New Year, 2004. International Village, Vancouver.
Televised Performance of 2 weapons sets and two hand forms.
are many schools of Chinese wushu.
The martial trainings in each school encompass numerous technical
skills, all of which are based on a variety of philosophies.
ancient times, many people have devoted their entire lifetimes
and energies to probing the nature and essence of wushu and
mastering the skills, but few have succeeded.
a learner can improve his skill if he keeps on practising
and, through diligence, someday, he will become an expert.
if they fall constantly,
will bore through a stone.'
Red Mantis: [Manteodea rubidus] An insect (especially of genus mantis) of voracious apetite that clasps its prey with spine-covered fore-legs which are often otherwise held in a position of prayer.
Sifu Josh Schafer: "RedMantis
is a nickname that derives from my red hair and my love of
Praying Mantis kung fu."
The RedMantis Athletic Association
(RMAA): In the fall of 2004, in Winnipeg, I formed the RMAA as a way of expressing my passion for all things praying mantoid.The RMAA has been growing steadily since then, and has evolved into a well balanced, fun, family-like Athletic Organization. It is a venue where people of all ages and diverse backgrounds can come for some exercise, to learn and share self-defense techniques in a practical and safe manner, and to train in traditional Chinese martial arts. What was started as a labour of love continues to develop further into a deeper passion, and has become an integral phase in my own martial arts quest... as well as an important part in many other people's martial arts journeys.
Are there really red praying mantids? Yes, there are some red praying mantids. Praying mantids exist in many different colours and all are naturally camouflaged to blend with their environments. However, most mantids are not red.
Is that a real sword? When one is practicing martial arts in the park, often a crowd of curious observers will be attracted. Typically, this crowd contains at least a few young boys, as they are invariably attracted to weapons. The most common first question, that often breaks the ice is, "Is that a real sword?"
The answer, more often than not, is "Yes."
of the RMAA is to:
teaching and training of traditional 7 Star Praying Mantis Kung Fu, Tang Lang Ch'uan.
the history and deeper philosophy of Traditional Chinese
Martial Arts (TCMA, CMA).
- promote praying mantis fist to the public in a non-profit manner.
a deeper understanding and awareness of the praying mantis
insect everywhere in the world that Ursa Major (the seven-star constellation) may be seen.
Sifu Josh Schafer
Sifu Josh Schafer ,Founder of RMKFAA.
More pictures of Sifu Josh Schafer
did it all begin?
All martial artists' journey must begin somewhere.
The first step on the path can sometimes define the whole direction.
Sifu Josh Schafer has been involved in training of self-defense and in the development
of effective combat strategy ever since he was first bullied
by a gang of kids when he was seven
years old. Returning home on foot after kindergarten was often
an adventure in his neighbourhood in Winnipeg, Canada. Early on he learned several
valuable lessons in life, including: the art of stealth and
deception; camouflage; the value of self-confidence when facing
'bullies' or one's fears; and the merits of outsmarting your opponents.
All of these lessons would later be reinforced by his training of 7 Star Praying Mantis Kung Fu.
up for oneself against bullies at an early stage in life
can lead to the development of personality traits which last throughout a lifetime:
for the underdog;
- a desire
to protect those who cannot protect themselves;
inherent sense of fair play;
incessant desire to perfect one's own defensive skills;
- a desire
to share those same teachings with others of all ages so
that they may be equally empowered.
these characteristics are in alignment with the goals of the peaceful
Monks. It is an irony that Shaolin-derived kung fu is one of the world's most effective and devestating forms of battle art and yet was devised by humble pacifistic monks.
Sifu Schafer found himself drawn to the study of the esoteric art of Ancient Chinese, Shaolin-derived, insect-based Praying Mantis kung fu (Qi Xing Tang Lang Quan).
entered into his 'official' martial arts training at
age fourteen when he enrolled in the Tiger
Claw Gong Fu school in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Claw Gung Fu
Claw Gung Fu (fu jiow pai gong fu) is a special blend of martial
arts which combines aspects of four different traditional
Chinese martial arts systems:
Chun (Eternal Spring),
Gar (To 'Keep Straight With Integrity' Clan),
(Paqua, 8-Trigrams Palm), and
Chi Chuan (Taijiquan, Supreme
within the style of Tiger Claw (Fu Jiow Pai may be translated from Chinese as
'Tiger's Claw') are movements which may be considered
both soft and hard, internal and external, yin and yang. It is
a complete martial arts system and encompasses a spiritual
and philisophical nature as well.
of the Tiger Claw system of martial arts seek, through emulation
of the tiger, to generate great power, ferocious speed, and
beginnings of the way of the warrior.
Sifu Schafer trained
at the Tiger
Claw school in Winnipeg from age 14 to 19, achieving his
brown sash shortly before he moved to the west coast of Canada to pursue his academic studies.
He attributes his martial arts foundation to the Tiger Claw style.
an immense amount of respect and appreciation for my Si Gung,
Pat Gallagher, and all of the incredibly talented martial artists
he has trained in over 4 decades of teaching.
-Sifu Josh Schafer
methods to which Sifu Schafer was exposed in that school were dynamic,
organized,creative, and thorough.
At the Tiger Claw school in Winnipeg, along with training in the physical aspects of martial arts and self-defense (external Kung Fu), came training in the areas of mental discipline, breathwork, focus, respect, and some of the deeper aspects of the philosophy behind the martial arts (internal Kung Fu). A balance between the inner and external martial arts is a key component to traditional Chinese Martial Arts.
Sifu Schafer enjoyed
immensely all of the extra-curricular activities that were
associated with the Tiger Claw school as well. For example:
weekend training seminars,
- week-long martial arts summer camps,
fu 'olympic games',
- special banquets and social
these combined amidst an atmosphere of discipline and respect
and contributed to the strong feeling of family and loyalty within the school.
A testiment to the nature of the Winnipeg Tiger Claw school is its longevity. Si Gung Gallagher's school has now had more
than 40 years of operation. This is a feat which is rarely accomplished by martial arts establishments.
of the "martial arts school" must negotiate the fine balance
between 'school' and 'business', often through challenging
economic times. It is an unfortunate fact that 'fly-by-night'
is a phrase commonly applied to martial arts schools. The Winnipeg Tiger Claw school is the exact opposite of 'fly by night'.
of Tiger Claw style has never ceased, even as I have trained
in other styles and studied new footwork patterns. I continue
to practice the Yang Form of T'ai Chi
daily as well as my Tiger Claw open hand and weapons sets
I have also been back to train at my old school for short
periods over the past decade and remain in touch, although sporadically. -Sifu Josh Schafer
Training In Vancouver
When Sifu Schafer
moved to Vancouver in 1991, he sought out a teacher who could expose him
to new martial arts challenges and who would help him to progress on his 'kung fu journey'.
He expended much effort, looking all around Vancouver, Richmond, and Burnaby for a full year, investigating various
schools, speaking with different Masters, taking introductory lessons at a whole variety of clubs. Sifu Schafer sampled many different styles
before finding the Seven Star Praying Mantis
Kung Fu Academy, and his next instructor Sifu Jon Funk.
Yang T'ai Chi
the rich cultural heritage of China, T'ai Chi Chu'an is an
art in whose gentle movements are embodied an intense vigour
and force. Classified as an internal style, T'ai Chi encorporates
the philosophy of Yin and Yang, Daoism, the "Tao"
into every action and movement.
the cotton is hidden a needle.'
Sifu Schafer was introduced to the art of T'ai Chi Chu'an at the age of 14, and considers it to be one of the greatest gifts he has been given in his entire life.
of the martial styles to which I have been exposed, T'ai Chi
is the one which has settled closest to my foundation. It
forms most of my base or my rooting. The peace and calm that
it brings to my mind has served me innumerably throughout
my life in times of stress or challenge. In addition, application
of the principles of T'ai Chi to every martial arts form I
have learned has helped me to improve my control and my rooting.
-Sifu Josh Schafer