Like yin and yang, traditional martial arts from the original Shaolin temples are always training two aspects: the external (fitness, physical strength, and fighting ability) and the internal (mind-body connection and self-cultivation).
To balance these opposing aspects and grow them both equally is to create a content, healthy, and productive person capable of enacting positive change in the world.
To achieve this balance, New Orleans Shaolin-Do students practice self-defense techniques, kung fu open hand and weapon forms, sparring, meditation, strength training and aerobic conditioning. This dynamic approach allows for rapid advancement in fighting skill, balance, dexterity and endurance. More importantly, these traditional training methods help build a humble self-confidence that manifests in all areas of life, as opposed to a raging ego.
Before attaining black belt the student will learn 21 long forms covering 7 different kung fu open hand systems and 6 weapons as well as over 50 self-defense techniques practiced against a partner using simulated street attacks. In the process each student will have overcome numerous physical and mental barriers that seemed previously insurmountable. Beyond that, they will have achieved things that were completely unknown as even a possibility. It’s this transformational process, and its applicability into everyday life, that is the true fruit of martial arts training.
Your First Class Please purchase a drop-in pass, or 3-class Trial Week ahead of time. Arrive a few minutes early to sign a waiver form and to meet your instructor and fellow students. Wear something loose-fitting and comfortable and bring a water bottle and small towel. Remove all jewelry and shoes before starting class.
Class will begin with a warm-up and follow with some kicking and punching drills. The instructor will then work individually with you to teach you three basic kung fu stances, three basic kicks and the first three sparring techniques. Then you will learn some self-defense techniques against common attacks. Other traditional training methods, called I Chin Ching, for focus and strength could also be employed. Most classes will end with gentle stretching and meditation
Shaolin-Do Curriculum In the Shaolin temple there were only four recognized levels; student, disciple, master, and grandmaster. Our Great Grandmaster, Ie Chang Ming, introduced the use of colored belts to divide the Student material into five levels: white, yellow, blue, green, and brown. White belt focuses on basics to build the mind-body connection and balance necessary for proper mechanics. After White, an introductory form, or forms, from a new animal style and a weapon are taught at each level. Keep in mind that for a student to pass into the next rank, he/she must demonstrate all the material for their present and all previous levels. This provides a rich background of techniques and styles to call upon. Rather than forcing a student into a particular style, at Shaolin-Do we encourage each student to develop their own personalized, and evolving, fighting style based on the myriad of systems and techniques introduced in our curriculum. The Student curriculum is as follows:
White to Yellow Belt
Short Forms (1-10)
Sparring Techniques (1-10)
Self-Defense Techniques (1-15)
Yellow to Blue Belt
4 Doorways Connected
Flying Tiger Comes out of the Cave
Ippong Kumite or one step sparring (1-9)
Short Forms (11-15)
Self-Defense Techniques (16-20)
Blue to Green Belt
Giant Bird Spreads its Wings
1st Level Staff Form
Street Techniques (1-10)
Nunchaku Techniques (1-8)
Short Forms (16-22)
Sparring Techniques (11-15)
Self-Defense Techniques (21-25)
Green to 3rd Brown Belt
Northern Beggar’s (Short) Stick
Fist of the Luohan (intro to Praying Mantis)
Nunchaku Techniques (9-16)
Short Forms (22-30)
Sparring Techniques (16-20)
Self-Defense Techniques (26-30)
3rd Brown to 2nd Brown Belt
3 Method Fist (iron man qigong)
White Crane Forms (1-3)
Night Battle Broadsword
2nd Brown to 1st Brown Belt
Shaolin Bird Forms (1-3)
Iron Ruler (sai)
1st Brown to Black Belt
Tiger Style Prep Forms (1-3)
General Kwan’s Broad Sword (halberd)
Sea Dragon Staff
After demonstrating everything from the Student level, one earns their black belt. Black belt degrees one through four are considered Disciples or “serious beginners”. Fifth degree is called “associate master”. Once a person reaches sixth degree they are considered full masters. The rank of ninth degree is considered a Grandmaster, but the position of tenth degree is held by only one person; the highest of the Grandmasters. While there can be many 9th degrees (there were often ten in a temple), there can be only one 10th degree. This person is given the awesome responsibility of assuring the continuation of Shaolin in its purest form.