Gerard Simon
Kathy JB
Jens Eva
Dan Mats

             Thanh Hoa


Students of
Master Quang
describe their studies

Instruction Path
Dan, New Zealander, 31 years old

Growing up in New Zealand I was blessed by an abundance of open spaces, mountains, oceans and wilderness through which I could charge on a BMX, surfboard or any other piece of equipment you may care to name. It was glorious.

Then, in 2001, I arrived in Hanoi. The BMX became a motorbike, the surf was just ripples on Hoan Kiem Lake and I was rapidly getting older and less fit. I recall standing atop a ladder changing a light bulb and thinking, "I used to have balance, coordination and flexibility.
What happened?"

Friends of mine were already studying with Quang, and through them I took my first lessons. I was far from a star pupil, unfit and lazy, yet Quang met this with gracious perseverance. His quiet methods instilled both a sense of responsibility and patience that kept me motivated and keenly aware that somewhere in my muddle of feet and hands lay something deeply profound.

As a beginner, learning those basic motions, I was often concerned by what is right and wrong, and was often confused by the riddlesome rationale that there is no correct way of doing things. It was only later that I would find that in this inherent flexibility of mind and body lie the secrets of Quang's teachings.

Quang has told me on many occasions that the kung fu I do is "mine", and while it is indeed a set of skills both mental and physical skills I possess, it has become such a deep part of my being that I can barely conceive of my life without it.

I am by no means a spiritual man. There was no singular event, no glorious awakening during a spinning axe kick or the punching out of a candle. Yet my life is very is different now.

I recently returned home for several months where I briefly studied an entirely different martial art. The other pupils I encountered during sparring sessions often displayed a strict adherence to the rights and wrongs of the moves they had been taught, and many were incapable of the adapting in the face of a few "mantis" moves.

Herein lies the mystery. Through seemingly endless repetition of those mind numbing 'monks moves' (sorry Quang) I found the flexibility and balance I sought, but it runs much, much deeper than muscle memory.

On bus rides and while climbing trees (simply because I can) I contemplate the meaning of all of this. I started on the Shao Lin road to rid myself of the devils of aging and lethargy, but somewhere along that journey, I found a deeper confidence in both myself and my place in the world around me.

The spoon on the bench in the kitchen is an interactive plaything, the tree a jungle gym with no fruit beyond my reach, and yes, I guess if we've exhausted all other avenues and we really must fight.