My first exposure to martial arts came from Bruce Lee movies I saw when I was a kid. A local Boston TV station would show monster movies on Saturday afternoons. Sometimes, instead of the usual Godzilla vs. Rodan they would show Enter the Dragon. As young boy I was quite impressed with Bruce Lee. He was cool and he kicked butt. He was somehow different than other TV and movie heroes. Soon after that another martial arts show came on prime time television: Kung Fu starring David Carradine. This was my first introduction to Shaolin Kung Fu and the monks of the Shaolin temple. I realized that this was the "Hollywood version" but I had to know more about these mysterious monks who were peaceful yet so good at self-defense. Unfortunately, information was hard to come by. This was long before the internet and not many libraries had books about the Shaolin monks. My research did lead me to Taoism, Buddhism, and meditation. Yet, I still wasn't able to find out too much about Kung Fu and the peaceful warriors who practiced it. I resolved to someday find a "real and traditional" Shaolin school and study there.
Years passed and my life's journey took me away from the Boston area to Los Angeles, Denver, and finally Burlington Vermont. In all that time I never did find a Kung Fu school. Something was always in the way: time, money, maybe even fear. Studying Kung Fu remained a secret dream of mine that I told no one about.
Finally, in 1998, a good friend of mine began studying at the Vermont Kung Fu Academy. He told me all about it and I told him about my secret dream of one day studying Shaolin Kung Fu. I joined the school soon thereafter. I knew the minute I walked in the door that this was going to change my life, that this was what I had been searching for. I was correct. At the Vermont Kung Fu Academy I've learned hard work, patience and discipline. Studying Northern Shaolin Praying Mantis Kung Fu and Yin style Ba Gua Zhang has enabled me to push myself physically beyond anything I had thought possible. It has taught me mental focus and self-discipline. Most of all, my studying and training at the academy has brought together all my philosophies and beliefs into one single-minded way of life. A way of life where I can try to live by the Kung Fu Code: Honesty, Humility, Kindness, Respect, and Perseverance.
I really enjoy teaching here at the Academy. It makes me feel like I can do my small part to pass on this great tradition, philosophy, and way of life to others. And I hope it helps people with their lives the way it has helped me with my life.