Craig Dewe, 1st Brown Belt
12 January 2009
"I couldn't be happier I made that one little decision to try a kung fu class that day!"
Hi, my name is Craig, I’m 27 years old and I started Kung Fu in January 2004. I’d never done a martial art before and got the idea from a friend who loved “The Matrix.” While he never showed up to class, I found the courage to give it a go… having no idea how it would positively impact my life.
I wanted to get fit, learn self defence, and have more confidence. I’m not a big guy (5’10” and 64kgs) and always felt slightly uneasy being out on the town late at night. I definitely liked the idea of kung fu giving me a fighting chance against guys a lot bigger than me. Plus, I’ll admit I thought the fight scenes in “The Matrix” were cool too…
I vividly remember doing these “strange” press-ups in my first class. I remember being able to do about 10 before my arms refused to lift me off the ground again. But I’m happy to say that changed quickly and soon I was amazing myself with how physically fit and strong I’d become.
I had a friend of a friend whose famous party trick was doing 7 one-handed press-ups. After doing kung fu for a few months this became quite unimpressive though I never had the heart to show him up. Kung fu is about suppression of your ego after all…
Kung fu also led to many unexpected benefits like improving my confidence and developing leadership abilities. It has helped me become the person I am today and I know that it will always hold an important place in my life.
All that remains is to thank Sifu, Simo, and my fellow students for what they’ve contributed to my life. I couldn’t be happier I made that one little decision to try a kung fu class that day!
Wallace Stirling, blackbelt aged forty something!
12 January 2010
"I’m so glad that I decided to look for a Martial Art for the family!"
Hi, my name is Wallace,I remember the 1st time I walked into Song Shan in 2004, it was after I’d rung enquiring about starting my girls up to do kung fu.
I walked into the kwoon, I could hear all the people talking inside, suddenly as I stepped into the kwoon, Silence pierced the air, I could hear a spider crawling up the wall next to me, it was like the world had come to a sudden halt. I turned round and noticed a woman behind the counter with the biggest smile I’d ever seen so I waltz on over with two scared little girls in tow and introduced myself to her.
This wonderful woman turned out to be “Simo”, and thus the journey had begun for the girls firstly, as after watching them for two weeks I became intrigued with this Martial Art and started to think, Heyyyyyy, this is really cool maybe I could do this too. So I walked up to to this gentleman who everyone said was the head Instructor and boldly asked , “May I train tonight?”, To which He said “yes”, and who may you ask was this gentleman – It was my “Sifu” – and so MY journey into Shaolin Kung Fu had begun.
This journey has taken me to places people sometimes dream about, I’ve been to Malaysia, and I’ve been to Japan, and it’s because of Sifu and Simo and the system that I’ve been lucky enough to travel abroad to foreign countries doing something I’m very passionate about and now after all these years I’m an Instructor myself teaching my own students in my own school the etiquette and values Ive learnt from my Sifu and Simo to my own students.
I’m so glad that I decided to look for a Martial Art for the family, I’m so glad after watching the girls I decided to join as well, I’m so glad I have this in my life , I’m so glad for everything The Kung Fu School has done for me and my family, I’m so glad to be a student of Sifu.
Simon Billington, blackbelt
12 January 2011
"Kung Fu helped me focus at University and I finished with a Business degree AND a degree in Kung Fu."
Hi my name is Simon, I moved to Palmerston North from Wellington to study at Massey University. Like most students I finished my first year with no direction and was just floating along. I looked for something outside Uni, to keep me sane.
I’ve played lots of different sports and been a member of many different clubs, kung fu offered much more. From day one, doing tram lines in the middle of the hall and PNF stretching, I never knew exercise could be so fun.
I started training under Sifu at Song Shan, in 1998. I enjoyed the training so much; I committed myself to training three times a week. NPC got me fit, organized and motivated. This helped me focus at University and I finished with a Business degree and a degree in Kung Fu. It is hard to explain how rewarding it was to do my first degree blackbelt; it is a day I’ll always remember.
I’ve traveled to Malaysia, Singapore and the UK with kung fu. I’ve met some great people and had some interesting and enjoyable training experiences. But that’s another story and you will have to come to one of my classes to here about it.
The Kung Fu School teaches you leadership skills and never to be afraid of a challenge. In 2003 I moved to Auckland for work and started the Remuera club. 7 years down the track and we have a great club in Auckland, with another one just opened. I have tried my best to follow Sifu’s teaching and pass it on to new students.
12 years of training and 7 years of teaching, and I still consider myself a student and teacher in training. Our system is always evolving and so we are always encouraged to continue learning as well.
Mandy & Bill Williams
12 March 2011
"The school also imposes our beliefs that they should be respectful to one another."
Our daughter first started Kung Fu as her friend wanted to give it a try and didn’t want to go on her own – her original plan was to go along with her friend while her dance class was on summer break and then she would return to dancing! Now the plan is to be a Black Belt by the time she is 16! Our son stayed to watch at one of the early classes and he decided he would like to give it a try too – 3 years later they are both still dedicated and look forward to classes today as they did on the day they started. We were comforted to find that the children are taught that combat should only be used as a last resort – but should they need to we are confident that they are able to defend themselves. Being a family from overseas we really like the family values that are enforced by the school. Our daughter, Polly, helps with the class on a Tuesday night which has really given her a sense of empathy and our son, James, who has always been on the shy side, has gained confidence in communicating with people of all ages, not just his peers. The school also imposes our beliefs that they should be respectful to one another and their surroundings and that with tolerance, practice and enthusiasm, they can accomplish anything in their journey through life – our family has made some great friendships through the school.
David Anderson, Black Belt
11 December 2011
"The more I trained to more I saw there was to learn and the more things I wanted to learn to do."
I first heard of Kung Fu from my friend Sean, he was in the year above me and is very bright I idolised him quite a bit. He’d been training about 6 months and finally he convinced me and Dion (our other friend) to come try kung fu out with him and his cousin.
I’d never really wanted to do a martial art, I never really like the idea of fighting… But I had nothing better to do, so I thought I’d give it a go. My first class I just copied my friends on how things were done. Which is pretty much what I do every class now.
I wasn’t super excited to become some Kung Fu master or anything, Kung Fu was something to do with my mates that kept me fit and might be useful. It wasn’t until I saw a senior student do a jumping back slice that I decided that this was awesome and that I wanted to learn how to do that.
The friends I started with dropped off one by one until it was just me left, but it didn’t matter I’d made tonnes of new friends at Kung Fu. The more I trained to more I saw there was to learn and the more things I wanted to learn to do. Not only did I learn how to kick, doing Kung Fu has taught me how to act both in and out of the kwoon and continues to reinforce positive values and discourage my more negative attributes.
The biggest non-martial idea that I learnt at Kung Fu wasn’t directly from sifu. It was the children, people like Lane who were by far my senior at Kung Fu but who were significantly younger. They taught me that everyone knows more about something than you and if you put aside your ego you can learn much more.
Once I finished school I moved to Hamilton for university, I found the biggest challenge was that there were only two trainings a week rather than 3+ that I had in Palmerston North. With a 4 day gap in training over the weekend I was always itching to train but I soon adjusted.
Moving to the Hamilton school I became a much more active senior. Taking a more senior role in class and teaching classes scared me immensely. I think I was very lucky to have a very supportive class and invaluable feedback from the instructor made the transition and the scary leap a lot easier than expected.
I love training and it’s still a way to keep fit, but I really love always learning new and awesome things, I learn something every class and that’s what I enjoy the most always expanding on my knowledge and learning more every time and that is why I do Kung Fu.