By Davis Keller
Ever since the introduction of exercise to the monks and nuns of the Shaolin Temple, Chinese Kung Fu has evolved into a dynamic fusion of fitness, self-defense, and art. At California Academy of Martial Arts, practitioners of all ages and backgrounds meet to enhance their physical and mental wellbeing.
Wing Chun Kung Fu, the school’s primary style, focuses not just on the channeling of power, but on relaxing the mind as well as the body for optimum power during combat. Wing Chun was made famous in America by action star Bruce Lee, and more recently, by the popular movies made about his famed grandmaster Ip Man. Wing Chun is set apart from other martial arts because it encourages the deflection of attacks, rather than using force against force by “blocking”; this is a more balanced perspective on fighting that enables smaller fighters to overcome larger opponents. Every move taught becomes part of the practitioner’s instinctive repertoire for practical use during self-defense situations.
The school’s instructor is Todd Shawn Tei. Tei was originally from New York and trained there and in Hong Kong to learn the style that the great Bruce Lee and Ip Man learned. He moved to California and began working in films with his special style of Wing Chun Kung Fu. “The great thing about the Wing Chun Kung Fu style is that it was created by a woman, a Shaolin Nun – so the style works for woman because it depends on redirection, balance and technique rather than force against force. Sifu (Master in Chinese) Tei has been seen on 4 seasons of “1000 Ways to Die” on Spike TV as a Martial Arts expert as well as many other TV shows and films.
Tei says that his classes focus on teaching people realistic methods of defense. He teaches children from two years old and up. “I began learning Martial Arts when I was four, and it gave me a focus, discipline and a strong work ethic. Martial Arts shaped my life” Tei says.
At Tei’s school, there are classes for men, women and children. Many families attend together. They are also open seven days a week.
Classes at the prestigious kung fu school mostly focus on Wing Chun due to its unparalleled effectiveness in the streets. Other classes offered range from high-energy kickboxing to meditative Shaolin Kung Fu, where students practice traditional forms to develop flexibility and strength. Students also endeavor to sharpen their mental focus, whether practicing the swift, devastating techniques of Wing Chun or the deep, controlled movements of Shaolin.
Age-appropriate programs are offered for children ages two through adult. To inquire about their martial arts programs, call 818-843-7916 or visit http://www.kungfuwingchun.com.