Traditional Chinese Training In Denver Area?

Discussion in 'Chinese Martial Arts - General' started by ebozzz, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    Nothing against Gao style but I have only worked with 2 styles of Bagua and one was Yin and I rather liked it. The other I never remember if is was Cheng or Jiang style. Yin style is, IMO, a good choice and there are a lot of YouTube Vids of Yin style out there as well.

    I don’t know anything about the schools you linked but there is a Yin Style Bagua Group near me that is part of this same group and I do know they are pretty serious about Yin Bagua, heck they train outside year around and in the Northeast that can get mighty cold, but they still train.

    Yin Style Info

    Baguazhang

    Xingyiquan is a wonderful style but hard to find teachers in that are high level. Also some styles of Bagua do have a form or two similar to Xingyiquan (I think Gao is one of those but I'm not sure). Also Shanxi Xingyiquan (I think it's Shanxi) has a high level form that is similar to Bagua circle walking but it is a much tighter circle.
     
  2. ebozzz

    ebozzz Yellow Belt

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    I have never seen Yin style except for a few YouTube videos. I asked Jack Schaefer, the local Yin style instructor, if he could compare Gao style to his and he said that he felt Yin was a little more direct. He also added that Yin might not be as appealing to look at as Gao or others. Well, I happen to think that Xingyi is beautiful so I could really care less that Yin may be less appealing visually than other styles.

    It gets cold here in Denver as well but there is a lot less humidity in this area than in the Northeast. I am a native of Southeastern Mississippi. It's very humid there but it does not get as cold or hot, temperature wise, as it gets in the Denver area. Would you believe that I have never felt as cold or as hot in Colorado as I have in Mississippi? It's true!

    If I can become comfortable with the idea that the two Gao style options, or comparable teachers, are going to be available for the next several years I may have to get ready for training that will take place year around in that park I mentioned. Also, the picture that is next to the Baguazhang listing on the cultural center's page is outside. Maybe they train in a similar fashion to the group that is in your area? I may have to get my winter gear together for either Gao or Yin! :)

    [​IMG]



    I've been told by at least one person that there are a lot of experienced Xingyiquan teachers in or near Denver. Thus far, I have not been able to find many. Mike Bingo and Kenneth Cohen are the only two that I was able to locate that are possibly considerd to be high level instructors. There are a couple of other people that I am aware of where all I have is a first name and general area of residence.

    The Tang Shou Tao system that is taught at the Sin Lung Kwoon was founded by Hong Yixiang. I know that he was very adept in Bagua, Xingyi & Taiji but wasn't he known more for his Xingyi? Luo Dexiu trained with Hong Yixiang and he is the person who is integral to the availability of Gao style Bagua in my area. If the answer to my above question is yes, might that explain the Xingyi influence in the Gao style?
     
  3. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    Yin fu was allegedly the first student of Dong Haichaun and he was also Dong's student the longest, this is where Yin Style comes from.

    Many of Dong's students came from other styles Cheng I beleive was Shuaijiao before becoming a student of Dong Haichuan

    Yin Style Baguazhang

    More here

    From previous Link

    Yin Style: Yin Fu
    Shi Style: Shi Jidong
    Cheng Style: Cheng Tinghua
    Liu Style: Liu Baozhen
    Liang Style: Liang Zhenpu
    Fu Style: Fu Zhensong
    Gao Style: Gao Yisheng
    Gong Style: Gong Baotian
    Jiang Style: Jiang Rongqiao
    Yin Yang Style (Tian Style): Tian Hui
     
  4. ebozzz

    ebozzz Yellow Belt

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    I just wanted to take the time to thank each of you that contributed to my thread. Finding a good CMA school is not an easy thing to do in my area so the advice that all of you provided was extremely helpful. No decision has been made yet but I am down to two options. They are.....

    The Sin Lung Kwoon

    Yin Style Baguazhang
    (I still have to visit them. This training is available on Tuesday evenings here.)

    I also gave serious consideration to Gao style Baguazhang but it would be private instruction only with Gao at this time for the instruction that fits my needs. I kind of feel like I need to be involved and interact with others in a group setting right now after being inactive for many years. Therefore, I have decided that either Sin Lung or Yin will be my new martial arts home.

    I plan to devote some time to bettering my overall physical conditioning for the remainder of this month and begin formal training in July. The delay will allow me the opportunity of visiting the Yin school then giving serious consideration to it and Sin Lung prior to making my choice. It also gives me the necessary time to clear my personal schedule so that I can assure that I will be able to attend my sessions on a regular basis regardless of which situation is chosen.

    I'm excited! It would have been nice to pursue this goal when I was younger but several factors (family, work, etc..) would have made it difficult for me to succeed. Things have changed some. My children are older, my work schedule is a little more agreeable and life has slowed down some. A lot hard and painful work lies ahead for me. I must be crazy to want that, huh? :D
     
  5. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    yup...and that is what makes it so damn cool... but then again I was once called a "genuine, certifiable MA House O' Pain maniac" (thank you exile where ever you are) here on MT :EG: so maybe my opinion is not the best here :D

    Yup, welcome to the dark side :EG: :jediduel:
     
  6. ebozzz

    ebozzz Yellow Belt

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    Hello to all! I just wanted to check in to add a little more information. The Academy of Chinese Martial & Cultural Arts in Boulder, Colorado is truly a unique place for this region. It houses the training facilities for Shaolin Hung Mei, Gu Feng Tai Chi Club and Yin style Baguazhang. There are also lots of other events that take place at that location. Check here for more information.

    It's too bad that the distance required for me to commute to Boulder just doesn't work for me at this time but I plan to stay in touch with the contacts that I have made in hope that the future will allow me participate. I said this earlier in this thread. I am envious of the Boulder residents! In my opinion they have the best variety of quality training options in the Denver Metro area.
     
  7. villain

    villain White Belt

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    I studied under Sifu Ha at Tai Kung Ha for a few years before they moved the school to their new location. I know this thread is kinda old, but I didn't see any comments of you having gone by there so figured I could answer questions if you still had any.
     
  8. jarrod

    jarrod Senior Master

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    i've settled into my training spots by now, but i'd like to know what you thought of the training, what a typical class was like, that sort of thing.

    jf
     
  9. ebozzz

    ebozzz Yellow Belt

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    You know, I actually did go by the school's location a few times at 10890 East Dartmouth Avenue but each time I did, they were closed even though it was during hours that are scheduled for classes per their website. Since that time I have kind of moved on to different things but I would still love to know what you thought of the training.

    Are you still practicing? If so, where is your current school located? In short, can you please just provide a general review of the training that was available at Tai Kung Ha? Thanks.......
     
  10. ebozzz

    ebozzz Yellow Belt

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    Where did you end up Jarrod?
     
  11. jarrod

    jarrod Senior Master

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    i'm doing arnis at colorado academy of martial arts ( http://www.coloradoacademy.com ). i'm not in their jujitsu program, but i get together with one of their instructors & grapple once a week or so. after the holidays i'll probably start going to the boxing club at the 20th street rec center.

    jf
     
  12. ebozzz

    ebozzz Yellow Belt

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    That school, Colorado Academy of Martial Arts, has been around a long time! Something must be right about what they are offering. I hear that 20th street has a serious boxing program and it's also supposed to be very cost effective. Sounds like fun!
     
  13. jarrod

    jarrod Senior Master

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    great folks at CAMA. the owner was one of the guys who helped bring remy presas to the US. i never had a huge drive to learn arnis, but i couldn't pass up training with this guy. looking forward to checking out that boxing club, a coworker of mine used to box & spoke pretty highly of them.

    jf
     
  14. villain

    villain White Belt

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    Well, when I was going to the school it was over off Alameda and during the summers we always practiced at Washington Park...so that may explain them not being there...but I heard Sifu Ha has a tea and meditation supply kinda store there now too, so I would assume they are around more often at the actual center these days.
    I haven't really been practicing for about a year or so, but am probably playing the drum this year at some lion dance performances and will hopefully train with Sifu Ha privately up north at my place in the relatively short term (I'm about an hour and fifteen from the school or so). I have been considering the seven-star mantis school in Boulder (which i hear is very legit), but I have a connection with Sifu Ha that is pretty deep, so I'm not sure I can bring myself to train with anyone else :)
    As for the training - Sifu Ha doesn't have what you would call a 'traceable' lineage. He grew up in south vietnam, reportedly at a taoist temple, no father to speak of and his mother couldnt really take care of him...so he lived at the temple and apparently started training at a very young age. He studied Hung Gar at the temple and later Tai Chi with a different instructor. After his Hung Gar teacher died, he studied Choy Li Fut with a friend of his original teacher. When doing CLF, he competed some when he was young. Much later, he moved to Oregon and lived there for several years before apparently coming to Denver. He taught here in Denver at a temple down in south Denver and was primarily teaching young asian students whose parents went to the temple. They were free classes and very very traditional from the way I hear it - as in get beat in the legs with sticks when your stance isnt proper kinda traditional.
    about a year or so before I started training with him, they had moved to the school on Alameda.
    The training is a blend of hung gar, choy li fut as well as tai chi, chi gung, etc. added as necessary. He tries to separate out too many of the various disclipines into different classes IMO...and I know why he does it, but I still don't think the structure works as well as intended as basically it requires a time commitment that is very very difficult to achieve if you are going to absorb everything the way he intends. For Sifu Ha (and appropriately I think), it is all intertwined...like you cant have the 'hard' kung fu without the 'soft' tai chi; stuff like chin-na is separated out as a separate class cause despite it being integrated with the kung fu that you would perform, it is a slightly different disclipine and as such he likes to try and teach it as its own 30-45 min session vs. strictly incorporating it into the kung fu training. His approach is logical in some ways, but for a guy like me that works 60-80 hours a week and lives over an hour from the center - such a structure becomes impossible to deal with, regardless of how much I may want to attend every class.
    Classes are very traditional (at least from my experience)...you may spend months doing stances, or you will definitely spend months learning even small sections of a form...he doesn't give anything easily...basically expects perfection and you will work on it till he feels like its 'right'...and if you are one of the students that his eye is on - then it better be 'right' both internally and externally. Strength training was very traditional, with weighted stones, and bottles and all kindsa sadistic torture devices :) Sifu Ha's english isnt outstanding, so that takes some getting used to. and also to note - is that while he doesnt consider himself a 'monk'...he is pretty close and as such, while hurting people is certainly part of the overall game we are playing - he is focused on the spirituality and the art. He's not into 'fighting like barbarians' :) And he holds true with that way of teaching...but that being said, he has taught me how to hurt people fairly effectively too...its just that is not the point :)
    He is a very good man and a truly good person. Flaws from a school perspective would be that he is not a businessman, and ultimately martial arts schools are businesses in this world. Sifu Ha recognizes that, but has many conflicts with it internally, and struggles with it externally. He grew up and comes from a different world than he lives in today, and as much as he (and many of us possibly) may wish things could be like they were way back when and just have devoted diciples that are living and breathing the art and spirituality on an ongoing basis doing nothing but training and working on spiritual enlightenment, that just isnt the case.
    As such, schedules, pricing, organizational structure are kinda all over the place. He has at least one student (thuan) that has been with him since he first got to Denver. He is an assistant instructor at this point and a really good guy as well. Outside of a couple guys like that, he has trouble keeping a good volume of students (normally <20 total when i was going to the school itself) due to both the business management issues as well as his pretty brutal training regimine/style. They also rely heavily on lion dance and performances for the new year and to help fund the school...thats pretty cool in some ways, not so cool in others depending on the student and what you are into.
    That all being said, regardless of instructors, I will always consider myself Sifu Ha's student and I hold a great deal of respect for him both as a teacher and as a friend.

    Sorry for the novel :)
     
  15. ebozzz

    ebozzz Yellow Belt

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    Villain,

    Thanks for the novel! It was very helpful and gave me a good feel of what is offered at Tai Kung Ha. I still would like to get a chance to visit there at some point but my schedule has been a killer lately. Good luck with your future training and thanks again.....
     

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