Way of the White Dragon
What is Pai Lum Kung Fu?
Pai Lum is a Family style of Chinese martial art - we work out together, take care of each other, and like to socialise together. We value the concept of the Chinese Dragon - breathing fire, flying without wings and fierce in defence of those needing help.
The Fire Dragon Club has achieved much in teaching Pai Lum Kung Fu. And we show our Art, through public demonstrations (see News) , and through for example, our Guinness World Records(TM).
Our Lineage and History
Our history does have some mystery associated with it, but originated with Pai Po Fong who emigrated to Hawaii from China in the 1800s, and taught his Grandson Daniel K. Pai White Dragon - Pai Lum - Kung Fu, from an early age.
This was a combination of Dragon and White Crane styles, in both of which Pai Po Fong was a master. Young Daniel learned well, and eventually made the style famous in the East Coast of the USA, where he was one of the first to teach a traditional Kung Fu to westerners. From there Pai Lum went to Ireland, and then to Australia.
About the Style
Pai Lum is a full martial art – it teaches a great variety of techniques, from extreme close range to long range, and including traditional Chinese weapons such as spear, Dao (broadsword) and ring knife. We also learn and practice meditation, Chi Gung, and how to deal with injuries. Pai Lum is a "soft style" martial art, which has "internal" elements. So we learn how to use the body's structures, as well as its internal energy.
Here is a look at what we teach.
Master Neal Hardy is Chief Instructor of Fire Dragon Australia. He has been training since 1981, earning his Black Belt in Ireland in 1986. Master Hardy commenced public classes in Pai Lum Kung Fu in Canberra's Inner North in 1995. He is now a 10th Higher Level and Grand Master of the Shaolin White Dragon Australian Branch.
We train at the All Saints Church Hall in Cowper St Ainslie on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
Beginners' classes are from 6.30 to 8.00 pm.
- $120 per month;
An annual insurance fee of $40 is payable in January or on your second lesson. Lifetime membership of $60 is payable within two weeks of starting.
- For your first month of training, you are able to pay $20 per session.
To Start Training
Simply come along to class, 15 minutes before the start (at 6.15 pm), so that we can do the paperwork, and introduce you to how we train. Bring $15 for your first lesson, and something comfortable to train in (please note that we do not allow street shoes). The hall is heated in Winter, and water is available for hydration. The toilets can be used for changing.
Fire Dragon takes the safety of all students as our top priority. Our Instructors are skilled and qualified, both in Pai Lum Kung Fu, and also in coaching. All Instructors and students respect each other, and themselves, and look for ways to reduce and eliminate risks.
The safety of vulnerable people is particularly important: to ensure that young people, and women feel safe in class.
What We Do
Class starts with meditation, to clear your mind, and be ready to learn. We then warm up, for 20 minutes. Classes include a mixture of forms, techniques, striking pads, sparring and self defences against attacks.
Pai Lum Kung Fu does use a formal system of grading. You will start with no grade, and when you have learned your basic techniques and forms, you will be eligible to earn your first grade – White Sash. You are asked to grade when your Instructor believes you are ready. A grading fee is payable, but if you are not successful at your first attempt, is not due again.
We warm up before class, with a mixture of gentle exercise, stretching and vigorous cardio-vascular work, to ensure our bodies are well prepared for the training ahead, and also to improve on flexibility and strength. Exercises are modified to suit different capacities, and while you are encouraged to try hard, it is important to remember to work within your limits, to avoid injury.
Beginners will learn basics – from how to breathe and stand correctly, to how to punch, block and kick. You will of course, learn at your speed. If you have studied another martial art before, you may well pick up basics more rapidly than someone with no other experience, but some students will just learn faster than others. Good to remember, however, that some of the best students learned more slowly!
Forms are the traditional way to learn Kung Fu – they teach defences against multiple attackers, techniques, range, control, breathing, how to stand and how to move. The Pai Lum system includes over 200 forms, handed down master to student, master to student for generations. Some are simple, some are incredibly challenging, but each one teaches something different. And when you know Pai Lum, you can tell another Pai Lum practitioner from the way they move in the forms.
Advanced techniques, whether flying kicks, or combination hand and foot strikes, rely on the basics, and are taught gradually, in keeping with students' developing skill levels.
Beginners learn how to defend against common grabs. These defences are based o Chinese grappling, or Chin Na, and help teach coordination, anatomy and raise self confidence. And they do work!
More advanced students learn more challenging defences, eventually against multiple attackers, and weapons.
And we also teach stylised defences based upon the classic Pai Lum animals. Each animal teaches the student something special – such as the ability to harness power and strength like the Tiger, or the balance of the Crane.
Before sparring, you need to have earned your first grade (White Sash), for everyone's safety. You will then be taught slow sparring before full speed sessions, and encouraged to develop your skills. Sparring involves using all techniques to all targets, but with absolute control: we have found that contact is not necessary to learn how to use Pai Lum for effective defence.
Students who have made Green Sash may choose to attend weapons training (1st and 3rd Mondays of the month), where they will start learning Dao and staff. Other weapons are taught with more experience.
We greatly value the opportunity to teach women and girls our Art: we have found that female students can often gain in self confidence from even basic self defence skills. Half our leading students are women – and they earned their rank! In addition, a class that includes women and men has a better balance.
Kids' Kung Fu
Children from the age of 7 or so are welcome in our classes. Sometimes, young people prefer to train with parent, and sometimes by themselves, but either way, we take care of their special needs,, and ensure that activities are modified as necessary to ensure their safety. Our adult students enjoy helping their younger colleagues learn.
Kung Fu Wushu ACT
Fire Dragon is a Full Member of Kung Fu Wushu ACT, which is the State Sporting Organisation for Kung Fu and Wushu. As such, we comply with ACT and national requirements, and adopt the full range of policies, including risk management and participant protection (including child safety). All our Instructors are nationally accredited coaches, with current First Aid qualifications, and hold ACT Working With Vulnerable People cards.
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