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Student Spotlight

Sifu Hepple & John Weaver

 

This is a picture of Sifu Hepple and John Weaver. John has been practicing for 3-4 years now and is currently training towards his Yee Cup Jr (1st test of the 2nd level) Grading. Here John tells, in his own words, of his experience training at Yee’s Hung Ga Academy in Inverness.

What made you want to train in martial arts?

I previously trained in Jujitsu when I was about eight years old. When I reached twenty four, I became very interested in practising meditation, healing arts and focusing (balancing) my mental/physical energies. I read books, became Reiki attuned and watched videos to increase my knowledge on the subject. This led me to learn versions of qi gong, from some new age teachers and other kung fu personalities. I think I was the ripe old age of thirty one before I attempted to do kung fu work out drills; I was completely exhausted and realised I knew nothing of the hard work and discipline that was required to achieve what I wanted. It was then I started looking for a teacher.

How did you hear about this school and why did you want to train there? What were your expectations before you started?

Kung Fu was the obvious choice for me based on my interests. I did a little research on the different styles, and thought about what may suit my body type. I knew already I would prefer something that would be powerful and balanced, but more hand based rather than the flippy-flappy leg kicks. I saw some videos of the Hung style online after finding out that a new had school opened up in Inverness. I contacted Sifu to see if he would accept me as a student, and the rest is history. My expectations were realistic; having tried to keep up with drills on dvds and failed, I was open to whatever lessons Sifu had for me in order to progress.

What was your first class like?

I was slightly nervous and wondered what the other students would be like. At that very first class, I mentioned some of the things I had been doing and Sifu responded “this may be a little different to what you’re used to!” He proceeded to show us Tiger techniques, specifically how to break an opponents arm. After that class, I was aching all over. My legs felt like jelly, and I thought it would be very hard to build up my fitness to an acceptable level to continue. However, I stuck with it and after a further four or five lessons I got used to doing the warm up exercises! It is quite invigorating once you have built up the stamina and I am glad I have continued with my training. My life has changed considerably in the last two years and I now have a young family and a home to maintain. I haven’t had as much time as I would have liked to train recently but as my understanding of Hung Ga grows, so does my desire to push myself further.

What do you think of your training so far? Is there anything that you would change?

So far I have learnt the full Gung Gi Fuk Fu form and am now learning Fu Hok. I have also learnt about the theory of Hung Ga and some of the additional exercises that can be done to unlock potential skills; fighting and some softer skills like balance, conditioning and strengthening. I have attended seminars in Aberdeen with Grandmaster Yee Chi Wai and our Sifu’s teacher, Si Gung Bruce Clark – both are very well respected Martial Artists. It is hard to start with, but if you try and push through it is very much worth your while. Our Kwoon (school) is very friendly, and Sifu obviously loves Hung Ga; showing us how it becomes a solid foundation in life. I would change nothing about the training given but if I could give advice to other beginners it would be to put three times as much effort in to practising at home, as you do in class. Basic drills, form and practising stances – but also looking at the ways in which Qi Gong and breath exercises can improve your general well-being.

What are your hopes for your future in martial arts?

My hopes for the future are to continue training, and to push myself further. My aim at the moment is to improve my stances, transitions between movements and get more sparring practice to apply what I have learned. I enjoy the traditional Lion Dance practice and would like to do more of that for the school in the coming years.

Anything else that you wish to add?

While studying for the Fuk Fu test, I wrote this down. ‘Kung Fu is something that cannot be bought or stolen; you cannot cheat or make it easier as it is what it is. You get out what you put into it via training – body and mind with a strong spirit.’ I am beginning to understand more on the concept of ‘martial virtue’ and can say that with Kung Fu, actions speak louder than words – so come join us.

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Motivation: Hints, Tips & Good Practice

The training schedule and classes at Yee’s Hung Ga Kung Fu Academy are now back in full swing for 2017. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned warrior, it can sometimes feel difficult to keep yourself motivated, especially with the cold weather, dark nights, the hectic partying over the festive period taking its toll on the body. It can be a bit of a slog getting yourself back into a routine and keeping that routine going. If one of your New Years Resolutions is to get fit and healthy, like many other people, you might be thinking about attending one of our classes. If you are serious about taking it past the thinking stage and really want to attend, (obviously we would highly recommend that you do and you would be most welcome.) what steps can you take to ensure that your first class isn’t also your last? What if even your best intentions aren’t good enough and you run out of steam before you even get up and running? Well we’re not going to lie to you, there’s no magic wand. You still have to actually make it to class (on time!!) and you still have to do the work but here’s our top 10 hints & tips on keeping yourself keeping going.

  • #1. Patience is a virtue.

It takes time, don’t be put off if you don’t see results straight away. Looks can be deceiving. You may not see results for a while, especially if you are just starting out. It takes time to learn and to build muscle memory. You may hear claims that you can be a master in a short time, “Learn Kung Fu in 3 Months,” “Become a master in only 2 weeks.” There are some things that you can learn and use straight away but to be a master you first need to learn and that can take time, patience and lots of practice.

Just because you’re not seeing results it doesn’t mean that you are not getting any. You are better today than you were yesterday, try to remember that. Your brain will get better at sending messages to your body and your body will get better at receiving and understanding them. You will actually be able to activate a higher percentage of your muscle fibers, commonly referred to as neuromuscular efficiency. Your coordination will improve, reflexes start to become faster, your breathing and focus will increase. It is a slow process because you are bound by your body’s limitations, just be patient. Don’t look in the mirror after two weeks and wonder why you’re not looking like Bruce Lee or why you’re not managing to quite get the results that you are looking for. Be patient and put in the work, the results will come.

  • #2. Enjoy the journey.

Try not to think of your goals as the soul purpose for training, that’s just a destination. Enjoy the process and get excited about what you are learning. If you enjoy what you are doing you are more likely to keep it up. Get excited. You have to want to do it. If you force yourself, it could have negative results. Instead of looking negatively at things that you are not so good at or find difficult, try and turn your thinking around. Be positive about it and see if you can work at those things, bit by bit, to get better at them. Chip away a little bit every day and they will soon become less of a problem.

  • #3. Don’t rush!

Arrive early, give yourself time. If you leave things to the last minute it gives your mind one more excuse to back out of it. If you have plenty time and are well prepared then you are less likely to change your mind at the last minute. Make sure you have your kit ready the day before. Write a list of all the things that you need to take with you and make sure you check your list every time you get yourself ready. Plan your trip, where you’re going to park the car, how long will it take you to get there? Allow extra time in case of slow traffic or events beyond your control. If you think ahead and plan in advance you will put yourself in the right frame of mind and it will give you less excuses to not go through with it.

  • #4. Are you keeping track?

Keeping records can help you to remember what you have learned. What did you get out of class today? Did you just go through the motions or did you pick something up? Were there any “light-bulb moments?” Keeping a training diary can help you to remember information and focus on learning. It can also help you to look back and see how far you have come in your training. You can also see what went wrong, should you get injured, and learn from any mistakes.

If you can only make it to the occasional class, it is down to you to make the effort to practice between those classes. Your Sifu will give you advice on what and how to practice. If you just practice bits of what you remember, it may be that you are not paying attention to the right things or worse, practicing them the wrong way. You should know it inside out and back to front.

  • #5. Stick to a plan

Remove the randomness from your training. This is the best way to improve your speed, strength, focus, body weight…. any of your goals in fact. For a beginner it can be tempting to try out all the different classes that are available to you at Yee’s but it is better to pick one or two which you can definitely, regularly make, every week. Stick to them and make them part of your routine. When you feel more confident in what you have learned and you have time available to try out the other classes, then give them a go. Too much, too soon is a recipe for failure.

  • #6. Do it for yourself.

Do it for yourself, not because of anyone else. Come with friends but don’t stay at home just because they decided that they couldn’t be bothered. Their excuses will turn into your excuses. You must do it because you want to do it for yourself. Similarly, try not to compare yourself to others. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses so whilst you might not be as good as the one you are comparing yourself to, they might not be as good as you at other things. They may also be further ahead in their training or have practiced more or many other reasons. If you practice, you will become better. If you practice a lot, you will become a lot better. Sometimes it takes longer for some people so just relax and enjoy the ride.

  • #7. Prevention is better than cure.

Be sensible about how you train. An injury can set you back months, perhaps even years. It may stop you training altogether. It is important in the beginning to take things slowly until your body gets used to it. If you push too hard, you can injure yourself. Ensure that your body is warmed up gently and muscles are stretched before you do your main practice. You will have to do this every time and you will have to factor the time it takes into your practice. Similarly, a cool down routine can help to bring your body back to normal. Again gentle stretching can be useful. After your training your muscle fibers will be warmed up and loose. The sudden shock from the cold outside, especially in the North of Scotland, can cause them to constrict. Problems may result from over tension such as muscular cramps and pain, twisting and knotting of the muscle fibers. Be sensible and have an extra layer of clothing to put on before you head out into the cold. Our training hoodies are perfect for this purpose.

  • #8. If you don’t make time, you’ll never have time.

You need to factor time into your daily routine or weekly schedule. If you don’t have one, make one! Fit it into your lifestyle. It is difficult juggling everything in your life but the bottom line is that if you don’t do it, then you won’t do it. Spare time can seem to be a rarity in modern life and if you really want to do something, you will have to make the effort to make it happen. With kung fu this means making time to practice. In the same way though, if you do nothing but practice then you will not have time for anything or anyone else so you need to find a balance. Make it happen!!

  • #9. Rise to the challenge!

Treat it like a test. Everything that you find hard is an obstacle to you becoming better and achieving your goals. If you clear the obstacle then you are one step closer. If you don’t quite make it then it’s no big deal, just try again. It may take you many attempts. Many, many, many attempts in fact. This is the challenge that you face. Give up, find an easier way or just keep chipping away until you get it. The nature of kung fu means that you kind of do all 3. You try until you get it, you understand the movement. You then find an economy in the movement, simplify it, make it easy. Then, when you get it, you leave it. It’s there now until you need it. You just need to maintain it. Great skill obtained through hard practice.

  • #10. Don’t beat yourself up

You’ve all seen the motivational memes on social media, “Failure is not an option!” “Winners never quit!” ” You haven’t failed until you quit trying!”

Jeezzz….. Give yourself a break, we are only human. Circumstances might mean that you have to put things aside for a while. You might have to give yourself some time to focus on other areas of your life. Family, work, friends, commitments. You know what that is? That’s life! (That’s what people say, You’re riding high in April, Shot down in May) It doesn’t mean that you’ve failed. If you falter or can’t remember or didn’t practice or took the day off, it doesn’t matter. Everyone needs a break. In fact it is advisable to take a break every once in a while. “All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy!” Have you never seen ‘The Shining’ before?!? It only becomes a problem if you let it. You gave it a shot, you turned up for class and you trained really hard. That’s more than a lot of people ever do. A lot of people never get further than giving it a whimsical thought. “Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to move like that?” “I wish I was as strong or graceful as that?” But you actually made the effort. That is amazing in itself. (a round of applause please!) If you need a breather, that’s not failing, that’s being realistic. Just don’t let it get to you. Get back in the saddle again and own it!! Take your training to the next level and achieve what you set out to do.

See you in class…

 

 

 

 

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Who’s the guy with the big sword thingy?

Guan Yu with his kwan do
Guan Yu with his kwan do

The guy with the big sword thingy goes by a few names, Guan Yu, Guan Gong, Guan Di, General Gwan, amongst many others. In the ancient times of the East, there was a great war between Three Kingdoms. Guan Yu, and his friends, Liu Bei and  Zheng Fei, swore an oath of brotherhood in the mystical Peach Garden, vowing to create a new, righteous world. Together they fought countless battles against the warlords Cao Cao and Sun Quan. Guan Yu grew famous for his combat prowess and unwavering honor.

Cao Cao captured Guan Yu and at the time, Liu Bei’s fate was uncertain. He agreed to fight for Cao Cao under specific terms, chiefly that he would abandon Cao Cao if ever he learned the whereabouts of his sworn brother. Despite Cao Cao’s gifts and promises of wealth, when Liu Bei resurfaced, Guan Yu immediately went to his side. Years later, Guan Yu again faced Cao Cao on the battlefield as the warlord fled from his defeat at Red Cliffs. Guan Yu cut off Cao Cao’s retreat and obliterated his forces. He spared Cao Cao, however, and released him, as an act of honor.

Guan Yu is one of the best known historical figures in ancient history. Part of the reason for this is that he appears in popular comics and movies, even modern video games. He is also a major character in The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, a semi-historical novel said to be written by Luo Guan Zhong at the end of the Yuan Dynasty period (1279-1368). This novel is one of China’s four greatest classic novels. Partly because of fictional portrayals in The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, his reputation has only increased over the years. A famous tale about Guan Yu is that he was once injured in the left arm by a stray arrow, which pierced through his arm. Although the wound had healed, he would experience pain in the bone whenever there was a heavy downpour. A physician told him, “The arrowhead had poison on it and the poison had seeped into the bone. The only way to get rid of this problem is to cut open your arm and scrape away the poison in your bone.” Guan Yu then stretched out his arm and asked the physician to heal him. He then invited his subordinates to dine with him while the surgery was being performed. Blood flowed from his arm into a container below. Throughout the operation, Guan Yu feasted and drank wine and chatted with his men as though nothing had happened. In some accounts of the tale he sits calmly and plays a game of weiqi (Chinese chess)

 

Guan Yu being opperated on.
Guan Yu being opperated on whilst playing a game
A comic book of Guan Yu
Guan Yu Comic Book
first volume of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms
The Romance of the Three Kingdoms book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guan Yu is worshiped by many Chinese people today, especially in southern China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Small shrines to Guan Yu are almost ubiquitous in traditional Chinese shops, restaurants, homes, police stations and martial arts schools. He embodies the virtues he lived by. His statues ward against evil. Red faced to represent loyalty, his likeness is carried by merchants as proof that they can be trusted.

In the Western world, Guan Yu is sometimes called the God of War, probably because he is one of the most well-known military generals worshiped by the Chinese people. This is a misconception of his role, as, unlike the Greco-Roman deity Mars or the Norse god Týr, Guan Yu, as a god, does not necessarily bless those who go to battle, but rather people who observe the code of brotherhood and righteousness.

 

Giant Guan Yu being constructed
Giant 190ft statue of Guan Yu under construction
A giant statue of Guan Yu
Giant Guan Yu Statue, 190ft tall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The big sword thingy that he can be seen with is the Spring/Autumn Great Knife. It is often named after him, some legends say that he invented it. The Guan dao, or kwan dao, is a large halberd which was used by the general during combat on horse-back. It is a heavy weapon with a sharp edge on one side for cutting and slicing. On the other side is a jagged edge with a hooked point which is used to maim and stab as well as for catching the opponent’s weapon to disarm them. The weapon is balanced with a pointed counterweight at the other end of the central shaft. Guan Yu’s “guan dao” was called “Green Dragon Crescent Blade” which weighed 82 Chinese jin (estimated 18.263kg or around 40lbs, there are tales of it being over 300lbs) and that he was extremely proficient with it on the battlefield.

 

Guan Do
Green dragon Guan Dao
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World Tai Chi & Qigong Day 25.4.15

The last Saturday in April every year plays host to World Tai Chi & Qigong Day. It is part of a global effort to promote the healing aspects of Tai Chi and Qigong within our society. For the second year running YHGInverness participated in this global celebration by hosting a free Qigong seminar/workshop. Sifu Hepple, Chief Instructor at YHGInverness, conducted the seminar on the Yi Jin Jing, (Muscle/Tendon Changing Classic) which is a Qigong set or ‘form’ thought to have been developed by the Indian Buddhist Monk Bodhidharma, the legendary monk who began the physical training of the monks at the Shaolin Temple and thus credited as the originator of Shaolin Kung Fu.

The set was taught step by step until complete. Once the whole set had been learned, the key points of each exercise and how they work with the meridian channel system of the body was discussed. During Qigong exercises Qi, or internal energy, within the body is manipulated for specific health purposes. This can be achieved by moving your body in a certain way to stimulate specific organs of the body or using your mind’s eye, will or intention to lead Qi around your body or through certain meridians of the body. Using your mind and body together with coordinated breathing increases the function of many systems of the body. It also reduces stress and fatigue, calms the mind, improves circulation and many other documented health benefits. Qigong can be practiced by anyone and although it originated in China over 2000 years ago, it is still practiced today by people all over the world, from all walks of life.

The seminar ran over the scheduled time by quite a bit, so thank you to everyone who attended and managed to focus for the whole seminar. Also thank you to everyone who helped make this a successful event, including anyone who shared our Facebook posts and helped to spread the word. Hopefully YHGInverness will continue to make this a regular event every year and continue to preserve the art for future generations. Special thanks to the organisers of World Tai Chi & Qigong Day who help to promote this art worldwide. Without their efforts we would never have all come together at the same time for their common vision of health and healing on a global scale.

If you are interested in finding out more about Qigong or would like to attend one of our Qigong classes, please visit our Qigong page: http://www.yhginverness.com/qi-gong-classes/

 

Participants of World Tai Chi & Qigong Day (25.4.15)
Participants of World Tai Chi & Qigong Day (25.4.15)
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FREE Qigong Seminar/Workshop for World Tai Chi & Qigong Day

In honour of the World Tai Chi & Qigong Day, Yee’s Hung Ga Kung Fu Academy, Inverness will be hosting a FREE seminar on the Yi Jin Jing or Muscle-Tendon Strengthening Qigong. Beginning at 10am on Saturday the 25th of April.

The Yi Jing Jing is a qigong set, thought to have been developed by the Indian Buddhist Monk Bodhidharma, the legendary monk who began the physical training of the monks at the Shaolin Temple and thus credited as the originator of Shaolin Kung Fu.

The exercises in the Yi Jin Jing set feature soft even movements which will invigorate the limbs and organs of the body. Practice of the set will improve your flexibility and balance, muscle tone and strength. It is particularly beneficial to your breathing and has many documented health benefits.

The Yi Jin Jing set is easy to learn and suitable for beginners as well as people of all ages and skill levels. The set will be taught step by step by Sifu Simon Hepple, the chief instructor at Yee’s Hung Ga Kung Fu Academy. Once the complete set has been learned, we will discuss the key points of each exercise and how they work with the meridian channel system of the body.

After the seminar, The Yi Jin Jing will be added to the comprehensive qigong curriculum at Yee’s Hung Ga, Inverness, so don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to learn this set absolutely FREE!

This seminar is open to all members of the public, you do not have to be a member of the school to join in. If you would like to attend, you only need to turn up on the day. The seminar begins at 10am so please arrive in good time for the beginning. Participation is mandatory so please do not turn up expecting to be able to sit and watch. If you would like to make your attendance known then here is a link to the Facebook Event page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1593102387624817/

You should wear loose comfortable clothing and flat shoes or trainers. Bring a drink with you. If you wish to make notes, bring a notepad and pen with you too. There is no strict age limit to the event however please exercise common sense if you are thinking of bringing very young children. You can always contact Sifu Hepple beforehand, via the Contact Us page of this website, if you are at all in any doubt.

 

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Gradings & Seminar 22/02/2015

Congratulations to everyone who sat, and passed, their gradings last weekend (Sunday 22nd Feb 2015)

Branches from Aberdeen, Inverness, Ellon and Peterhead assembled to test the skills of some of the students. It’s always great to get together and see old friends and new faces from Yee’s Hung Ga, pass on knowledge and learn new skills. On this occasion Sifu Bruce Clark conducted a great seminar on elbow techniques and fighting applications after the gradings had finished. Here are a few photos from another great day of practice and training at our UK Headquarters in Aberdeen.

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Student Spotlight

Sifu & Jenny
Sifu Hepple & Jenny Thomas

This is a recent photo of Sifu Hepple with Jenny Thomas, one of the senior students of YHGInverness. Jenny has been training for almost 3 years now and is currently at Yee Cup Senior Level. Jenny occasionally helps teach some of the classes at the school and will also teach some Qigong classes in the new year. (Find out more details here: NEW CLASSES)

Here Jenny describes, in her own words, how she found out about the school and her training so far:

About 8 years ago, maybe more, I watched a documentary about a disillusioned priest…
On his journey through life he had lost his vision,lost his passion for life, lost his reason to be alive,even lost his faith and finally lost his family.
He had given up his secure,safe ,well paid yet now meaningless job in the clergy and was seeking. Seeking a refuge, seeking to fill the endless void, seeking a new life, seeking to end that dull painful ache inside, seeking a reason, seeking to find the answers to the questions he didn’t even know…
And all this he found in Martial Arts. He travelled extensively , visiting monastery’s, retreats, Martial establishments, government Martial groups and displays in the far east .He spent time in mist enshrouded mountains and beautiful lands…yet it was one day when he was sweeping a dirty floor that it suddenly clicked into place and his peace flowed from within. I can’t tell you how he found this peace, he didn’t know himself….but he found it inside himself through lengthy practice and meditation.
A true story and exactly what brought me to Yee’s Hung Ga! I felt exactly the same as that priest and I wanted exactly what he had found. And if he could do it so could I!
And so my journey began…I had done a bit of karate in my younger years but had moved away and never took it up again. I tried a few different styles which worked for a while but then I grew restless again. The self defence was good but the fitness was lacking…or the style was good but the egos were too big…or the fighting was great but the spirit was dead….I finally feel I have “come home”…in Hung Ga I am continually learning; it is a constant in my life amongst the ups and downs of every day life; I am strong, physically, mentally and spiritually ;I have met wonderful people and have lovely training brothers and sisters…the list goes on. I can truly say that walking up those stairs to meet my Sifu for the first time was the best thing I’ve done!
Speaking of those stairs…after my first lesson I could hardly get down them! My legs were shaking so much from using muscles I had never used before. But I knew straight away I had found what I was looking for …Lazy legs however soon learn the stances and you’d be surprised how soon your muscles get stronger and you can do things you never thought possible. Practice, perseverance and patience is what you need. And if you don’t have them you can learn them too! Anything is possible if you go for it. We train our minds with horse stance…you’ll just have to come to a class to find out how! We do patterns, techniques, applications and drills, sparring,body conditioning….and just when you think you’ve sussed it, then you develop on what you’ve already learned and it suddenly makes sense as to why you had to twist that hand in that direction in the first place!
And Qi gong, Hung Ga’ s gentle twin…or rather the yin of the two: the internal, the subtle, the gentle, the dark …Compared to yang: the external, the extrovert, the vivacious, the fire…..Hung Ga is a hard and soft style, without one you cannot balance the other and both should be trained. Qi gong trains the use of the internal energy, the bodies Qi. It also nourishes the spirit , trains the breathing, balances the bodies organs and helps the body remain in a healthful state. Regular practice can help increase your spiritual awareness, develop perception; you learn to use and lengthen that gap between stimulus and response, to act but not react…. It is slow, gentle and relaxing yet still powerful. (Qi Gong is trained during Hung Ga classes and as its own class. It is suitable for all ages, we currently have age 10 to age 75!)
Of course we also learn to fight, to defend ourselves and our families if the need arose, and to spar amongst ourselves and also in competitions. But if you only know how to fight then you are a fighter, not a Martial artist. Our Grandmaster Yee Chi Wai says: “To be a martial artist you must learn Martial virtue, Martial knowledge, Chinese medicine and Chinese philosophy.
And that you shall! All of this and more at Yee’s Hung Ga …like the priest, I too have found my peace, I don’t really know how either. It just happens!
Come and find out for yourselves! Enrich your life!

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Tests and seminars September 2014

There was a large turnout for the recent tests and seminars at our headquarters in Aberdeen. Sigung Pedro Cepero Yee and Sifu Bruce Clark oversaw the tests of a range of different levels from Yat Cup Junior to Jo Gow and Dan level. Sifu Simon Hepple completed his 4th Dan test too. Many students from the Inverness branch completed their tests too. Congratulations to everyone who passed. 🙂

The beginner seminar, conducted by Sigung Pedro Cepero Yee was on the internal power applications of fighting with the tiger, which was very interesting and informative. Lots more to practice and learn from.

Here are a few photos of the day.

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And our survey says….. Qigong!

A massive big thanks to everyone who completed our survey last month. People from all over the world were generous enough to give YHGInverness a couple of minutes of their time to help us out. We had people respond from a huge range of different sports and martial arts ranging from running and cycling to touch rugby and Jiu Jitsu.

60% of all people who responded had trained in their chosen pursuit for 10 years or over. Most, if not all, responders combined different types of training together such as swimming and yoga or stance work and body conditioning. Only one person recognised ‘breathing’ as a form of training though. I thought that this was quite remarkable. Surely greater breath control would result in a better performance? A marathon runner, who runs out of breath, is not an efficient runner. A fighter, who can’t control his breathing, is sure to lose the fight. This seems to be a fundamental of training which is so often overlooked.

How can you train your breathing? There are many different breathing techniques in qigong, most focus on long, deep, diaphragmatic breaths which draw oxygen and nutrients to the base of the lungs. This, in turn, results in a greater concentration of oxygen and nutrients within the blood and a greater efficiency of the organs overall. If the body is running more efficiently, then it shouldn’t need to work as hard to pump the nutrients it needs around the body to the muscles and organs.

There was quite a range of responses, when asked what you thought your biggest hurdle in training was. Some people said that their physical location was a problem. Others smoked or drank too much. Some people recognised that they over-thought things too much and were their own worst critic, some were not satisfied with the consistency of their teachers. Others had physical problems such as recurring injuries, Reynaud’s Syndrome and old(er) age. Almost everyone said that time was a factor in their training and that they would like to spend more time training and less doing paperwork or working.

Believe it or not, Qigong can help with most, if not all, of these problems. Physical location isn’t a problem because Qigong can be done almost anywhere, at any time. You can do it in a park, underneath a waterfall or on top of a mountain, as you might imagine, but you can also do it at your desk at work, while waiting for the kettle to boil or the microwave to ‘ping’. You can do it in the shower, on the train, whenever you’ve got a spare minute in fact.

Drink or smoke too much? Wish you could quit or cut down and spend more time training or just being that little bit healthier? Qigong does so much more than helping to recover from addiction with exercise and meditation. Research has shown that prolonged drug and alcohol use leaves a build up of toxins within the tissues of the body. Qigong helps release toxins that have built up over time, helping your body to heal itself faster. It gives your mind something to focus on when distracted by cravings and, through added treatment methods, individuals are given a better chance to focus on their recovery.

Over-thinking things is surprisingly common. Sometimes it is just difficult to switch off and unwind. It is a product of our society, everyone seems to be walking around stressed up to the eyeballs with work, family, commitments or money problems. It really doesn’t have to be like that though. By simply taking a few minutes each day (perhaps a few more for some people 😉 ) to consciously relax, focus your mind and switch off, you can save yourself from just about any disease that you can think of. Modern medical science relates stress to 70-90% of all illnesses that you would go to see your G.P. for. That is a HUGE amount. Stress is a killer, make no mistake. Stress can also lead to the release of harmful hormones, such as cortisol, that break down the body. Anxiety also interferes with the production of beneficial hormones, which are already in decline as people reach their mid-40s. Qigong and Tai chi counteracts this by calming the mind, slowing the release of stress-related hormones. Next time you find yourself over-thinking something, try a couple of Qigong exercises and see the difference it makes to yourself.

Qigong has been known to help recurring problems and training injuries too. The gentle, low impact movements of Qigong and Tai Chi help to strengthen joints and bones within the body, aiding recovery. The increased efficiency of the bodily organs helps to remove toxins and promotes new growth. The immune system is also given a boost which can heighten the effects even further.

Many people practice Qigong well into their old age. The exercises are easy to do, you can practice them at a rate that is comfortable for you and you don’t need a huge amount of time or space. You can even do them lying down or in a seated position. Getting older happens to everyone though, it’s a simple fact of life that nobody escapes. In a study sponsored by the NIA (National Institute on Ageing) Dr. Steven L. Wolf, Ph.D., and colleagues at the Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga., found that older people taking part in a 15-week Tai Chi program reduced their risk of falling by 47.5%. Qigong has also been known to slow the ageing process. Research at Baylor Medical School has found that some cells from the bodies of long-term Qigong practitioners live five times longer than the same cells from ordinary test subjects. Other research from The Shanghai Institute of Hypertension looked at several aspects of ageing. They determined that Qigong is an effective measure in preventing and treating geriatric diseases and delaying the ageing process.

Reynaud’s Syndrome is fairly common and affects about 5 million people in the UK. I actually suffer from Reynaud’s Syndrome myself and I have found a huge improvement since I first started practising Qigong. I find the Fu Jow (Tiger claw) Qigong, that i teach at YHGInverness, of particular benefit. Improved circulation is just one of the many benefits of Qigong.

Time? Surely Qigong can’t help you change time?! No, of course not, that’s ridiculous. What Qigong can do is help you manage the time that you do have a little better. When you practice Qigong and your blood is oxygenated to a higher degree, the organs in your body perform better. This includes the brain. The brain is a highly sensitive organ and when it is functioning better it can perform some incredible tasks. This gives you the potential to improve your life unimaginably. You will easily be able to understand the work load that you have and factor in extra time for training without compromising either. It sounds simple but that’s because it is! Qigong is very simple. Some of the exercises are so easy that you would never guess the exceptional effects that they will have on you, your body and your life.

The last question of the survey was to gauge who, in your life, inspires you to achieve better results. 90% of everyone who replied said that it was someone that they knew personally and only 10% said someone famous who they were unlikely to meet. This shows how we can all affect one another on a much personal level than you probably realise. Just by being who you are and doing what you are doing, you will meet people and change the way that they might think and act. Can Qigong help with that?

Give it a go and YOU decide.

The last Saturday in April (26th April 2014) is World Tai Chi And Qigong Day. To celebrate this, YHGInverness will be hosting a FREE Qigong class in the morning. Anyone can attend and take part. For more details contact Sifu Hepple
or just come along on the day,

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Gung Hei Fat Choi!

Happy Chinese New Year!

Inverness had a visit from the same lion dance team (Hong Lok Dragon & Lion Dance Team) that was filmed last year on the doorstep of YHGInverness.

Here is a couple of videos of them performing on the High Street this year. One at the bottom of the steps and another one where they pass right outside the front door of YHGInverness.

Lion Dance

Lion Dance 2

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Cubicles

Whilst YHGInverness was closed for the festivities, we were also busy doing some work inside the changing room. With the help of Graham, Kenny, Davis and Seamus, Sifu constructed three new changing cubicles for students to have a little more privacy whilst they are getting changed and psyching themselves up for their classes throughout the coming year ahead. Any new or interested students who would like to come along and see what Hung Ga is like should have a look at THIS PAGE

Here are a few photos taken during the process.

The side panels for the cubicles
The side panels for the cubicles
Checking the alignment of the first panel
Checking the alignment of the first panel
Strengthening the whole construction with a cross beam.
Strengthening the whole construction with a cross beam.
Here you can see that the cubicles are pretty spacious for getting changed in.
Here you can see that the cubicles are pretty spacious for getting changed in.
In the original design, three doors were going to be re-used, one for each cubicle.
In the original design, three doors were going to be re-used, one for each cubicle.
The original idea of re-using doors was shelved, for the time being, and curtains were put up instead for simplicity.
The original idea of re-using doors was shelved, for the time being, and curtains were put up instead for simplicity.

 

 

 

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New Year, New Start

two thousand and fourteen
Happy New Year

We would like to wish everyone a happy new year. 2013 was amazing for YhgInverness and we are hoping that 2014 will be even more memorable.

To kick off the new year we have re-introduced the Qi-gong and Tai Chi classes at a more user friendly day and time. They will begin on Saturday the 4th January at 3.30-4.30pm. As always, the first class is free. You can find out more information HERE. Qi-gong is great for your mind, body and spirit and these classes are suitable for most people of all ages and abilities.

Gift certificates will still be available throughout the year, so if you know someone who wants to train but lacking in motivation, this would be the perfect gift for them. You can find out more info HERE.

If your new year’s resolution is to get fit, have fun, lose weight, make new friends, learn something new, or just to be able to defend yourself, Yee’s Hung Ga has everything for you. To begin your new journey, it’s a lot easier than you might think. You can find out what to do HERE.

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Let there be light…..

The hours of daylight are getting shorter and the weather is getting colder but at Yee’s in Inverness we can now make good use of the light that we do get with the new windows that Sifu has renovated in the stairwell.

From this…..

The old boarded up Stairwell window
The old boarded up Stairwell window

To this….

The renovated windows viewed from the alley.
The renovated windows viewed from the alley.

It’s just like ‘Changing Rooms’ 🙂

Special thanks to Seamus for your help installing them.

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Gift Certificates

Know someone who wants to train but haven’t managed to get themselves off the sofa yet? Here is a great way to get them motivated and a perfect Christmas present for any budding Hung Ga enthusiast.

yhginverness gift certificates
yhginverness gift certificates

Certificates are available for:

  • Monthly class subscriptions at £30 (£25 Students)
  • Private one-one tuition classes at £20 for a one hour session (£15 for students)
  • Or even a mix of the two, all classes and a private one-one session every week for a whole month for £75 (£60 for students).

A fantastic way to get fit and healthy in 2014! 🙂

 

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Seminar August 17th

YHGInverness will be hosting a seminar on the 17th of August for all students. The seminar will cover body conditioning theory, drills and routines. We will also cover techniques and applications from the form Gung Ji Fuk Fu Kuen. The seminar will start at 11am and is open to all students for only £20.

There will also be an intermediate seminar, shortly after, which will cover more advanced training. This seminar is for senior students only.

All enquiries should be directed to Sifu Hepple at: [email protected]

Please make sure that you also note the changes to times and classes in our class timetable.

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Sifu Pedro Cepero Yee Visits Aberdeen

Students of Yee’s Hung Ga Kung Fu Academy in Inverness have been invited to attend a very special test and training day in Aberdeen on the 19th May 2013.

Sifu Pedro Cepero Yee will be visiting from America to oversee tests

Sifu Pedro Yee was the first non-Asian ever on the cover of New Martial Hero Magazine
Sifu Pedro Yee was the first non-Asian ever on the cover of New Martial Hero Magazine

and to pass his extensive knowledge and skills on to further generations with a series of seminars.

Sifu Pedro Cepero Yee is a 7th Dan Sifu. He has demonstrated all over the world and is a well published author on Hung Ga Kung Fu. He is also an accomplished therapist, experienced in Tuina-Chinese Bodywork Therapy and Swedish massage therapy as well as Traditional Dit Da (Traumatology Medicine). He is the eighth Senior Yup Sut (In the Room) Disciple of Master Frank Yee (Yee Chi Wai), as well as one of the first Americans to be accepted into the Yee’s Family Lineage at the New York Chinatown’s Yee Fong Toy Association and their world headquarters.

The forthcoming tests and seminars will further enhance students skills and hopefully inspire them to continue to train hard in their chosen art. Keep an eye out for updates on their progress.

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Chinese New Year 2013, Year Of The Snake

Yee’s Hung Ga Inverness has been busy over the Chinese New Year Period. The festivities started off with a traditional Lion dance, right outside the front doors of Yee’s, on Inverness High Street.

IMAG0811

Sifu Hepple demonstrated the Chun Choy Dai Do (Spring Autumn, Great Knife), or Kwan Do, before a screening of a Jackie Chan film, as part of the Forres Chinese New Year celebrations.

There was also a seminar on the legendary Chinese folk hero, Wong Fei Hung. This seminar focused on Wong Fei  Hung and what made him famous. Snake techniques were used to demonstrate the martial skill which made him renowned throughout China and the rest of the World. Here are a few photos from the seminar:

New Year

 

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Levitation

Here is something that you don’t see every day, a woman levitating in the middle of the street!

Levitating Woman
Levitating Woman outside Yee’s Hung Ga Kung Fu Academy, Inverness

This photo was taken right outside Yee’s Hung Ga Kung Fu Academy on Inverness High Street, Sunday 19th of August 2012.

It is, of course, a clever trick. I was asked by one of my students when they will be shown how to do this. I laughed at the time but it made me think of clever techniques that we use in Hung Ga, like the shadowless kick, which uses distraction to hide a kick. Other techniques that might seem remarkable, to people outside of kung fu circles, might include the power of the mind over the body, the ability to block out pain which,amongst other training methods, is taught through long periods of diligent Horse Stance practice. The explosion of force in a small area is another technique which can seem to be an almost impossible feat, however this is taught through inch power training. An example of this, made famous by Bruce Lee, is the one inch punch. Many people comment on the unnatural gripping strength that many Hung Ga practitioners have yet this is developed through practice and hard work, conditioning the muscles and tendons of the arms, hands and fingers through Fu Jow Qi-gong.

Someone very close to me gave me this scroll when I first opened my school.

Scroll on wall of Yee's Hung Ga Kung Fu Academy, Inverness
Chinese Scroll

It says that ‘to overcome a challenge requires 30% talent and 70% hard work. You need to love a challenge to be able to win.’

My Sifu instilled this ethos into all of his students. Hung Ga is not about illusions or weird phenomena, it is about hard work and practice. That is the only way to gain the skill required to perform such powerful techniques.

Practice hard and you will win, whatever your challenge.