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Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a summary of some commonly asked questions. Much of this information can also be found throughout the website, but is here to make the information easier to find. If you have questions that aren't addressed here, use the phone numbers at the bottom of the page to contact the nearest studio and they will be happy to help you.

How much do lessons cost?

Prices will range from $6.50 / lesson and up, depending what your desires and needs are. The main point is to make sure you are getting your money's worth. We are each individuals with individual needs. Shaolin Arts is not the cheapest, nor the most expensive, just the best - and we will guarantee you'll get your moneys worth.

What are the class schedules?

Each studio will have a little bit different class schedules to match the needs of the community it is located in. We are teaching six days a week and therefore can match most people's schedules. Just call and set up a time.

How much time will I need to devote to learn the Arts?

There is no set time each person is required to come in. Twice a week works well. Once a week is common for those traveling a lot. Use us as a school. Learn, take our principles with you wherever you go and you will grow. Some individuals come in everyday and programs are set up for them, and we have programs that we take to private homes and businesses where the individuals or groups rarely, if ever, come to the studio location. The more you can be involved the better. But, quality is more important than quantity. Take the time you have and really use it, and you'll grow.

What are the qualifications of your instructors?

Each of our instructors must be well trained in the Arts they are teaching, and they must be trained in teaching those arts. They must complete our instructors college, serve an apprentice program, and pass background security checks. They must certify under the international PAI association, and must continue to certify in all these areas as long as they wish to represent Shaolin Arts in any professional capacity.

What style/type of Arts is best?

Shaolin Arts has always provided a complete program, because that's what works. Kicks, punches, stances, defense, grappling, chin na, offense, chi, healing, philosophy, health, sport, street, weapons, etc. Some individuals do come in for just one piece or style of the Arts, which is fine, but we do like to teach the full program when possible. It's fun, it's real, and it works. Let us know, and we will set up the best program for your interests and needs.

Will Martial Arts make my child more aggressive?

No. A well-run program will decrease aggression, channeling youth energy to positive activities. We all get frustrated, youth too. Frustration does not need to become anger. Discovering you can have control of your circumstances is a wonderful feeling, a powerful feeling. The feeling of true freedom all ages desire.

How safe is it?

Shaolin Arts studios pride themselves on their excellent safety record. Far more injuries occur in so called, non-contact sports, such as basketball. You do not have to be hurt, nor hurt another, to learn good martial arts, self defense, kung fu or Tai Chi. The Arts were designed to make you healthier and stronger, not weaker.

What kind of shape should I be in before I start?

You can start classes in whatever physical condition you're currently in. Being in perfect shape would be nice, but to be in perfect shape you'd likely already be doing one of our programs. Our programs are designed to take you from where you are to where you want to be. Just come and tell us what you want. We'll take care of the rest.

Am I too old?

Currently, our oldest student to date is 87. With each age comes a different set of life experiences, abilities and desires. The trick is to match the program up with you, the individual.

Why do I need to wear a uniform?

Uniforms accelerate the learning process. They are just clothes that work best for the given activity. They are safe, functional, create a mood, and convey information. They are used because they make a significant difference.

What's the best age to start my child in martial arts?

3 is typically the youngest and it works well when they study with a parent. Five or six is more common, depending on their coordination and mental maturity. A five minute in person consultation will give you excellent feedback.

Is it a religion?

No. Many religious people do study the Arts, and the basic philosophies complement good core values, but there is no religion involved. Good Arts must be built upon true principles to work and last, just like good people must be built upon to be their best and last.

Why do I have to come into the studio to get all the information?

Coming into a Shaolin Arts studio location allow us to meet you and you to meet us. It doesn't have to take very long. It's the best way to give you accurate information, to see you, the unique individual, we are speaking about. We can better recommend certain programs, explain all we have to offer, and you can take your pick. It is a free consultation, but it's worth a lot.

Can I just learn from a DVD?

Yes and no. DVD's, videos, and movies can help remind us what we have already been taught. Learning new skills is difficult and refining almost impossible by watching a video. Five minutes of details with a good instructor will save hours of effort and a lifetime of errors.

Why the colored sashes?

Rank, belts or sashes are part of the uniform and are colored to represent your progression through the different skill levels. They create motivation, organization and safety. A good program will teach you in a safe progression, called rank, so that your body is ready for the next set of material. It is a wonderful way to set you up for success after success. Sashes tend to work better than belts in protecting the Dan Tian, thus they are used.

What is reviewing for rank all about?

The main reason for testing or reviewing for rank is for your experience and growth. Each rank review will be longer than the previous one because you have more material to review and you will be in better shape to review it. Only you can 'earn' your next rank. Not your parent or spouse. Again, no one is interested in setting you up for failure. Each review is designed for your learning experience and benefit.

How long will it take to learn?

It can take just a moment of correct instruction to realize the potential the Arts can give us. Real change does take time. The first difference happens within 3 months, then 6 months, etc. Some people will have set goals, which can be reached in a set time period, and then they will come in from time to time for a review or refresher. Others discover there is a lifetime of material available - a lifetime of growth, adventure, fun. Shaolin Arts strives to make each class worthwhile. All of us have found remaining active in the Arts improves our quality of life, our very whole being. Staying active makes everything else we do better.

What's all the shouting about?

The shout, the Kiai' or 'Qihe' helps you focus your energy. At first it is more external and with proper practice, becomes more internal. The sound itself is unimportant. We will all develop our own sounds or tones as we advance. It is the results we are after not just the sound effects. This is not to be confused with the classic healing sounds taught in our Qi Gung exercises.

Are traditional or modern techniques best?

Traditional often refers to old or ancient ways verses modern relating to our own time period and circumstances. In the Arts something that is thousands of years old may be just old and outdated, or it might mean is has 'stood the test of time', that all through the ages nothing has ever been invented better. Certain techniques worked in the past because of the core principles they utilized and therefore will work well now, in our times and circumstances if we can be taught the same methods. When we understand why and how things worked in the past we can have all their strengths for the future.

Do you teach how to use weapons?

Yes. Weapons are an extension of the body. Any error the body makes the weapon will exaggerate. Therefore weapon training can give the body great feedback. They are wonderful tools for developing the mind and body. Certain traditional weapons aid in this process more than others. Thus at Shaolin Arts, for those students who are interested, we like to introduce classic or traditional weapons training. Secondly, weapons are a part of our society. Understanding how they work increases our understanding of how to defend against them.

How do sport and competition skills relate to 'street' skills?

There are many masters of the Arts who feel and have experienced how sport and competition have destroyed the Arts. How techniques were ruined that had to be 'watered down' to make them safe enough for playing around with but never really used. How the skills deteriorated when all one had to do was pretend to hit rather than have to make their movements work. How more trophies are won by the Hollywood type appearance of energy and power rather than real power and ability.

On the other hand, sport or competition type activities can develop the desirable skills of coordinating your movements with another's. Good sportsman-like behaviors can develop with well-run activities. The idea is to use sport for the strengths it can develop and not confuse sport skills with true street or fighting skills. At Shaolin Arts, you can have Arts that are fun to do and still be powerful and effective.

Do you have to be Asian to study, or to teach?

No. Neither the color of your skin, nor the birthplace of your parents is as important as your own desires, motivation and dedication. Learning from a mystical stranger from some foreign land can be fun at first and impress others but in the long run you learn through good communication and teaching skills. Remember, the greatest Arts did develop in the area we now call China, by both Chinese and non-Chinese. They came from throughout the world to share and grow (see history section for more details).

Can you really kill someone by just a touch?

Yes. It is commonly referred to Dim Mak, but it is an uncommon skill. Chi, or internal force is needed with an understanding of how energy flows through the body. Tapping into these energy sources can trigger significant results, both to heal and to disrupt. Experience with massage, acupressure or acupuncture can help develop our awareness.

What is meant by internal verses external?

Many refer to the Arts as either internal, meaning developing or dealing with the internal parts of the body, and external, meaning the external or outer shell of the body. Internal is likewise thought of, as being soft or gentle in movement while external is only hard or focused. There really is no such thing in the Arts. Rather there is some degree of both in all. One type or style of Art may have become known for being more soft or hard, gentle or focused, but both are still needed, just like the outside of the body has need of the inside and the inside needs the outside. Neither can live without the other.

Shaolin Systems have always been referred to as external, not because they are only hard but because they first came from outside of China, or external from the local people. And Tai Chi Chuan was an internal system because it first came from within China, from the internal or inside of the country or people. At higher skill levels there are more similarities than differences between the two, i.e. we learn complete focus with no extra tension.

What is meditation?

Meditation is simply relaxing the mind. But simple is not always easy. The more relaxed the mind the better it can function, react, be fully aware. Techniques are taught to aid in this process. Tai Chi is sometimes referred to as, "meditation in motion". Good meditation can calm a busy mind or stimulate a dull one. It can bring us back to center.

What is the significance of the bowing?

Bowing in the Arts is like a handshake without the transfer of germs. It is a greeting to the physical training area, and one another. Like a handshake, bows can have different meanings, and can transfer many feelings. Students enjoy learning to express themselves and understanding the body languages bowing can radiate.

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