Student of the Month
- Craig Beardsley -
Please share with our readers a little bit of your non-martial arts background.
I was born in NYC and moved to NJ around 9 years old. I'm half Chinese and part Danish. I attended the UN School up through eighth grade. That school exposed me to many different cultures and ultimately formed my awareness of the world at a very early age.
Growing up I was a serious competitive swimmer and took the sport as far as it could go. It was pretty much my life. I also played the cello until swimming took over completely. Both my parents were in the music industry, my mom was a concert pianist and my dad a music business owner. Music is an integral part of my life and I currently play guitar, but strictly for enjoyment.
I worked as an equity trader on Wall Street for the majority of my career. I took some time off and am now directing a group for a national non-profit that raises money for cancer research and treatment. I'm very proud of what we've done and we raised about $4 million last year for our beneficiaries.
You've had a long history with the martial arts. What got you first interested and what else have you studied in the past?
My first exposure to martial arts was through my Uncle Elliot. He was a 7th Dan I believe in jiu-jitsu. He was also in the CIA/FBI/OSS, Deputy Sheriff of Laos, 3x POW, etc. In the early days he ran a dojo in Oakland, CA and worked alongside of Prof. Wally Jay. Whenever he would pass through town he would show me some locks and disarming techniques, I still remember the first gooseneck lock he showed me when I was about 6.
About the same time The Green Hornet began to air on TV, and of course I was forever hooked. Seeing Bruce Lee in action blew me away and as kids we all pretended to be him when we played.
Because of my commitment to another sport I didn't really start practicing martial arts until later in life. I first trained a little in Cuong Nhu in Florida with Grand Master Ngo Dong. Back in NJ I had some exposure in Shukokai with Sensei Kimura, but then stumbled upon traditional Wing Chun in NYC and the flow of kung fu really clicked internally with me -- maybe it was my Chinese heritage. I trained several years in Chinatown with Sifu Victor Parlati. That was about ten years ago. More recently I trained with Zhang Li Peng, 32nd generation Shaolin monk. It was a wonderful experience and he is an incredible person. He treats kung fu as a total art, which includes calligraphy. I began to learn Tai Chi, but we really only practiced forms and I began to lose interest.
How did you first hear about PAMA and what was your motivation for coming to PAMA?
I heard about PAMA in the early '90's. I had heard from day one that it had an impeccable reputation but up until now I've always been too busy with work and a family to pursue it. I live about an hour away so it was not something I could commit to then. I finally have some flexibility in my life and did not want to let the opportunity pass me by this time.
What do you most enjoy about your training?
This is a tough one. There is so much I enjoy about training here. When I first walked in the door I felt the great energy and vibe the school has. It obviously originates from Sifu Rick, and trickles down through all the instructors and permeates all throughout the students. I like the striving for excellence and open awareness from the martial arts. I like the spirituality. I like the discipline. I like learning more than one style. Training here gives me goals to strive for and helps me deal with stress.
What do you see as some of your goals in the martial arts and in your life in general?
Besides the health benefits and technical knowledge, it's kind of a spiritual search for me. I'm not a young kid anymore and I highly doubt I'll ever get into a fight, but obviously I would like to become proficient at the arts offered here and I believe at this point in my life I've found a place that matches my interests. Outside of PAMA the most important thing in my life is my 16 year old son and 14 year old daughter and I continue to strive to be the best dad possible and hope that I can pass on my love of the martial arts to them.
In what ways has your training at PAMA benefited your life outside of the Academy?
I've found that martial arts centers me. It varies my focal point which allows me to look at other issues in my life differently. Sifu's approach of engaging many different styles and cultures gives me a deeper appreciation of the world around me, an example being the recent Shamanic Healing talk... Plus I like the people in the martial arts community.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Just a sincere thank you to Sifu Rick, all the instructors and my fellow students. I hope by being part of the 'family' I can offer something of value back to the school.
- 3rd Annual Silat Seminar -
- Parents Night Out -
- Celebrate PAMA's 24 Year Anniversary - Open House and Family and Friends Day -
Date/Time: Saturday, March 12th from 1 pm to 3pm
Open to the Public as well as PAMA Friends and Family
Demonstrations, Tours, Give-aways, Refreshments and Celebration!
- Jun Fan Testing -The 4 and 8 month tests for Jun Fan will be held on March 5. Please see an instructor for details and don't forget to sign up in the Pro Shop.
- Maca Magic by Herbs America -
The pure hypocotyl grown by Herbs America are now being tested worldwide to show how Maca Magic assists the body to lower high blood pressure, raise low blood pressure, calm the nerves, ease tension, assauage the tired adrenal glands; produce sustainable energy, improve concentration and enhanced sexual ability. Maca Magic products offer unheralded endurance for office workers and athletes alike, making all day stamina possible without a let down. A polular energizer used by peruvian athletes, dieters, students, menopausal women and the elderly.
Sifu Recommends a Book
- Power Up Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Enlightenment -
The quest for enlightenment has occupied mankind for millennia. And from the depictions we've seen-monks sitting on meditation cushions, nuns kneeling in prayer, shamans communing with the universe-it seems that this elusive state is reserved for a chosen few. But now, neuroscientist David Perlmutter and medical anthropologist and shaman Alberto Villoldo have come together to explore the commonalities between their specialties with the aim of making enlightenment possible for anyone.
Joining the long-separated worlds of science and spirit, Perlmutter explores the exciting phenomena of neurogenesis and mitochondrial health, while Villoldo brings his vast knowledge of shamanic and spiritual practices to the table. Together they draw from the most powerful tools in each discipline to create the Power Up Your Brain program, a ground-breaking, five-week plan that helps prime the brain for enlightenment. With nutritional advice, dietary supplements, physical exercise, shamanic practices, meditation, and visualizations, Perlmutter and Villoldo guide readers, step by step, through a program to help them clear their minds from previous trauma and open themselves up to experience the inner peace, vast insight, and extraordinary creativity that define the experience of enlightenment, paving the way to successfully face the challenges to come.
VISIT OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL for many great techniques and videos by Sifu Rick.
Video/Pictures: Mary Jo Colli, Kurt Komoda, Mike Lee
Stories: Mary Jo Colli, Mike Lee