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Newsletter - 31st December 2011

News From Fire Dragon Australia

2011 started with Fire Dragon students and Instructors putting on several public demonstrations. On the morning of Saturday February 12th, the first demonstration of the year was at the Dragon Boat racing which started the National Multicultural Festival. Despite some rain, which made caution necessary, fire Dragon performed strongly, and used the new Chinese drum to good effect.

The Fire Dragon team after their demonstration
The Fire Dragon team after their demonstration

That afternoon, Fire Dragon was on again, this time as part of the main Multicultural Festival. The venue was a little awkward, but the skill and experience of Fire Dragon meant the audience enjoyed a good performance.

Fire Dragon’s next demonstration was on the following day, when they took part in the Chinese community’s New Year celebrations. This time on a full sized stage, everyone was able to perform to their real abilities. Master Hardy finished the demonstration with a large break of 5 concrete sleepers on fire, and then lay on a bed of nails to have some of the broken pieces broken even further.

Master Hardy with the Fire Dragon demonstration team after their Chinese New Year performance
Master Hardy with the Fire Dragon demonstration team after their Chinese New Year performance

In March, Master Hardy and some of his seniors accepted an invitation to try out for Australia’s Got Talent. They made it to the third round, and did gain from the experience.

Fire Dragon put on a show for Australia's Got Talent - and progressed to the third round, learning in the process.
Fire Dragon put on a show for Australia's Got Talent - and progressed to the third round, learning in the process.

And on 2nd April, the Fire Dragon Demonstration team was once more in action at the National Dragon Boat championships, with a slightly compressed but still entertaining display of the Way of the White Dragon.

Master Hardy breaking 5 concrete sleepers at the National Dragon Boat Championships
Master Hardy breaking 5 concrete sleepers at the National Dragon Boat Championships
And now all the way through!
And now all the way through!
And putting that concrete to further use.
And putting that concrete to further use.

The demonstration season continued with a more intimate display for Downer Pre-School – the team becoming very well practised, and members gaining sharpness with their techniques.

Master Hardy travelled to Townsville to visit Sifu Jamie Scuffell of the Shen Zhou Pai Athletic Association, and learn more of his White Crane. He was very well hosted, and learned much to pass on the Fire Dragon students.

On 17 July, Wasu Ingrid Bean undertook her grading for Black Belt. Master Hardy believed her ready, and she trained very hard for many months. On the day of her grading, she showed what a Pai Lum Black Belt can do. She spent some time on the mat, but stood up again every time, and gave her opponents grief. Not many people who start the Journey make it to this stage, and it is very special when they do! Congratulations to Sifu Lie Bao – Ingrid Bean.

Sifu Lie Bao - Ingrid Bean - with her well earned Black Belt certificate. Very well done!
Sifu Lie Bao - Ingrid Bean - with her well earned Black Belt certificate. Very well done!
All those who helped Sifu Lie Bao achive her rank
All those who helped Sifu Lie Bao achive her rank

Master Hardy ran his annual day Course in Pai Lum on Saturday 23rd July, with an emphasis on the various approaches to Pai Lum basics, and then work on Chin Na, and leg techniques. And, every student learned a new form.

On 23rd September, Fire Dragon was honoured to again host Sifu Scuffell and some of his senior Family members, who taught their White Crane to Fire Dragon students. As Fire Dragon skill levels improve, students and Instructors can understand more of the White Crane side of Pai Lum, and the energy of the White Crane.

The Fire Dragon demonstration team was in action once more on 6th November, when they appeared at the Chinese Cultural Day of the Australian School of Contemporary Chinese. Dr Li Fuxin, Principle of the ASCC, invited Master Hardy to perform – Fire Dragon is very happy to support the local Chinese community.

The Fire Dragon team after their presentation of Pai Lum Kung Fu.
The Fire Dragon team after their presentation of Pai Lum Kung Fu.

And shortly after the work-out, Master Hardy and 9 of his Seniors boarded an aeroplane for Florida in the USA to see Grand Master St Charles – Shinzan. The Australian Dragons were very well taken care of by their American brothers and sisters, and learned from many seniors within the Pai Lum system, and particularly Bai, Xue Long (Grandmaster Shawn Dick), who hauled out old Pai Lum Family Forms, and techniques. Pai Shao Li (Grandmaster Steveie Matthews) taught four forms in three days – a tribute to his patience and capacity, as well as to the Australian Dragons’ ability to learn. Grand Master Geoffrey Guiffre again shared his intimate knowledge of Tai Chi with Australia, and travelled a long way to do so. Master Matt Staley and his mother Joanne shared both their house and their knowledge with great generosity

Sifu Stephen Wells (Tong Long) earned his 2nd Higher Level during the 2011 US trip - from his own teacher Master Hardy; from Bai, Xue Long, and from Grand Master St Charles - Pai Shinzan.
Sifu Stephen Wells (Tong Long) earned his 2nd Higher Level during the 2011 US trip - from his own teacher Master Hardy; from Bai, Xue Long, and from Grand Master St Charles - Pai Shinzan.
Elinor Jean was named as the Otter by Master Hardy, and given her Purple Sash - congratulations!
Elinor Jean was named as the Otter by Master Hardy, and given her Purple Sash - congratulations!
Pai Shao Li and the Australian Dragons, with helpers. (Pai Shao Li on Master Hardy's right)
Pai Shao Li and the Australian Dragons, with helpers. (Pai Shao Li on Master Hardy's right)
The Fire Dragon students who Master Staley helped with their Martial Studies - and hospitality. (Master Staley is 2nd from right at back)
The Fire Dragon students who Master Staley helped with their Martial Studies - and hospitality. (Master Staley is 2nd from right at back)

Sadly, Pai Shinzan was ill and unable to travel himself to Florida, although many seniors taught at his course, including Master William Luciano, Master Lynn Holyfield and Master Lisa. However, Master Hardy and Sifu Bellchambers were able to fly to Connecticut to see their Grand Master, who welcomed them into his home. Pai Shinzan gave Master Hardy a certificate acknowledging him as Grand Master of the Australian Branch of Shaolin White Dragon. This will only strengthen the ties between the Australian and American Dragons.

Although Shinzan could not come to Florida, many others did, to a well atended course in his honour/. This was taken on Friday evening.
Although Shinzan could not come to Florida, many others did, to a well atended course in his honour/. This was taken on Friday evening.
And more people on the Saturday
And more people on the Saturday
And the course was not just people gathering for group photographs!
And the course was not just people gathering for group photographs!
Grand Master Guiffre on the Sunday, after an in depth explanation of the principles and practice of Tai Chi
Grand Master Guiffre on the Sunday, after an in depth explanation of the principles and practice of Tai Chi

The Australian Dragons left their US Family with several years’ worth of material to practise and perfect, including forms, techniques, both modern and ancient weapons, (with special thanks to Master Doug White), and a deeper understanding of the teachings of the late Grand Master Daniel Pai.

Master Doug White gladly instructed those Australiam Dragons who were interested in modern weapons - Here Master Hardy learns firearms handling
Master Doug White gladly instructed those Australiam Dragons who were interested in modern weapons - Here Master Hardy learns firearms handling
Some of the ladies were particularly interested - including Sifu Lie Bao
Some of the ladies were particularly interested - including Sifu Lie Bao

And not long after their return to Australia, the Australian Dragons were again on display at Telopea Park High Schools annual fair.

The Telopea Park Demonstration Team
The Telopea Park Demonstration Team

The 2011 Fire Dragon Christmas Dinner was held on Saturday 17th December. Well attended, as usual, although a few students were unable to attend because of illness or family engagements. Never the less, the Australian Pai Lum Family enjoyed being together, and celebrating the end of a long and rewarding year!

The serious busioness of eating!
The serious busioness of eating!
But while some chomp, others can smile!
But while some chomp, others can smile!
The 2011 Niket Rewal Award for devotion to the way of the White Dragon was given to Daniel Cochrane - well done!!
The 2011 Niket Rewal Award for devotion to the way of the White Dragon was given to Daniel Cochrane - well done!!

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