Wah Lum Kung Fu

Trip Start Sep 01, 2008
1
Trip End Sep 01, 2009


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Flag of United States  , Florida
Wednesday, April 16, 2008

So this is my first school ever. I was always weary of joining a school that wasn't traditional or very Americanised.  After comparing many martial arts schools here in Orlando,  I can give my recommendation to the Wah Lum Temple in Orlando, FL; Goldenrod Road.  www.wahlum.com 
Wah Lum Tam Tui Northern Praying Mantis Style

This place, although located in Orlando, tries it's very best to train under the same conditions and disciplines as they do in China. The head of the school is Grandmaster Pui Chan, 6th Generation Successor and 33rd Successor of the Shaolin Temple in Northern China. He is the only Grandmaster here in the U.S.
With him are his wife Simo Suzy Chan, his daughter Sifu Mimi Chan and other instructors: , Sifu Tu, Sifu Marcus, and Sifu Ricardo.

Once you sign up and pay your fees, you receive the WahLum Members Handbook, and your uniform which consists of the paints, shirt, sash, and shoes. Some people can use the regular shoes throughout the entire training but if you have messed up feet like mine, you want to invest in the other one the school sells or other ones on the internet. There are no fancy colored belts in this particular art. You won't know if the person next to you has been there for 5 years or 1 day.  The only ones allowed to wear a yellow sash or red shirt are the Sifus, and upper level SiHings. Here at the temple, there is no a/c (school tanks are sold here, no shorts), no heat (school sweaters are sold here), and you train on cement floors in either 2 outdoor training areas or one inner training area. Much fun! Especially when the Florida heat hits 90 degrees and sweat is just dripping out of you while doing the steady Bai Fut Sau (Buddha Hand Breathing). They do bring out the floor mats if needed. This art doesn't incorporate too much acrobatics but it does concentrate on heavy leg work. The only person I've seen to do several front flips in a row is Sifu Mimi and only for a big show. 
There are many, many weapons you can learn in this school. You will first learn the Staff but you must pass your first test in order to get to it. There are too many to list but there are alot both Long and short.  There are different levels tests you can take (each with its own testing fee) beginning with 10B, then 10A and so on until Level 6. Of course, it will take many years to reach that level, depending on how many times you go.
I have to say out of all of the schools I researched, you get more training for your money here. For example, you can pay $125 a month and train Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday for one hour each. While other schools are the same price for only 2 or 1 class a week for only 40 minutes.

So, here you are, your first day and you are put into the beginner class. You are first pulled aside and taught all the basics, patiently by your SiHing (Kung Fu older brother) or your Si Jye (Kung Fu Older Sister).  Whether you want to or not you will memorize all the horse stances, punches, counting in Cantonese from 1-10 and signs of the altar from all the repetition. You can join in the beginner class once the SiHing feels you are ready.  The beginner class can be taught by a SiHing/SiJye, high level SiHing/SiJye, or a Sifu. Although they will cater to your class because you are beginner, the upper level people can somtimes get carried away and push you to your limits if they want! Or if they see anyone on the verge of passing out then they'll hold back a bit LOL
Then there is the intermediate class (must take your first test) where you are taught by either a Sifu or an advanced level Si Hing or Si Jye. Either way, be prepared for an INTENSE workout. Not one minute of the class is wasted. You are walked through new steps very quickly so you must catch on quickly.  Safety is the Sifus Number One priority though. So they would rather walk you through it again then have you hurt yourself. As Sifu Ricardo blunty says you will not impress him by doing or attempting a move you were not ready for and that he will get nothing out of it. Safety is NUMBER ONE! 



The advanced class (which I believe is by invitation only) is taught only by Sifu Mimi (the Grandmaster's daughter).  This class is the intermediate class x2!! Plus you'll have Sifu Mimi giving you the eye and you don't want that!! She'll go at you with a stick! Ha ha ha!  But, you will get better, and fast. 

Finally the sparring class (some qualifications need to be met before you take sparring). You will wear padding to protect yourself and spar against another student. The Sifu is present so the class is safe unless you do something to change that. Again if it's your first time they will take it step by step. Sifu Marcus has another class to prepare for full contact. I've seen their workouts, very intense. Lots of running, push ups and pull ups.

There are also several shows and seminars (fees applicable) that take place at the temple and can help you progress faster or try something different.
For example, I've signed up for the Performance Class which is on Tuesday nights right after your regular class! Sometimes I feel like passing out by I push through it. Suck it up people! In the Performance class you learn the music first (cymbals), you learn by clapping your hands to the drum first. Then you learn how to do the Lion. You are the tail. Although in the shows it looks easy, it is actually very difficult. First you are slouched over in a Sei Ping Ma (riding horse stance) and you must stay there through out the entire routine. If you pick your head up, you'll give the lion a camel back. If you stand up too high, it looks like the rear of the lion is in an awkward position. Then you have to make sure the fabric doesn't fall off you, or that your hands aren't peeking out through the sides, and you can't forget to wag it's tail!! Sifu Mimi teaches the class and after the 20th time of doing, your feet(at least mine) are cramping up in the arches, your thighs are burning, and your dripping sweat!! Oh yes, nothing like lots of pain before you have to go to bed =D They will also teach you how to do the Buddha, the dragon and other instruments but you have to serve enough time to reach these levels.

With this performance class, you have the opportunity to participate in shows and as well as the Chinese New Year. Chinese New Year is very intense. I volunteered to help out i didn't participate and I was worn out every night. But it was all fun. =)


This school also takes foreigners and students from out of state. Visit the school's website at www.wahlum.com
I believe you get personal training with one of the Sifus, probably Sifu Tu who is awesome! He's very knowledgeable, friendly and approachable. I think the prices are a bit high for those who come to the temple from out of state or out of the country. But the school knows what it's doing i guess. The house where students stay is right across the street from the temple with very simple accomodations. Back when it was first opened this was a rural area but now the intersection is a very busy one.


Hopefully I didn't leave anything out and I hope you enjoy the pictures.
If you have any questions please feel free to email me.
I've created a public myspace page with lots of pictures of my school and its activities: www.myspace.com/wahlumorlando

My next posting will be on the complications on finding a Martial Arts school in China, visas, prices, and which school I decided to attend. Exciting!!
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Chao people!
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Where I stayed
I live here, so home Orlando, FL
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