulness means different things to different people. To most English-speaking Americans, to be mindful means to be cautious, aware, and attentive. For example, when I tell a young student "mind your stance" I am asking them to pay extra attention to their posture and stance movement.

To Buddhists, the term "mindfulness" has extra meaning. It is considered essential to enlightenment (the ultimate goal of Buddhism, similar in importance to the Christian heaven). Right mindfulness requires the Buddhist focus continuously and deliberately on one's body, actions, and mind. It enables and empowers Buddhists to do the right thing and make the right choices.

Mindlessness is everywhere in modern society. Sure, sometimes the mind needs a break, such as over that first cup of coffee in the morning or thirty minutes before bed. However, there are times when mindfulness is probably preferable. For example, who couldn't afford to be a little more mindful about what and how much they eat? Or when driving in rush-hour traffic?

Mindfulness is everything in kung fu, especially when doing our forms. We martial artists must mind our stance movements, our hand techniques, our posture, our breathing, and, during performances, even our facial expressions!

Just as regular exercise offers benefits beyond physical fitness (release of endorphins, self-esteem boost, long-term protection against various ailments, etc.), practicing kung fu forms offers benefits beyond simple memorization of a set of movements.

MINDFULNESS is just one of them...

-Kung Fu Los Angeles staff

Monday, February 14, 2011

Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Anti-Bullying

Many parents believe their children are not victims of bullying and thus are caught unprepared when the problem hits home. Of course, "bully-proofing" children is a large part of what we do at California Academy of Martial Arts. However, while the conversation on bullying tends to focus on victims and vilify the bullies themselves ("they're horrible kids!"), the reality is that the majority of them are good kids that just need some extra TLC. In fact, many are victims of bullying (or worse) themselves.

Once upon a time, according to Disney's upcoming show "Jake and the Never Land Pirates," there was a lonely little boy who wanted to be invited to play with the other children. But he never was. And years later, when the boy became a man, he was better known as Captain Hook*Isn't that message just as important as any other about anti-bullying?

Jake and Captain Hook.

Empathy - understanding how someone else is feeling, or being able to put yourself in their shoes - is a learned skill with immeasurable value. Empathic kids are shown to have better social skills, which helps them to do better in school and other social situations. Also, empathic children are perceived as better leaders, probably because they are better communicators and more likely to intervene in conflicts on others' behalf.**

Successful anti-bullying programs (like ours) should incorporate the social lessons promised in 'Jake and the Never Land Pirates' so that our children learn that for bullying to cease in their communities they must not only cease to be victims but also cease to be bullies themselves.

(*Excerpt from LA Times article published February 13, 2011.
 **Consulted http://www.drkutner.com/parenting/articles/develop_empathy.html)

-Kung Fu Los Angeles staff

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ip Man 2 Demonstration Video

From Saturday January 29th, 2011 at Mann Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, CA ahead of a screening of IP MAN 2 starring Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung.

Yahoo Burbank Building Chinese New Year festival

On Thursday a team of Tigers, Dragons and three instructors did two demonstrations at Yahoo.com's Burbank compound. Video and photos are on the way - we're editing together the best shots from multiple parents.

In between shows, the kids were invited to partake in activities such as Chinese Lantern making, a raffle, and some delicious Chinese appetizers. They also played cards, explored the game room, and practiced forms. The Yahoo employees were so impressed and many congratulated our kids on their poise and performance.

Obviously they had an amazing time and the festival went so well that the Yahoo people are inviting us back next year! :) Yahoo! (pun intended)

the Yahoo Burbank compound

Team member Roman and a very large knight

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Valley View Elementary School Student is Studio City Whiz Kid!

One of our Advanced Tigers, Catherine, was recently named a 'Whiz Kid' by StudioCityPatch, a local news website.

She definitely is a Whiz Kid and we're very proud of her!

Here's the link to the article about her recent accomplishment: Catherine Glandon Passes the Test!

-Kung Fu Los Angeles staff

Monday, February 7, 2011

Where's the "Kung Fu" in Kung Fu Panda?

Every generation seems to have its classic martial arts movie that inspires children to take up the ancient arts. The 2000s has at least two: "Karate Kid" and "Kung Fu Panda".

Kung Fu Panda came out first and was really a pleasant surprise. Animators consulted martial artists when animating fight scenes. They used some of the same animals that the Shaolin monks observed when creating martial arts: the crane, the snake, the mantis, the tiger, and the monkey. They used real kung fu hand techniques and kicks, too. Obviously their attention to detail really paid off, as Kung Fu Panda was a blockbuster hit and its sequel, Kung Fu Panda 2, is due out in May.

Many kids are surprised to learn that Wing Chun, our primary martial art, is comprised mostly of movements from snake and crane! (They're also often disappointed to learn there's no 'Panda' style.)

So on that note, here's a video of one of our Dragons, Bell, who came in a couple years ago after seeing Kung Fu Panda and has accomplished a lot in her time with us... in this video she tells the history of kung fu, kid-style:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Patty Whitehead: commitment, in 2 photos

So Miss Patty, one of our senior sashes and an assistant instructor, started with us when she was 8. For some reason, no one believes us when we say that -- which I think is a testament to how truly rare commitment is among our children today. So I'm posting PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE!
Patty at about age 8 or 9 at the old school. As evidenced by her green sash she'd already been training for around 9 months.
Patty at age 14, receiving her red & black sash!
P.S. I'm particularly proud of Patty and many of the other children who have trained with us for years because I feel the art of commitment is really lost on many of this generation's kids. Let me just say that I believe ANY child is capable of this level of commitment and accomplishment! (With ample help and support from parents and family, of course.)

-Kung Fu Los Angeles staff

Friday, February 4, 2011

Tiger Graduations

Today two of our Tigers, Keilee and Kaden, graduated to Dragons. Both have spent 6+ months in the Tigers program and have really gotten to know and befriend their classmates, so I knew that this would be a bittersweet moment for both of them.

I asked Keilee, "Are you excited to go to Dragons?" She nodded yes. I said, "Are you sad, too?" She nodded yes and became teary-eyed. "I'll miss my friends," she said.

We've all been through these moments in life, graduating from elementary school to junior high, junior high to high school, high school to (for many of us) college, etc. etc. We've changed jobs, moved cities... the list goes on and on. Meaningful change is rarely easy!

It's a hard lesson, but an important one too:

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.  ~Anatole France

-Kung Fu Los Angeles staff

demonstration for Boy Scouts Venture Crew 201

The demo show last night for Boy Scouts Venture Crew 201 was amazing! Our Dragon team (Gabe, Adam, Sydnee & Brian) performed Siu Lim Tao, Ping Kuen, a form from Crane, and Chinese Choy Li Fut broadsword. Miss Patty and Miss Gabby performed hand techniques and sparring. Miss Patty performed the Choy Li Fut pole and also some blindfolded chi sau with myself (Sifu Nancy).

Afterward, the event's organizers generously offered for our team to partake in the Chinese dinner. Most of the kids and a couple parents accepted and feasted on orange chicken, chow mein, rice, salad, Mongolian beef, soup, tea, punch, etc. etc. Needless to say this was VERY generous of them and the team had a lot of fun celebrating the successful performance together and chowing down :) The Boy Scouts who were our "waiters" for the evening were very attentive!

Send us your photos & video if you were there, please!

-Kung Fu Los Angeles staff

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Burbank Kung Fu Demonstration Show Tonight

For our students & others in the Burbank area--

Tonight four of our distinguished DRAGONS (ages 8-13) will be performing at a Chinese New Year-themed fundraiser held by the Boy Scouts Venture Crew 201. The event will be at: 2828 W. Magnolia Blvd. Burbank, CA 91505 inside a Methodist Church. It starts at 6 pm and will feature Chinese food and activities, plus a bunny petting zoo provided by Peggy Woods' Pet Emporium!

Our kids are on at 7 pm and a few of our teens/adults will also give free sparring, weapons and chi sau demonstrations.

You can come watch us for free, but in case you want to participate in the dinner, here's the info from a press release:

"Reservations can be made by calling the Church office at (818) 846-2866 -or- through the church email at MagnoliaParkUMC@SBCglobal.Net Leave your email or phone number. In the subject line put, CHINESE NEW YEAR. Event Coordinator Larae Hanks will contact you to confirm your requests."

Hope to see you there!

-Kung Fu Los Angeles staff

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

George Lopez and Sifu Tei

Sifu Tei on the Wooden Dummy at our old location

Sifu Tei and George Lopez - June 2010

Sifu Tei on SPIKE TV's "1000 Ways to Die"

Today Sifu Tei filmed more episodes of "1000 WAYS TO DIE" for SPIKE TV. His past episodes are:

Samu Fry: http://www.spike.com/video/samu-fry/3341421

Warning: not appropriate for younger viewers!

-Kung Fu Los Angeles staff

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Earned, Not Given...

Last night Sifu Tei awarded new sashes to a number of our students who tested over this past week and weekend.

Congratulations to all of them, because all of them -- the youngest being age 3 and the oldest in their 40s or 50s this time around -- earned their new ranking through hard work, humility and determination.

Some of them have only been with us for a few months and took their first tests on Saturday, but one of them, Miss Patty, has been with us for 6 years! Her commitment is definitely something to be admired. Keep an eye out for a longer blog about her martial arts journey soon.

In the meanwhile here's some photos of a couple 'Tigers' who passed this weekend with flying colors:

Keilee, who is graduating to Dragons today after almost a year in our Tigers program

Catherine, a veteran Advanced Tiger whose knowledge of Ip Man and his significance to Wing Chun was especially impressive

:) -Sifu Nancy