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Green Dragon Academy????

Discussion in 'Animal Forms & Styles' started by Alvin Kan, Sep 8, 2002.

  1. Offline

    carly

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    I'm surprised that they don't have a website - in this day and age, a greoup with so high a profile and which is trying to market a product should have one.

    I believe they are still advertising their tapes in Inside Kung Fu magazine.
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    Alvin Kan

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    Yeah

    That's what prompted the thread in the first place it appear they have dropped out of site after being so visible intially
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    carly

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    Their friends at the Chicoine shuai chiao group in Ohio are still going strong. They seem to spend a lot of time criticizing other shuai chiao people, though.
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    JTK

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    Anyone have any of Green Dragon's videos that they would like to sell Anyone have their Iron Palm material
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    wandering_dragon

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    Lair of the Green Dragon

    [A few additions made in accordance with a little email feedback received this a.m.---w_d]



    I found this old thread and got curious as an ex coworker of mine had used to train at the Green Dragon school so I did a little emailing and Google research, if anybody still cares.



    Anyone have any of Green Dragon's videos that they would like to sell Anyone have their Iron Palm material



    Apparently the herbs necessary for the Iron Palm training are no longer being made available---at last word---through the mail order part of the program. Too many hassles with customs and so on to be able to guarantee prompt delivery and deal with backlogs of orders. Could not find nor haven't seen notice of anybody selling their tapes privately for a long long time.



    Their friends at the Chicoine shuai chiao group in Ohio are still going strong. They seem to spend a lot of time criticizing other shuai chiao people, though.



    Well in Chicoine's view most of them deserve the criticism! The understanding I have (based on the word of a couple friends who live in that area and have trained under Allen or have friends who have trained at Chicoine's school) is that Chicoine sees it as his duty to uphold the traditions of classical shuai chiao and kung fu training as it was taught to him by the late Grandmaster Tung Shen Chang, who adopted him and taught him material shown to no one else (which, it is said, he can demonstrate), this is a point of honor with him and of respect for his teacher.



    For example, in an old issue of IKF (which I don't own, but have seen in Xerox form) a reader had written in questioning Chicoine & Allen's lineages as well as the source of the material they taught; suggesting that proper credit wasn't being given, in that case, to a Master Femon (spelling) Ong. Next issue or so, John Allen replied with a lengthy list of specific examples that pointed out that Ong was *not* responsible for the material in question, as well as some detailed history of his and Chicoine's past dealings with M. Ong as having been students of his (and why they left Ong's organization). Chang of course was one primary source of some of Chicoine's teaching material (also it was pointed out that Chang had had to correct much of what *was* attributable to Ong in order to make it work correctly); Allen had trained under at least 6 major Chinese masters.



    And the impression gleaned from that letter, in conjunction with several of the columns written for IKF by both Allen & Chicoine, was that the general "Americanization" of the CMA that has taken place over the years in various ways and for various reasons is not necessarily, in their views and according to some very specific reasons which they have outlined at varous times in the past (including on many of their videotapes), a (as Martha Stewart might put it) "good thing."



    I used to see them in the different martial arts magazines Inside Kung Fu, Inside Karate, Black Belt,etc....I thought they were fake because they would advertise every style of kung fu known to man even some very rare styles



    It comes up from time to time in various forums that anyone who claims expertise (or "mastery") in a large number of Chinese styles *must* be fraudulent in some way.



    But no one questions a pianist who has mastered the works of several different composers or a variety of diverse styles, such as rock, jazz, and classical; or a guitar player who can play rock, country, flamenco, jazz, and fingerpicking style with equal facility.



    In what some consider the more "Classically oriented" approaches to learning Chinese forms & styles, a student is properly taught to master the *principles* and fundamental building blocks (stances, punches, kicks, all the blocking techniques and etc) that make up *all* Chinese forms and styles, just as a musician learns scales & riffs & chord progressions. Then the differences, as well as the similarities, between the various styles, is ingrained as the student adds more and more forms from differing (sometimes starkly contrasting) styles to his or her repertoire (when such variety is available in the training). It is "mastery" of all the underlying Chinese fighting & training principles that is of supreme importance in this approach and which provides an important key to understanding such a point of view.



    I'm surprised that they don't have a website - in this day and age, a greoup with so high a profile and which is trying to market a product should have one. I believe they are still advertising their tapes in Inside Kung Fu magazine.



    They have gone back "underground" as far as the mainstream CMA community is concerned. They place a high premium on training in the "old ways" of the masters who taught prior to 1930, and have the training material at their disposal to do so. In the old schools this kind of demanding work washed out better than 99% of the people who wanted to learn the teachings, and according to those methods you do not "simplify" or "dumb down" the work for the beginners, it is up to them, if they are truly dedicated and interested, to rise to the level of the demands.



    Yes, I just checked and their ad is still in the latest (jan 05) "Inside KungFu."



    I aquired some Long Fist tapes of thiers, and was shocked at how badly their perfomance was.



    Not surprising. They don't do hardly anything the way the mainstream, sport-style schools do. For one thing, they believe (and it is said can demonstrate this) that the material they train on actually develops the chi in the body for application in fighting and power. And they don't maneuver (for example in fighting work) the way most schools do, either. What is seen on the tapes reflects such non-orthodox (but as taught by the older masters) approaches and works, in their paradigm, in application.



    Also, what were the specific tapes in question and who were the performers I've seen roughly 40 or 50 of Green Dragon's tapes (including a couple on which Gene Chicoine makes a guest appearance as lecturer) over the past 16 years, give or take, and can't think of one where there wasn't a good reason (given and explained during the step by step teaching breakdown, btw) for what is seen during the opening demonstration performances (which, iirr, are done at "half to three-quarter speed" most of the time). Their tapes won several awards for excellence from some of the industry magazines & Allen has a reputation for setting, and adherence to, very high standards and being extremely detail-oriented in all areas of his teaching and tapes production. Therefore making the critique cited from the referenced post very puzzling, to say the least, unless it was made mostly from a conceptual standpoint, since their approach in that regard to CMA forms, programs, systems, teaching et al is, as pointed out, hardly conventional from almost any standpoint. Which is of course one more reason why they have generated so much controversy at certain times.



    In closing, I found this in a Google cache, apparently posted by another ex-Green Dragon student (from a "cyberkwoon" forum):



    First of all, remember that I am not a CMA instructor, let alone a Green Dragon instructor; nor do I have the slightest idea what your background is or your own personal goals. Ideally you should contact the Studio for answers to questions like yours; but as it can be difficult at times waiting on the mails, and as it seems the staff there isn't responding to letters these days, I'll give it a try. But keep very firmly in mind that my piddling overview in no way reflects what either Sifu Allen or a member of his instructional staff would say. In fact, you probably ought to consider everything I say kind of in the way of a 'generic' report on what the typical---if there is such a thing---aspiring kung fu student who gives such training an honest effort might expect from his or her efforts at tackling quality kung fu material as taught in the way Green Dragon makes it available in these tapes...

    Apropos of all that, consider that the way they used to tell you to do it was to submit more than one tape you're interested in when you ordered; to say something briefly about your training goals & background; and to politely and humbly request that Sifu Allen choose the set he feels would be your best option at the time from among those.

    Now, 'insights' About the best thing I guess I could say from that standpoint is that, in my opinion, it's important to have a very thorough grounding in the basics if you want to be successful with this kind of material and the training time and effort required to achieve good results. Some of these things are quite difficult to learn off of a videotape if you can't discern what's going on with the footwork---and that usually relates to stances---or the routes the arms & hands should follow (all the basic blocks and punches, plus a grasp of how to apply isometric tension while moving in certain cases), especially as these upperbody routes RELATE to the footwork! (ie the maneuvering.)

    [NOTE: With all the material, there just aren't any shortcuts; and if you try to shortcut it you will eventually pay for such haste in the long run, in one way or another.]

    You also need to know how to breathe with the diaphragm. This is of paramount significance with respect to authentic, so-called 'Classical' Chinese Kung Fu training; as I understand it, none of this stuff will ever work correctly for you---especially anything in the way of the 'internal' aspects of a form or program---if you aren't breathing with the diaphragm. It takes some practice to be able to keep maximum tension on while doing strength work and still breathe easily using the d. muscle. But it is possible, and it is an absolute MUST.

    It helped me quite a bit to have had a pretty good indoctrination into doing Chinese sets based on having learned the Bok Pai over the course of several weeks' guidance at the Kent (State University) Club branch of the school, which carried over into my attempts to learn other fighting forms from the videos (I've often wondered if it wouldn't be helpful for Green Dragon to put out some type of video covering nothing but the subject of How To Learn Chinese Forms & Exercises From a Video, because my guess is that there are many students out there who could benefit from such a tape, and that would still include me). There's a pretty good likelihood that I would have failed miserably in attempting to learn this kind of material solely from a videotape format if I hadn't had such a 'hands-on' head start (but once again, that was me, and may not necessarily be the case for you or anyone else). So, I would tell anyone trying Green Dragon forms to take just one that really appeals to them and really take their time breaking it down into little bits & pieces, relating every move to the fundamentals like the stances used & the stance sequences, what types of blocks & punches the form is composed of, how the 3 gates are dealt with, and so forth. In other words, progress slowly and take your time digesting the multiple instructional segments (and don't forget the combat applications at the end! This is where most students, even some who've been in the arts for years, get tripped up. The Chinese don't fight the way sport-tournament fighters do; lots of the stylisms and techniques you see in the combat applications may not make a lot of sense to you until you begin to understand what is really possible in the authentic [the way the old masters did it] kung fu fighting arts; this starts to happen a little while after you've been training when it starts to dawn on you that this is one of the main things the strength programs are really about): you'll be rewarded for such an approach tenfold as compared with rushing along trying to gulp the material down (as I have tried to do on more than one occasion). Remember, if you're a serious student, this is something you'll be doing every day for the rest of your life; so be patient, and do your best to be thorough---it's a good habit to make right from the start.

    Bear in mind that Green Dragon provides several tapes covering what they consider to be the 'Fundamentals' of authentic kung fu instruction; well, there's a REASON they do this! If you aren't understanding something on one of the advanced tapes, there's a good chance it's because you're trying to 'fly' before you learned the right way to crawl. Read the tapes brochure THOROUGHLY. Then, reread it. And again, after you've been working on a few forms, or even just a few steps from a form. Repeat as necessary.

    Also I found it helped a lot to have Sifu Allen's articles, written for Inside Kung Fu back in the late 80s/early 90s, to use as reference points (one example: to read about what the 'half-second paradigm' means as it relates to true Chinese-style fighting; another: what the significance of closing the centerline is). Probably not everyone who wants to will have those old issues at their disposal, but it's a big plus, in my personal estimation, if you can get them. They were invaluable to me; but it's also true that the content of several of them was somewhat 'controversial' in its impact on the MA community as a whole. You have to keep an open, 'beginner's' mind. It really wasn't until I spent time working on the Shaolin 5-Animals Strength & Health sets that I finally began to fully shake off my biases, about how to train daily & apply strength in unorthodox techniques, etc, biases which had been based on my background in various sports disciplines, for example; who knows what piece of material or part of a lecture will do that for you, if you even need such a conceptual turnaround in the first place.

    It helps to have someone to train with. Personally I've tried to find good training partners several times over the years, with little luck---few people ever want to stick with the work, particularly on a daily basis, once they see how much of a commitment is really involved (chi or no chi!) But if you have the option, try to train with someone else at least a couple times a week; yet also keep in mind that there will always be times you're just going to have to crawl up that big slippery wall with your own two hands, no one can do it for you. At many points in some of the strength programs you will have no choice but to face this harsh reality if you want to get through it; but it's all the more rewarding when you do. As Sifu Allen puts it on one of the tapes, these things will always give back to you far more than you ever put into them; and you can't say that about too many things in life (to paraphrase him). And in my experience, this has indeed proven out on several occasions.

    I don't own the Travelers Cane, so I can't say anything about it except that it comes out of White Lotus, and White Lotus is one of Sifu Allen's favorite systems; what better recommendation would you need I do own the Continuous Palms, and it's a fantastic piece of material; every other thing you'll ever work on in your kung fu will open up a new angle on what that set contains. Virtually inexhaustible, and a supreme example, as the brochure points out, of true kung fu circularity. Again, you must relate it to the combat applications provided, and these to Chinese fighting principles as a whole.

    What other tapes do I own I honestly think the best way for me to answer that is not with a comprehensive, detailed list but instead to say that every single one I do own has provided something of value that none of the others did---even though I may not have appreciated it when I first started to work on a particular set. What's more interesting to note, from my perspective, is that after you've worked with a nice selection of a broad range of different types of material---some more linear, some more circular, something 'simple' as compared to something more highly complex, a beginner's fighting set of only a couple dozen or so moves as compared to a strength set that may have hundreds of steps, or something almost exclusively 'external' as opposed to something more exclusively 'internal'---you begin to note certain patterns that turn up time and time again; and after you work a while---several months in some cases, a few years in others---the significance of these patterns begins to dawn on you in a way you would NEVER have anticipated: and it's IMMENSELY gratifying when this happens. Just as it's immensely satisfying, even 'enlightening' to a certain degree, the first time you feel the 'chi' in the body begin to stir, and later to move, and later...Well, some things you're going to have to discover for yourself. And the key to this discovery is the fact that it takes work and sacrifice and discipline and commitment of a degree not often encountered in too many places anymore these days; but work, sacrifice, discipline, and commitment that are all well worth it, even when it might not seem that way on a particular day or during a particularly challenging session of arm grabs or Master Kao's stances, to name a couple of examples.

    To sum up: no matter which form you happen to be working on or learning at any given time in your training, never forget that it's just one part of a much larger whole; and this whole, in time (plus work plus forms plus repetitions), adds up to something far, far greater than the sum of these individual parts. You'll certainly have good days and bad days; try to keep this in mind when the going gets a little rougher than you may have anticipated; because the pay-off will be far more than you could have anticipated as well.



    Hope some small part of this was helpful.



    Likewise from this poster.
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    eight fist Allumni

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    Great Post.

    I especially like this part. My Sifu trained me the same way exactly that the principals and fundamentals are the same for many various systems and allow for a broader basis for learning many things. The style I practice is based on this idea and it does explain how many masters, ancient and modern, could learn and have skill at multiple styles.
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    Lugaldamhara

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    Spot on.

    Peace-

    Cam
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    Fu Jow Chris

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    I just acquired several Green Dragon tapes the other night from my sifu. I'm sure I'll have more to say after I've had the opportunity to view them all.
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    eight fist Allumni

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    I tried ordering a tape from them a few years ago, but I fear it was lost in the mail (my money order). Would anyone be interested in doing some trading for some green dragon tapes I would like to see some of his stuff.
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    master_killer28

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    hey jeff!!! i am new on here bro and i was wondering -- how do you get cool avatars and put em on here. i put ya on my buddy list - hope you don't mind.
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    Fu Jow Chris

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    Well, I've spent the better part of a day viewing Green Dragon material. Good video instruction and narration.



    These are the titles I saw:



    White Lotus Fighting Fan

    Two Monks Staff Combat Set

    Northern Three Quarter Staff Set

    Stone Warrior Training

    Double Iron Rulers Seek the Tiger

    Northern Double Edged Straight Sword



    Sifu Allen mentions in the tapes that they are reproduced periodically to update his stock. These tapes that I watched were produced around 1988, so I'm wondering if he has the same staff performing the sets in the newer productions. This bunch was really good.
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    Silo-Fu Kung-Fu

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    There are several Green Dragon websites:

    theres is .........

    www.martialartscity.com (they call themselfs Green Dragon School of martial arts)

    then theres

    Green Dragon Kung-Fu association www.grndragon.worldgate.ca

    and this is a good school.

    Im not sure about the first one as i have no personnal knowledge of them
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    Silo-Fu Kung-Fu

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    eight fist Allumni

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    Thats not the same school they are talking about. Sifu Mark Chan does a totally different style than Sifu John Allen from what I have seen.
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    fightingtigress

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    I used to study under Sifu Allen personally...

    I am new to this site and was intrigued by the posts about the Lair of the Green Dragon. I used to study under Sifu Allen personally. Is there a question about his authenticity? Just curious.
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    Mei Hua

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    I'm curious, what did you study under Sifu Allen?

    My late GM Seung Hwa Cheung was a friend of Allen and shared some of the things from our system with him.
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    Royal Dragon

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    Not surprising. They don't do hardly anything the way the mainstream, sport-style schools do.

    Reply]

    Neither do I. I am an Old School Tai Zu Chang Chuan player.

    For one thing, they believe (and it is said can demonstrate this) that the material they train on actually develops the chi in the body for application in fighting and power.

    Reply]

    No they can't, they muscle everything. No use of Qi at all. Infact thier horribky bad body structure alone chokes off the Qi completely leaving only muscle power to be relied on.

    And they don't maneuver (for example in fighting work) the way most schools do, either.

    Reply]

    That is because thier body structural/skelital alignment is so bad they they can't maneuver correctly.

    What is seen on the tapes reflects such non-orthodox (but as taught by the older masters) approaches and works, in their paradigm, in application.

    Reply]

    Maybe if the older master's they learned from didn't know anything sure. Green Dragon people are all lacking the CORE body structure, and mechanics of authentic Tai tzu Chang Chuan. And yes, the vid I have of them does show a Tai Tzu form...abit with some other things mixed into it, but still Tai tzu. It's just really BAD Tai Tzu done by people who have not a clue as to how the style should move. The performance is completely off balance and akward. The apps shown are just dumb and not combat worthy at all, let alone Tai Tzu ways of fighting...when it's supposed to be apps of the TAI TZU form...

    They all move like they spent too much time muscling everything, and not enough time devloping fundementals.
  18. Offline

    Mei Hua

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    Wow dude, you are completely misunderstanding and wrong about just about everything you said.

    I know for a fact that they can and do fight highly effectively, they do have many qigong skills that build qi for use in fighting, some of the people on their tapes were masters of my system and I know for a fact that their skill far surpasses 3/4ths of current Chinese American masters that I've met.
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    Royal Dragon

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    Well, it sure don't show in thier Tai Tzu Long Fist tape...every thing was wrong.
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    Mei Hua

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    Perhaps because it was theirs and not yours, what they show for Tai Tzu has matched what I've seen for others.

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