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Sparring and Sword Sparring Tournament 2019 – Connecticut Edition

In National by SDSS

Connecticut’s SDSS Martial Arts Studios were proud to present our first ever Sparring and Sword Sparring Tournament on Saturday, April 6, at the  Marriott in Trumbull, CT.  Students from all over the state participated across a host of belt and age ranges, from younger students right through the teen years. SDSS President, Senior Master Mikael Meyer, presided over the event.  “We introduced this as an event during our regular Shaolin Olympics,” he explained.  “It quickly took on a life of its own.  I wasn’t surprised by how popular the event became.  It adds a whole new dimension of fitness, focus, …

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Grandmaster DeMasco discusses Black Belts for younger students

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In SDSS, we have three levels of Black Belt; Junior Black Belt, Zhongi Black Belt, and Adult Black Belt.  As parents we’ve all heard someone boast, “my child made black belt in a year,” or “my child made black belt second degree at age 10!”  The SDSS approach is very different.  Grandmaster DeMasco gave us a few minutes of his time to talk about why we take all our Black Belt ranks very seriously, and how each program is designed to meet the needs of our students at every level of learning. Three Levels of Black Belt Grandmaster began by explaining …

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Student Spotlight – Cameron from Keene

In National, Student Spotlight by SDSS

How many of us can say they’ve stayed with something – anything – for your entire life?  That’s a real commitment. And that’s just one of the remarkable things about Cameron from our Keene, NH studio  He is the subject of this month’s Student Spotlight. “Cameron was the very first student we signed up at the Keene Studio,” said Master Mark Giordano, the Chief Instructor.  His dad signed up later on. “Kung Fu became something we could do together,” said Cameron. And this young man stuck with it, too. Fourteen years later, Cameron holds the adult rank of First Degree …

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Victim No More

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You don’t have to be a victim. Whether you’re a child looking to overcome a bullying situation or an adult hoping to heal after a violent crime, the Martial Arts can give you the self-defense and life skills you’ll need to take back control of your life. Learning to be aware and take control Most students are surprised to find out that most self-defense isn’t just about punches and kicks. Our students learn the mental awareness they need to know how to handle just about any situation that comes our way. Sometimes self-defense does mean hitting back. But sometimes, it …

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Grandmaster Tours Brazil With The Shaolin Message

In National by SDSS

In February 2019, Grandmaster Steve DeMasco, Founder of Steve DeMasco’s Shaolin Studios and the International Ambassador of the Shaolin Temple, visited Brazil to bring the message of Shaolin to martial arts students all across that beautiful country.    From the projects to Ambassador From his earliest days as a poor kid growing up in the projects, helping others has defined Grandmaster’s life.  It is no wonder that when the Great Abbott Shi Yongxin elevated the first non-Asian to that rank, he chose our own Grandmaster DeMasco.  A few years later, he was named the Temple’s International Ambassador. His mission is …

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The Perfect Valentine – The Gift of Self Defense

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This time of year people look for ways to show their loved ones how much they care and why.  We call it “Valentine’s Day.” Some will propose marriage, some will give lavish gifts, and the card store shelves will be bare.  Be thoughtful and kind to the people you love. And, at the same time, we have an idea for a gift that will say, “I care about you and want you to be safe.”   Give someone in your life the gift of self-defense.  Don’t let her be the next victim. The sad facts of violence against women It …

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Discipline At Any Age

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We’ve heard about self-discipline all our lives.  If it were something we’re born with, we would all be in great shape, we would all be successful, and we would reach every one of our goals, right?  The good news is, nobody is “born” with it.  You have the same chance everyone else does to be successful. Self-discipline is a lifelong pursuit, and it is at the center of the martial arts.  Discipline is a journey, and any of us can begin at any time. Learning the Shaolin Way The Shaolin monks have a fascinating way of instilling discipline and helping us …

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Even In Weakness, There Is Strength

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In our weakness, we find our inner strength. Grandmaster DeMasco, in his book The Shaolin Way, shares some remarkable wisdom regarding the nature of weakness and strength.  It is wisdom you’ll come to understand through your journey in the martial arts.   “Much of Shaolin is about taking delicate steps along a road that is, according to Buddhists, sure to be full of potholes, which the thinking person will learn to move around or jump out of,” says Grandmaster.  In other words, the bad times will come, we’ll feel weak and vulnerable, so common sense tells us, “go around the …

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Martial Arts and Weight Loss

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Martial Arts and Weight Loss Martial arts training teaches self-defense and helps you become more centered, focused, and disciplined.  At the same time, the conditioning you’ll receive as you learn Kung Fu really will help you drop the pounds.  It’s not a weight loss program, but that usually happens anyway. Total Body Workout A typical class experience in the martial arts involves a full-body workout.   While you’re learning self-defense, you’re developing muscle tone, strength, balance, and flexibility.  It’s a level of activity that surpasses what most gym experiences can offer. Aerobic and anaerobic exercise Martial arts workouts often involve both …

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Martial Arts and Fitness

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Kung fu can help you learn to defend yourself, but great health and fitness benefits are waiting for you as well.   Conditioning Martial arts classes are taught in a high-energy, positive environment.  Because you’re always learning something new, you avoid the boredom and focus issues that come with high-repetition exercise programs. As you learn new skills and continue to refine what you already know, you are healthily raising your heart rate and keeping it there for a while.   Flexibility Martial artists learn to be agile and quick.  It’s often the key to survival in a self-defense situation.  Flexibility …

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The New Year’s Resolution You’ll Keep

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Most New Year’s Resolutions don’t last.  One source says that most of us give up in less than a month.   According to another study, the average “give up” day is January 12th.  We set goals with the intention to “live our best lives” (although few can define what that means), and we commit to spending a whole year pursuing that lofty goal.  Then, in just a few days, we’re right back to the old rut. The Resolution You’ll Keep What if you made a resolution this year that you might actually keep?!  Moreover, it’s a resolution that will change your …

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Give The Gift of the Martial Arts

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Giving the gift of martial arts is more than giving someone “fun.”  It’s giving a gift that will change someone’s life for the better. You can’t say that about a video game.     Few things have changed the lives of today’s children more than the combined onslaught of personal electronics, social media, and massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) like Fortnite.  Many typical adolescents begin the day communicating with friends through text and social media.  They barely say two words to their family before leaving for school.  Then they go to a school that has become a digital playground.  Declining …

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Improving the Lives of Others

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The Shaolin Monks make an amazing commitment.  They dedicate their lives to improving the lives of others.  They give up all their earthly attachments, live a life of simplicity in a temple at the foot of Song Mountain, and spend their lives studying the Shaolin Arts.   Most of us can appreciate that, and perhaps even admire these individuals.  But, we probably can’t relate to it. After all, we have busy lives. Family, friends, work, school, study, bills…and can any of us remember the last time they got to the end of their “to do” list?  The difference between a …

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Our attachment…to attachment

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The Shaolin Monks are some of the fiercest fighters and most compassionate people on the planet at the very same time.  These people decided to give up all worldly belongings and attachments to study Shaolin and Kung Fu. It is, by any standard, a radical commitment.  Yet somehow, through hardship, war, and multiple destructions of the temple, these radical warriors of compassion have endured for over 1600 years. Grandmaster DeMasco is the International Ambassador of the Shaolin Temple, and he has studied and written extensively on the Shaolin Monks.  One of the more radical concepts he reveals is the notion …

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2018 SDSS International Championship Tournament

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On Saturday, November 15, hundreds of SDSS students from around the country gathered to celebrate the martial arts at the SDSS 2018 International Championship Tournament.  This is the biggest event of the year. We gathered at the Crowne Plaza in Danbury to celebrate Kung Fu and our shared passion for the martial arts. Students competed in Shaolin Defensive Techniques, Forms, Sparring, Weapons forms, and Sword Sparring.   Each event was judged by senior instructors carefully assigned by Senior Master Meyer and Grandmaster DeMasco.  Students earned scores based on power, accuracy, and level of difficulty. Trophies go to the top scorers in …

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Student Spotlight – Caitlyn from Needham

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Congratulations to Caitlyn from Steve DeMasco’s Shaolin Studios of Needham. She’s a brand new Green Belt and the focus of our Student Spotlight! Caitlyn has been a student at the Needham studio since they opened nearly three years ago. “She works incredibly hard,” said Sensei Hill, the Needham Chief Instructor. “But what’s really incredible is how great a person she is. She lives the values of the Life Skills program. She’s helpful, kind, and a natural leader. I’ve really seen her grow since she started here with us.” Her mom, too, saw her grow as a person since beginning Kung …

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Martial Arts Teaches Respect

In Life Skills, National, Respect by SDSS

Respect is at the core of all martial arts instruction. From the very first day and the very first lesson, children are taught to respect their parents, instructors, and teachers. Adults learn it too – to respect their significant other, their family, their boss. Respect is an ancient value. Respect is an ancient value. Confucious said, “A youth, when at home, should be filial (respect and obey their parents), and abroad, respectful to his elders. He should be earnest and truthful. He should overflow in love to all and cultivate the friendship of the good.” It is a value so …

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The Tiger Teaches Self Control

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In our system, we learn Self Control from the Tiger fighting style.  Among the fiercest and most aggressive of the animal styles, the Tiger possesses incredible strength and power.  It always advances. The tiger can be huge, powerful, and intimidating. Because of that, the Tiger also teaches us that a warrior must learn to control that great power.  Establishing this balance is the lifelong journey of a martial artist. In Kung Fu, students learn to focus, be still, breathe deeply, and center the power of each punch or kick.  That takes remarkable self-control. In fact, the less self-controlled a person …

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Martial Arts Builds Patience

In National, Patience by SDSS

It takes patience to master anything.  The journey to black belt takes years, and it is different for each martial artist.  It’s no surprise that, across the country, about 1 in 10 make it that far. (That percentage is higher in the ranks of SDSS, a result of higher-than-average student retention.)   Each new belt brings new goals, and there are no compromises along the way.  As soon as you tie the new belt around your waist, you’re presented with a new set of challenges, more demanding than what was on your last test.  That takes patience. But, as the …

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Student Spotlight – George from Natick

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Meet George from SDSS Martial Arts of Natick. He’s a brand new blue belt, a thriving 2nd grader, and he is the focus of our Student Spotlight. George has been with SDSS of Natick for about a year now, where he just earned his Blue Belt. “He’s been taking lessons with us since we first opened last October. He arrives focused and motivated for every class, and displays very mature behavior on a consistent basis,” says Sensei Lucas, George’s instructor. “George engages honestly and willingly when talking about the life skills, and takes them with him everywhere he goes. He …