What style do you practice?

10 Jul

If in some case you were not already aware, I have a group on facebook called “Real Kung Fu Application” (https://www.facebook.com/groups/practicalkungfu/). We discuss some interesting stuff over there, and as I moderate it, the trolls get removed pretty quickly. Anyway, right now there is a running discussion that began with the question “what is your martial art”?

The responses have been pretty typical; I’d characterize them as predictably falling into two categories. The first is the person who will answer in a fairly strict way, identifying themselves with one, perhaps two methods. While not always, I tend to think that sometimes this is indicative of a trend in martial arts to think “inside a style”, and often disdain things that are not “part of the style”.

The second response is to literally list every martial art you have studied. In this day and age, with the availability of martial arts instruction, this can reasonably be a fairly long list. But my question would be, does that list really represent what you do? More importantly, WHO YOU ARE?

In one sense, I could say I do “Lama Pai” as I learned it under the late Chan Tai San. But, to be honest, I’d have to quickly qualify that statement. Chan Tai San’s “Lama Pai” came from at least three lineages that used the name “Lama” and elements of the related “Tibetan” or “Lion’s Roar” martial arts of Tibetan White Crane (Pak Hok Pai) and Hap Ga Kyuhn. It was also pretty much impossible to be one of Chan Tai San’s seniors and not learn at least some Choy Lay Fut and White Eyebrow (Pak Mei / Bak Mei).

Before I trained with Chan Tai San, I formally studied Dang Fong lineage Hung Ga and Chang lineage Shuai Jiao. Well, again, in the sake of “honesty”, I was in Jeng Hsin Ping’s Shuai Jiao school, where my older classmate James Chin certainly included elements of his Long Fist training in our basic training there. I also had an informal but rather close relationship to the Seven Star Praying Mantis people. Stephen Laurette introduced me to Chan Tai San, and to his senior classmate Chiyu Ho. Chan Tai San’s wife was also Sifu Chiu Leun’s cousin.

Of course, prior to all that Chinese martial arts training, I did Moo Duk Kwan Taekwondo and Sin Moo Hapkido under the late Pong Ki Kim. As I said, if you live long enough, you can reasonably have a pretty long list of martial arts credentials. OOOOOPPPSSSSS, what about AFTER I trained with Chan Tai San? Once he retired?

I have been rather vocal about the fact I was very pleased to learn some very high quality Xingyi Quan and Bagua Zhang in recent years. That’s certainly Chinese martial arts, and it has certainly influenced me. But then, we have all that “modern” training also? Where do we throw that? How do we even list it? Modern martial arts is “mixed martial arts” (MMA) and is a wide combination of influences.

The point of this blog? I am ALL of these things, and I am also NONE. Later I’ll explain this in more detail. In the meantime, check out my “method” online with COMPLETE ACCESS at https://new-york-san-da-martial-arts.teachable.com/p/nmr-online-curriculum

One Response to “What style do you practice?”


  1. What style do you practice? PART TWO | Sifu David Ross - July 15, 2019

    […] This is part two, you can find part one of this blog here (CLICK). […]

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