This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series 2016 Shaolin Invitational Competition

By now, oh faithful reader, you know that we sent a team of Instructors and students to the 2016 International Wuzu Association Traditional Southern Shaolin Invitational. You even have the results. But here comes the backstory from a novice Kung Fu competitor.  Boris Kalmykov trains with Chief Instructor Dennis Ngo. Several months ago Boris decided that he could not resist the opportunity to train harder than he ever had in his life, subjecting himself to withering (but ultimately constructive) criticism, plus everything the British weather could throw at him in his outdoor training. Followed by a long-haul flight to a country he had never visited and where he does not speak the language. What could possibly go wrong? Let us read his dispatches….

Dear Sharon,

Here is my report: Read More

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series 2016 Shaolin Invitational Competition

The 2016 Shaolin results of competition –  I could bore you with the details, but that’s not what you want to know… Who did what – that’s what you want!

Maybe you are following your Instructor, or maybe you are following someone who trains with you?

No worries  – here are the baseline results.

With photos.

Who could ask for more?

All right – more details to follow.. Read More

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series 2016 Shaolin Invitational Competition

It’s that time of year again – November every other year as it happens. So, the 2016 International Wuzu Association Traditional Southern Shaolin Invitational Competition, here we come.

Led by Chief Instructor Dennis Ngo, a group of Instructors and students from the Fujian White Crane Kung Fu Club are on a plane bound for Quanzhou tonight. In addition to the  freehand forms competition, the team is competing with the short weapon of broadsword, plus the long weapons of horse-cutting knife, spear, and staff.

Keep an eye out for updates and results!

Instructors

Dave Courtney Jones

Richard Wagstaff

Danil Mikhailov

Plus students Agnieszka, Boris, Mike, and Rob.

 

Welcome to new FWC Kung Fu Instructor Joshua Villar. Joshua has been training with us for over 10 years. He is now looking forward to a career teaching Kung Fu in Victoria, South London. We asked him what impact Kung Fu has had on his life. Why had he decided to enter the challenging process to become an Instructor of Fujian White Crane Martial Arts?

First expectations

“When I walked into my first Kung Fu lesson I expected to learn how to defend myself so I could fight off bullies. I was twelve years old. And I had no idea that Kung Fu would become the driving force behind my life. But once I started it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with everything Kung Fu had to offer. The elation of physical strain, learning how to fight and defend myself, and learning about Chinese culture and philosophy. I quickly learnt that Kung Fu was more than just a hobby. It is a way of life.  A way of life that I was all too eager to follow.

Dance or Kung Fu?

Before deciding that I wanted to become a Kung Fu Instructor I was primed to become a professional dancer. Read More

Women in Sport Week – is that about me, asked our women students?  Many young girls are only too happy to be involved in sports, dance, and martial arts. Somehow their zest for movement diminishes as they grow up. The reasons are various – Read More

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs

Convalescence¹ – an old-fashioned word that doesn’t seem to be used any more. We tend to use “recovery”² which is approximately the same, but “convalescence” has a more definite feeling of a process over time. You may have followed Dennis’ story of injury, illness and recovery in the previous two articles in this series.  If so you will know that Dennis has made remarkable come-backs from a serious car accident and from sepsis. But he went through a planned period of convalescence. This is the story of his convalescence from sepsis – life-threatening infection.

Fresh air, nutritious diet, plenty of rest. All sounds rather twee and Jane Austen doesn’t it? But whenever Dennis was frustrated at not being up to doing something (which happened quite often) he had to remember that we used to send people to Italy or Switzerland for months at a time to recover from serious illness and “build up their strength”. To Sanatoriums, Nursing Homes, Convalescent Homes – giving people time to get their strength back. Sure we have painkillers, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, but although they make you “better” they don’t make you who you used to be.

And maybe we don’t use that period of healing any more in the way that we could. Life is binary – Read More

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs

After an operation to improve his nose airway, Chief Instructor Dennis Ngo, was struck down by an enemy he couldn’t see. But he could feel it. Running through his bloodstream, wreaking havoc, causing intense pain in an infected ankle (how did it get there from his nose?). Antibiotics could help – but would the spectre of antibiotic resistance rear its head?

April 2016 – Minor operation. Quick recovery.

Back on feet, feeling fine, teaching lessons. And then the pain starts. High pain threshold – keep going. Feeling worse, but the nose feels ok – wonder why the ankle hurts? Five days later in hospital on intravenous antibiotics. C-Reactive Protein 353. Diagnosis: Staphylococcus Aureus Bacteremia, Cellulitis, maybe Osteolmyelitis. Ten days later, back home with daily nursing visits to give the drugs through a PICC line. Go to class in a wheelchair. Six weeks later, intravenous antibiotics stop. Go to class with a walking stick. Read More

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs

“We are martial artists – we all live with pain. If you train hard and regularly, you will know what pain is.” Dennis Ngo explains to Emeka Onono from Raw TV Ltd.  Emeka had contacted Dennis to see if he would be involved in a social experiment documentary. Dr Chris Van Tulleken was planning to take a group of people who suffer with chronic conditions –  could lateral approaches let them stop taking their prescription drugs?

Emeka wanted to know whether Dennis would help Crystal, who had chronic severe back pain. “If Crystal wants to do it it then I can help.” The rest, as they say, makes great TV. [You can watch the trailer here:  “The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs“.]

But behind Dennis’ seemingly bluff comments on the pain of training, there is another story. Read More

“If I had wanted to be a performance artist I would not have started training in Traditional Chinese Martial Arts”. Well that all sounds reasonable until you look into the history of Chinese Martial Arts. And then you realise that there were many occasions on which performance was required, and this was not only on the battlefield. We have said it many times in class – humans are primates and as such we are primed to respond to body language, and by extension “performance” of movement. Maybe scientists have only recently discovered that gorillas sing to each other, but we have long known that performance is a form of communication. And so Instructor Dave Courtney Jones asked his students to be involved with the Big Dance project, co-operating with the Counterpoint Dance Company.  Dave takes up the story of how they got on with their biggest performance so far…

Dancing in the dark

“It’s pitch black. I am sat in the Lilian Baylis Theatre at Sadler’s Wells looking down at the vague silhouettes of my students as they stand motionless in horse stance, positioned across the darkened stage. Read More

There seems to be a symbiotic relationship between cycling and Kung Fu. Several of our students have written about how their Kung Fu training benefits their cycling. But here we meet endurance cyclist Pete Kelsey, who takes it even further. Hundreds of kilometres further. Several times a year. In all weathers. With no back-up. Now that’s endurance.

How did I get here?

“It’s 4am as I wheel my bike out in the pre-dawn gloom and set off in the direction I’ve just come from. I’m 380km into a 630km ‘Audax’ event, a long distance cycling challenge. Not for the first time I wonder how exactly I ended up here. Read More