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"I had passed it many times on my way home. “Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Self-Defense Classes,” the sign advertised. I do not know what possessed me that day to stop and inquire within. Maybe it was some nostalgic childhood memories of watching the series, “Kung Fu,” where David Carradine traveled through the Old West dispensing wisdom and correcting injustices. Or maybe it was the early onset of some mid-life crisis. Probably it was a little bit of both. After talking with Sifu Kevin Miller for what seemed like hours, confessing my collective doubts, fear of humiliation, weight, lack of coordination, age, and physical inabilities, I agreed to come for a trial class. So with much fear and trepidation I donned my gym clothes and went to my first trial course. I wish I could say that I took to kung fu like a fish to water. But in reality, I knew I was in trouble when I was huffing, panting, and in pain only half way into the stretches before class. The rest of the class was sheer torture. A few weeks later, when I was at last able to move once more –probably out of sheer stubbornness, pride, and a touch of stupidity, I went back and signed up. And thus began my journey into the martial arts.

The journey has not been easy, but I have discovered much in this journey. For instance, I have discovered where we keep the aspirin and Advil in the medicine cabinet. But I also have discovered new sources of inner strength, greater focus, flexibility, and abilities that I did not know I had. I have also found a much needed source of stress release and physical fitness while learning a new skill. Much to my surprise, here I sit eight months later, having made it to yellow sash and thoroughly enjoying myself in a new found hobby."

Dr. Luis G. Pedrajab

"When I walked into the Bei Shaolin Kung Fu institute, I hadn’t given martial arts a second thought since I was in elementary school. I had spent a short time in a few different schools of various martial arts such as PaSaRyu and Aikido, and I had decided that it was interesting but not terribly effective, but I had long been interested in Buddhism and other eastern philosophy had heard things about the legendary Monks of Shaolin, being that the monastery itself was part of the birthplace of Zen. The first thing I noticed was the odd array of weapons I had never seen before. They were unlike any I had seen of Karate or Ninjutsu, or anything else for that matter. But what stood out the must was Sifu’s logical explanation of the system and what it had to offer, and certainly his modesty.

I decided to come in for an introductory class, just to find out what it was all about. Before I knew it, I was involved in a series of unique, almost Yoga- like Qi Gong stretches. It was quite an experience. Then I found myself hustling at full tilt trying to keep up with the students as they performed a trying series of calisthenics, many of which worked muscles I hadn’t experienced before. The low stances, unique striking methods, and a sound philosophy urged me to start my training. The rest is history, aside from that, most important was my weight loss. The day I walked into the school, I weighed roughly 285 lbs. I was never so concerned with my weight as to genuinely put forth the effort, until I found myself beyond motivated to learn Kung Fu. Approximately a year and a half later, I had shrunk to a feather-like 155 at my height of 5 feet 9 inches. I lost in total, about 130 lbs. I’m up to a little over 160 now, due strictly to lean muscle mass, and my weight is never coming back. If you’re interested in martial arts, weight loss, self-improvement, or just a hobby, I can not recommend Bei Shaolin Kung Fu enough to do it justice. So I’ll keep on recommending it again and again."

Jeffrey Rakestraw

"Kung Fu has given me the strength to be myself, the ability to stand on my own without feeling alone. It has given me the stamina to keep going, not just when I am physically tired, but when I am mentally and emotionally tired, too."

Truth in Our Hearts
Strength in Our Hands
Consistency in Our Tongues
--The Body of the Dragon

"I first called Bei Shaolin Kung Fu Institute and upon getting the answering machine decided that the voice sounded like an old Chinese man, probably the real thing, but probably really expensive. At the time I was looking for a place to enroll my 3-year-old son, not knowing if anyone would take a student so young. I probably was inadvertently looking for a place for myself. The next time I called Bei Shaolin, I had visited the school the night before, and had shaken hands with the first male I had any physical contact with in many months, besides my son and it was the head instructor (Sifu). I said, “Right now I’m staying in an Abused Women’s Shelter with my 4-year old son, and I’ve been looking for someone to study under for a while, and I’m looking for someone who will teach my son.” I kept my promise and enrolled my son first, but by the end of the month I had lost custody of him to my abusive alcoholic ex-husband. My ex-husband gave me specific directions that I was to come to his trailer in the county in Hernando, unaccompanied by anyone, if I wanted to pick up Joshua. Kung Fu gave me the courage, even amidst death threats and stalking, to enter his trailer alone, against all advice from anyone who knew me, including Sifu. Kung Fu has helped me feel safe and confident even though the police and the judicial system have failed. My first class at Bei Shaolin Kung Fu Institute was difficult. I only did 3 push ups. The first time we did partner drills when someone threw a punch at me, I had flashbacks of the past and had to leave the floor to gather myself in another room but have since overcame that fear. At Christmas this year, I did 80 push ups during a 4 hour test for my purple belt. I am a 31 year-old female, 5’1’’ tall."

Jennifer Leigh

"The Northern Shaolin style was different to me. I’d never worked low stances, self defense, or showmanship with my previous instructor. I remember the many stumbles I had as a beginner, as well as achievements I was so proud of. Sifu Kevin was always there to guide me and believe in me. Tournaments were great short-term goals, and though I didn’t make first place in the first few, I enjoyed the companionship and watching myself improve leaps and bounds. Eventually I was consistently winning first place, and it was all because of the encouragement and instruction I received from the instructors at Bei Shaolin. In regular day-to-day experience, when boys don’t take me seriously, some of the things I learned even in beginners classes (whether it’s to escape a “playful” choke-hold or grab), have changed the way people see me; changed the way I see me. I speak clearly in public speaking, I take on new challenges with a head held high, and I hold honesty and peacefulness as the highest of my principles. These are just some of the lessons Bei Shaolin has instilled into me. My involvement in the school has drastically evolved my self-confidence and has given me strong work-ethic. To me, it’s not just a place to learn self-defense, testing your limits, or even making great friends. Above all else, Bei Shaolin and the people in it are family: my home away from home."

Silu Wang

"My daughter, Susannah, and I have been participating in the Kung Fu school for 3 years. We started because of the need for exercise in a family where being a couch potato was becoming a way of life. We have stayed because the classes are fun, the discipline is valuable, the multicultural Kung Fu family is warm, and the feelings of accomplishment are rewarding. The exercise is useful also, but frankly, we enjoy other aspects of Kung Fu more. Susannah is enrolled in the kid’s Shaolin class. She is strong and coordinated. She is patient and encouraging with other children. She has benefited from interest and support offered by her teachers and other adult students, who are just as patient and encouraging with her as she is with her classmates. (Kung Fu masters and students are excellent role models.) In addition, she knows how to protect herself, should the need arise. I have participated in the Self-Defense class and have just started Tai Chi. For a middle-aged woman who has not exercised in years, these classes have been a challenge. I persevere. The benefits are strength, skill, confidence, and accomplishment. Kung Fu has become one of the most valued activities of our lives. We firmly believe that everyone can benefit from the Martial Arts in general, and from Bei Shaolin Kung Fu Institute in particular."

Linda Shissler
Susannah Shissler

Mini Shaolin

"What has the Bei Shaolin Kung Fu Institute done for me? How has it affected my life? Both of these questions can very easily be answered. The martial art Kung Fu by itself has done many things for me. It has taught me how to control my anger, which at sometimes is hard. It also has taught me how to control my breathing so that I can work hard and at the same time keeps oxygen flowing. Controlling your breathing is vital when exercising in any manner. Kung Fu is a great way to stay in shape and build your muscles. I enjoy participating in Kung Fu, and will continue my martial arts. The Bei Shaolin Kung Fu Institute isn’t just a learning facility or a gym. It’s a family. You can ask any member and they’ll tell you that their peers in class are also their brothers and sisters, whether their older or younger. I think it is a privilege to learn here. My teachers, bigger and smaller brothers, bigger and smaller sisters ALL respect each and every one of their brothers and sisters just as I do. Aside from learning here, we have fun, not that Kung Fu isn’t fun. We have swimming parties, one of my favorites. We also celebrate birthdays which is cool. I like to be recognized. We have “get-togethers” like potlucks. It is so fun here. I picked the right school. How can martial arts affect your life? Simple. It helps you to protect yourself on the street, and at school. Wait, now how does the Bei Shaolin Kung Fu Institute help you? Even easier, because here we are a family. Here you learn to take control of your life, and how to kick butt. Here NO ONE is left out. I asked questions and I answered them. I’ve been here for over 7 years and I’m here to stay."

Ronny Roberson