Martial Arts and Medicine

I've trained in many different martial arts such as Aikido, Kendo and Judo but my primary training has been in Kung Fu. I started in Pai Lum White Dragon Kung Fu in 1971 under Grandmaster Daniel K. Pai in Hartford Connecticut until 1981. Grandmaster Pai was the most influential teacher upon my spirit. The very rigorous trainings and disciplines back in the early 70's has kept me rock solid on my path in life. His teachings taught me to never waver off my goals even under unsurmountable pressures. Never give up. The perfection of Dr. Pai's skills, which I witnessed and was directly part of, were extraordinary. In this day in age they still are. For example, his blindfolded sword cutting and ice breaking skills were in a class of their own.

During my years of traing with Master Pai, I had the greatest priveledge and opportuntiy that few people in the whole Pai Lum system ever had. I traveled around the country with him in a show called the Masters World of Kung Fu and Karate for a couple of years in the early 70's with thirteen different masters. Being the youngest on the tour, I was taught and worked with all these incredible talented martial artists, such as Masters: Gene Thorner, Ted Volrath, John Hamilton, Chuck Merriman, and Ron Martin, just to name a few.

Because I played drums growing up with a jazz musician named Henry (Hank) Podilak, one of my jobs on tour was to play a large Chinese Lion Dance Drum, gongs and cymbals. I was a very shy person, so being first on stage in front of crowds, between 1500 to 6000 people, and literally being thrown into the spotlight was unnerving. I would never have done by such a thing on my own if Dr. Pai had not pushed me into the situation. I am grateful for that because today I often need to speak in front of people when I lecture, and it has helped me to overcome the intimidation of being in front.

Dr. Pai gave me some special skills that I honed in the Pai Lum system. One—the flying head break. This skill is one of the most dangerous types of breaks. I trained my forehead like most people trained their hands in Iron Palm or Iron Hand skills, except I did not do a gravity break–one that uses downward force with gravity to break and object. My skill was to be airborne, fly over six to eight people (depending on the size of the stage or area used) who were sitting on all fours, and break four to five boards (without spacers) with just my forehead, then put down mylanding gear and roll out. There are many head breakers but no one, of whom I am aware, has done a flying head break with this same factor of difficulty to this day, except myself. The physics of all these factors makes this one of the most dangerous and unique martial art skills. You can easily break your neck or ribs upon landing. The most important lesson that I learned from this break was not to fear (overcome fearful thoughts). It taught me to be single minded and not to allow any negative feelings to enter my mind, because once you are airborne there is no turning back. Full committment was required. If I became fearful, I could land on someone's back below me, over whom I was flying.

Two—High Moon Jumping, a skill which trained the legs like a gazelle to explode upwards or to jump from a very high position and land like a cat very quietly. My nickname in Pai Lum became T-Bird and Jumping Cat.

Suction PalmThird—Suction Palm. Only a few people in the Pai Lum system learned this. You use the suction from the center of your palms and lift up gallon glass jars (not like palming a basketball using a grip) then turn the jars upright so you see the person is using suction rather than a grip. I got up to 25–30 lbs. of sand in a jar.

From 1982-1988, I studied Wah Lum Northern Praying Mantis under Grandmaster Chan Poi in Orlando, Florida. Master Chan is a great practitioner of his art of Tam Tui Praying Mantis. With his dynamic combination of leg strength and flexibility, he truly is an exceptional master. He influenced my life by introducing me to areas of Chinese culture such as: lion dancing, dragon dancing, Chinese cooking and the Cantonese language. I also learned many weapons, forms and two person fighting sets of the Wah Lum system. I am grateful to him for all the things he taught me which helped push me further into my studies in the realms of chinese medicine, qi gong, tai qi and meditation. It helped to complete myself both as martial artist and as a healer.

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