February 2008 Newsletter
Student of the Month
- Steven Huang -
Tell us a little about your life outside of PAMA?
I'm currently a senior at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. I'm double majoring in Psychology and Chinese and I'll be graduating in December of this year.
This past summer I spent two and half months studying abroad and visiting relatives in China.
When and why did you first become interested in Martial Arts?
When I was about 3-4 years old my dad showed me Chinese Connection for the first time and I've idolized Si Jo Bruce Lee ever since. It's probably safe to say that I've seen all of his films and documentaries thousands of times over. As a kid I studied Shotokan Karate and Tae Kwon Do for a brief period. I initially became interested in studying martial arts at a young age though. While other kindergarteners were watching cartoons and Nickelodeon, I would come home from school every day to watch Fists of Fury or Enter the Dragon.
How did you first hear about PAMA and what motivated you to join the PAMA family?
Well it was really a culmination of things that brought me to PAMA, as I said before I'd spent a considerable amount of time studying Tae Kwon Do and Shotokan but I lost interest in both pretty quickly. I think I inevitably strayed away from those styles because they seemed somewhat rigid and incomplete and also because I really wanted to pursue Jun Fan Gung Fu and Wing Chun all along. Once I was old enough to really grasp the philosophical significance behind the Jeet Kune Do concepts, I was convinced it was the only style I wanted to study.
During high school I played basketball and ran track so it wasn't until my freshman year of college that I caught wind of PAMA. One day I was talking to a good friend of mine about the whole mixed martial arts phenomenon and he started to tell me about his martial arts background. He went on to tell me about his time studying under Sifu Rick and the curriculum here at PAMA. Although he was forced to stop training due to an injury, he insisted that I check out the curriculum here at PAMA because the staff and training was unparalleled. Low and behold, I took a trial class with Si Hing Mike Lee and signed up immediately. I've been studying here at PAMA for almost two and half years, primarily in Jun Fan Gung Fu and Thai Boxing but I also studied Savate for sometime and recently branched into grappling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
What do you enjoy most about your training? What inspires you?
It's really difficult to pinpoint one particular thing that I enjoy most about my training here at PAMA so I would have to say I thoroughly enjoy it all, from the painstaking details of the trapping and footwork in Jun Fan to the physical intensity and implementation of all "8 limbs" in Muay Thai. There's a host of different things about my martial arts education here that inspire me to keep training. I think it's the wide range of both mental and physical challenges that I've encountered along the way. Martial arts training is truly all encompassing as it develops all of the physical attributes: strength, flexibility, dexterity, and endurance. Most importantly, martial arts training cultivates a kind of mental toughness that has taught me to fight through pain and fatigue, all the while avoiding that little voice inside my head that tells me I can't do it. To quote Si Jo Bruce, "There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. A man must constantly exceed his level, and this perpetual challenge of constantly trying to exceed my level is what motivates me.
What do you appreciate most about PAMA?
I really value the diverse curriculum, all of the students here have such a wide variety of classes to choose from. I think its essential for any student of the martial arts to learn as much as they possibly can and draw from as many different styles as possible. I also think that the instruction here is unparalleled, Sifu Rick and all the assistant instructors have been phenomenal.
What are your goals you hope to achieve through martial arts?
I hope that I can continue to push myself to new heights without ever settling for mediocrity. Martial arts has become such an integral part of my life because it presents a constant challenge. There's always a new obstacle to overcome and to this end I hope that I continue to transcend personal expectations and set new goals for myself in the process.
In what ways has your training at PAMA permeated into other aspects of your life?
My martial arts training at PAMA has instilled in me valuable life lessons that can be applied to several aspects of my life. First and foremost, martial arts has taught me discipline. In order to maintain a regular training schedule both in class at PAMA and on my own time, I've learned to manage my time much more effectively so that I can balance my academics and part-time job without sacrificing my training time. Among other things martial arts has also taught me the importance of dedication and hard work. Even the greatest athletes need to hone their craft through hard work and repetition. In this sense I've been able to fine tune the techniques I've learned at PAMA through constant drilling and commitment to muscle memory. Time and again Sifu has stressed the importance of adopting martial arts as a way of life and I've come to understand the true significance of this statement. In my experience thus far it has been the subtle lessons in discipline and self-control that have overlapped into other areas of my life and helped me truly understand what it means to be a martial artist.
What is one thing about you that most people don't know?
I'm actually a voracious reader of all things related to martial arts or martial arts philosophy. This past semester after studying abroad in China I wrote a 16 page thesis on the evolution of Chinese Martial arts.
Any closing remarks?
My martial arts training at PAMA has been invaluable to me and I'm greatly indebted to Sifu Rick and the assistant instructors for all the knowledge they have imparted in me during my time here.
- Instructor Certification -
Sifu Recommends a Book
- Ki and the Way of the Martial Arts -
While technical prowess and physical power are essential characteristics of a martial artist, true mastery of the art comes by cultivating one's inner strength. Here, Kenji Tokitsu-an authority on Japanese and Chinese combat arts and a respected karate teacher-shows how cultivating ki (life force) and understanding the principles of budo (the martial path of self-development) can make training in martial arts more meaningful, effective, and personally and spiritually rewarding.
Tokitsu emphasizes the mental aspects of martial arts practice including:
- The importance of ki development
- Seme, or capturing your opponent's mind
- Understanding ma, the spatial relationship in combat
Studying these concepts, he explains, gives martial artists the tools to train for a lifetime and at the very highest level. Tokitsu also gives a historical and cultural survey of budo, and explains how the Western view of budo training is different than the Japanese-a perspective rarely available to Western martial artists.
- Learn a Technique from Sifu Rick -
Sifu defends a jab with a woang pak biu jee to the outside, followed by a pak sao da down the middle when he meets an obstruction.
Sifu demonstrates the bo pai with the huen sao hand on top.
- Learn a Technique from Guro Amy -
- EPA/DHA Essentials by Pure Encapsulations -
EPA and DHA from fish oil promote cardiovascular health by supporting healthy triglyceride and lipid metabolism, maintaining healthy blood flow, and supporting healthy platelet function. Fish oil is also important for optimal joint function. It maintains healthy prostaglandin and leukotriene production, which is important for maintaining connective tissue health and comfort. Furthermore, omega-3 fatty acids are important components of neuronal cell membranes and are essential to cognitive function. By supporting vascular health, fish oils promote oxygen and nutrient delivery to the brain. Studies suggest that healthy red blood cell membrane omega-3 fatty acid concentration is associated with emotional well-being. Both epidemiological and double blind placebo- controlled trials indicate that fish oil supports positive mood.
Video/Pictures: Mary Jo Colli, Max Wang, Mike Lee
Stories: Mary Jo Colli, Mike Lee