U.S. Jow Ga History being made right now....

aka Hung Tau Choi Mei

U.S. Jow Ga History being made right now....

Postby dc_jowga » Sun May 13, 2012 1:57 am

I would like to share some information about perhaps my favorite Si Hing, besides Tehran Brighthapt--Master Rahim Muhammad.

Sifu Chin named as his two best fighters Tehran Brighthapt and Rahim Muhammad (some would argue that the best fighter over all would be Paul Adkins, but I think Sifu was referring to these two because they were actively teaching classes at the time). Rahim was known for being a vicious fighter as well as an intellect and a gentleman. Anyone who knows him would have nothing derogatory to say about him. You never heard him brag, he was always humble, always active in the school, and always demanded that the younger men in the school act with respect and diginity. Those who knew me as a teen could say I was a little bratty in those days, but around Rahim I was always on best behavior.

Rahim's school is called the Hung Tao Choy Mei Academy, located in the heart of the U Street Corridor, a historic Black Wall Street. He is keeping a tradition that all kung fu styles and schools have, and I bet you weren't even aware of what I'm about to tell you.

EVERY martial arts community has it's own flavor, depending on local traditions. Kung Fu in Vietnam is not like Kung Fu in Taiwan. Kung Fu in the Philippines is not like Kung Fu in Indonesia. And Kung Fu in Hong Kong is not like Kung Fu in New York City. There is a local tradition that even transcends style--influenced by the culture of those where the kung fu community is sitting in. Filipino Kung Fu schools of Makati, Manila has a unique flavor. I met some Hung Gar Masters there, the Hung Fut Master, and the Ngo Cho Kun Masters there--and their kung fu and schools (some taught out of their homes) are unlike the schools anywhere in the world that I've seen... and are as valid as the Kung Fu of NYC and Washington DC. There is a Fiipino flavor with how they do kung fu (I am influenced by this tradition as well) and it is very distinct. In Washington DC, the Kung fu communities of the schools is very different from the kung fu that was taught in parks and backyards. In the schools, the students were mostly African American, and they came after learning in Karate and Tae Kwon Do schools, and because of the strong Chinese presence (the Sifu) they judged skill by how well you did a form. In the parks, the Kung Fu people often didn't have the money to join a school, learned what they could and judged skill by how well you could fight. Even within a kung fu school--like Jow Ga--you would have the tradition of the inner city guys which is different from the tradition of the suburban guys. Sometimes, one group looked down on the other. But years later, you realize that what we were looking at was various traditions of the same martial arts.

In DC we had the Simba Dojang, DC Dragons and a few other spin off groups that were born out of the 60s, when Black students were dissatisfied after being discriminated by their own Sifus and Senseis. This is parallel to the Black Karate Federation on the west coast. Those schools were very strong and they had some fierce fighters. Decades later you have a unique culture: an African American martial arts community. Not everyone saw/sees it as valid. But it is no different from Vietnamese Wing Chun, which has a fingerprint that you can't deny.

Rahim feels that in his school, he has a tradition he wants to impart on his students, that while you are studying a chinese art, your own culture is not secondary to Chinese culture. In his school, he teaches Kung Fu, Chinese Culture, African Culture, and African American culture. By contrast, in some kung fu schools, anything non-Chinese is excluded--even when the Sifu of that school is neither Chinese nor raised in Chinese culture. HTCM is a socially conscious school; as a Sifu, he is a leader of not just his students but in the community he lives in and does business in. What good is a kung fu school if no one in that community benefits but the people who pay you tuition? I love this philosophy. the Kung Fu school traditionally has always been more than just a place to learn to fight. Jing Wu, for example, had academic classes and taught the arts: music, painting, calligraphy. Raymond Wong's WCBA used to house the homeless. I remember a set of siblings (won't name them but there were three or four) whose father was in prison and mother on drugs, and Raymond took those kids in, educated, clothed, fed them and taught them kung fu. If the value of a kung fu school was only judged by how well their students did forms, then I would say that the school has very little to offer.

A few years ago, HTCM took a group of students--all colors of the rainbow--to Singapore. some of these kids were from low income families who would have NEVER had the chance to see another country. And if they were fortunate enough to study an art--would never have had the chance to meet that branch's grandmasters. I guarantee you that those kids' lives, regardless of how long they studied Jow Ga, would never be the same. Jow Ga totally enhance their lives in ways the millionaire McSifus could never dream of.

He holds an awards banquet, gives scholarship money, mentors (really mentors) kids and young adults, and is a true leader in the community, showing low income kids that the world is theirs if they want to take it--and he'll show them how to grab it by the horns and steer. and by the way, he'll also teach you kung fu and lion dance....

If anyone would like to get some ideas on how to make a REAL difference with your kung fu, celebrate your culture, the culture of your students, and change lives, I'm sure Sifu Muhammad would be willing to bend your ear a little.

Here's a video: http://youtu.be/ws7K8LloGVs
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Re: U.S. Jow Ga History being made right now....

Postby Tailik » Tue May 15, 2012 3:32 pm

Hey Mo thank you for this thread. keep sharing, good stuff!
Wuih Jeuih Tunhg Muhn Tuei Dunhg Chyun Tung Jau Ga Gung Fu!
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Re: U.S. Jow Ga History being made right now....

Postby dc_jowga » Tue May 15, 2012 9:01 pm

thanks bro. yes, rahim has taught me a lot about being a teacher, not just a guy teaching martial arts, but the social responsibility of being a martial arts teacher. in history, many of the old masters were more than just teachers of fighting arts. they embraced socio-political ideologies, sometimes risking their lives to do it. a lot like the church preachers of some communities. but as martial arts teachers we also teach others to live healthier lives, we help rid some people of health problems due to being inactive or underweight, we help people feel safer by teaching them to defend themselves. We are sometimes family counselor, academic guidance counselor, even some are spiritual guides....
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