DC Jow Ga NEW CLASSES!

3 06 2014

We’d like to announce new classes offering Dean Chin’s Jow Ga. If you are nearby, make sure to check us out… or at least stop by to say hello!

The new location for the DC Jow Ga Federation is at 912 Rhode Island Avenue, Northeast, in Washington, DC. Classes will be led by Instructor Sharif Talib, and will be frequented by various senior Sifus including Sifus Craig Lee and Chris Henderson. Assisting will be long time Jow Ga practitioner Dr. Ivan Robinson.

Let me jump in by telling you a little about Kung Fu and the community.

Kung Fu, while a great way to get in shape and learn to fight, has many uses. Among the benefits are two things we hear of but rarely see in most martial arts communities.

The first is the health benefit. Exercise helps to lower the blood pressure and increase one’s metabolism. Jow Ga Kung Fu training, in particular, does more than many other exercise forms to increase metabolism because of the early emphasis on stance training and punching. This in turn builds muscle in the largest group of muscles on the body–the legs. The increased skill in footwork will help the body move more efficiently and prevents tiring early; at the same time, the increased muscle mass will result in more burned fat per workout. The cardiovascular health one will build assists with the digestive system, as well as helping the practitioner sleep better and moving blood to clean impurities from the body. The strength built in the back, hips and abdomen will help prevent back and skeletal problems, decreases the chance of injury, and helps the body rid of many stress-related headaches. In the practice of Jow Ga, one is encouraged to eat healthier food, as a poor diet will impede performance on the floor and promotes an overall healthier lifestyle. The practice of Jow Ga forms are physically demanding and especially in its weapons forms–builds strength and muscle in many areas of the body most activities ignore.

Secondly, the Kung Fu school teacher is a leader of the community. The school is a protector of the community, and as a protector, its students learn to behave as warriors. They are selfless, compassionate, brave and pious. The Kung Fu school has long been a center of health and discipline as well. In many communities, the Kung Fu school is also a center of academic learning. In the West, the Kung Fu school’s ranks are filled with children, and no responsible Sifu would have the attention of children without instilling a sense of academic achievement and helping children find the answer to the question:  “What do you want to be when you grow up?” For many children living in female-led households, the Sifu is the main male role model those children have–whether boys or girls. Kung Fu Sifus, regardless of how short a student’s tenure may be, have an impact on lives even when the Sifu himself is unaware of it’s degree.

Dr. Ivan Robinson is a product of such an environment. Many of us who knew him as a child (damn I feel old) remember an obnoxious child who nearly lived in the school. He talked loud during class, he talked loud during martial arts tournaments, when he competed, he broke the rules and each of the seniors took turns lecturing as well as scolding him. I recall one tournament in 1985, during the grand championship division for the forms division in which I competed–while my opponent from the Hard Style Weapons performed his Nunchaku form, the auditorium was quiet except for one squeaky, unseen voice… saying “That guy sucks. Moe’s gonna win this. Man *I* can do the numbchucks better than him…”  It was Ivan. And I didn’t win. 😉

What many people didn’t know, was the tumultuous home life Ivan lived that caused him to want to be at the Kung Fu school nearly 7 days a week. Ivan came from a rough background. He got in trouble for fighting in the street. He sometimes bit off more than he could chew. And if he was in a jam, he’d pull weapons from his book bag and use them. He did not come from a household that could afford tuition regularly, so he was given a “scholarship” and allowed to train for free. Still a member of the Jow Ga family, Ivan stayed in trouble. Statistically, he was expected to fail in life. But he didn’t.

Ivan became a Marine. He went to college. He became a doctor. He helped to pen a program that gives patients with health problems a drug-free alternative to solving their problem. One that is low cost. One that has a history hundreds of years longer than modern medicine, and produced more healthy patients who lived longer without health insurance and big pharmaceutical companies. One that, if you so indulge, will help you live longer, with a better quality of life than most who do not, and is centuries proven to be the best side-effect free drug ever. One that will help diabetic patients live healthier, help those with heart and circulation problems have more energy, can relieve back and joint problems, and can cheer up the depressed without drugs. But don’t worry about having the money to pay for it–this program will be covered by your health insurance.

As crazy as it sounds, a man who has joint and back problems due to being overweight can either take drugs to mask the fact that he is STILL overweight, or he can get weight loss surgery, or–in the case of this new health care program–he can be “prescribed” and exercise class to lose the weight. Regardless of your opinion of President Obama’s new health care plan–this option is brilliant, inexpensive, and safe. An in the Washington, DC area–it is a Jow Ga man, who was once a poor kid from the hood–who instituted this program. Back to my point, the Kung Fu school is more than a place you go to learn to fight. It is a place where a kid from the hood with a Master’s Degree in Mathematics can share the floor with the son of a drug addict, a parolee, and a U.S. Marshall. It is a place where a guy who was once an alcoholic is like a brother to a psychiatrist, who helps him beat his addiction. It is a place where a low wage earner who struggles to pay tuition meets a doctor who hires and trains him to do billing, a job he would never be considered for in most cases. The Kung Fu school is a community and a family, and a man like Dr. Ivan Robinson is proof of that.

I am proud to call him a brother, and I admire him–although he will always be that talkative boastful teen I use to teach in the kids class. And as a self employed middle aged man with health problems and no insurance (lol), he is my go-to guy when I’m sick.

If you are in the DC area and interested in learning Jow Ga, come check us out! If you are already a Jow Ga practitioner and would like to learn a little about Jow Ga from a different angle, come by! We are all part of the same family, and Jow Ga is a system that can vary from teacher to teacher–you can never learn too much. This location will feature many instructors from time to time, and each one will be able to show you this system from various points of view and specialties. For more information, visit Dr. Robinson’s site at MyHealthyDC.

Thank you for visiting the Dean Chin Jow Ga Federation.

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