One of the events that has helped shape and define my life, was the day I walked in to the Denver Shaolin Kung Fu School and signed up for classes. I had actually walked in a few times years prior to joining when I was still a teenager. and again in my early twenties. I did not have my own transportation, much money or an abundant amount of time back then as I was investing my money and time into the Art Institute of Colorado, getting my degree in Industrial Design and Graphics. So for the time even though I really wanted to learn kunfg fu all the way back as far as elementary school watching the 3 O’clock Kung Fu Theater in New York, I had to put aside my passion for learning til later in life. I wish now I had started earlier, but at least I did finally walk in and enroll in the school.
It was a whirlwind of different factors that had finally culminated in my joining the school. I had always wanted to study Kung Fu, I always had a facination with the oldschool kung fu movies including 36th Chamber, Drunken Master, etc… and had been looking for a school that had some monkey forms, mantis forms and drunken forms as I had been extremely interested in each of these after watching a few movies that featured the styles prominently. One of the more famous movies that really sparked my interest in the Drunken system was when I watched Shaolin Challenges Ninja (or shaolin vs ninja) There is one scene when Gordon Liu has his friends attack a drunken master so that he can try and imitate and learn the drunken kung fu master’s techniques. I always loved being active in sports that required thinking like skateboarding and Freestyle Bike Riding both of which emphasized learning new progressively harder skills through practice, trial and effort. The same components learning Kung Fu are also made of being that Kung Fu literally means “Mastery through Time and effort” In the end it was my buying of Three new Kung Fu movies that would ultimately have me say that is the school for me! First I bought “Shaolin Mantis” which focused on an alternate story for the creation of the Mantis Kung Fu style which further peeked my interest in this amazing fighting system. The second film was the original “Iron Monkey” with actor Chen Kwan Tai where a young man’s family is killed by the evil Eagle Claw General, the man seeks refuge at the Shaolin Temple where he learns many styles of Kung Fu and then chooses to specialize in the Monkey Fist system. This movie peeked my interest in Monkey kung fu and in the eagle claw system. And finally the movie that sealed the deal was “Return of the 18 Bronze Men” I saw the grace of movement in one of the young men in the movie and his perfect timeing and counter strikes fllowed by a classic line …. after watching the cool action all it took was one line “Master you can’t beat him… the boy’s from Shaolin” I immediately said to myself “that’s it I’m joining the Shaolin Kung Fu School” I then grabbed the brochure I had picked up a year prior from my drawer, read the schedule to see when they would be open, showed up on the next available day and signed up for class. The year was 1996 and I have been loving the training, sparring and camaraderie ever since.
The school has a wealth of knowledge that includes every system of Animal style, Internal martial arts like Baguashzang (Pakua), Hsing-I, Tiger style, Mantis, Monkey, The Full Drunken system including drunken weapons forms like the drunken spear, drunken straight sword and drunken broadsword, plus flexible weapons like the 3 sectional staff, and 9 sectional chain whip. It’s actually a bit overwhelming how many forms you learn by the time you are a second black or even by the time you are a first Black belt. The brown belts learn 15+ forms in their year long testing cycle before becoming black belts. The amount of things you learn and the health benefits alone have been amazing including better balance, stronger more agile body, better memory and the ability to defend yourself.
All that said the Denver and Boulder schools along with a few other Shaolin Centers across the country have extended a great invitation to new prospective students, One which I am gladly sharing with you as well. They are offering Yoru first month of Kung Fu Lessons Free for You and up to 3 friends with the coupon below. All I can say is I signed up for a year the minute I could afford it, I was paying $40 per month for lessons and signed up for a year within two months of classes that’s how much I loved it and a year membership brought my price at the time down to only $20-25 per month which is just amazing. I’ve looked at other schools and they simply don’t have as much material and yet charge 3-10 times as much every month. That makes no sense to me. Currently the prices are a little higher at about $40 per month if you sign for a full year or $60 month to month but its still 2-4 times less than other kung fu schools around the country and with One month free there’s nothing to lose except maybe the love handles.
– Emir Santana 4th Degree Black belt
(working on getting that 5th stripe)