OUR PHILOSOPHY &
The Association embraces the doctrines of Shaolin philosophy. We are not only concerned with improving a student's physical performance, but also improving the quality of the student's life.
We believe in the development of a positive attitude.
We believe in - and encourage - peaceful, non-violent ways of life.
We believe in the development of self-awareness and a relaxed frame of mind, which can aid to control anger and neutralize hostility from within - and without. The Association does not advocate or otherwise condone violence or aggressive behavior from any student inside or outside of the school.
We believe in the practice of honorable conduct, remaining true to your word and steadfast in your commitments.
We believe in exercising humility and restraining from arrogant behavior. One's words and actions should be dignified and gentle, thus setting an example for those around us.
We believe in being respectful toward all. One should always strive to be respectful to his/her Sifu, instructors, classmates, parents, family, and friends. Without respect, one is bound to mistreat others, thereby disrespecting themselves.
We encourage a sense of concern and responsibility for the health and well-being of all.
We are traditional and progressive in our point of view. We seek to utilize the latest developments of human knowledge to improve or expand the training of a traditional art form. To be traditional certainly doesn't mean to be ossified or committed solely to the preservation of empty symbols from the past. Rather, it means to preserve the practices that have made this art form survive and endure over time.
The Northern Shaolin/Praying Mantis Kung-Fu System involves learning more than punches and kicks, or self-defense. Studies in philosophy, anatomy, nutrition, medicinal herbs, Chinese medicine and naturopathy are encouraged. Anyone can learn to kick, punch or fight, but very few can master a discipline that transforms their lifestyle in a manner that positively affects others around them.
The Northern Shaolin/Praying Mantis Kung-Fu System is contrary to the "grunt-and-groan" style of many other schools. There is no straining of faces, or the making of loud yells. Rough, unrefined techniques based on brute strength have no place in the Northern Shaolin/Praying Mantis Kung-Fu System.
We believe that the school should always yield a positive, supportive atmosphere for all students, from beginner to advanced.
We believe that learning what the Association has to offer should be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience. The benefits of the art can be carried over into one's everyday life so one may be able to accomplish any task, great or small.
On his own personal teaching style, Michael has been quoted to say, "I believe I have a pretty grounded way of teaching. I've been exposed to extremely traditional training and also very modern, or 'Westernized' ways of doing things. I think both styles have merit. I think and process things traditionally, but I explain things in more contemporary terms and methods. I try to demystify the art and show what students really need to focus on to experience all of the benefits and improve their training...without losing touch with the art itself. It's not magic, nor is it about power. It's about making you a better person...both mentally, physically and even spiritually...although I'm not talking about religion or the supernatural when I use that particular word."
"One of my teachers used to say that it's about maximizing your life, while minimizing your stress and effort. Sounds like a catch phrase one would hear at a self-improvement seminar, but it's nonetheless true. I've been teaching for a while now, and the more I do it, the better teacher I become. I learn a lot from my own students, from the questions they ask and listening to their individual perspectives. From this input, one discovers which methods and examples work and which ones don't."
"I'm also the type of teacher that prefers to show students by example. I'm not a coach. I don't believe in standing by idly counting off punches, kicks and drills while your students are working their proverbial tails off. Whenever possible, I like to be right alongside of them and show that I can practice what I preach. There are some great schools and instructors out there, but there are also many martial art instructors who are lazy teachers. I've seen some teachers who'll have an advanced student teach for them in their stead. Some teachers will make the odd appearance on the training floor, or just watch a class from the sidelines while an assistant or subordinate takes their students through their regimen. I could never do that. As a teacher, it is your responsibility to match or exceed your student's energy and desire to learn. You have to be there for your students. Anything less would be short-changing your students and ultimately, yourself."
"It's also very important to promote a positive, healthy learning atmosphere that's free of negativity and aggression. The class should be a sanctuary for the student. It should be a time and place where students can feel safe, relaxed and good about themselves and what they're doing. Students should feel support and be undistracted from any day-to-day woes they may have."