Claude Meares

3rd Degree Black Belt

I began my studies in Shaolin-Do in June 1992 under the guidance of Grandmaster Sin Kwang Thé. At the time, I was merely looking for a better way to fight and stay in shape. I am no longer looking. To bluntly state that Shaolin-Do has changed my life is an understatement. Shaolin-Do is so rich and fulfilling that I have spent the last half of my life learning and using it, and I've just barely even scratched the surface.

Due largely to its sheer complexity and extensiveness, the lifestyle of Shaolin-Do can often feel somewhat difficult or overwhelming. All too often, I have literally left class dripping with sweat, and with more questions than when class began. This, however, has never been a discouragement because it should take years to learn and execute the most complete, comprehensive, and dangerous martial art on the planet. I can't even begin to imagine what my mind, body, and spirit would resemble without the practice of Shaolin-Do.

Since 1993, I have had the privilege of practicing Shaolin-Do under the guidance of Elder Master Bill Leonard who, in my opinion, is the most capable martial artist I have ever met. His classes have always stressed patience and practice, as well as discipline and the value of hard work; principles almost everyone truly needs (yet few actually have) to be successful in life, as well as in the martial arts. As a result, I have found Shaolin-Do to be an invaluable tool, useful in almost any situation.

As I mentioned above, it has taken me years to learn and practicably execute Shaolin-Do. In that amount of time, I have seen many Shaolin-Do students come and go, and some seem to have quit just after receiving the rank of black belt. In Shaolin-Do, unlike other martial arts, black belt is not an end to one's training; rather it is only the beginning. At first this was a difficult concept. After all, I had spent three years of my life coming to a class regularly and training hard. I was also in better shape than ever before and could definitely defend myself against an attacker. Later, I realized those same three years were merely the foundation for a much broader and challenging experience which would not come easy, but then again, nothing truly worth having ever does.

Thankfully, patience is also an attribute I have gained with the practice of this ancient Chinese fighting art. Patience is truly necessary when you consider the amount of time necessary to learn and develop Shaolin-Do in a meaningful and practical way. Perhaps my advice might seem over simplified, but I assure you it has worked for me: practice, practice, practice and patience, patience, patience; you can only get better.

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