Ling Nam Siu Lum Kung Fu Academy was established in 1984 by Sifu Michael Manganiello. It was the first kung fu school on Long Island that was to open to the public. Prior to that, only private instruction was available.
At Ling Nam Siu Lum, the children’s curriculum is identical to that of the adults, insofar as it follows the six-week cycle of training (Forms, Punching, Technique Application, Kicking, Grappling, etc.). In teaching martial arts to beginners, there are six areas of development that we concern ourselves with:
The development and enhancement of these aforementioned attributes is essential to what will hopefully be a long-standing study of our vast art.
As the student progresses, the level of difficulty of the forms and their attendant drills increases. Each student learns at their own pace.
There is no limit to the value of confidence building and degree of character development that a martial arts education can produce.
Attentiveness, correct posture, determination, positive mental attitude, self-analysis of movements, actions and intent, organization of time allotted to practice at home, self esteem and acceptance of critique. The development and enhancement of these aforementioned attributes is essential to what will hopefully be a long-standing study of our vast art. It begins with the study of the Chut Ma (Seven Steps) or Ma Bu (Horse Stance) training, which is the bedrock foundation of our martial arts system. The power derived from the “rootedness” of the low, wide stance training of Hung Kuen is legendary in martial arts circles. Needless to say, the discipline that is instilled by standing silent and motionless in these uncomfortable postures for several minutes at a time is priceless. As students progress, they will learn various isometric and dynamic tension exercises to help develop the upper body (especially the forearms) while standing in the horse postures. Note: when I was younger and first starting out, horse stance training used to last for hours! This was the primary method used to weed out students, as class space was very small, and most Sifu could only afford to keep the hardiest students. Since coming to Long Island, we have had to relax our standards somewhat, in order to survive in the commercial western world. From time to time, though, we like to test their level of endurance, just to see how far they’ve come along. Stance training, along with learning the basic punches and kicks will help to set the stage for the more arduous training in forms and their applications.
The First form taught to a beginner is the Sil Lim Tao (literal translation: “A Little Idea” or “A Small Thought). As its name implies, it is a meditative form that is stationary (no footwork) and ambidextrous in nature. It concentrates on hand placement and elbow positioning, or what we refer to as the Kiu Sao or bridge hand. It also helps to develop correct posture and regulate the breathing. It is comprised of 108 movements and will take the average student 2-3 months to learn. Sil Lim Tao is the cornerstone of the Wing Chun system, but its concepts are applicable to all southern styles of Kung Fu. The principles learned in Sil Lim Tao will help the student to understand the “Language” of more complex forms to be learned later on.
As the student progresses, the level of difficulty of the forms and their attendant drills increases. Each student learns at their own pace. The essential ingredient is perseverance. Encouraging students to develop good study/practice habits will enhance not only their martial arts training, but their schoolwork and other outside endeavors, (music, sports, etc.) as well. The key here is desire for advancement, the carrot on the end of the stick, if you will. A student may advance to the next set of moves only when the previous ones have been performed satisfactorily. The completion of each succeeding level of movements and drills will naturally increase the student’s degree of balance and coordination, subsequently increasing the desire to learn more complex moves. A self-feeding cycle, if you will. At Ling Nam Siu Lum, we will coach them through, move by move. Like all good houses, they are built one brick at a time.
Of all the areas we’ve discussed so far, this, I feel, is the most important. THE PRELUDE TO AVOIDING AND/OR DEFENDING ONESELF IN DANGEROUS SITUATIONS IS TO RECOGNIZE THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE. Pedophile and gang activity are no longer “inner city” problems. Drug abuse and peer group pressure have never belonged to any one particular demographic. Simply being aware of certain scenarios, their ramifications and possible solutions can make all the difference in the world.
There is no limit to the value of confidence building and degree of character development that a martial arts education can produce. Just the scope and breadth of the Chinese Martial Arts is staggering. Kung Fu can be likened to a huge tree, from which all the other arts are merely twigs and branches. We encompass all aspects of martial training. Consider this: an advanced form (Kata) in Karate may consist of 70-80 moves; a beginner form in Hung Ga contains 350-400 moves! This would be the musical equivalent of performing the entire movement of a concerto as opposed to say “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the piano. The sense of accomplish and the degree of confidence that this carries with it is tremendous. Many of life’s greatest decisions will be made within the confines of the schoolyard amidst peer group pressure. Having the strength of character to stand apart from the crowd and/or popular culture and make choices that can have life-altering consequences is often an essential first step towards success later in life. Sound marital arts training can provide the necessary tools and guidance to make the right choices.
It is with regard to the emphasis placed on martial application that adult and children’s classes differ. Quite frankly certain of the more serious aspects, (crippling, maiming, lethal) of our martial art must be held back until a child comes of age. Only after a lengthy period of study and the student demonstrates the proper temperament and level of maturity will they be entrusted with such techniques. Even with the adult students, I have been known to hold back certain types of technique until I am assured of that person’s intent and depth of character. *An exception to this rule are certain “emergency” techniques that are eventually shown to the children to be used ONLY in the event of someone trying to abduct or molest them.
On a few occasions, I have accepted six-year olds, but in all cases, they were extremely stellar students. Case in point: Click on Styles/Hung Gar. (Brandon was six years old when I took him as a student 16 years ago. To say that he was an exceptional talent was an understatement). Generally speaking, children ages 7-12 may take a free trial class. Teenagers and adults 13 and up must pass an interview with the Sifu.
Upon observation, if we feel that a prospective student is lacking in certain motor skills and/or desire, we may recommend that the student wait six months to a year before beginning a course of study. For my part, my own son (now 12) did not begin studying until 8 years of age. We would rather see a student have a fair chance at a long course of study than to “burn out” after a few short months.
Children represent the future survival of our art to succeeding generations and here at Ling Nam Siu Lum, we pride ourselves on the number of students who have gone well beyond 10 years or more of study. We thank you for taking the time to read this section, and hope you will consider us in choosing instruction for your child.
Ling Nam Siu Lum has changed my perspective on life from my ability to focus to the method I breathe all day to conserve energy. The practices taught here are like everything else in life meaning simply it will work if you work it. I am honored to be a part of this amazing family, and this unique group of people bring out the best in each other.
Dino Riese - NYC Teacher
Without this place, I would not be able to defend my family, the people I love, but mainly myself. Ling Nam Siu Lum has trained me mentally, and physically for lifes unexpected attacks.
Thomas Spinna – Professional Contractor
My child has gained self confidence, and focus. Ling Nam Siu Lum Kung Fu Academy is a wonderful place to help a child learn to defend themselves, and understand respect.
Debra Da Rigo – Mother of Ling Nam Siu Lum Student
When arriving to the assigned classes please be in uniform ALWAYS.