Hey Enter Shaolin family Larry here, I just wanted quickly thank each and everyone of you for making these past few months an amazing experience for all of us here. As the new year approaches I know deep down inside we always want to have a better year than the year prior.
Since we opened the doors on May 1st, 2014, we have been working very hard to make sure we have the best site possible for you. We have had our share of bugs, glitches and oh oh’s.
For those of you that don’t know, building and working on this Enter Shaolin has been Jamie and I’s full-time plus overtime gig since this time last year. Enter Shaolin has been growing steadily each month. The time, money, sweat, tears and sometimes banging our heads on our desk has been totally worth it. 🙂
We really do mean that when you join us you are part of our Kung Fu family.
Can You Really Learn Kung Fu Online?
I wanted to talk about this for moment, Jamie has asked me to tell my full story but for the sake of time I’ll just recap it for you, but first I also want to talk to you about your training.
One of the biggest concerns a new family member has is:
Can I Learn Kung Fu Without A Training Partner?
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The answer is YES and the answer is NO. Yes because we believe to truly be proficient at Kung Fu your mind, body and spirit need to be balanced. To truly learn an art you need to study and put in the work. Basically you have to learn the forms, practice the techniques and exercise and condition the body. Most of these things can be done solo. Even Sifu Phu spent the majority of his training as a solo-practitioner.
You can even practice techniques solo. Some people will say I can’t practice the technique without a partner. I would say… Learning a technique is great and all, but what happens whens your opponent doesn’t attack the way you practiced the technique? Then what?
Whether you practice with a partner or solo, you have to account for the element of surprise. Because every opponent’s energy is different.
This is where sensitivity training and sparring come into play. It’s at this point in your training that having a training partner is needed.
But I will get into that a bit later…
Think about what I just said. It takes months and months of training (possibly years depending on you) to get your body ready for the next phase of your training, the phase I am talking about is actually touching hands with someone else, so you can experience another person’s energy.
It actually took me a year to learn the full Tai Chi form and then another 2 years just to get it right. When I first learned the form I was taking a semester in college for health and wellness. Every morning before class I would run through the entire form just so I could memorize it.
Exercising and conditioning is an on-going process.
Tip: If you are a beginner I recommend learning and memorizing the first 10 Qigong exercises , Sil Lum Tao and the first third of Tai Chi. Once you memorize those forms add in some C.O.R.E. Training. I highly recommend starting with the basic pushups and situps. Once you have those forms set to memory you can start your DAILY training routine. Which includes doing all the above mentioned forms plus pushups and situps. I wouldn't switch that routine up till you can do a straight 100 pushups and straight 100 situps. Most people won't be able to do that many right away. In fact I remember a conversation I had with Sifu Phu Ngo years ago when I asked him how often he trained... His reply was, "Everyday." I said, "EVERYDAY?" He said, "Everyday, 7 days a week, even when I am sick!"
The truth is if you just do what I prescribed to you over the next year, your mind, body and spirit will improve immensely.
Finding A Training Partner – How I Did It
When I first started training with Sifu Phu, I could only afford to take so many lessons a week. In fact I split the cost of a private lesson with a friend. Even though I was taking lessons, I still didn’t have anyone to practice with at home.
I needed willing training partners and to be honest I didn’t exactly know how I was going to find them. Here is what I did to solve this issue. I started wearing my Kung Fu shirts everywhere I went. And guess what happened? Most of the times, it would get people to approach me and ask me about my Kung Fu. Most of those people were either already martial artists or wanted to become one.
Now remember… I was still learning, still relatively newbie material. Meaning my skill wasn’t that good. But I didn’t care and because I was honest and upfront with people, they didn’t care either.
I was truthful with people, I usually ended saying something like, “Listen my skill isn’t that good, however I can teach you what I know for free. In exchange for the free lessons, understand that I am still learning myself, but we can work on our skills together.” This is how I started teaching Kung Fu. I started teaching for free, so that I could keep learning and have willing unlimited training partners.
And that eventually turned into my skill increasing to the point my free training partners insisted on paying me for their lessons, which eventually led to me becoming a Sifu overtime. Now maybe that isn’t your desire or end goal and that is okay, the point is that is just one creative way to find some training partners for free.
Tomorrow, we will start taking orders for our Enter Shaolin clothing line. Watch what happens when you get yours and people come up to you to start ask about your shirt. Always be honest with them and you will be surprised how many training partners you can find from this one simple method.
Now you are problem wondering like most, especially if your are relatively young in your Kung Fu journey…
How do I know if I am doing something wrong or right without a teacher there to guide me?
You let the energy be your guide, what I mean by this is: We train skill not brute force.
If you are working on something and it’s not working correctly or it works, but you are struggling to make it work it’s because you are using brute force and not skill.
We also realize that it’s important to train with experts when you can. Because what we teach can be applied to any martial art on the planet, you can find a local school to join and still be able to apply what you are learning from us there. We know some like Jamie was, are not able to find good instructors in their local area, which is one of the reasons we created Enter Shaolin’s online Kung Fu training.
So to aid that we have a few things in place now and more coming in the future to help bridge the gap. Currently our Abbot members can send in a 15 minute or less video a month to be critiqued by Sifu Phu and get a video response back. This means you can have him critique a form, drills, techniques and so on.
Also, we plan on holding seminars a few times a year that you can attend, which means you can not only get to meet other like-minded individuals, you also get to meet and work with us. If you want to come train with us personally, you can also do that too. We have a few members already planning Enter Shaolin vacations to come train in person. We also have a few members who are able to drive a few hours to train on occasion too. Just email us and let us know in advance what you are planning to do, so we can make arrangements for you.
Another common question we get here at Enter Shaolin is: How long will this take me to learn?
In my years or training and teaching, I have noticed that people think they can learn things a lot faster than they really can. I get it, I did it to. I think it’s because in theory the techniques and principles seem so simple and easy. Obviously, with everything some of the variables depend on you. However, when I first started learning martial arts, I figured I’d be Bruce Lee in about 3 to 5 years of hardcore, consistent training…
The truth was, after 10 years of training I felt like I was just a beginning. Actually, I almost had a breakdown and gave up on myself. More on that story another day, obviously I did not quit and kept going.
Am I an expert now? Some may think so, and while I am skilled, I am still learning.
So in the end, how long depends on you the individual. However, like Jamie says, “Kung Fu isn’t a 1-2 year thing, it’s a lifelong journey, where you will be continually learning and refining your skill.”
So What’s Next?
We need your help. We need your feedback, comments, testimonies. Our plan is to add 4 to 5 new training videos for you every week for many years to come. This way we won’t leave any stone un-turned.
Your questions and comments help shape the lessons we give you. Your testimonies help us spread the word about Enter Shaolin. The more business we can bring in, the more we can actually do for you.
For those of who are new to our site. Jamie and myself handle all the customers service, technical stuff and marketing you see. Sifu Phu Ngo provides his time and knowledge to bring us the great lessons you see. Basically there are only three of us doing everything. Jamie and I are handling the workload of at least 10 people’s jobs. As time goes on and we bring in more members we will be able to start outsourcing some of these jobs which will help us to be able to improve Enter Shaolin even more and get the word out to more people.
This would enable us to do more things like create a true beginner’s courses, intermediate courses, expert courses and so on plus be able to start having seminars.
For now, will continue to do our monthly webinars and what we can do in this few man team to keep you all happy and training well. Our vision is to continue to spread Enter Shaolin and the Ngo Dac Na system around the world.
While Enter Shaolin is not even a year old from when we launched it, technically speaking we have been working on it for a year.
Our plan for this year is to continue to grow and improve what we do, so we can give you the best. That dedication will never change. We are here for the long haul as this is truly a labor of love.
What plans do you have to improve yourself this year? Share with us in the comments section!
Lets make this the best year ever!
P.S. One day we envision having schools all around the world! However, one step at a time, right? 😉
P.P.S. If you haven’t already joined our family, click here to join us now.