Interview with Ralph Lloyd-Davis

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1. As a quick intro, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your school? When, where, how and why did you start practicing?

The Gao Can Mun Nam Pai Chuan (NPC) tradition or style can trace its lineage far back to Great Grandmaster Hui Cheng of the Chek Chian Nan Hai Pooi Chee Temple in China.

Master Hui was a direct descendant of the Southern Shaolin tradition taught by Buddhist monks in the tradition of Da-Mo.

One of Master Hui Cheng’s students was Grand Master Seh Koh San, A famous Shaolin Monk attributed to be the father of traditional Shaolin Arts in South East Asia. Shi Gao Can (1886 – 1960) or widely known as Sek Koh Sam, was a Chinese monk who brought traditional Shaolin teachings from Mainland China to South East Asia.

Master Quek Heng Choon is considered to be Shi Gao Can’s most important and influential student from the Singapore/Malaysia era. Born in 1926 in Huian county, Fujian province, China, Master Quek represents the original 50th generation of Shaolin and taught students from Malaysia, Singapore, and China between 1956 and 2010.

During a training visit to London in 2009 Master Quek named Christopher Lai Khee Choong who is head of Nam Pai Chuan worldwide as his successor and asked that the school be renamed as “Shaolin Gao Can Mun Nam Pai Chuan”.

Master Lai lives in London and continues to teach the Shaolin System to this day.

I began studying the art of NPC in September 2008 under Sifu Sandra Nebe at the Brussels center. I had over 20 years experience skateboarding and after numerous injuries I needed to find an activity that would help heal and strengthen my body equally whilst also allowing me to progress and express myself individually.

I had studied Kung Fu as a child for a year or so under Master Tony Lloyd of Seal Lung Kung Fu in London and enjoyed it so I figured martial arts was the way forward. I achieved my 1st Degree Black Belt in March 2013 and opened my own center in St. Gilles (Brussels) in January 2017.

2. What are the most common mistakes, or assumptions, you’ve encountered during your years of teaching?

A common mistake non-practitioners have of martial arts is that they are all the same or that they are like in the films, in other words highly acrobatic or unrealistic.

Non-practitioners or beginners have no distinction or regard for the various levels needed to achieve a black belt and the actual value of a black belt.

3. Movies such as “Yip Man”, “The Grandmaster” and such are probably one of the reasons many people start to practice at some point. Since reality is mostly not matching most of these movie scenes, what are some key aspects a beginning martial artist should focus on?

A new student must check their ego at the door. It is very important to understand yourself and your limits before you start training, that way you can perceive your progression properly.

A new student should also be humble and understand that the  teacher will not share all of their knowledge in one go. A person’s knowledge also depends on their own eagerness to understand, experience and discover.

4. How can Kung Fu be used in an educational, non martial arts setting?

Kung Fu a good way to channel emotion, sharpen focus and concentration. Kung Fu also teach core values of respect and determination. 

5. The internet has completely changed our lives over the past 10-15 years. We now have access to lots of information (both good & bad) and connections like never before. How do you feel about this evolution and it’s impact on Kung Fu?

Even though their are very good sources of information on the internet, there is even more mediocre or even worse false information.

Watching youtube video will not teach you the reality of escaping a choke until someone physically applies pressure to your neck.

The mass of information also blurs traditions and dilutes styles that are strict in their technique or methods. I believe a martial artists should be inquisitive and eager to try new things and learn from anyone and anywhere but their foundations should remain solid and true.

In our system social media is used as a promotional tool but knowledge is passed on through physical action, spoken word and written text.

Without these, a student has no foundation and cannot build a strong technique.

6. What direction do you see Kung Fu or martial arts, as a whole, heading in?

Today there is a strong interest in mixed martial arts so people will always look towards traditional martial arts as a source for inspiration and method for keeping fit and more confident.

Kung Fu has been practiced for over a thousand years so there is no reason for it to disappear. True martial artists will still train come rain or shine and for every ten students one will prevail to carry on tradition.

7. To end this interview in style, what is the best Kung Fu or martial arts advice you have personally ever received and what is the best advice you would give to our readers?

The best advice I have been given over my years training in martial arts is to be true to yourself, everything should have purpose and respect the other man. As best advice I would share the same to your readers.

   

Contact:

Kung Fu Brussels

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