By Nik G Vorter
California Academy of Martial Arts has been located in Burbank for over 17 years. It’s an established Burbank landmark. In fact when the Mayor gives tours of Burbank, he passes by the school and mentions its rich heritage to the lineage of Martial Arts in films and the school’s instructor 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 women because it depends on redirection, balance, and technique rather than force against force.”
Tei says that his classes focus on teaching people realistic methods of defense. He teaches children from 2-years-old and up. “I began learning Martial Arts when I was 4, 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 7 days a week.
“People don’t realize how important Martial Arts are to a child’s development. By giving your child too many activities and letting them sit in front of the TV playing video games, you’re not helping them, but hurting them. Children can’t build social skills and learn hard work if you don’t teach them how to focus on whatever they need to in order to succeed. It’s important for children to challenge themselves mentally as well as physically,” Tei says.
I spoke to adults who attend Tei’s classes from as far as Downey, Alhambra, and Calabasas. Many of them had Sifu Tei’s Kung Fu DVD’s and sought him out to train with him personally. Tei also teaches a number of celebrities at his Academy in private as well as group classes.
He offered to have me try a class. Now let me say that I’ve never taken anything before in my life, but I really liked it and found the movements very useful. His school is also having a special that runs until the end of February. Anyone who mentions this Tolucan article will receive a 20% discount on enrollment. If you’re looking for a school for yourself or your children, I highly recommend California Academy of Martial Arts. They teach Wing Chun Kung Fu, Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi, and Kickboxing.
California Academy of Martial Arts is located at 521-A N. Hollywood Way (in the CVS/Albertsons center) where there’s plenty of parking. Their website is kungfuwingchun.com and number is (818) 843-7916.