The martial arts have a rich history. I encourage you to research the origins of what you have chosen to study to get a better appreciation of how truly special this way of life is and the individuals that dedicate themselves to evolving and preserving the discipline.
There are many books and articles detailing the history of the martial artists (my office library is filled with them!). The more recent history (say the last 50 years) lives on in the memories and stories of long-time practitioners. During my relatively short 31 years in Kung Fu, I’ve invested time into learning our local history from these long-time practitioners. I encourage you to read “Our History” included in the Student Handbook and watch our WKFA “30-Years of Kung-Fu” Documentary video below.
I still regularly converse and train with Master Gee Wong, Sifu Robin Young and Jimmy Fields. Each of them started their martial arts journey before my teacher (Sigung Bob Schneider) and continue to practice and share stories. All of us have a common history with Kitchener Kicks (originally the Scarlet Dragon Society) founded by Master Ron Day in the 70s. He and my teacher had a great mutual respect that continues today between Sigung Dave (their Head Instructor) and me.
I’m writing having just attended an instructor meeting for Kitchener Kicks, where I had the opportunity to read a black sash essay by one of their Siboks (senior black sash). Written on a typewriter in 1989, it details the history of their school. Fresh off a knee replacement, the author of that essay was at the meeting along with many others, much more senior to me. All of them continue to dedicate themselves to the art in their own way. I love connecting with these mentors and I am always humbled by their long-term dedication to their club.
Learning our history gives me perspective and a vision for our own Academy’s path. The word that keeps coming to mind is dependability. Our own Siboks (Lloyd and Eric) have devoted so much to the Academy and continue to do so. One of our junior students recently moved to the Adult Program and he was proudly telling me about how he rode his bike to Sibok Eric’s Wednesday noon class—it brought a big smile to my face, as this was something I was doing too (back in 1994!).
I watch as new traditions become part of our history. Sifu Anne and Sifu Sarah just finished their 5th year of running a very well-planned and engaging summer camp. I wish there was something similar back when I was of camp age! Although, in my mind they still are “younger sifus,” they have already been with the Academy over 17 years each. It is also great to see them taking the time to mentor one of our newest Sifus, Sifu D’Arcy. This is how traditions continue.
I could go on about any one of the Sifus involved with the Academy. Each brings their own flavour and focus. Inspired by those senior to us, we all share a common passion for Kung Fu. I feel ever grateful for the dependable mentors in my martial arts journey and the consistent dependability of our instructor team—a true source of hope for the future of the Academy and the art!