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May You Have the Good Fortune to Experience Shao-Lin Kung Fu – Raymond K.

The martial arts are a form of exercise that I enjoy, and it challenges me to stay healthy, think fast and serve as a process toward self-accomplishment. I have practiced and participated in various forms of martial arts throughout my life; some at a competitive level. Now well into my fifties, I am unable to perform many of the demanding physical requirements I was able to while younger. Along the way, I sustained injuries that have compounded and linger, especially damage to my back from Judo throws.

About a year ago, I was drawn to Tai Chi as a low impact solution to my situation. While in the Chinese Shao-Lin Center of Raleigh program, Sifu Mo advised that I explore Kung Fu to augment my routine. I was hesitant; admittedly, reserved, and skeptical. Yet, I engaged in the program with an open mind and embraced new concepts that I had not been previously exposed. Fellow students in the school, advanced and established in the art, humbly welcomed me without predisposition; along with Sifu Mo, they encouraged my practice. Beyond the physical dimension, the school infused a Chinese style of the arts which accommodated my individual pace, albeit in a therapeutic way. The curriculum incorporated mediation, acupressure and pressure points, focus on developing of the core muscles, strengthening of the mind, spiritual acuity and expanded on many aspects of eastern philosophy (“time and effort”). It’s remarkable after all these years, how much more I must learn. Most significant, and a result of this training regimen, my back and my health are stabilizing.

I think highly of all my previous martial arts instruction and experiences. Those modern programs, like many, were designed for combat and competition; thus, taking a lasting excise on my body. Moving forward to present, it’s ironic to me that Chinese Shaolin martial arts, the original form of martial art, is where I have journeyed. I’m discovering it as a culmination and refinement of all that I have studied and where I intend to focus my remaining years.

In retrospect, I wonder how my development might have been had I started my journey here…