Lai Family Hung Gar Kung Fu

My journey into Chinese medicine began with my study of martial arts. I’ve been a student of traditional martial arts for 30 years and will be for the rest of my life. I’ve been teaching here in San Diego for over 15 years. My study of martial arts greatly influences my understanding of medicine and my study of medicine greatly influences how I teach martial arts. In Chinese medicine, the health of the body and mind cannot be separated and traditional martial arts are one path to discover their intimate connection.

I teach small-group and private classes in Lai Family Hung Gar kung fu. Hung Gar kung fu is a famous style of kung fu from southern China with roots back to the Shaolin temple. It was made famous in many movies like 36th Chamber of Shaolin, 8 Diagram Pole Fighter, Drunken Master, and many movies about Wong Fei Hung (a famous Hung Gar master). Hung Gar is an extremely well rounded martial art that includes striking and kicking skills, stand up grappling/push hands, joint locks, vital points strikes, weapons training, specialized body conditioning, and internal health exercises. It can be practiced by women or men of any age.

The group classes I teach are limited in size to 10-12 people per class. I limit the size of the classes to be able to give personalized instruction in every class. Our school does not have any belts, ranks, or tests. Everyone trains because they want to learn and grow. The small group of students is a family and we often spend time together outside of class as friends. Although I am officially the teacher I am also a student and continually learning.

My general approach to teaching martial arts is based on concepts (skills) vs. techniques. I will almost never teach as a drill sergeant who stands in front of the class counting for you. There can be advantages to this type of training at certain times but it is not how I teach. I train with you in every class. Training is always a mix of specialized drills or exercises, partner work, and solo form work. All students progress through learning various drills or forms based on their personal desires and efforts. You always set your own limits. I don’t.

Traditional martial arts always include three areas of focus – fighting, physical health/conditioning, and meditation/mental health. All classes always include some aspect of all three of these. I have trained students to fight in full contact knockdown karate (Kyokushin style) and Chinese San Da (kickboxing) and have students who focus purely on the health or meditative aspects of practice. Ultimately it is up to you to choose what you wish to learn.

The material covered in class will vary month to month but can include any of the following subjects in addition to basics, forms, and self-defense practice – Traditional conditioning and strength training (long pole, iron bar, brass rings, stone locks), iron body/iron palm skills (internal and external methods), martial arts medicine (dit daa), Chinese massage (tui na), various Daoist yogic practices (dao yin/qi gong), study of internal alchemy and meditation.

Group classes are offered three days per week (Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings). Private lessons are available upon request. Group classes are $80/month. First class is free and there are no contracts.

Tuesday/Thursday 7:30-9:30 pm – Taoist Sanctuary 4229 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92116 – back room
Sunday – 10am-12pm – Balboa Park – by invitation only

Uniform – please wear comfortable clothes. A school t-shirt is required for regular students. Most people wear black sweat pants, flat-bottom shoes (I recommend Adidas Samba), and a school shirt.

Please contact me at 619.535.1876 for any questions.

“I have been training with Sifu Ehrlich for close to 20 years. In that time, he has taught me essentially one thing: there is no magic bullet. No martial art leads to mastery. No technique is superior to others. No method of exercise will stave off injury or age. Instead, Sifu has shown me that if I wish to possess a skill, I must put in the hours. If I want to be a better fighter, I should work harder than anyone else. If I desire to understand the internal and external workings of the body, I must study the most available model I have: myself. And over the years, every time I have accomplished something or elevated my skill he has raised the bar through his own sweat and work ethic. He does not push me to be better. He pulls.” – Joe Hsu

“My kung fu school is invaluable to my physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Our school gives me the opportunity to explore and test my boundaries while learning to respect others’. We are allowed to progress at our own pace, on our own terms, which leads to a greater desire to surpass goals and expectations we have set for ourselves. Justin’s broad knowledge of Chinese medicine helps us gain a clearer understanding of what we are doing and why. I have always been a strong, confident woman. Now I am even more confident in knowing the truth of my strength through kung fu.” – Janet Larson

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