Michael Dawson is the founder and Chief Instructor of the Northern Shaolin/Praying Mantis Kung-Fu Association, with 40years of experience in Chinese martial arts. He is certified to teach the Northern Shaolin/Praying Mantis Kung-Fu System, which encompasses the Northern Shaolin Monastery system, Seven-Star Praying Mantis and Tai Chi Praying Mantis systems, Tai Chi Chuan, traditional kung-fu weaponry, as well as elements of the 18 Law Horn ("Shaolin Lohan"), Hsing-I Chuan and Pa-Kua. The curriculum also includes specialized training in Chi Kung, Iron Palm and Piercing Hand Techniques. Yoga, nutrition, and herbal medicine are emphasized.
Michael was introduced to the world of martial arts at the age of six. He was first exposed to Okinawa-te karate by his father; himself a 3rd-degree black belt in the art. Later, Michael moved on to study Northern Shaolin, Praying Mantis and various Internal systems after being inspired by his childhood T.V. hero Kwai Chang Caine, from the original 1970s KUNG FU series. Michael trained and taught at the Tai Mantis Kung-Fu Association in Los Angeles, under his primary teacher, the renowned Sigung ("Grandmaster") Liang Kam Yuen, who - by sheer coincidence - was the Kung-Fu Technical Advisor/Fight Coordinator for the now-classic T.V. series.
Although Michael has studied traditional kung-fu and Tai Chi from various reputable masters over the years, his most extensive training was with his primary teacher, Sigung Yuen, who personally certified Michael to instruct the Northern Shaolin/Praying Mantis Kung-Fu System.
Acknowledged as a ninth-generation disciple of the late Tai Chi Praying Mantis grandmaster Chiu Chuk-Kai, Michael's kung-fu lineage also includes the late, legendary Northern Shaolin, 18 Law Horn and Tai Chi grandmaster Ma Ching Fung; the late Seven-Star Praying Mantis grandmaster Chan Gin Yee; the celebrated Northern Shaolin kung-fu and Internal styles grandmaster Wong Jack Man; and My-Jong Law Horn and Tai Chi Praying Mantis master Kwok Jone ("Raymond") Wong. Michael also retains a 1st-degree black belt in Okinawa-te karate.
Michael also spent two decades training with kung-fu master and veteran stunt performer/coordinator, Sifu Albert ("Al") Leong, a disciple of the late Southern Shaolin/Five-Animals and Five Family Fist style grandmaster, Ark Yuey-Wong.
Michael's involvement in kung-fu eventually led him to working as a professional stunt performer, stunt actor, fight coordinator, and martial art/fight trainer for film and television. He began his career stunt doubling actor David Carradine in his role as "Kwai Chang Caine" in T.V.'s KUNG FU: THE LEGEND CONTINUES, the "sequel-series" to the original KUNG FU series.
While working on the show, Michael performed well over 140 fight scenes for camera. In addition to stunt doubling chores for David Carradine, Michael also served as a Kung-Fu Technical Advisor in later seasons of KUNG FU: THE LEGEND CONTINUES, before moving on to work on other various films and television shows as a stunt performer or Fight Coordinator.
Over the years, Michael has trained and worked with numerous actors, including David Carradine, Dwayne ("The Rock") Johnson, Jessica Lange, Michael Clark Duncan, Kelly Hu, Melissa George, Kurt Russell, Robert Carradine, Peter Facinelli, Colm Feore, John Schneider, Robert Vaughn, Patrick Macnee, Bo Svenson, Mako, Soon Tek-Oh, Richard Norton, George Lazenby, Clu Gulager, Clint Walker, Doug McClure, James Drury, Michael Bowen, Steven Brand, Chris Potter, Peter Jason, Calista Carradine, and Olympic gold and silver medalist Sherri Howard, among others.
In 1993, Sigung Kam Yuen transferred his ownership and directorship of the original Tai Mantis Kung-Fu Association to Michael Dawson. Michael has since - and with great respect - decided to discontinue his old Association, preferring to found his own organization: the Northern Shaolin/Praying Mantis Kung-Fu Association. In January of 2004, the new Association was officially enacted and strives to preserve the traditional and positive tenets of the old Association, ensuring its legacy will grow and thrive in the 21st Century and beyond.
For more than 25 years, Michael has taught in numerous schools, colleges and organizations throughout California and Canada. A native-Californian, Michael now resides in Southern Louisiana, where he has established New Orleans' first authentic and traditional Northern-style kung-fu school. In addition to teaching kung-fu and Tai Chi Chuan, Michael continues his involvement in stunt work.