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.

 

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

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

“Could you write something about the health benefits of Tai Chi?” the Editor of Calibre Quarterly magazine asked Instructor Richard Wagstaff. “No problem”. And here it is: Fighting Spirit. Yes we all agree that 65-year old Chief Instructor Dennis Ngo looks “impressive” (in the words of the Calibre Editor). Whilst preparing the article, discussions turned to people’s perceptions of Tai Chi as for those who were not “up to” the hard style of Kung Fu. Why don’t I just come out with it and say “mature” or “older” or “middle-aged”? Because, leaving aside considerations of acceptable language and the implied stereotypes, these are labels that don’t provide any useful information. I like the word “grown-ups” – you are a grown-up when you think you are and remain so as long as you wish.

One of our Grown-Up Students, Jill Steen, did not start training with us until she had been a grown-up for quite some time. She is really making up for any lost time (if you call having a successful and interesting life “lost time”). Jill trains several times a week and has travelled with us to China, Egypt, and Crete. During training camps she gets up in the morning and goes on the dawn pre-breakfast runs. Jill has twice competed in China at International Martial Arts competitions (as in the photo above). In China competitors are grouped by age and there is no lack of competition in the older age categories.

Jill takes up her story here – and it all started with a leaflet coming through her front door…. Read More

We have said it many times (and I’m beginning to regret it) but we love a challenge. Well, most of us do. And it depends on the challenge. And whether it is a challenge. Last year we did the “Pretty Mudders” run in aid of Cancer Research, and it was fun, and a bit muddy, but not much of a challenge. “Couldn’t we try something harder?” asked Resident Marathon Runner No 1?  “Mais Bien Sûr, mon amie” came the reply, “What do you suggest?”  And the suggestion [some time later] was….The Gauntlet Games.  A 5K run with Gladiators trying to prevent you from successfully negotiating the numerous obstacles.  Sounds ideal! Sound the horns! Muster the troops! Set up a Facebook group! Lead on….

Marathon Runner takes up the story.  [Well she would but her report has been redacted Read More

“Once upon a time there was a human being. This human being was dutiful, educated, courteous. This human being came under attack and had to fight or surrender. This human being took what was already known and came back to fight another day.  “I will surrender if you can beat me.”  This human being was Fang Qi Niang.

I wish I had known her. I often think of her.

She founded the White Crane System of Chinese Martial Arts. She was unbeatable. She taught great warriors, tacticians, generals. They defended the South of China from invasion over and over again. A Chinese woman from 300 years ago. She probably had bound feet. She was probably small and light. She had Filial Piety and pursued the men who killed her father.  She married another martial artist who was her student. She could have walked this earth without leaving a mark. She was a genius.

She was unbeatable but she felt pain, she cried, she bled, she laughed. She could have surrendered.

She did not. She was a human being.

You are a human being too.”

Celebrate International Women’s Day – it’s a day for humanity.

 

Sharon Ngo – Human Being, Woman, and Fujian White Crane Kung Fu Instructor