December Theme: Honor

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Blog design copyright © 2007-2010 by Steve Amoia. All rights reserved. The blog template was provided by Google Blogger.

"Everything begins in the mind. Create the intention and then apply the effort to receive the result."

"It is very easy to break a pencil in half. Breaking ten pencils in half is an altogether different matter."

--- Coach Ron Pfeiffer, 7th Degree Black Belt, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin USA

"Don't fear the person who has studied a thousand techniques one time. Fear the person who has studied one technique a thousand times."

--- Ed DellaCroce, 3rd Degree Black Belt and the North Carolina State Director for World Dragon Kenpo.

December Theme: Honor.

The Example of Staff Sergeant Salvatore A. Giunta

“I lost two dear friends of mine. I would give this back in a second to have my friends with me right now.”

Featured Video

Saturday, April 12, 2008

April 2008 Slayer News

About Dragon Kenpo Karate
April 2008 Self-Control. Special Issue about Tai Chi and Qi Gong.

“Respond intelligently, even to unintelligent treatment.” Lao Tzu

Table of Contents

Opening Comments by Coach Ron Pfeiffer
Featured Article: Interview with Coach Ron Pfeiffer: Tai Chi and Qi Gong Training Seminar by Steve Amoia
Train Like You Mean It by Rick Collette
A Day in My Life of Self-Control by Phoebe Nelson Oshirak, RN
Introduction to Tai Chi Chuan and Qi Gong: An Interview with Dr. Sen Huang by Steve Amoia
Tai Chi and Me
by Kathleen Wisniewski
Closing Comments by Coach Ron Pfeiffer
Staff Biographies Link

Opening Comments by Coach Ron Pfeiffer

Spring into Dragon Kenpo...

The World Tai Chi and Qi Gong day is April 26 and World Dragon Kenpo will be organizing a group at Library Park in Lake Geneva, WI. We will coordinate with other groups around the world, and we've been told that as many as 1 million individuals will be doing Tai Chi at the same time. The phrase "One World, One Breath" is being used to motivate and mobilize this day of Tai Chi. Those of you who are into the Tai Chi thing should contact Coach Pfeiffer to get info on getting an event together locally. It will bring students to your school and raise the public awareness of the health benefits of Tai Chi and Qi Gong.

Courtesy of

To complement this important event, this month’s Slayer will feature articles and personal essays about Tai Chi and Qi Gong.

For our members interested in moving towards teaching...

I've just started another session of instruction, teaching Tai Chi and self-defense, at the University of Wisconsin at Parkside. Many universities offer programs for the community so if you check you may be able to offer a program that way.

Just a reminder to our members... Promotion and advancement are not automatic. If you have questions or concerns or are not sure what your next step is you must take action. I've had students contact me and ask "Why haven't I been promoted? Or why haven't you emailed me?" Simply put, I am in email, phone and IM contact with a lot of members and do respond to every inquiry and question. So if you're wondering what's goin' on, ask!

Also a new batch of WDK Uniform patches have arrived so if you don't have one on your uniform or jacket or on display for your students, get yours now!!

And... If you need to update your financial information the link can be found by going to the main page at clicking on the News link and going to the bottom of that page. In order for us to keep the costs of membership to a minimum please do your part and keep your info current.

Another reason we are able to offer our program at a most reasonable cost is we have so far avoided the expense of advertising (for now). Excellent members know that word of mouth helps our program survive, so pitch in and refer someone today!

All the Best,

Coach Ron Pfeiffer


Occasionally, our members have asked what's the best way to help others learn about our school and program. K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Students! Just refer them to one of our websites, as some of you know we have a few. Also, our school depends on member referrals to grow. Our tuition is the lowest of any school because we don't have advertising expenses, etc. Use these links for referrals:

Coach Ron Pfeiffer can be contacted at

Interview with Coach Ron Pfeiffer: Tai Chi and Qi Gong Training Seminar
by Steve Amoia

In March 2006, with the assistance of the local YMCA, Coach Pfeiffer traveled to Peoria, Illinois to participate in the Instructor Workshop presented by the Arthritis Foundation of Greater Illinois Chapter. The training was based upon the Sun Style Tai Chi, along with a section of study devoted to Qi Gong.

Coach Ron, what is the major difference between Tai Chi and Dragon Kenpo?

That’s an easy one. Imagine the difference between night and day. Dragon Kenpo is learned best while in contact with your partner if you are lucky enough to have one. Tai Chi is best learned while quieting the mind and relaxing the muscles. Which is one reason that I sought this out. The other reason is many of our instructors and members are already familiar with the many benefits of Tai Chi. Balance in what we teach and study is extremely important. Also, making our program usable for persons who aren’t so athletic is equally important.

Since this training was sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation, are mainstream (Western) physicians now aware of the healing effects of Tai Chi?

Many are, and some are recommending that their patients find a Tai Chi class to get them moving. It will be our job going forward to help increase the awareness of the many benefits of the gentle exercise which is Tai Chi.

You studied the Sun Style of Tai Chi. What are some of the major characteristics of this Tai Chi form?

Sun Style contains a lot of Qi Gong movements, which help breathing and relaxation. Basically, the stances are higher and the movements are gentler on the joints than the other major styles. Sun (pronounced "soon") is newer than Chen, Yang, or Wu Tai Chi styles. An additional characteristic is that its artistic depth which holds the learner’s interest as they progress.

You also had some exposure to Qi Gong. What is this, and how does it complement the practice of Tai Chi?

The Qi Gong we will be doing is a group of exercises to strengthen the thigh muscles and develop the breath. When the master instructor asked me “What is Qi Gong?” My answer was ‘Energy Breathing’ which is mostly correct. Some people consider Sun style a Qi Gong because of the use of breathing postures throughout.

Does the Arthritis Foundation have a web site dedicated to Tai Chi and Qi Gong where we can learn more about these Arts?

Do a basic web search for Tai Chi for Health, and you can find a ton of information.

When might students of WDK anticipate being able to study Tai Chi in the future?

They can get started right now by visiting (not a WDK site) and ordering Dr. Lam’s Tai Chi for Arthritis videos. Also for the last couple of years, we have made available Tai Chi Instructor Training on the first weekend in September. We invite WDK members and local students to attend.

We originally set a goal of 4 months to get the training online as we have with Dragon Kenpo Karate. That was, it seems, a little ambitious. I am preparing to shoot and edit the Tai Chi training in the Fall of 2008 with one of our new partners, the University of Wisconsin at Parkside. We just started another 7 week session of self-defense and Tai Chi at UWP, and everyone we’ve talked with is fired up about both programs. We are in a unique position to bring this to many people. Our school goal of continuous improvement is one of the drivers behind this new initiative.

Coach Ron, thank you for sharing your insights with us, along with the new partnership with UWP.

Coach Ron Pfeiffer can be contacted at

Steve Amoia can be contacted at

Train Like You Mean It
by Rick Collette, California State Director of WDK

Here I will pose several questions, and then I will try to answer them
to the best of my knowledge. I am only one person, with only my own
experiences and my own philosophies, so if you would like to chime in
on anything I touch upon (or fail to touch upon), then please contact
me via e-mail.

As far as training is concerned, what happens when you've gone over
your techniques, you have done your drills, you are working on your
kata (if you have any), and the light bulb goes off: I've either
trained to hit within a centimeter of my training partner, or I've
trained to hit softly (in both cases - "With Control"). The next
question is obvious. How will I react in an actual situation?

I've seen this time and again, where someone comes back to their
instructor and praises the Armbar, Wristlock, or other Jiu-Jitsu type
move. This is great! The technique worked. But why aren't we
hearing that the striking technique was successfully delivered? I
know one reason, and this is the focus of this article.

We typically train to just miss our training partner, or to hit softly
and with control. Some schools train to actually strike at full
force, and this article is not intended for those schools or training

In Kenpo, we deliver a series of rapid strikes that are designed to
follow a meridian, and cause heavy damage to the human body. It's
dangerous stuff folks, and sometimes we get really buried in our art
and forget this. Every one of us that trains or teaches wants our art
to be the "hard hitting" art. We want to be the ones that people say
"These guys are the real deal." But how do we get to that point
without seriously damaging each other?

What I propose is a multi-tiered training mechanism. One where we
train our techniques, kata, and drills, but then step to the heavy
bag, Wing Chung dummy, or Bob, and actually perform our techniques at
full speed and with full power.

What happens to so many of us is that we get into our groove. We
train hard, but we train to almost hit our target. Believe this: You
will react in a stressful situation exactly the way you train. Repeat
this to yourself.
I know of an instructor who was confronted by a
fellow, the instructor really went to town on this guy, and he probably
hit the guy a dozen times. The guy never went down. Realizing what
happened, and not wanting to get hurt, the instructor resorted to one
of my personal favorite tactics: He kicked the guy in the groin and

This instructor then changed his workout habit. He has proved what we
have heard since the beginning of our training - you fight like you

Now that I know this is true, because I'm a techie and need proof of everything,
I have changed my habits as well.

When I perform my standing techniques, I do them with a human first -
I need to see how a person's body will react to certain strikes,
blocks, and holds. Next I move to a heavy bag. This allows me to
visualize the movements, then hit the bag as hard as I need to
incapacitate the attacker. I have a Wavemaster (you know, those floor
free standing punching bags you fill the base with water?), which does
not give me the resistance I would expect a real person to give, so I
would suggest investing in a real heavy bag. For groundwork, again, I
first work out with a real person, then move to an unmounted heavy

I recently read something that I thought was kind of cool that
people who are creative and good at do it yourself projects could try.
Basically, it's a fairly realistic grappling dummy. I like the idea,
because of the arms and legs it has. Here is a link to create one:

The bottom line is this; you have got to train with another human.
There is just no other way to know what to expect when you actually
hit someone. Additionally, there is the fact that if you yourself do
not get hit, you'll freeze and freak out during a real confrontation.
You also need to train hard with something you can really hit as hard
as you should be hitting when faced with an attacker.

Rick Collette can be reached at

A Day in My Life of Self-Control
by Phoebe Nelson Oshirak, RN and Tai Chi Student

“Punishment may make us obey the orders we are given, but at best it will only teach obedience to authority, not a self-control which enhances our self-respect.” --- Bruno Bettelheim

A new day dawned. Still groggy from a sound night's sleep, I walked toward the kitchen. In my “pre-cup of java” fog, a cursory glance into the hall mirror made me realize Phyllis Diller was visiting again.

The usual morning routine commenced, with dogs, cats and birds taking priority over the humans in the chow line. Lots of chomping and slurping noises ensued and then finally, it was my turn. I shuffled toward the pantry and grabbed a box whose content was still a mystery, as I had not yet found my eye-glasses. Heading for the refrigerator, I removed the carton of skim milk that sat next to whipping cream, purchased for the cat of course. Suddenly, I had what could only be described as an “Out-of-Body-Experience;” imagining myself sitting in a booth about to bite into an Egg McMuffin. Beside my empty styrofoam container sat a side of pancakes with real, honest-to-goodness maple syrup, pooling in the plate. A large cup of steaming coffee (with triple cream) sat next to three jelly doughnuts, just waiting for me. Could this be Heaven?

In a nanosecond, I was back in my kitchen exercising (a nasty word at this hour) self-control for the fist time today. I was struggling to open the hermetically sealed inner bag that kept crawly things from consuming my All-Bran Extra Fiber before I did. During the tug of war it dawned on me the bag had been secured with Super-Glue. Once opened however, I noticed the bag was not quite half full. In consideration of the consumer, whose jaw had just dropped to her chest, the manufacturer wrote (in rather small print I might add) that the meager content was due to “settlement” during shipping. There were a few choice words I could have said to Mr. Kellogg but by now, hunger gnawed at my innards and made the cardboard box look appetizing. I added a few fresh strawberries to the otherwise uninviting bran twigs and dug in, pushing the urge to whip up a batch of Aunt Jemima's out of my thoughts. “Ah, such self-control,” I mused.

There were numerous items on my “To Do” list today. In truth, I longed to be in my garden, or relaxing in the morning sun with a second cup of coffee and the juicy romance novel I started a month ago. I could call in sick, but for the second time (and it was not yet seven o'clock in the morning) my self-control prevailed and I headed for the shower to get ready for work.

To make a long story short, that evening, while washing the last dish after dinner, I realized self-control had come to my rescue twelve times that day. For instance, what I really wanted was that hot fudge sundae for lunch, but instead, I had a salad. And rather than say what I really felt when a co-worker took one of my clients, I was pleasant to her and kept my cool. In addition, I didn't go to the candy machine to soothe my emotional state either.

At day’s end, and with the eagerness of a two year old running free in Toys R Us, I went to the cupboard and took out the cookie jar. Removing the lid, I put my hand in and grabbed … then hesitated… letting my fingers relax as several cookies slowly slipped back into the jar. I withdrew my hand, replaced the lid, and put the jar back on the shelf. All day long - often without realizing it, I had exercised my self-control. Why not use it one more time? Not that it wasn’t the best thing for me to use self-control, it was. And surely it was the best thing for that co-worker of mine too, because I could have knocked her from here to Tuesday. Isn’t Self-Control simply another word for Anger Management?

Sitting back in my favorite chair, I looked down. Two cookies lay in my hand. Taking my first bite, I let the sweetness and chocolate mingle in my mouth with a surprising sense of pleasure. There was no guilt, only satisfaction knowing that earlier in the day I had done something deserving of a small reward now. Some days it doesn’t turn out that way.

Yes, today was a really good day for me…and Lord ‘O Mercy, those Oreos tasted simply deeeevine!

Phoebe Nelson Oshirak can be contacted at

Introduction to Tai Chi Chuan and Qi Gong: An Interview with Dr. Sen Huang
By Steve Amoia

Tai Chi Chuan, which means “The Supreme Ultimate Fist,” is a historical Chinese martial art. It traces its roots to 12th century China. A Taoist monk of the Wu Tang monastery, Zhang Sanfeng, is believed to have developed this art. In comparison to other martial arts, such as Aikido, Kenpo, and Kung Fu, Tai Chi Chuan, or “Tai Chi” as it is known in North America, is considered a gentler approach. This is derived by the slower muscular movements compared to the traditional “harder” disciplines that I have referenced.


The purpose of this art is to teach the student an awareness of their mental and physical balance, along with factors that affect this state. Tai Chi Chuan focuses on change, and how to respond to it. Students learn theories of physics as they apply to human motions. The flowing movements of Tai Chi Chuan relax our muscles, and utilize leverage among the joint systems for defensive or aggressive postures. There are three main components of this system: health, meditation, and as a pure martial art.


There are several branches, or forms of study, such as Sun, Chen, Yang, or Wu Tai Chi. I will focus on the two most popular. The solo form highlights slower sets of movements with relaxing breaths, fluid motions, along with an aligned spinal column to promote proper posture. The second form concentrates upon methods of “pushing hands and stickiness.” This is done with a training partner where one learns how to attune to reflexes and coordinated movements. Some styles incorporate weapons, such as the sword, saber, and spear. As Lao Tzu, the author of the ancient literary classic, “Tao Te Ching,” wrote, “The soft and the pliable will defeat the hard and the strong.”

A Form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Research has indicated that Tai Chi Chuan has many health benefits. Flexibility, increased balance, and cardiovascular fitness are the most prevalent. Some studies have indicated that this discipline may assist those who suffer from arthritis and other joint maladies. In 2006, Coach Ron Pfeiffer became certified to teach us the Sun form of Tai Chi, along with Qi Gong techniques, by the Illinois Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation. TCM focuses on the treatment of blocked chi, which is the life energy force. Tai Chi Chuan promotes a healthy flow of chi throughout our bodies. In the Chinese medical perspective, freely moving chi maintains good health, and prevents many illnesses.

Expert Opinion: Dr. Sen Huang, Certified and Licensed Acupuncturist

Dr. Sen Huang is a Chinese medical doctor (C.M.D), and also has a Ph. D from the prestigious Shanghai Brain Institute. Dr. Huang used to teach Human Anatomy at the George Washington University. He now focuses on his growing TCM practice,, but also acts as a consultant to GWU’s alternative health program at their medical school. Dr. Huang studied and has taught Tai Chi Chuan, and implements medical Qigong in his practice. I asked Dr. Huang to provide some of his insights and expertise for us.

Dr. Huang, how does Tai Chi help us both physically and mentally?

The slow, but graceful movements of Tai Chi not only help muscles, joints, and the cardiovascular system, but also help people's memory, focus and concentration. It is the art of creating energy and is also called ‘moving meditation.’ People can benefit mentally and physically from practicing it.

Can you please define medical Qi Gong, and what is its purpose?

Qi Gong (pronounced "chi goong") is a Chinese system of physical training, philosophy, and preventive and therapeutic health care. Qi (or "chi") means air, breath of life or vital essence. Gong means work, self-discipline, achievement or mastery. Qi Gong is a discipline that makes us to be more sensitive to the internal operations of our bodies, and helps us to reveal the body's place within nature's oneness to integrate our internal Yin/Yang balance with the universal order. Thus, through the active cultivation and deliberate control of a higher form of vital energy, we can achieve a harmonious integration of the human body with the universe.

Does the practice of Qi Gong reduce stress levels?

Qi Gong involves breathing exercises combined with meditation. It improves delivery of oxygen to the body's cells, reduces stress and stimulates circulation of blood and Qi, or the life force. This gentle art has been used to treat a variety of ailments. In addition, Qi Gong offers us a way to achieve a relaxed, harmonious state of dynamic equilibrium. Thus, it improves our overall health status, allowing us to maintain a life free from pain, and full of vigor and grace.”


Dr. Sen Huang:

Tai Chi Chuan:

Steve Amoia can be contacted at

Tai Chi and Me
by Kathleen Wisniewski, Tai Chi Student

Editor’s Note: This was originally published in the January 2008 edition of Slayer News.

This is the first time I have written for the Slayer News. I am 56 years old and a post polio victim. I contracted polio when I was just two years old.

I have been married to Mike Wisniewski for thirty-four years. We raised two children. Not long ago, my husband began taking Tai Chi at the local YMCA in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin hoping it would help him stay fit and cope with his diabetes. It has. Often, I would watch Mike while he practiced the Tai Chi moves, and it made me wish I could learn Tai Chi too. But I felt unsure that I could do the moves because of the after effects of polio. One day, after Mike displayed some of the Tai Chi moves, I got up my courage to try them. It felt great. So, the next week I went to meet with Mike’s coach. I told Coach Ron that I wanted to participate in the Tai Chi class, and asked him if it would be all right to try it. I felt just because I have a handicap, it should not prevent me from trying Tai Chi. He agreed with me and suggested I sign up for the beginner’s class. I did, and that was three beginner’s classes ago. I am now in the advanced class with my husband and the many friends I have met at Tai Chi.

I would like to take this opportunity to say, “Thank you Mike and Coach Ron” for having faith in me and giving me encouragement to try Tai Chi. I also want to thank Ellen, a fellow classmate, who took me under her wing and told me every week what a great job I was doing and how much I was improving. Every one in the beginner’s and advanced class are really supportive. We are a team now.

Tai Chi has not only given me new friends, it has helped boost my self-esteem. In addition, practicing Tai Chi in class and at home with my husband has increased the strength in my affected leg. When I was growing up, the kids at school made fun of me because the polio made me walk differently. In Tai Chi class, all eyes are on Coach Ron, and I am just another student in class. I wanted to write this article with the hope it would let others who are like me know they do not have to let their handicap prevent them from achieving their goals. Don’t let it stop you. Just try your best, enjoy your life and above all, have fun doing it.

Closing Comments by Coach Ron Pfeiffer

If you have an article that you would like to submit, you may respond to me or Steve Amoia. Comments and questions about our publication are encouraged via the interactive nature of our blog. Or you can direct them to me by email. Please proofread your submissions, and shorter rather than longer articles are preferred. WDK reserves the right to edit any submission.

Important Notice To All Members

All Student/Instructor members are reminded that advancement and promotion are not automatic. Contact Coach Pfeiffer or your local instructor if you have questions or to request advancement information.

Is your school having an event? Let the Dragon Kenpo community know by placing it in the Slayer News! We are here to help you and your students get the most out of your training.

Please remember to keep your information updated so that the World Dragon Kenpo Schools of Self-Defense can serve you in the best way possible!

The articles within this newsletter are the views of the writer and not necessarily the views of World Dragon Kenpo Schools of Self-Defense.

Coach Ron Pfeiffer can be contacted at

Staff Biographies Link

For a link to our Slayer News Staff Biographies, please click here

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