Fighting Techniques – Instructor Sharif Talib

15 01 2013

Jow Ga Instructor Sharif Talib began studying Jow Ga under Sifus Raymond Wong and Craig Lee in 1986. Since then, he has trained with many other Jow Ga Sifu, acquiring knowledge in various interpretations of Dean Chin’s Jow Ga. He has taught Jow Ga in Europe as well as America and today is as skilled as he was when he was younger.

The following is a small sampling of various ways to apply the Jow Ga foundation technique known as the “Small Tiger Technique”. The book he references is Ron Wheeler’s The Power of Shaolin Kung Fu, available on

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Jow Ga Double Broadswords – Sifu Craig Lee

9 01 2013

This is our version of Jow Ga Double Broadswords, demonstrated by Sifu Craig Lee.



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Sifu Craig Lee Performing Jow Ga’s 10,000 Fist

8 01 2013

This is Sifu Craig Lee, performing 10,000 Fist behind the school in Chinatown.

No other information is necessary. I will post more about him later. Enjoy.


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DC Jow Ga’s Fu Pow Kune

6 01 2013

Performed by Sifu Maurice Gatdula in Sacramento, CA. Joined the Jow Ga school in 1981, and was a part of the “Sunday” bunch, who trained with Sifu Raymond Wong in the morning, and Sifu Chin in the afternoon–followed by a two hour sparring class taught by Tehran Brighthapt. Also trained during the week with various instructors and was promoted through both the weekend curriculum as well as the official school curriculum, led by Sifu Deric Mims.

Those of you who know this form will notice a section left out of the form, which was intentional. The goof-up during the introduction was un-intentional. 😉  This is what we in the Dean Chin lineage refer to as the “Warlock” version. This form was learned from Sifu Craig Lee in 1986 at Raymond Wong’s school. The Hong Kong version of Fu Pow begins in the standing “Goat Shearing Stance”, while Sifu Chin’s begins with Chan Man Cheung’s Hoi Lai, followed by the tension set in the Sei Ping Ma.

FYI, in other branches of Jow Ga, there are several versions of the Fu Pow form within the same school. One possible reason for this, is that one of the nicknames for Jow Ga was “Fu Pow Chune”. In Sifu Chin’s lineage, there is only one.

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Build the Horse First

3 01 2013

One of the teaching philosophies used in Dean Chin’s Jow Ga is “Build the Horse First”.

Often in battle, the winner is not determined by who has the sharpest spear–but who has the strongest horse. The legs, in Kung Fu, are referred to as one’s “horse” because what gets the soldier around during skirmishes are his legs if he’s on foot–or his horse if he is on horseback. For those who fight atop horses, just as much training is given to the horse who carries the soldier as to the combat training of the soldier himself. The fighter who is able to outmaneuver his opponent will find combat and self-defense to be much easier and less risky. When one has developed his footwork to evade and opponent who cannot catch him, and to outrun an opponent who cannot escape him–fighting demands less energy and fewer chances of getting hurt from the combatant.

In Jow Ga training, you will learn to move efficiently and explosively before learning to strike an opponent; this is an indication of how important this oft-overlooked skill is. We accomplish by spending a large amount of time holding postures in our six basic stances:

  1. Sei Ping Ma – Four corners horse stance
  2. Jee Um Ma – Bow and Arrow stance
  3. Gum Gai Dok Lop Ma – Golden Rooster Standing on One Leg stance
  4. Kay Lun Ma – Cross Stance
  5. Breaking the Broom Stance
  6. Pak Tui – Drop Leg Stance

You will also learn and practice our “Stance Training Form”–a routine of attack and defensive footwork maneuvers. The first half of the routine teaches basic footwork and the second half combines hand attacks with that footwork and includes our famous “Wheel Punch Technique” which is the Jow Ga fighter’s first “super-technique”. (Super Technique refers to a powerful technique that is difficult for opponents to counter)

It takes about 6 to 9 months for students to properly learn Horse Training. During this time, you will find your upper body strength increase at least threefold. Your leg strength and flexibility will multiply itself at least four or five times. This is not an exaggeration.

Remember, our mission in Jow Ga is to build dominant fighters. This is an ambitious goal, and you will have to put a lot of energy towards meeting it. Building the horse is the first step towards achieving it.

Thank you for visiting DC Jow Ga Federation.

What Is a “Grandmaster”, Anyway?

3 01 2013

The term “Grandmaster” is today an overused and meaningless term.

Grandmaster used to mean one who taught your teacher, a form of saying “martial arts grandfather”. The term for one who creates a style is actually “Founder”, or in Chinese we say Si Jo. The title that the Si Jo was called by his students is simply “Sifu”, meaning “teacher”. Not lofty enough of a term for today’s egotistic martial arts teacher.

Today, we have the term used for anyone who claims more than a 5th degree black belt, which would make him a “senior teacher”, or Dai Sifu. Appropriately, the top three or four students of the Master might be referred to as their school’s Dai Sifu–but only to differentiate those students from his other students holding an instructor ranking in the system or school. However, those few students with that denotion would be called by their students, simply, Sifu. Yet most traditional teachers who have instructor level students do not give their students this title. Some would say that the school’s Master would be that school’s Dai Sifu, but again no one would call him that title either. What would that school’s master call himself? Sifu.

And what would his senior students be called? Want to take a guess?

Si Hing. This mean’s “older brother”. The same title a student with 6 months of training would call his classmate with 10 months of training. The same title a student with 3 years of training would call his classmate with 17 years of training. This morning I received a call from my junior classmate who joined Jow Ga Association in 1986. Guess what he calls me? Si Hing.

Why all of these optional titles that no one uses? Because in the Chinese martial arts, respect is often earned three ways:

  1. Stay in the arts long enough and/or simply be older,
  2. Move up in rank,
  3. Possess skill.

While a man can walk around and call himself a Grandmaster, and insist that the community calls him a Grandmaster, we must be careful not to confuse titles with respect. Some will be in awe of a man with a lofty title, an interesting story to tell, or longevity in the art–but again, some may not. Yet when a man is in your presence and everyone around him knows without a doubt that he could kill anyone within 6 feet of him with his bare hands–and no one could do a thing about it–there exists a very rare form of respect that all martial artists understand, and everyone agrees.

Martial artists who do not posses the third category of respect must rely on the first two. In other words, he must be called names and throw around his resume and qualifications in order to receive the kind of respect that is earned the traditional way: years of study, thousands upon thousands of hours of training, a multitude of opponents therefore proving his ability, and finally possessing the skill that even when he says, “just call me ‘teacher’”–everyone knows they are in the presence of a master.

And a grandmaster is only an old man with a title.

Thank you for visiting DC Jow Ga Federation.

Full Instructors During Dean Chin’s Watch

3 01 2013

I pulled this information from’s website. Hope you find it interesting!

Sifu Chin only recognized a small handful of “Full Instructors” in his lifetime. His teaching time in DC lasted 16 years, and the last 3 – 4 years of that time he was only occasionally teaching formal classes. We rarely hear about the Full Instructors, which is surprising, because not only are they part of our history and lineage, these brothers had skill far above what we normally see in Kung Fu today. The bar was set high and those who met it were obvious among those who did not. I have some video I’d like to put to youtube and when you see it you will agree that Jow Ga of the early days was * very * strong.

1. Hoy Lee – Hoy is recognized as our senior, because Sifu had always honored him as the first student. He was also one of the best. When I learned from him I remember him giving me his interpretation of Jow Ga techniques for fighting, and I use his philosophy today. I was not fortunate to ever see him do any kung fu when he was young, but I know from what everyone said about him he was extremely good and an excellent kicker. He created the Stepping form (aka “Stance Training form”) with Deric Mims.

2. Paul Adkins – I use to call him “Black Superman” when I was a kid. He was very strong and fast, and from what I remember of his classes, a great technician. Out of all the instructors and assistant instructors he taught the best fighting strategy, along with Tehran Brighthapt and Lemuel Talley. I can’t rank my opinion of him above Bright or Talley because I didn’t train with him as often as them, but I remember that Paul’s classes did not involve any boxing or wing chun (Sifu taught wing chun occasionally)–but did have some Moo Doo Kwan if I remember correctly. I once asked him what form he liked the most for fighting, he said “perfect form”. I was about 12 or 13 and it stayed with me all these years.

3. Hon Lee – I believe he started right around the same time Hoy started, so he is our second in command. Hon was a Marine, I believe, so you know he was a beast. When I joined, Hon was in China studying, and occasionally came back to the U.S., and fortunately I was one of the folks who got to learn from him. Hon reminded me of Sifu in that he taught fighting technique directly from the form. While we always learned applications from the form, when Hon taught he taught those same techniques as fighting techniques. I remember practicing a technique for about an hour while he called cadence, and after about 20 minutes or so he showed us how the technique looked in the form. In the form??? It was eye-opening, and I always respected him for that. At that time, I was seeing forms as just that–forms. But he opened my eyes to the potential of our kung fu. I didn’t spend a lot of time with him, and only had a few conversations as an adult, but he is a very wise man and every Jow Ga student should at least meet him.

4. Deric Mims – He was our forms specialist. Deric had a great eye for detail, and his skill embodied what Jow Ga was all about. He was a great combination of Northern and Southern, which few of us had (I believe we leaned perhaps too much towards southern style), and if you stayed under him long enough you ended up with flawless form. One thing I remember from watching Deric’s Tues-Thurs crew was that all of his regulars were championship material. There was a “Deric Mims” look to everything he did, and everyone (including me) who learned from him showed it. This is just my opinion, but his three top students were Stephanie Dea, Troy, and DJ. I once heard someone say that Deric was Mims’ Tiger, Troy was his Leopard, and Stephanie was his Crane. This was a pretty accurate description, Deric for strength, Troy for speed and Stephanie for gracefulness. Deric was also our business manager, and he kept Jow Ga a professional run organization, and certainly was responsible for keeping our lights on.

5. Raymond Wong – I think I wrote enough of him on the “History” thread. This was the guy I stuck to when I joined. A story: When my brother and I first came to Jow Ga, Sifu told my mother we were too young. We left, visited a few schools and didn’t like any of them. Mind you, I had not seen any of Jow Ga’s skill, just the office. But something attracted me. I had called once and John Chin answered and helped me with a project I was doing for school (I was in the 6th grade) “What I want to be when I grow up” (Martial Arts teacher). We were going to Wah Hsing and I convinced my family to go back to Jow Ga. When we came in, Sifu was starting to kick us out again, and Raymond stopped us and talked to us. We signed up, and John Chin taught my first class, Rahim Muhammad taught my second class. When I started learning from Sifu himself, he told me to stick close to Raymond and I did. He is, in my opinion, the spitting image of Sifu in the way he taught and treated his Kung Fu. Raymond was known by most of the students as “the Lion Dance” guy because it was the only time they saw him. He did not come to the school during the week, he was almost never seen doing kung fu and when he taught it was often hours after leaving the club. But his kung fu was top notch, as is evidenced by his students. In the old days Raymond had three top students who followed him as well–Moo and San Wong (his nephews) and me.

6. Randy Bennett – I didn’t know him well so I can’t say much about his kung fu. But from what everyone says about Randy, his Kung Fu was certainly very good and typical of a first generation DC Jow Ga person. I don’t know if he has youtube clips of himself, but I’ve seen home movies and his technique was flawless–and I totally mean that. Even now at his age he is that good. He came to visit DC in the late 90s and everyone was in awe, especially those who had never seen any of the first generation Sifus.

7. Eugene Mackie – I know this brother VERY well. He and Craig Lee were the last of the Full Instructors on Sifu’s watch and all I can say is most Kung Fu people have never seen skill this good. He had knee problems early on but would push it and train and demonstrate anyway. When Eugene gave, he gave 100% intensity. He had very strong hand technique, very clean hand technique, and when you saw him do a form, you could tell he could also fight with what he had. The video on youtube with all of us does him no justice, he was good but man you should have seen him back in the day. Because of his power, he was the Tiger to Craig Lee’s Leopard. Of the crew he was second youngest.

8. Craig Lee – I know him well also. Almost everything on the 28-form list past Double Broadsword, I learned from Craig, and he is the only Full Instructor I speak to regularly. Anyone who knew him will agree with this statement: Craig was our best forms specialist. I will put up a clip that he and I made in Chinatown a few years before Sifu Chin died, and you guys can see for yourself. Everything from the stances, to his execution to speed–whenever Craig performed he made all the older guys proud, and it made us young cats go in the classroom and train our asses off. He was Sifu Chin’s youngest and last full instructor. He and Eugene were promoted in 82. Considering that Sifu died in 1985, these were honors he did not freely impart.

There were a few Assistant Instructors, and I’ll post them later. But 8 Full Instructors in 16 years says a lot about why Jow Ga is the way it is now. I know of teachers who put out more than 8 Black Belt students a month. You didn’t become a Sifu just because you knew forms, and you literally had to be the best of the best. One thing about our seniors in the system–they were all several heads above their peers in the martial arts community in skill and fighting ability. Our assistants from those days were Tigers: Rahim, Bright, Howard, etc. but those who were Full Instructors really stood out. They earned their place not just by being around long enough or learning the curriculum, but perfecting what they knew.

Thank you for visiting DC Jow Ga Federation.

Dean Chin’s Small Tiger

3 01 2013

The Siu Fok Fu (Small Subduing Tiger) form is undoubtedly one of the strongest pillar forms of Jow Ga Kung Fu. As central as this form is to the Jow Ga system, the versions vary from school to school, from branch to branch. In most American Jow Ga schools, Small Tiger–as it is known–is the first form taught to Jow Ga students after the foundation level. The foundation level in Jow Ga schools under the Dean Chin lineage consists of learning footwork, basic hand attacks, basic kicks, and physical training to prep the body for the rigors of Jow Ga training. (In many schools, this foundation level contains a footwork pattern named “Stance Training Form”, or “Stepping Form”)

Sifu Raymond Wong is Sifu Chin’s closest student, and in this video is Sifu Li Ling Li, Wong’s niece. She executes this form with the power and intensity that Dean Chin students are taught to use.


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Sifu Ron Wheeler Jow Ga Montage

2 01 2013

Sifu Ron Wheeler joined Jow Ga Association in 1979. Of the “80s Generation” of Jow Ga Sifu, he has been the most active and is the most accomplished of this generation–which consists of those who were training with Sifu Chin as a teen in the years before he passed away.

Ron is a “triple threat”, as he was accomplished as a Lion Dancer, a fighter, and as a forms competitor. He still competes today, as a man well in his 40s with the fitness level of most men literally half his age. This clip is certainly proof of that.

Ron teaches the first for-credit Kung Fu course at George Washington University.

Thank you for visiting the DC Jow Ga Federation.

Jow Ga Demonstration in 1985

2 01 2013

In order to help you understand who Dean Chin is, and why he is significant in the Jow Ga world, it is would be most appropriate for you to see how Sifu Chin’s direct students looked.

We could write beautiful articles about Sifu’s exploits and how good he was as a teacher. Yet nothing proves a point better than a point “demonstrated”. Hopefully, this clip tells the story better than any 700-word essay.

Thank you for visiting the DC Jow Ga Federation.