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Newsletter - 6th January 2008

News From Fire Dragon Australia

NEWS FROM FIRE DRAGON FOR 2007

2007 started with several demonstrations and continued with more, and with several opportunities for students to learn a geat deal about the way of the White Dragon, and also some White Crane.

Master Hardy travelled himself to Townsville to study White Crane with Sifu Jamie Scuffell, of the Shen Zhao Pai Athletic Association, and to the United States, to see his teacher, Pai, Shinzan, who in turn introduced him to Florida White Dragon Family members.

National Multicultural Festival

Our first appearance was at the National Multicultural Festival on 10 February. The bulk of the event was performed on stage as part of the Fringe Festival, while the breaking was done on the concrete in front. It was a good performance on everyone’s part, as we showed what we can do – from beginners to White Sash students, to Instructors. Lots of well deserved applause from the audience!

Master Hardy smashes 16 concrete slabs
Master Hardy smashes 16 concrete slabs
Sifu Bellchambers starts to smash his way with a sledgehammer through about 180kg of concrete on Master Hardy's Chest, while he lies on a bed of nails
Sifu Bellchambers starts to smash his way with a sledgehammer through about 180kg of concrete on Master Hardy's Chest, while he lies on a bed of nails

Chinese New Year

The work continued at the Chinese New Year festivities on the following weekend: On Wednesday February 14 at the National Multicultural Festival Dinner, Fire Dragon had 5 minutes to show our mettle, with sword work, self defences, and breaking. We again finished with concrete broken on Master Hardy’s chest while he lay on a bed of nails, to the amazement of the audience, some of whom could not bear to watch!

Also as apart of the Chinese New Year Festivities, Fire Dragon, with other organisations from the Australian Kung Fu (Wu Shu) Federation, were invited to perform at the Chinese Embassy on the following Friday – this was of course a great priviledge, and our performance delighted the largely Chinese expatriate audience.

Master Hardy and many Fire Dragon students assisted with the organisation of the 2007 AKWF National Championships in Canberra on the weekend of 17th and 18th. Two full days of work, with the exceptional organisational skills of Wasu Jayne Hardy and Sifu Patrick Bellchambers in particular, crucial to the running of the event.

Wasu Hardy, with Wasu Ingrid Bean and Deborah Patrick also competed on the day, and while the only female competitors in the Kung Fu events, acquitted themselves very well, particularly as they were all engaged in helping with the weekend’s running. – Congratulations!

Wasu Bean, Wasu Hardy and Deborah Patrick with their medals from the AKWF National Championships
Wasu Bean, Wasu Hardy and Deborah Patrick with their medals from the AKWF National Championships

North Ainslie Primary School

On Friday 9th March, Fire Dragon assisted with the North Ainslie Primary School Multicultural Festival, as we have before, and again delighted students and parents with a short but spectacular demonstration. It is important to Fire Dragon to work with and assist the local community of Canberra’s Inner North.

2007 Day Course

Master Hardy taught a Day Course for Fire Dragon students on 17 June. He took the opportunity to talk about the origins of Pai Lum, the way our techniques relate to Kung Fu animals, and more comprehensive approaches to defending against common grabs. He taught Hung 1 and Hung 2, with applications of Flowing Water for more experiences seniors, as well as a variety of Pai Lum and Shen Zhao Pai fighting techniques, and the Chi Gung exercise taught him by one of Sifu Scuffell’s students. Students also did some conditioning work – it is important that Pai Lum people know how to toughen their bodies for combat.

Students at 2007's Day Course
Students at 2007's Day Course

Visit to White Crane

Sifu Scuffell, the Inheritor of Liu Hong-Shen Sifu’s White Crane Family system, and Head of the Shen Zhao Pai Athletic Association, invited Master Hardy to Townsville for his majority birthday celebrations on 14 July – and the invitation was gratefully accepted – it was an honour!

Sifus Scuffell and Hardy at Sifu Scuffell's majority birthday celebrations
Sifus Scuffell and Hardy at Sifu Scuffell's majority birthday celebrations

Pai Lum US Camp with Grandmaster St Charles

On 23rd July, Master Hardy travelled to the USA to again see his teacher, Grandmaster Thomas St Charles, Pai Shinzan. He had planned to travel with Wasu Jayne Hardy, his sister, who was due to grade for Black Belt. Unfortunately, Wasu Hardy, while preparing for her grading on the Saturday before departure, broke her arm on Sifu Patrick Bellchambers’ elbow, and could not travel. However, her ability and courage resulted in her being given the rank of Probationary Black Belt – she has until February 2008 to prepare herself. Grandmaster St Charles ensured that all came away from his Camp with good knowledge, and Master Hardy learned about katana, knife defences, and of course, more depth in forms.

While in the States, Master Hardy was taken by Grandmaster St Charles to Florida, and introduced to Grandmaster Steve Matthews (Pai, Shao-Li) and Grandmaster Shawn Dick (Bai, Xue Long). Grandmasters Matthews and Dick took the time to teach Master Hardy personally, not just techniques, approaches and forms – but also about the Family. While there, Master Hardy also caught up again with Grandmaster Schmitz, Sen Chuan – it was very good to see him again.

Granmaster Matthews, Master Hudson, Grandmaster St Charles, Grandmaster Dick, Grandmaster Schmitz - Unity in Pai Lum
Granmaster Matthews, Master Hudson, Grandmaster St Charles, Grandmaster Dick, Grandmaster Schmitz - Unity in Pai Lum
Pai Shao-Li, Bai Xue Long, Sen Chuan, and Pai Lung Tsai Hsia
Pai Shao-Li, Bai Xue Long, Sen Chuan, and Pai Lung Tsai Hsia
Master Hardy, Grandmaster St Chales and Master Sanders
Master Hardy, Grandmaster St Chales and Master Sanders
Master Rusch and Master Hardy
Master Rusch and Master Hardy

August Club Dinner

To celebrate his return and to thank those who had helped teach in his absence – Sifu Bellchambers, Wasu Ingrid Bean, and Stephen Wells, Master Hardy organised a Club Dinner, at which he presented Wasu Hardy with her Provisional Black Belt certificate.

Jayne Hardy with her Provisional Black Belt certificate
Jayne Hardy with her Provisional Black Belt certificate
Some of those who dug into the food
Some of those who dug into the food

2007 Multistyle Camp

The 2007 Multistyle Camp, directed by Master Hardy and Sifu David Crook of Bac Fu Do, took place on 8th and 9th September. Sensei Ryan van Leent of Shotokan Karate, and Sifu Peter Watson of Combat Systems International worked with Sifu Crook and Master Hardy to teach some twenty students techniques and concepts from their various styles. Master Hardy also included some White Crane ad Monkey techniques he had been taught by Sifu Scuffell.

Teachers and students at teh 2007 Multistyle Camp - Day one
Teachers and students at teh 2007 Multistyle Camp - Day one
Day 2 saw some sessions conducted outside
Day 2 saw some sessions conducted outside
Quenabeyan students with their Instructor, Sifu Bellchambers
Quenabeyan students with their Instructor, Sifu Bellchambers

Majura Festival

Later in September – the 22nd, Fire Dragon performed at the Majura Festival – twice. Students and Instructors alike put in a hard day’s work, which was as always well received. The programmes included basics, Forms, Animal Self Defences, Weapons, and of course breaking. Master Hardy broke a 12’ x 12’ pine board thrown into the air (he was shown how by Master Sanders in the States), while Sifu Bellchambers took the bottoms out of two wine bottles in quick succession. A modest break on fire and having about 250kg of concrete broken on his chest by Sifu Bellchambers (while lying on nails) also featured, to the delight of the audience.

The Fire Dragon team
The Fire Dragon team

White Crane comes to Canberra

Sifu Scuffell and four of his senior family Members – students – honoured Fire Dragon by travelling to Canberra to teach for the weekend of 17 and 18 November. It was an exceptional weekend, enjoyed by all who were able to participate, with Sifu Scuffell sharing his extensive knowledge of Kung Fu, including both Shaking Crane, and Tai Tzu Hou Chuan (Monkey).

Participants in Sifu Scuffell's Seminar on White Crane - Day One
Participants in Sifu Scuffell's Seminar on White Crane - Day One
The second day participants - Fire Dragon Senior students did some hard work!
The second day participants - Fire Dragon Senior students did some hard work!

Ending the Training Year

The last class of the year was Thursday 20th December – class was full, with the added bonus of two successful gradings: David Tulloh made White Sash, and Lucy Patrick succeeded in grading to Blue Sash.

And to celebrate the end of the year, and the great efforts made by students, the annual Christmas Dinner was the following evening, Friday 21st. Some 25 students and friends attended. Master Hardy made particular mention of some of his female students – Deborah Patrick, Tara James and Wasu Ingrid Bean in particular, for their courage, and determination to follow the Way of the White Dragon. Two students in particular showed vast improvements in their efforts to follow the Way, and Master Hardy was unable to distinguish between them, and took the unprecedented step of awarding the Niket Rewal award for 2007 to two students – to Adam Bermanseder of the Queanbeyan Club, and to Bernard Kilimnik of the Ainslie Club – congratulations to both Adam and Bernard!

Christmas Dinner
Christmas Dinner
And more eating and talking!
And more eating and talking!
More Diners
More Diners
And a pause for conversation
And a pause for conversation
And a clear shot of Deborah and Lucy
And a clear shot of Deborah and Lucy

And to celebrate the end of the year, and the great efforts made by students, the annual Christmas Dinner was the following evening, Friday 21st. Some 25 students and friends attended. Master Hardy made particular mention of some of his female students – Deborah Patrick, Tara James and Wasu Ingrid Bean in particular, for their courage, and determination to follow the Way of the White Dragon. Two students in particular showed vast improvements in their efforts to follow the Way, and Master Hardy was unable to distinguish between them, and took the unprecedented step of awarding the Niket Rewal award for 2007 to two students – to Adam Bermanseder of the Queanbeyan Club, and to Bernard Kilimnik of the Ainslie Club – congratulations to both Adam and Bernard!

At Master Hardy’s invitation, several students availed themselves of the opportunity to train over the Christmas break – and seven even came by on New Year’s Eve – Master Hardy was impressed at their enthusiasm! It was a good way to end 2007, in preparation for a new year – Welcome 2008!

New Year's Eve - nothing stops serious students!
New Year's Eve - nothing stops serious students!

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