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.

 

Going to Child Support court? Read this

 

In the eyes of God, before anyone enters into a court-room, both father and mother are the full fledged guardians of a child. Before a couple enters into the family law system, there is no one regulating the terms and conditions of parenthood, household income, time spent with each parent, ect. However, as soon as you add a judge into the mix, lives can be forever altered by an ordinary human construct. The Family Law Courts!

Custody spats, Child support, alimony, these are all terms that send shivers down the spines of many. If you are a non-custodial parent or custodial parent, entering into the family law system, please consider these tips moving forward to ease the struggle of your unique family structure.

Non-Custodial Parent:

  1.  Get a DNA Test! : This sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be amazed at how many men are paying child support for a kid that is not biologically their own.  Unless there is a prior adoption agreement, no one is legally obligated to pay for someone else’s child.
  2. Consider communication:  If the child is yours, make one last effort to communicate with the mother. What are your goals with the child? What are her goals? Does she want to keep the child? Do you want to be a part of the child’s life? Are you both financially sound? If you two can both find an agreement without involving the government, this will be your best bet. However, if any financial support is given to either party, keep receipts of everything. The custodial parent, (who is typically always going to be the mother in the eye’s of the family law system), can bring the case before a judge at any time and thus sue you for retroactive support. Without any evidence of prior support, you could be on the hook for thousands of dollars.
  3.  Consider your income:  When a child support case is brought to court for the first time, the court will ask for your previous year’s tax return and proof of income from the last two months.  If you know that you have a case coming up, it may be in your financial interest to research how your income levels will be considered. If you have been working three jobs for the last two months before your court date, the courts will consider that income for setting guidelines on how much you are to pay each month. While I do no advise anyone to do anything illegal, maneuvering within the rules (while still adhering to them), in order to survive the eventual 50% garnishment of your income that is soon to take place, is a worthy survival tactic.
  4.  Never let an administrator set the guidelines for support! The child support enforcement agency will often  sell the idea to you that a judge is not needed. They will first appoint an administrator to have a meeting with you and the “custodial” parent. During this meeting, they will calculate income and expenses and then come up with an arbitrary number. That number will always favor the custodial parent.  Never agree to their offers! Always demand that a judge make a ruling on the numbers. Remember, only the judge can make deviations from the  state guidelines. The Child support enforcement administrators cannot make deviations, in fact, they are encouraged to calculate high numbers so that they can collect bonuses from the Title IV section D grant money that is linked with child support collections. However, if you demand to speak with a Judge, he/she may or may not, consider the fact if you have medical expenses, outrageous rent, or other factors that impact your ability to earn income. If the judge is compassionate, you may get lucky with a ruling that is slightly lower than the recommended guidelines issued from the Child Support Enforcement Agency. However, the administrators will never tell you this because they know you are intimidated and do not wish to sit in a court room all day. While the administrators can quickly draw up an order and get you out of their offices, in the long-run, it may not benefit you.
  5. Be Careful with Modifications:  Just because you think your child support is too high doesn’t mean a judge will agree. If you seek to modify your child support order, you may end up paying more! Especially if you have earn more income than you did previously. In some states, CSE (child support enforcement) will automatically raise support amounts if the NCP (Non custodial parent) gets a higher paying job. It is a deadly cycle. Get a higher paying job to afford a child support order, only to have it raised again! Only seek modification if you experience a sharp decrease in earnings and/or you lose your job.  Major medical expenses coming from a surgery or foreclosure may warrant a temporary reduction but can be risky. Consult an attorney!
  6. Challenge Expenses: In child support cases, you will be made to pay for half of any day-care or medical costs. Be sure to challenge any receipts that appear home-made.  These extra expenses can inflate child support payments very quickly, especially if the other parent is embellishing the amount they are paying for child-care costs.
  7. Ask for mediation:  Many courts will offer a no-cost, one-time, mediation session between you and the mother. This is your last ditch effort to sit privately in a room with you and the other parent to negotiate a parenting plan and/or to make voluntary reductions in support. While mediation can be extremely helpful if both parties are logical, it is still up to the judge to agree with the terms.
  8. Consider settlements or Forgiveness:   If you get behind in child support, you may be able to offer settlements to avoid jail time. If you owe $10,000 for instance, you may be able to offer the judge a $6,000 settlement to avoid jail-time without having to pay the remaining three.  Some states even allow for forgiveness of child support debt if you have a good excuse such as medical problems and you are showing good faith to look for employment.
  9. Study Turner V Rogers-  This supreme court case outlined that non-custodial parents should only be jailed if they are willfully refusing to pay child-support payments. Being unable to pay does not warrant one’s life or liberties to be suspended. It must be proven before such aggressive tactics can be implemented against the non-custodial parent.
  10.  Study State of Minnesota V Nelson-  In this case, Mr. Nelson was behind over $80,000, on child support, however, he was still caring for and nurturing his children, i.e.- “Supporting”, therefore the supreme court reversed his felony conviction of failure to pay child support.
  11. Study  Coull vs. Rottman –  In this case, Mr.Coull was absolved of paying any child support due to Ms.Rottman alienating the child from Mr.Coull. The courts found that Ms.Rottman had no bases to ask to support if she was adamant on not allowing the father to partake in the child’s life despite him being fit to do so. This is a rare case decision, but very thought provoking.
  12. Consider International Law: 1976 Article 11 of the ICCPR – International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – came into effect stating, “No one shall be imprisoned merely on the ground of inability to fulfill a contractual obligation.”  This international obligation contradict many countries’ domestic laws that allow for civil jailings. The United States being one of the chief offenders in not adhering to the provisions in this international agreement. Nevertheless, it is still noteworthy.

Custodial Parents:

  1. Communicate:  Do you want this child? Does he?  Is abortion or adoption being considered? Can you sit down with him/her and have an open-dialogue about both of your futures?  If the child has already been born, still communicate! Do everything you can to handle the situation without court involvement.
  2. Welfare-  Many states will not issue welfare to struggling parents unless they name both parents and/or agree to put one of the parents on child support. A good remedy is to have the entire family apply together, however, this often times makes one ineligible because your income bracket may be too high.
  3. Do not alienate your children:  If you are receiving child support, you are NOT a single parent doing it alone, you are getting help.  Even if the other parent is not able to financially provide, if they are showing love to the child, you should not get in-between that bonding process, to do so can cause severe mental and emotional scars to the child that can make them more susceptible to  deviant behavior as an adult not to mention the emotional damage done to the parent who is being prevented from seeing the child. No body wins in alienation.  Children are not bargaining pieces..
  4.  Spend wisely:  If you receive a good amount of child support every month, use what money is left over and put it in a trust fund for the child’s future education. Many custodial parents like to use child support funds to spoil their children with toys or even themselves. In the long run, it does nothing for your children. It is called “child support”, not an entertainment fund.
  5. Reconsider enforcing penalties:  Asking a judge to suspend the other parent’s drivers license or to have him/her incarcerated only hurts you and the child.  Such penalties will make it harder for him to find and keep employment, thus reducing the chances that you will ever see a dime in child support.
  6. Rethink “Support”-  Many custodial parents are extremely protective of their children, since they usually spend the most time with the child while the other parent is usually busy trying to keep up with child support or alimony payments. If you truly need “support”, do not fight “joint custody”. This way you have one parent taking responsibility half the time, and the other parent doing half the work. In many cases, child support may not even be warranted, in this case, everyone can win. If it isn’t about the money, and you can check your emotions at the door, then joint custody shouldn’t be an issue.
  7.  Become an advocate- About 92% of the time, women end up becoming the custodial parent. As a custodial parent, you have a lot of power. Don’t abuse this power! Use it to advocate for equal parenting rights.  I am reminded of an old saying, “Those who desire to give away their power are the most powerful indeed.”  or as Confucius would say,  “Those who wish to secure others, has already secured himself.”

Both parties

Be mindful of eachother! Neither parent is in a particularly “easy” situation. While the non-custodial parent will become stressed out about meeting child-support criteria, the custodial parent will become stressed out with the rearing of the child, transporting the child ,ect. Try to put yourself in the other parent’s shoes and practice empathy. If both parents can do this, it will make it easier for each of them to work together for the sake of the child and potentially remove the disagreements that lead to one of the parents allowing the government to regulate their family affairs.

While the media has given much coverage to the narrative of the “struggling single mom”, whereas “Men need to step up for face the consequences”, I believe that a new narrative needs to be introduced to the general public. One that considers the history of gender relations and how modern developments require us to look at the situation of family disputes through a modernized “looking glass”.

This publication includes the un-redacted portions from a report that was submitted the Human Rights Council in Geneva and to several other human rights organizations and/or governing bodies such as the United States Department of Justice. The original report was over 50 pages long, however, the sections shown in this publication exclude personal documents that are privileged to confidentiality. I pray that those who take the time to read this report will walk away with a better sense of how the modern family law system operates, who is being marginalized and what we can do to reduce its over-reach into our personal decisions. After all, true “freedom”, isn’t the just the ability to make a choice, but to also suffer the consequences of a choice.

“Freedom”, teaches us that consequences rarely need to be administered by government, but rather by the laws of nature of karmic retributions, principles that no man-made legislation can create a loop-hole for.

God-speed.

-Randell D. Stroud

 

Kentucky Police Department tests the 4th Amendment

To: Paducah Police Chief, Brandon Barnhill-  bbarnhill@paducahky.gov

From: Nalini-Global- Naliniglobal@yahoo.com 

The Paducah Police Department of Kentucky has recently launched a new initiative known as the, “Lock it or Lose it” campaign. Officers will now be encouraged to conduct sweeps around the city to check vehicles parked on public property, to see if they are properly locked and/or if valuables are in plain-view. If the vehicle is found to be unlocked and unattended by the owner, the officer will run the license plate and make attempts to reach the owner of the vehicle by telephone. If the officer cannot make contact, the officer will place a door hanger on the owner’s registered home address linked to the license plate. The informational door hanger will contain a warning to keep their vehicle properly locked up.

Officers who come across vehicles that are properly locked, will leave a “Thank you” card on the windshield of the vehicle. On the back of the card, a survey can be completed and mailed to the Paducah Police Department. Those who fill out the survey are automatically entered into a drawing contest to win prizes.  Officer Christopher Fearon recently spoke on a local Television program called “The Paducah View“, promoting the initiative stating that , “….Paducah is a safe town to live in, and sometimes people gain a false sense of security because of that.”   The initiative is not a nation-wide federal mandate, however, other cities and states have launched similar programs such as the “Lock it or Lose it” program launched in Lakeland,Florida last year. The Lakeland Police Department uses even more invasive tactics such as placing a bright orange cone on the top of an unlocked vehicle and leaving “lock it or leave it” brochures inside of the vehicle in order to send a “wake up” message to the car owner to lock up his/her valuables.

According to an article written by the West Kentucky Star, Officer Fearon states that, “……the Paducah Police Department will not leave warning hangers on the car itself nor will they open the car doors.” However, there is a million dollar question that comes with such a statement.

How can you know if a car is unlocked unless you try to open it?

On the surface, such a program may seem innocent or even well-intended. To be honest, it probably is well intended. Some may jump to conspiracy theories about, “Big Brother is Watching”, or claim that there is some secret agenda, yet, I believe it is simply a plan that is not well-thought out albeit well intended.

I have two problems with this initiative.

  1. A potential breach of the 4th Amendment
  2.  An abuse of power 

For an officer to make contact with a person or his property, there generally has to be “probable cause” or “Reasonable Suspicion”. “Probable cause” is a principle that is highly debated, especially with practices such as the “Terry Stop” being the norm these days.  A “Terry Stop”, is more a less an officer’s legal right to stop someone for questioning if the subject is doing something “suspicious” but is not engaging in a blatant activity that warrants probable cause for arrest or seizure of property.

Looking at the “Lock it or Lose It” program, I can see many pitfalls with this well-intended program.

Under the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution, a private individual has the right to be secure in his possessions and maintain his privacy. This includes his home, his personal belongings, his e-mails, text messages, and yes……his vehicle! If an officer wants to enter the home of a citizen, search a vehicle, or seize property, he must obtain a warrant signed from a judge or the subject must voluntarily consent.

If an officer routinely approached your house, unwarranted, and began to “jiggle” the locks on your door to make sure they are “secured”, would you feel safer or violated? If your answer is “violated”, then you are probably not a supporter of this initiative. Or at least you shouldn’t be.   In order for an officer to determine whether or not a vehicle is locked, unless the door is left wide-open, the officer will have to physically attempt to open the door of the vehicle. The Paducah Police Department claims that they will not open doors, but how else could they test whether or not a car door is locked?

If this program becomes the norm around the nation, citizens will begin to develop a false-sense of trust for law enforcement officers who “check” their locks. While I believe most officers have good hearts and truly want to protect their communities, who is to say that this program wouldn’t be alluring to an officer who may be inclined to use this program to conduct full on searches or to plant evidence illegally? This type of program could create a curtain for abuse of power and make it easier for law enforcement to target citizens or to obtain an arrest and/or conviction.

If my car is stolen, or my valuables are taken because of my own negligence, I have no one to blame but myself and the person who lacks the moral aptitude to refrain from stealing.  Our local police are already burdened with investigators looking to track down murderers, pedophiles, rapists, and other violent criminals.  We cannot expect law enforcement to protect us 24/7 unless we all agreed to live in a militarized police-state where our every action, thought, and movement were all being recorded or monitored.

With the rise of the TSA, Terrorist threats and the controversy surrounding the “NSA Spy Program” leaked by former intelligence officer Edward Snowden, many Americans look at this program with the same question that has plagued us all since September 11th, 2001.

“How do we balance security while respecting our individual liberty and privacy?”

The police and military have a job to do. Their #1 duty is to protect the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of their fellow residents and citizens. Their job is not to make sure we button up our shirts correctly, brush our teeth every morning, or lock our cars when we run inside the grocery store to purchase a loaf of bread.

Not only is this program disrespecting the 4th amendment of the Constitution, but it is also creating unnecessary, “Busy Work” for police officers who could be applying their time and resources towards tackling and solving crimes that are actually taking place or have already taken place.  From a tax burden issue, who will pay for these informational cards to be printed up? What will be the administrative cost of this program a year from now?  How many man hours will be dedicated to this program? These, among other issues, certainly need to be addressed before further implementation of this program continues.

What are your thoughts? Should the program be discontinued, altered, or do you see it as perfectly innocent?

Let me know at, NaliniGlobal@yahoo.com

Thank you,

With love and honor

Randell D Stroud,

Founder of Nalini-Global

2017

(To be Submitted)