Monthly Newsletter - June 2019

Dear Friends,

Summer and sunshine is finally upon us. Coming up we have sash tests, competitions and get-togethers that you don’t want to miss. Also be sure to check out the articles and documentaries. You won’t want to miss out on the action at CMAA!

School Closings
Kungfu and Tai Chi Competition Recap
Beginner’s Tai Chi Class
Sash Test 
CMAA on Instagram
Tai Chi and the Brain
Tai Chi Lunch
Chinese Culture Camp
Black Belt Kungfu Forms Choreography

School Closings
All classes will be held as regularly scheduled.     

Kungfu Competition Recap
We didn't all win. Sometimes we were outclassed, sometimes we were robbed. We didn't all feel like the scoring was fair. Athletes were called to compete in one division over the PA while on the floor competing in another. The award ceremony was a mess and all that's OK.

The value of competition is multifaceted. For the majority of our students it was their first time competing. Just putting yourself out there can be extremely nerve racking. I see the kids getting anxious. This is part of the experience. You learn that when you fully prepare you have no regrets. You set your goals and simply go out there and do your best.

I know for a fact that in preparation for this tournament every single one of our competitors improved greatly. Even if you placed last, but you are better at Kungfu then you were before the competition then we are are the right path. As long as our skill sets are on a positive trajectory it's a win in my book.

Of course I love the 'team building' I see between athletes as they good off on the sidelines, and cheer for each other when competing. I hope they see how much they've accomplished through their hard work and dedication.

I hope they see how deep the waters are and are inspired by the sharks they see in the advanced divisions.

Forgetting equipment, breaking weapons, sashes coming off, forgetting our forms and stumbling on a movement. Some things we can prepare for, and others we cant. We learn lessons with every competitions, and that experience only helps to better prepare us for the future.

Honestly, as an athlete I never loved competition but saw it as a necessary evil. The testing ground to hold myself accountable. As a coach I can be lazy and blame our full class schedule, and lack of competitions in state as a reason to not go. However, I know too that competitions help me just as much as a coach as they did as an athlete. I'm always reminded of just how good our kids are, but also just how high the level out there really is.

In the hot bed areas where you'll find a dozen Wushu schools with a strong competition culture and no shortage of locally convenient competitions, the athletes are nothing short of spectacular. However, it's the coaches who know their athletes will be held to a standard who hold themselves accountable. I know for a fact that going into this competition, I felt the need to coach better for the sake of our athletes and school reputation. I think it also gave me more ground to stand on when giving corrections, knowing I could tell the athletes that things that have needed correcting for a long time, were going to finally be judged by someone other than myself.

Last, but but not least, I want to thank the parents for their support. They dedicated energy, money and time to help their children grow from this experience. Your children will one day realize just how much you do for them, appreciate it and do the same for theirs in the future. Thank you.

All in all, I couldn't be more proud of our team and I am excited for the next competition coming up soon! 13th Annual North East Open Tournament & Showcase in Albany, who's in?! (This one is very well organized and appropriate for all levels).


Why compete?

We learn important lessons when we compete and martial arts offer all types of competitions for those who seek to benefit from competition experience. From small tournaments to national and international tournaments, individuals can choose to compete in either individual forms or various types of sparring. From goal setting to developing the confidence to perform in front of a large group, it doesn’t matter which events they choose, the benefits remain numerous. From learning to deal with loss and disappointment, to winning gold, qualifying for a national team spot or competing internationally, important life lessons will be learned. Additionally, achievements can also be listed on student’s CV’s.


Sash Test
Students must arrive on time and be in full uniform to participate.  Students who arrive late or out of uniform will be required to complete a makeup test.

We will be holding our quarterly Sash Test on Sunday, June 23rd at 10:30am. If you are not sash testing you are still encouraged to come participate and support your teammates (no charge of course).

You know exactly what we will be testing but if you have any questions, check the Sash Requirements page on the website and feel free to clarify things with me during class. 

If you are unsure whether or not you (or your child) are ready to test, please speak with me before or during class, via email at or by phone (518) 755-7512.

Remember, you will not “get” your sash at CMAA – you will EARN it! There is a big difference. It’s important you (your child) learns the value of their sash- the value of hard work! Let’s stay focused and step up our training so we’re fully prepared for the test!

White/Yellow/Green/Blue: $35
Red/Purple/Orange: $55
Light Brown/Dark Brown/Gold: $75
Black: $100

Tai Chi Lunch

What fun!  A good time was had by all.  Ordering noodles, eggplant and a huge variety of Chinese Dim Sum (including shrimp and pork dumplings, lotus leaf wrapped rice, black bean ribs, rice noodle wrapped delights) students from various days of Tai Chi enjoyed time together outside of class eating great food, drinking tea and conversing.

Please join us for another get together. All CMAA Tai Chi students are welcome to get together at 12pm on Thursday, July 18th at Ala Shanghai, 468 Troy Schenectady Rd, Latham, NY 12110.  Our Tai Chi students are such a wonderful bunch of good people and we just never seem to have enough time to catch up. If you can confirm in advance please let us know so we can have a general idea of our group’s size.   


CMAA on Instagram

Beginner Tai Chi Class
CMAA is happy to announce we will be continuing our beginner Tai Chi class on Wednesday morning from 9-9:45am. This class will focus on gentle movements that introduce new practitioners to fundamental Tai Chi movements and concepts.

Students may choose to either transition to our regular Tai Chi classes offered at various times throughout the week (Tues/Thurs/Sat 9am or Wednesday evening), or continue to focus on just the essentials if they feel Wed’s remains the best fit. Please call/text (518-755-7512) to register if you are interested. The cost is $64.99/month.

"Secrets of the Warriors Power" (Chi, Mind, Iron Body, the Force)
Another great documentary on Chinese Martial Arts. Enjoy!

Chinese Culture Camp
Interested in a Chinese immersion summer camp filled with Chinese language, culture, martial arts,  music, singing and dancing?  For Children ages 6-12 the SUNY Albany’s Confucius Institute will be running a full day week long summer camp from July 8th-July 12.  For information please visit:

Black Belt Kungfu (Wushu) Forms Choreography
After 2003 the sport Kungfu (Wushu) moved away from compulsory (standardized routines) to individual routines. In these routines athletes create their own forms (empty hand and weapons) to showcase their unique skillsets while performing a number of required movements and scoring points with “difficulties” (jump kicks, scales/balances, etc.).  Our curriculum requires students to complete 3 individual routines for (empty hand, short weapon, long weapon) to earn their black belt. This essentially gives them the pre-requisite qualifications to compete in the USA National Wushu Team Trials for a spot on our national team.  What I’ve noticed is that students have a very difficult time understanding how to choreography their own routines.  They typically take the advanced forms they currently learned to earn their gold belts and rehash those routines.  It would be the equivalent to learning a classical piano piece and then trying to write your own score.  In reality to do that you should have listened to hundreds of classical pieces, studied all the greats and understood what made them so special.  Combined with an understanding of what your own special talents are you can truly design something unique.  I have taken to simply teaching students my own individual routines but this isn’t the true nature of individual forms choreography. Check out this video to better understand the process:

Tai Chi and the Brian