Shaolin-Do: An Honest Review and Case Study in law

Martial arts is one of the best ways to learn about different cultures, meet new people. gain physical and mental fitness, and build overall confidence.

From the years of 2001-2005, I was a very dedicated student to the system of “Shaolin-Do”, lead by the alleged Grandmaster Sin Kwang aka Sin The’.  I achieved a brown sash in the system, although, my specific teacher had deviated from the system quite a bit early on in my teachings, bringing in instructors from Boxing, Muay Thai, Praying Mantis Wushu and other systems to spar and do seminars with us. My teacher was very open minded, practical and young, thus we sparred full-contact and frequently cross-trained with other martial artists. Our school was frequently scolded by the Shaolin-Do headquarters in Kentucky for not wearing Japanese gis whereas we would wear traditional Chinese outfits. We felt that we were practicing Kung Fu (wushu) not Karate.

Eventually, I had enough of Shaolin-Do and began learning Xing Yi Quan under disciples who followed Sifu Shou-yu Liang who had immigrated to the west from China.  Later, I went on to cross train in many styles including Boxing, Muay Thai, Jujitsu, Wing Chun, Krav Maga and others. In 2010, I won 2nd place in a NAGA Jujitsu grappling tournament in Hillsboro, Tennessee. Looking back, if not for my open-minded Shaolin-Do instructor, I might still be trapped in the Shaolin-Do system, as I too believed that he had began to have doubts about whether or not he was practicing authentic Wushu. My instructor was a very formidable fighter, but did plenty of cross-training in other traditional and modern martial arts, however, he had been involved with Shaolin-Do since his youth, so perhaps he felt compelled to continue teaching and practicing it? I am not too sure. He did go on to later become a Muay Thai competitor.

My impression of Shaolin-Do is mixed. While the system itself does have some useful techniques, and some of the instructors are legitimately strong and somewhat capable at fighting, most of the schools I visited did very little full-contact sparring, performed their forms (Taolu) awkwardly, and participated in “closed” point-fighting tournaments. That’s right! Shaolin-Do students were encouraged to NOT compete in tournaments against non-Shaolin-Do students. Hmmm, why not? If it is the best system in the world, surely it could hold it’s own against a Kyokushin Karateka or  a Taekwondo fighter.

The atmosphere within the organization was very cult-like in most of the schools I saw, which isn’t uncommon for a traditional martial arts school.  As I got older, I began to visit other Wushu schools and perform in open-tournaments across the country, and the other Wushu players had never heard or seen of the “Taolu” (Kata in Japanese) that I was performing. Even the Xing-Yi-Quan (Hsing I) forms I was taught wasn’t the same or remotely close to the techniques other Wushu schools were teaching.  It all appeared to be made up or atleast altered. Which is fine, however, the Shaolin-Do system presented itself as authentic Shaolin-Kung Fu, not an altered version of it.

Depositions from a lawsuit involving Shaolin-Do confirm these doubts.  The lawsuit, Sin Kwang The’ vs. Jacob Rydbergshows evidence that “Grandmaster” Sin, did in fact fabricate atleast part of Shaolin-Do’s legitimacy. (The case study can be found- HERE) Everything from the forms to the history of his own training, Grandmaster Sin’ recants many of his advertised claims and even admits to making up his own forms. Again, these revelations aren’t to say that the Shaolin-Do system doesn’t have some usefulness, because all systems of martial arts were at one point, “Just made-up”, someone had to create it! But, this isn’t my problem with the system. My problem is that it markets itself as authentic Shaolin Martial Arts when it doesn’t quite appear to be. Then again, finding authentic Wushu in the USA is difficult enough as it is. If you walk into a Kung Fu school and they aren’t familiar with terms like, “Wushu”, “Taolu”, “Sanda”, “Dan-Tien” or the school does not openly compete in Wushu tournaments not sponsored by their own system, and they are wearing Japanese uniforms, It could be a cause for concern and reason to question.

Also, there is a question of “lineage”. Grandmaster Sin’ claims that he was taught martial arts by Grandmaster Ie Chang Ming who was taught by Su Kong Tai Djin.  Names that have almost no historical weight in the Martial Arts community outside of Shaolin-Do. If you mention Ip-Man or Yue-Fei, the Wushu community will instantly recognize such names. But, Su Kong Tai Djin? Who is that?

With the rise of MMA and combat practicality, people are more critical of martial arts lineages and effectiveness than ever before.  Because of the rise of MMA, schools and systems like Shaolin-Do have less impact on the martial arts world today, however, in smaller rural communities, Shaolin-Do is just as rampant as it ever was.  Alas, in this information age, I don’t blame the business marketing strategies of Shaolin-Do or Sin Kwang. It is up to the consumer to research the product he/she is willing to support. I did my research and wasn’t convinced, thus I left the system. Perhaps you will find a different answer.

If you are a teenager in a small town, and have no access to any other martial art or boxing gym, and Shaolin-Do is your only option, if the teacher is open-minded, it could be a decent introduction into martial arts and you may fall in love with the system. However, you owe it to yourself to explore others systems and styles before dedicating your life to something that you later find out wasn’t what you thought it was. This rings true for any style or system. But, if you are happy with your training, feel free to stick to “Shaolin-Do”, but just know that this system does come with some “fine print” and disclaimers to consider.

Martial Arts and Boxing are very important aspects to my life and personal history. In my high school years, I went to a tough school, and Shaolin-Do was an escape-outlet for me. I owe it a lot, and thankfully my teacher was a young-strong guy who encouraged me to cross-train in other styles and had me spar full-contact often. However, if I had to go back and do  those years over again, I would have trained elsewhere. I would have sought out a legit boxing gym, Wing Chun school, Krav Maga, or dedicated more time towards traditional Xing Yi Quan. Eventually, I began to focus most of my efforts on Boxing, Wing Chun, and Xing Yi Quan, but I wish I had done so much earlier.

 

11 ethics Nurses & Paralegals need to know

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Ethics are both personal and administrative. Your personal ethics may be one thing, whereas the ethics you are required to follow under the guidelines set forth by the American Nursing Association or by the National Paralegal Association, may conflict with your own morality Nevertheless, you have a duty to follow such ethics parameters if you want to keep your job and avoid being sued for malpractice or violating confidentiality provisions.

While this article focuses on paralegal and medical professionals, many of these principles are also highly relevant within any situation where you are handling someone’s private information. Here are my top 11 ways to avoid violating professional ethics guidelines:

1. Study-  If you are a nurse, study the ANA handbook. If you are a paralegal, study the NPA‘s handbook regarding ethics. Also, study the individual company policies provided to you once hired by a company provided to you at orientation. What you don’t know can get you killed!

2. Don’t Gossip:  Clients are going to approach you with all sorts of embarrassing stories about their lives. Medical conditions, legal issues, stories of infidelity, infertility, and other stomach turning scenarios will be common place in any area of client relations. You must handle these scenarios with care. If you wouldn’t want it to be shared with the public, then its safe to assume that your client wouldn’t either. Practice empathy, and put yourself in their shoes.

3. Be mindful of eavesdropping: When speaking to a client on the phone or in person, be sure that these conversations are done so in a quiet, secure, and private area. If these conversations are accidentally heard by a third party, it could result in negative consequences.

4. Secure documents: Any paperwork relating to company secrets or client information shouldn’t lay around openly for passerbyers to see. Such documents should also be shredded, not crumpled up in a trash bin. Identity thieves and spies are everywhere. Do not make their jobs easier by mishandling documents.

5. Do not administer actions without permission: Unless you are directed by a licensed doctor or lawyer, nurses and paralegals are NOT allowed to give a  personalized diagnosis, legal advice, or administer treatment. Nurses and Paralegals must also refrain from taking action when the client does not consent. Paralegals and nurses are “foot-soldiers”. We are to operate mostly by direct command, and rarely act independently, and even when we do, we are highly monitored.

6. Avoid the media: Addressing the media in regards to a client or the company you work for without authorization is a big NO-NO. You run the risk of defamation, releasing company trade-secrets, and other legal consequences.

7. Don’t be an accomplice:  If you see your supervising Doctor or attorney doing something highly unethical or illegal, you have the right to speak up and file a report with the authorities. Do not become an accomplice to illegal activity.

8. Think twice before becoming a rouge: Becoming a whistleblower or acting on your own because it “feels right”, could make you go down in history as a brave hero and save lives, however, it will not be without consequences. Acting outside of your assigned role, even if it saves a life could still cost you your job or open you up for a malpractice lawsuit or legal sanctions. Before you try to become the next Edward Snowden, remember, there will be consequences.

9. Stay up to date: Ethics guidelines are subject to change. Most nurses and paralegals are required or encouraged to attend furthering education courses or “refresher courses”. These could serve you well so that you do not fall out of the loop for current industry standards.

10. Pledge your loyalty to your client: Your job is to be an advocate for your client and an assistant to your superior. Embrace this role fully! If you think an alternative remedy is in order, express this to your supervising Doctor or Attorney. Do this away from the client in order to protect the honor of your supervisor as to not undermine him. Also, do not conspire or speak with any outside forces who may work against the interests of your client and/or employer. You are being paid for such loyalty. Any actions you take which could be interpreted as being “disloyal” to either the client or your employer, could result in termination or a lawsuit.

11. Swallow your pride: Paralegals and Nurses should take great care in picking a field or concentrated area that lines up with their conscious. If you cannot fathom defending a murderer or thief, you may want to stay away from criminal law and try bankruptcy law instead. You can also ask to be removed from certain cases or refuse to work with certain clients who make you feel uncomfortable. However, regardless of how hard you try to manage your career, you will ultimately be forced to take actions that go against your own personal beliefs. It’s the nature of any business and something all employees must learn to accept. Do your best to minimize such circumstances but also learn how to justify such actions if absolutely necessary. Those who fail to rationalize their jobs will fall victim to alcoholism and other unhealthy coping methods if they do not learn how to cope naturally. Legal and medical professionals will benefit greatly from having a support system in friends and family.

The philosophy and administrative guidelines that govern the idea of “ethics” can get very complicated. If you are unsure about whether or not you may be violating your company’s standards of ethics, it never hurts to ask!