The purpose of this site is to educate. It is difficult for interested students to find a qualified teacher. There is a misconception that we do not teach beginners. Beginners spend a great deal of time learning northern and southern kung fu before they qualify to learn Pak Mei — a Sifu’s art.
In the 60’s, we were known as the “Fire dragon”. In the 70’s, the name changed to the “Canadian Kung Fu and Karate Studios”. In the 80’s, the club was know as the “Bok leen Pai Gar” school. In the 90’s, we were briefly back with the Pailum. Our current name, while long, accurately reflects the depths of knowledge available and our philosophy. Chinese martial arts in Asia work well as “athletic associations”. Style rivalries are omitted by following a general curriculum offered by real teachers. An example would be that in the past, something happened and the grudge was carried over here and therefore, you cannot associate.
The association is an informal organization consisting of senior teachers who practice a “real” Chinese art. There are no organization dues or associate dues etc. Members in the association are professional, who do not have to teach martial arts for a living. Martial arts are viewed as a vehicle to self improvement. We firmly believe in seeking knowledge from teachers who have studied with the greats! We respect all arts practiced by “real” people. Our martial arts are not for sale! “Kung Fu (Gung Fu) is our passion…not our living.” If your goal is to learn something “real”, that is not watered down or sold to just anyone for a buck, come and see us!!
Students follow a general curriculum with the opportunity to specialize. Styles in China were suited to different body types. An example would be when confronted with a wall, one would go around, another would jump over and yet another would go through. This translates into light, medium and heavy skills. A good general curriculum would offer the student all three. Some students spend many years following a path that they simply are not suited for and hence, would never achieve real success…or would quit. Our curriculum offers both Northern and Southern content. In the general curriculum, students concentrate on Hung Kuen and short fist. They also learn Northern sets. Students are introduced to Leung Ying and Pak Mei weapons early in their training. Students are taught how to use a form in combat, along with the principles to make the technique work.
Students are introduced to Yang Tai Chi as it is quick and easy to learn. Students quickly progress to Wu Style Tai Chi (Hong Kong version). They progress to the Shanghai version, which is very subtle and considered by the old timers to be the original form. Weapons are introduced at a later stage. Without a strong foundation, it is merely “waving hands like clouds”. Footwork and “how to use the art for combat” are taught according to the students capabilities.
TRAINING METHODS AND CONDITIONING
Students are safely introduced to body conditioning at an early stage in order to overcome the fear of being hit. The use of herbal medicine is strongly encouraged. Later on, a student will be able to accept blows at full power and bruising will be very limited. Students can then concentrate on protecting vital areas. Once a student is comfortable with taking strikes to the legs and upper torso, he or she will learn the principle of “swallowing” to absorb and deflect the blows. The student will then have a strong chi and become one of the few who “know more than just words”. Other principles are reserved for members and will not be discussed here, as, without the knowledge put into practice, they are just words.
Following an extensive general curriculum in Chinese Martial Arts, students can specialize in either Pak Mei Kung Fu or Wu Tai Chi. Pak Mei is a “teachers style”. It is assumed that someone coming from Lam Yui Quai or Lam Sai Wing or any other teacher with their impeccable reputations, would have a solid basis in Chinese Martial Arts and therefore, would qualify. It has been my experience that the majority of people enrolled in a commercial kung fu school, practice Chinese forms and point Karate fighting. Many of the teachers teaching were Karate or Kenpo instructors who learned from videos! The other type were kids in schools in Asia, who saw opportunities here. The essence of a Chinese art (principles) are not evident even among those with ranks of 5th higher level and above. With this premise in mind, our students are given a solid education and progress in Pak Mei according to what they can handle. This consists of footwork, hand controls, shifting, and weapons. Lee Pai has often tried to teach seniors in other styles and each time they said it was “too difficult”!