Monthly Newsletter - July 2019

Dear Friends,

School’s out for summer! From lunch out, to competition prep class, competitions, sash tests and performances, we’ve got a lot going on. You won’t want to miss out on the action at CMAA!

School Closings
Kungfu Competition (North East Open Martial Arts Tournament)
Competition Prep Class
Sash Test Recap
CMAA Kungfu Black Belts
CMAA 功夫黑带
CMAA on Instagram
Tai Chi Lunch

School Closings
CMAA will be closed July 4th, 5th, and 6th for the July 4th weekend.  Hope it’s a joyous time for all.  Otherwise, all other classes will be held as regularly scheduled for July.     


Kungfu Competition

13th Annual North East Open Tournament & Showcase in Albany, who's in?! This competition is very well organized and appropriate for ALL ages and skill levels.  CMAA will be organization a team and would be excited to have you join us!

Get all the info and register here:

Still not sure if it’s for you?  Talk to Shifu in class for more info. 


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.

Kungfu Competition Preparation Training

NEO Kungfu Competition Preparation Class:
Who: Open to students competing at the NEO in Albany on August 10th
When: 5 x Thursdays 6-7pm (July 11th , 18th , 25th and August 1st + 8th)
Cost: $49 ( total for all 5 classes). 

This class will be purely focused on helping those who will be competing at the NEO on August 10th.  The class focus on several different elements including competition preparation and mindset, competitions routines and physical development.  No game time, or basics.  We will utilize each class to the fullest extent, allowing each student to perform their routine individually, facing different directions, with the competition floor measurements in mind.  We will practice the individual introduction the students will make to the judges before being allowed to begin their routine.  We will make alterations to individual forms by shortening them to accommodate limited competition floor space, or by adding/removing specific movements to showcase the students particular abilities.  We will discuss the competition rules to better understand specific form requirements.  We will use peer judging, and film performances for review. Additionally we will discuss the organization of the tournament and how to prepare for the day of event (ie, ring organization, staging, what to bring etc.)

This class will be limited to 10 students to ensure the highest quality attention. You can register at the school or email/pm/text/call to reserve your spot!

*Please note there will be a minimum 5 person sign up in order to offer the course.

Sash Test Recap

This team did great!  I can't tell you how awesome the energy was at the sash test event. I have seen great progress from our team on all levels.  It was very inspiring to me to see everyone so focused and really demonstrating all that they've worked so hard on.


CMAA Kungfu Black Belts!

In the past eight years CMAA has awarded black belts to only 10 exceptional students.  This past sash test was particularly meaningful in that we have added four new black belts to the ranks!  Each of our black belts shares several significant qualities, like determination and perseverance.  Simply speaking, earning a black belt in Kungfu takes time, and there will be setbacks over the years. A black belt maintains a long term vision.  This long term vision, combined with dedication is what allows for success.  However, beyond certain shared qualities, our black belts are also all unique.  Their physical skillsets and personalities are all expressed through their Kungfu.  It was a great honor to award these four individuals their black belts from CMAA.  Congratulations Kong, Kailey, Riane, and Sam!   

CMAA Black Belt: Kong Liang

With each black belt I award I am given the opportunity to reflect on what makes this individual unique. Some are prodigies, while others are purely passionate workhorses.  Sometimes the sun and moon align, and the instructor is given a unique opportunity to work with someone who possesses a rare combination of special attributes.  Kong is one of special people.  He’s quick to laugh and make friends. He’s gifted, hard working, and willing and able to train 6-7 days a week, several hours a day.  He’s an instructor’s dream come true. 

It is a teacher’s job to motivate and inspire their students, but Kong has been able to motivate and inspire his teacher.  As gifted as he is and given the amount of time he has been able to dedicate to his training, I am constantly faced with the wonderful dilemma of how can I continue to help him grow? 

Excelling in staff, straight sword, broadsword,  Nanquan Southern Style, Longfist, chain whip, halberd, and Ditang Tumbling Boxing, he soaks up “Taolu” (forms) like a sponge .  Additionally, since we have started the kids kickboxing class I have been able to teach him much of the other half of Kungfu “Sanda” (Freestyle Fighting) the most practical fighting techniques.  It’s a sheer joy to watch him excel in both elements. 

I am grateful to have this young man in my life.  It is my honor to award Kong Liang his black belt in Kungfu.  I am very excited to see where he will take his Kungfu!

The next two who earned their black belts came into my life at the same time.  5 years ago a brother and his sister entered the school.  They were quiet but focused.  Their names were Sam and Kailey.

Sam Chen
Sam isn’t only a big brother to his sister Kailey, but he naturally assumes that role and take care of the younger kids around him.  During a Kungfu movie night he might have one of the younger kids sitting in his lap.  In class it’s not unusual to see him take a knee to help them tie their shoes in class.  With his soft spoken and gentle way, Sam’s good nature and kindness seem to define his character.  Though he grew a head taller than his peers early on, his early physical assets were his flexibility.  It wasn’t until two years ago that I started to see a change.  First his butterfly kick started to get higher and higher, then suddenly all his jump kicks started to defy gravity.  His weapons training began to showcase that explosiveness as well.  His sword became faster and his staffs routinely cracked to pieces mid routine, prompting him to start using the thickest, heaviest ones he could get his hands on.  Then he joined our kickboxing class.  He started to learn various punch combination, leg attack/counter attacking techniques, and wrestling methods.  At 14 he began routinely sparring adults 10-15 years older, who outweighed him by 20-60lbs.  As one of the younger members of the class, with less fighting experience, this is a challenging time.  It takes a lot of courage just to accept that you will spar everyone in class, every class, and keep showing up.  Sam has that courage. 

So, I saw Sam grow physically, develop his explosiveness and strength.  I saw him express his courage by taking on one opponent after another.  All the while, he has stayed true to his nature.  He has maintained his kind and gentle ways with the younger kids.  He’s quick to compliment others and express humility about his own accomplishments.  He’s the definition of someone who ‘speaks softly but carries a big stick’.  That combination is truly powerful.  I can’t wait to see where he takes his Kungfu on the mats and in life!

Kaily Chen

Kailey has several qualities that make her a wonderful student.  First, like her brother she began her training equally quiet and focused.  When I spoke to her or gave her corrections, she seemed to quietly take them to heart.  Physically, she like her brother, seemed to have a natural gift with her flexibility, which in our style of Longfist Kungfu is a huge asset.  Taking pride in that she developed it to a professional level with standing split balances and back bends that would be make a dancer or gymnast jealous.  

In my four years of training with professional martial artists in China I saw a certain characteristic among the high level junior athletes.  I don’t know if its simply a combination of her physical skillsets and personality traits or if there’s something more spiritual to it, but Kailey is one of two students I’ve had in the past 8 years to make me think of it.  Its something in their posture and eyes.  It’s like a coal burning under the surface.  Having earned her blackbelt, she’s proven she has long term commitment and drive.  With these qualities combined I see a unique and unlimited potential in Kailey and can’t wait to see when and how this potential manifests itself!

Riane Richardson

I’m especially proud to award Raine Richardson her black belt.  She is a truly special young woman.  At first she was quiet.  I thought maybe nervous or just shy.  Not particularly flexible or acrobatic, Riane has excelled in other ways.  She is quiet and focused.  Not one to goof off in class, she comes in ready to learn.

However, early on, she would catch me off guard by coming in to class and saying “Hi” and asking how I was doing.  She might ask about my day or how my son Kai is doing.  She might proudly announce to me how she did on an exam, tennis match, or dance performance.  I had a hard time shaking my initial perception of a quiet girl, and accept that Riane was a mature, and thoughtful young person.  In class, she would seek out my assistance, and ask questions about specific parts of her routine.  At the end of class she would challenge me to several rounds of the “push game” (a Tai Chi exercise involving two people attempting to make the other lose their balance).  At the end of class she always says “Thank you” and “good night”. 

It is Riane’s focused and consistent effort that have helped her earn her black belt.  However, while I want to describe her as “quiet” I find that that hasn’t been true for years now.  She’s not quiet.  She poised and engaging.  Combined with her intelligence, and supportive family, Riane has a powerful combination of unique attributes.  I don’t know what she will do or where she will go but I’m sure of two things, it’s going to special and successful!  Congrats Riane!

Video Coming Soon!

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