A Kung Fu Junkie

Sifu Paul (south Austin head instructor), Yesterday was a very bad day... until I got to Kung Fu. To make a long story short; by the time I got home from work I was completely depressed, ready to quit my job, mad at everybody (except my beautiful family of course), and just having an all around VERY bad day. I was seriously considering skipping Kung Fu and going straight to bed, but I decided to go because I had committed to helping with the Pre-K class. Best decision I ever made.

After working with the kids and attending my class, I was literally on cloud nine! By the end of the night everything that had been bothering me throughout the day disappeared. I was left with a comforting and empowering feeling that is still with me today. I realize that this is not an isolated incident. I feel like this each and ever time I devote myself to this art. Kung Fu, for me, brings everything back into perspective. It erases all of the day to day frustration that cloud my perception and allows me to focus on what is truly important to me: My family, my health, and my happiness. I want to thank you for all of your hard work, dedication to the art, enlightening & soulful approach, peaceful demeanor, and tuff love instruction that you openly give to us all. My entire family is honored to be students of such a great teacher of the Shaolin-Do martial arts. Thank you, Rob Bittner

50 Pounds and Counting

Master Joe, Well just over a year and a half now with Shaolin Do and my life has dramatically improved for the better. I literally feel like a new person. I've lost 50 pounds since starting in January of 2006 and that is with almost no change to my daily diet. Kung Fu has also lowered my blood pressure to a normal level and my doctor has taken me off of my high blood pressure medication. My stress levels have gone down, my self confidence is up and I haven't slept this good in a long time. Signing up for Shaolin-Do was the best thing I've ever done for myself. A huge thank you to Master Joe and all the instructors. Sincerely, Erik McKenney

Shaolin-Do is a Shining Example

We are writing in appreciation to express our sincerest gratitude for the care you and your instructors have given ourVigorhood son Brandon this past year and a half.

Brandon was always enthusiastic to be a part of your school. He always seemed to be very happy when he was there and beamed with pride whenever he was promoted to another belt.

We ourselves were very impressed with your teaching ability, and know that your coaching and encouragement helped build son's self-esteem and confidence. Your instructors are very helpful, courteous, professional and quite enthusiastic with kids. It is no wonder the kids come to class eager to learn. Again thank you for all your efforts. You are shinning example of what your professional strives to be.


Nigel Guiseppe

Lost 20 pounds Doing The Impossible

Master Joe, I just wanted to say thanks to you and everyone at the North Austin Shaolin-Do school. This is officially the longest I've stuck with any form of exercise in my life. Not only did I not quit, but I have no desire to. I really look forward to every class and the challenges that Shaolin-do offers.

It is incredibly rewarding to be able to do things now that six months ago I thought were physically impossible for me. I've also lost 20 lbs. since January and my blood pressure has lowered significantly. I know that I have a long ways to go, but with Shaolin-do I look forward to that journey and plan on making kung fu into more of a way of life than just an exercise program.

The Ups and Downs of Training

When I first started training in martial arts under Master Joe, my enthusiasm was at its highest pinnacle. I was so excited with opportunities of learning something new and at the same time getting back into shape. As I continued training, I would often attend every class possible throughout the week.

I don't think my behavior of showing up everyday is abnormal, I truly believe this is a normal reaction to anything that one finds pleasing and rewarding. I was so pumped about meeting physical and mental challenges that I wanted to put my all into it. And I did!

With responsibilities come sacrifices. At the time when I first started my journey of self improvement, my responsibilities were limited. However, life has a unique twist of throwing in stumbling blocks every now and then. My stumbling block was my due to my own choice. I've always wanted to pursue more education, and fortunately had the opportunity to do so.

Just like everything else I put my mind too; I have the strong desire to give my all. With that being the case, here lies the dilemma, give 100 percent to training or 100 percent to attaining my educational goals. Needless to say, this was an unrealistic goal to accomplish.

I figured if I couldn't give 100 percent to training, which meant attending class as I normally do, then I needed to step away for a while and concentrate on school. A day or two would pass, and I'd say to my self, "I'll go tomorrow." The next day would come and go without attending class, and before I knew it weeks would have gone by, consequently turning into months. During that time, I would sporadically drop in for a class or two only to leave again without notice. It wasn't until I made up my mind, and realized that I needed to put my training into perspective. "If I cannot go everyday, so what! Then I'll go when I can!"

That's when I was able to manage my time appropriately to where I was able train on the days class was offered. I'm thankful, that Master Joe's program offers so many different training schedules throughout week regardless of ranking that it makes it easy for individuals with demanding schedules to participate. When I started making the slow transition back, I was welcomed back with open arms.

Starting from ground zero can be a humbling experience, but you laugh it off and keep trying. You'll be surprised how fast you can remember sparring techniques 1 through 10. By making time for class, I realized it's not so much about quantity but rather quality that makes the difference. Although, attending class everyday again would be nice but at the present time it is not feasible. Therefore, on the days I can make it, I can still give it my all!

-Marcus Crayton

My Energy Level is Through the Roof!

Dear Master Joe, I wanted to express my gratitude to you for teaching us the Shaolin Do way. I started class around April first and I am proud to now be a yellow belt with much greater confidence, balance and endurance than I had ever hoped for.

My energy level is through the roof. In fact I first noticed my gains as a loss to my waistline. To date (nearly 8 weeks) I have lost 2 1/2 inches off my waist with zero dieting! This is quite exciting considering I have a desk job by day. This is a completely unexpected side effect to an activity I already love. I thank you for so this and so many as-of-yet undiscovered benefits to working out in Shaolin Do. Sincerely, Sylvia Delgado

One Kick to The Groin

Our student relayed this story to Sifu Paul at the South school. She was running at town lake before sunrise. She heard someone running up behind her and just thought they were another runner.

The man grabbed her shoulder and spun her around. He reached for the other shoulder and moved to throw her off the path into the bushes. Without thinking, she backed up one step and kick him square in the groin. He dropped to the ground and she took off running.

She was amazed that her instinct was so quick and effective. She is only a yellow belt, but she is a black belt at heart. Now you know why all our self-defense technqiues end in a groin strike. Remember what Master Leoanrd says "There are only two kinds of fights. The ones you cheat in and the ones you loose".

-A South Austin Student

Reflections on Getting Black Belt

So, it's been about a week or so since I got my black sash in Tai Chi. After beginning to learn my new material, a few things have occurred to me.

1) I have only started to scratch the surface of the awesome stuff that is available to learn.

2) I thought that I would feel satisfied once getting to this point, but I am finding that the exact opposite it true. I want more. I want to know more. I want to do more. I am capable of more.

3) I will be doing this for the rest of my life as long as I am able... and there is NO way that I will run out of things to learn.

Read the Rest of This Post On Bryan's Blog

I Have a Spring in My Step

Master Joe, I wanted to let you know how much I have appreciated being at the school and tell you of some of the changes that have occurred within me; not just physically, but mentally as well. Back in high school I didn't go out for sports, really, but I enjoyed running. I wasn't much of a fighter either. I figured if I could run fast enough I could get away from whatever was attacking me. It worked, too. Time passes college and sitting on my rear studying, computer geek at a desk all day, traveling consultant who eats high calorie pub grub at the hotel. You can guess what happened. By January 2006 I had my high blood pressure and high cholesterol controlled through medication and weighed... well, too much. It was exhausting to just get up off the couch and go to the fridge for another beer. What picture am I painting here? The classic middle aged male couch potato. It affected my attitude, too. I just didn't care anymore about anything. I knew I had to DO something.

I started working out at Gold's Gym. That was a start and I am pleased to say that I have kept up with it three times a week ever since. Something was still missing. I had always been intrigued with martial arts, particularly Kung-Fu, but didn't know what to expect, where to find a good school, etc.

I was invited to observe the Spring 2006 Festival and decided to join your school, which I did on 3/6/2006. I thought throwing in Kung-Fu for cardio training would help my weight lifting. I found that it is SO much more! I passed to yellow belt 9/9/2006. Now I feel that my workouts at the gym help by adding strength for my Kung-Fu (see how that got turned around in my head?) I have a spring in my step that had been missing for a very long time.

I look forward to every class and am pumped up afterwards and that feeling stays with me through the next day. I feel I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. I feel that I can't get to my next belt fast enough. This is all thanks to you, your instructors and this school. Oh, those meds I have been taking from the doctor? Since January, 4 scripts were reduced to 3. 3 were reduced to 2. 2 were reduced in dosage and on the next trip to the doctor???


Allen Brower

...An AMAZING First Class

Master Joe, I had such an amazing time at my first Kung Fu and Tai Chi classes! Your teachers were extremely helpful and very welcoming, as well as the other students. I'll admit I was a little intimidated to learn something so new and different, but I felt very comfortable in the classroom and couldn't wait to sign up and learn more. Thank you so much for creating such a friendly atmosphere. I would most definitely recommend your studio to others!!

-Stephanie Cantu

Taken straight from Stephaie's email, January 5th 2005

We Both Recommend The Training Without Reservation

Master Joe,

My husband was an electrical contractor for over 30 years. As the result of his work, his knees were giving him a lot of trouble. We live in a 2-story house, and going up and down the stairs was difficult enough that he tried to avoid unnecessary trips. But, after being in class for only a few months, he is now going up and down the stairs with no difficulty. Besides the knee problem, we were both beginning to notice a dramatic decrease in flexibility and an increase in overall stiffness.

I suppose these are the normal symptoms of passing the 50th birthday milestone. Kung Fu has changed all that. We are both amazed at how much more flexible we are now. Finally, my husband strained his back almost 2 weeks ago. This type of injury would normally have taken 3 weeks or more to improve. In the past, he has relied on his military training exercises and/or jogging to help him recover, although they really did little or nothing to help. But, by continuing to practice his Kung Fu movements (admittedly they were somewhat restricted) he was back to normal in approximately 1 week. We both recommend this training without reservation for its positive impacts both physically and mentally.

-Elizabeth Speight & Manuel B. Belasco

He Grew Up In Our School

Master Joe,

I wanted to share a few pictures with you that I found the other day. I looked at them in amazement and saw my son from first grade standing next to the grand master looking so honored and proud. Now Tom is in 9th grade and I saw the same look in his face once again looking proud and honored being in his presence.

Tom also thinks you are the most awesome person he has ever met and feels so honored now that he is in the adult class's and gets to be in your presence even more. I remember him telling me years ago how he missed all the classes that you would teach and the wonderful stories you would tell. Now with him being in the adult class, he gets to hear them even more and gets to work out with you and even once in a while gets to spare with you.

He tells me that it feels great because you treat him just like one of the other adults in class and that everyone there respects each other and are friends. He is never happier than when it's time to go to class or when I pick him up and he can't wait to show me all the new material he has learned. You have built a business that I have had the honor of watching grow so beautifully.

You have the most wonderful people that work for you and teach the classes as well. Your business is filled with students that walk out with respect and confidence. My son is a better person for being part of Shaolin-Do. Thank you for pushing him to be the very best he can be and for in a way being part of our family as well. You're a super person in my book for doing what you do and for going for your dream and making it others dreams as well.

God bless you ,

Holly Eller / proud mom to Tom Eller


In a Brief Time I am Stronger, Fit and Much Calmer

Master Joe,

In late December I sat down and made a list of things I wanted to accomplish in 2005 (I don't do resolutions, to do lists work much better for me) and then prioritized it, at the top of the list was to start taking some sort of Martial Art. I have to admit, I chose Kung Fu because my mom and I used to watch the old David Carradine show in reruns together and it reminded me of her. I chose your school specifically because it was close to my home and I wanted to have no excuses not to attend.

I believe it was fortuitous that I came to your school, the atmosphere is incredibly supportive. I had played team sports from age 4 throughout college, I remember being in shape, but somewhere in the years after college, I got way out of it. The encouragement I received was exactly what I needed, do as many as you can do, and tomorrow, do one more.

All the teachers bring a little something different to the class and their perspectives are wonderful. In a brief two and a half months, I am stronger, fit, and surprisingly calmer that is less stressed than I have ever been in my life. But if you want something more quantitative, I went from having borderline high blood pressure to 116 over 68 with a 63 resting pulse, I haven't had a resting pulse below 75 in 12 years. Thank you so much.


Molly Hollern

A Parent's Nightmare

Dear Master Joe,

I read the story about ATA Tae Kwon Do in your newsletter and it brought back some not so pleasant memories. Dylan first started with ATA at Capital Gymnastics. Our situation wasn't quite as costly as the example you site, but it was bad enough. I paid a $150 initiation fee and $90 a month. That was a 'discount' because the school had just opened and needed students.

A couple of months after we joined, the price went up to $120 a month. Dylan joined the sparring club and we spent $500 for membership and some equipment worth about $50. Testing was $60 every 6-8 weeks, alternating between a new belt and a patch. To make matters worse, Dylan really wasn't learning anything. The instructor used a lot of games and didn't really teach the kids the forms consistently. She felt that they should just have fun. The last straw came for Dylan when the instructor let a little girl in his class skip a belt and earn the next higher belt because her family took the adult class and they wanted her to stay at the same level as the rest of them so she wouldn't feel badly - even though she often refused to participate in the class at all and didn't know any of the test material. This was a general trend for the school.

Everyone tested every period and no one ever 'failed'. Unfortunately, most of the kids didn't learn a lot, either. At that point, I removed Dylan from the school and looked for a new form/school. That was February 2003, when Dylan began classes at Shaolin Do. I can definitely attest that Shaolin Do is a much better value than ATA, and that Kung Fu is a much better form than the ATA Tae Kwon Do we experienced. Dylan and I have both been much better satisfied since we made the change.

-Sheri Moore

Shaolin-Do Changed My Life

Dear Master Joe:

In July 2004, I attended my first class at the South school. Having enjoyed it, I decided to enroll, not knowing exactly how much of an impact Kung Fu would have on my life. After attending regular classes three to four times a week, I began to understand why Kung Fu made me feel so good at the end of class. Not only was I exercising my body, but I was challenging my mind to memorize my material.

Each night I would go to sleep visualizing forms and katas and how I could improve them for the next class. After I had received my green belt, I responded to Sifu Paul's request for a teacher's assistant to help him with the pre-k class once a week. Having never instructed anyone to do anything, I was nervous, but felt I could pass along to others what I had enjoyed learning. The more classes I helped with, the more I began to feel the rewards of teaching.

Each week I would look forward to that class. Helping the kids with their material and watching their progress always brought a smile to my face. After several months of assisting Sifu Paul with the class, I began to daydream about what it would be like to teach physical education for a living. I looked in to several college programs and submitted an application to St. Edwards University. I am now enrolled at St. Edwards in pursuit of a degree in Kinesiology with a physical education teachers certification. I always wondered what my calling in life would be. Shaolin-Do helped me answer it.

-Tim Kelly

Proud To Know Him

I wanted to enter my own testimonial about my student Bren Wilson. This morning at Tai Chi, we noticed that his head was shaved. He told me that he did it to help a friend celebrate his last chemotherapy session and that his friend was in full remission. We don't often sing the praises of those around us loudly enough. I have never seen Bren Wilson have an unkind word or action toward a fellow student. He is a remarkable student, friend and teacher here at my school.

Along with his hectic life working in the gaming industry, he has worked hard to join and then create a new search and rescue team, he commits time and resources to an organization that takes food and clothing to the homeless, and he has made real effort toward learning ASL (American Sign Language) in order to help me teach a hearing impaired student at our school. Meanwhile he never misses more than a couple classes without apologizing to me profusely (unnecessary, but a nice gesture), and never fails to comeback to class and get right back on track. I will be collecting clothing here at the school for our yearly sock drive as the fall weather approaches. Bren then helps us to distribute these items to people who really need a helping hand. Drop by many pairs of NEW socks in the big barrel by the door. Thanks Bren for helping to restore our faith in the many unsung heroes of this world.

-Master Joe Schaefer

With Profound Thanks

Sifu Paul,

I've only been with the Shaolin-Do school for just over a week and I must say I haven't been this excited about sport and exercise since the first time I dribbled a basketball as a kid. I can't tell you how despondent I was after my knee injuries and surgery last year and just this week of kung fu and tai chi has completely turned things around. You and your instructors are excellent and patient teachers, and I really appreciate all that you have taught me in such a short time. I'm greatly looking forward to my next class and the coming months. If I can ever do anything to help out at the school, please let me know.

With profound thanks,

Chris Sternberg

Missing Class is Habit Forming

Master Joe,

I'd like to give you a personal account of my recent slacking period in which missing one class quickly snowballed into missing multiple weeks. I know you always warn us against missing too much class and how it becomes habit forming, but I still managed to fall victim to it during the Thanksgiving holiday.

I started to get busy packing and preparing for a trip over the weekend and it quickly became an excuse for missing class. At first, I had a decent excuse because there wasn't enough hours in the day to finish everything before my flight, but after the holiday I kept finding excuses to miss class--I'm too tired, I already missed a few classes so it wont hurt to miss one more, I'm too far behind on the new material etc, etc. Once I got used to missing class, It was easy to trade my long term goals for the "instant gratification" of staying home and slacking off. Anyway, by the time I realized it, I had missed 3 weeks.

Fortunately, I was finally able to stop the bleeding and get back to class--I'm glad I did. Anyway, you were right about falling victim to "instant gratification" and how easy it is to lose sight of our long term goals. The best part of missing class was that coming back was like visiting family that you hadn't seen in years. I was amazed how may people noticed I was gone and welcomed me back with a hand shake and a smile. Master Joe, you were even kind enough to dedicate a grueling conditioning workout to me! Like many of us this wasn't the first time this has happened and it wasn't the longest streak of slacking that I've endured at Shaolin-Do, but I learned that it can happen when you least expect it and that the longer you're away the more excuses you find to not come back.


Jayson 1st degree black belt

Master Joe's response

Hey, in all fairness we were going to do the "grueling" workout anyway. I just used you as an excuse. I usually don't do that on your returning night, but I knew you could handle it and you had only been gone a short time. Welcome Back!

The X-Ray Tech Was Amazed

The X-Ray Tech was Amazed I am re-counting a phone conversation I had with Sue about this issue.

She gave me her full permission to re-tell the story.

Sue has been getting bone density checks done every 2 years for a while now. At her most recent one (Oct. 2004) the x-ray tech asked her point blank if she was doing anything different recently. You see, recent studies show that women lose around 1.5% of their bone density each year after menopause. Yet, Sue's bone density analysis showed an increase of 14 points since the last test.

She told the tech that she didn't take calcium, had not changed her diet, was taking no medications, but had been doing Tai Chi once a week with a Shaolin-Do teacher for the last 2 years. The tech excitedly said "THAT'S IT, THAT'S WHAT DID IT!" Not only had the density increased in her hips and low back but she had even become a full inch taller since the last checkup. Congrats to Sue for taking an active role in the maintenance of her health.

... After 6 Months I Feel So Inspired!

Master Joe,

I just want to add a note that before I decided to join this school I meticulously tried out complimentary classes at 4-5 other schools around town as well. I left undecided from all those schools whether or not to join the programs. When I tried out a Tai Chi class here on a Monday in March, I walked right out of class signed up and never looked back. The teachers, instruction style, and general vibe of this school are something special compared to my brief experiences with the other schools. Now after six months I feel so inspired I want to add Kung Fu to my education! Thank you very much, and I look forward to a long and enjoyable future with the school.

-Prachi Dixit

Bob's Path To Health Part 1

About 6 years ago during my annual physical I was identified as a "pre-diabetic". That is, as someone who was having trouble controlling his blood sugar levels but whose blood sugar was not yet at what would be considered to be diabetic levels. At the same time my weight started going up dramatically, my blood pressure jumped, and my cholesterol levels headed up. These all seem to be tied closely to loss of control of blood sugar levels.

I wound up on several medications and started a program of weight training and a low carbohydrate diet to get my metabolism back under control. That all worked pretty well for several years. I was able to get off of blood pressure medication, lose 80 pounds, and drop my blood sugar down to normal. But, it only worked for so long.

In 2002 my weight started going back up and so did my blood sugar levels. In the summer of 2002 I got appendicitis followed by a post operative infection. That kind of illness can push anyone into being a diabetic. Sure enough, after that my blood sugar and weight started going up dramatically.

Between August 2002 and February 2003 I gained 30 pounds. When I went in for my physical in March 2003 I was diagnosed as a full blown type 2 diabetic. I was put on medication and had to start monitoring my blood sugar twice a day. Not to sound too melodramatic, but by the end of 2002 I thought I was dying.

Climbing the stairs to my loft was an ordeal. I had no energy. I didn't feel like I had ever recovered from my surgery. I decided that I needed to take drastic action. I had come to the conclusion that I either had to kick start my body or I was going to just slide down lower and lower and die.

I decided to sign up for Shaolin-Do lessons. (It took 6 months of Shaolin-Do to get me to where I felt like I had finally recovered from my surgery.) I decided on martial arts because I took classes in a couple of different forms of karate when I was in college. I stopped after only about 6 months, but I have regretted stopping ever since I stopped. And, I have a good friend (Sam Marx) who assured me that I would be welcome at your school. No matter what kind of shape I was in.

After a month of Shaolin-Do my total cholesterol had dropped to 120. I was on a cholesterol medication at the time so my doctor lowered my dosage. At my June check up my doctor again lowered my dosage. I still take a cholesterol medication. The normal dosage is 1 or more tablets per day. I take 3 tablets per *week* (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) and have a total cholesterol of 160. My doctor tells me that except for my blood sugar the rest of my blood chemistry is enviable.

I was already on a strict low carbohydrate diet when I started Shaolin-Do. But, I was gaining weight because of my high blood sugar, and therefore, high insulin, levels. Two months after starting classes my weight started dropping. I have lost over 30 pounds since February of 2003. The rate of loss has varied between 5 pounds/month and 2 pounds/month. In the same period my blood pressure has also come down. My systolic has dropped 15 points, my diastolic has dropped 10 points, and my resting heart rate has dropped more than 10 beats per second.

There are two ways to measure blood sugar. You can directly measure the blood sugar or you can measure the A1c hemoglobin. The A1c gives you a measure of the average blood sugar over a period of several weeks and gives the most meaningful measurement. When I started Shaolin-Do my A1c was 6.2, which indicates an average blood sugar of over 140. In November it was 5.6 which indicates an average blood sugar of 120. I recently discovered that doing an hour a day of Shaolin-do keeps my average measured blood sugar at near 100. It has taken me 10 months to get into the kind of shape that *lets* me do an hour of Shaolin-Do a day.

When I first stated Cory's Thursday night class was so hard that I needed until Tuesday to recover. When I first started going to Shaolin-Do I could not go all the way through even the lowest effort classes without sitting out. Sometimes I spent more time sitting out that working out. It turns out I have exercise-induced asthma. When I got a medication for that I was able to do more in class. But, I still couldn't get all the way through a class. Now, I can get through most classes without using my inhaler. I only need it before Thursday night conditioning class and when my allergies flare up. I can even get through your sparring class without medication. Being able to get through any class, with or without asthma medication, feels like a victory to me.

Before I started Shaolin-Do I could do maybe 5 sit ups if someone was holding my legs. I had never in my entire life been able to do a sit up without someone holding my legs. I did not believe I *could* do a sit up without having my legs locked down. We do a lot of sit ups in Shaolin-Do... But, the instructors always said that if you can't do a sit up, do a crunch. One day I was crunching along in Karl's class and accidentally did a sit up. Now I can do sit ups! What an amazing thing. Now I can do fingertip push ups. Now I can do knee bends and frog leaps. I can't express how surprised I am at what I can do. Things I never thought I could do.

All the gym classes I ever took never had the effect that 10 months of Shaolin-Do have had. In my life I have worn out two exercise bikes, a tread mill, a Nordic Track, and accumulated a nice collection of free weights. None of that gave me the effect of 10 months of Shaolin-Do.

I have a knee injury and a back injury that have limited my mobility for nearly 30 years. They limited my mobility because I was told they would and I believed it. After 10 months of Shaolin-Do training they do not limit my mobility and they do not hurt anymore. They hurt me almost every day for most of 30 years and they don't hurt any more!

Not long after I started I was waiting for a class to start and I was feeling rather out of place and I was wondering if I wasn't too old to be starting a martial art. I was feeling like the only fat old person in the school. I got talking about it to a young woman who was also waiting for the class to start. She let me know that many of the skinny students I was comparing my self to had been fat when they started. And, it turned out she is a year *older* than I am... I thought I was 15 to 20 years older than her. She had been doing Shaolin-Do for a year. I've learned that it is very hard to judge the age of Shaolin-Do students. The standard rules just don't apply.

Want to hear how this story ends. Read Part Two!

Bob's Path To Health Part 2

You are getting this because you asked about my health statistics.

Another quarter has passed and I have a new set of blood chemistry data. This test marks the end of my first year with Shaolin-Do. (I tested for my green belt a year and a day after my first lesson.) The good news is that my total cholesterol was down again. This time to 118. As a result the Dr. lowered my dosage on my cholesterol medication. I now take it 2 times/week.

Over this year my dosage on that drug has dropped in steps from 7/week (daily) at the start of the year 5/week after 1 month of Shaolin-Do 3/week after 4 months 2/week after 12 months

The other good news is that I am still losing weight. I'm down nearly 40 pounds it the last year.

My A1c hemoglobin is up 0.1, which leaves it at 6.0, the top end of normal. Which is still significantly better than it was a year ago. I was very disappointed with the result. My Dr. checked my records and noted that I was sick more times during the last quarter than I have been for the previous year, and noted that blood sugar always goes up when you are ill. He thought the level I was maintaining was amazing. He asked me a number of detailed questions about Shaolin-Do. It is completely outside of his experience.

Check Out Part 3 Of Bob's Journey

Bob's Path To Health Part 3

I got the results of my quarterly blood test on Tuesday. I am happy to report that I am no longer taking Lipitor, my cholesterol medication.

My total cholesterol was 129 which is *below* normal. The ratio of "good" to "bad" cholesterol of 3.44, which is normal. My bad cholesterol was actually very much below normal.

My A1C, a measure of blood sugar levels, is holding steady at 6.1 which is at the high end of normal, but still normal. My Dr. bluntly said that he has never seen anything like this before. I am on the lowest level of diabetic medication of *any* of his patients *ever* and he has never seen *anyone* get off of cholesterol medication. Between following a strict low carb diet and many hours of Shaolin-Do training I am regaining my health.

Needless to say, he asked a lot of questions about what I was doing! I can not express the shear joy I feel every time I walk in to your school.

Thank You,

Bob Pendleton

I Never Imagined I Would Still Be Here

Hello Master Joe,

I would like to tell you how much Shaolin-Do means to me. When I first started over a 1 1/2 yrs ago I never imagined I would still be here. Shaolin-Do has become part of my life. It has changed the way I feel about myself, given me confidence where I never before had it.

I've learned so much and the best part is that I will always be learning something new. Every day is a new beginning, a day to learn. I look forward to every time I can be in class. Its makes me feel great.

I'm getting in shape physically & mentally. Besides learning all the wonderful forms, katas, self defense I've also made fantastic friends! I look forward to a lifetime of Shaolin-Do. This is what I want out of life. To learn Shaolin-Do and be a better person.

Thank you for everything!

-Linda A Veal

-----Let me add that it is a great honor for me to play some small part in the lives of so many quality people like Linda. Thanks for helping me to actualize my own purpose in life.

Woman Faces Lifelong Fears and Finds New Strength

Fear, irrational fear, of aggression or confrontation, I am not sure where mine began. Whether it stems from my upbringing as a girl or from my experiences. I do know that growing up I had only a few physical confrontations with bullies; however, I never had to actually fight or defend myself. I was fortunate to have a younger brother that thought that he was my older brother and always came to my defense. Whatever the reason, I find myself cowering at the mere thought of physical altercation. I will go the extra mile to avoid confrontation and be the peacekeeper.

I began Tai Chi in October. I decided to start with Tai Chi in part because I was afraid of the sparring in Kung Fu. Tai Chi challenges me to be in contact with my own energy, to focus and to be aware. I am developing strength in my legs and my balance is improving. However, it does not address that fear. In the last issue of the newsletter Master Joe had a quote regarding facing your fears and it had an impact on me. Soon after, Sifu Sheryl suggested I join the women's sparring class. My first initial reaction was to feel very sick to my stomach and to graciously decline. With the combination of the quote and the continued encouragement from Sifu Sheryl, classmates and my brother, I finally decided to try.

- Jennifer Roe

Families Experience Shaolin-Do Together

Master Joe,

I am writing this to thank you for the help you and your teachers have given to me and my two boys (Sean and Michael) since we joined Shaolin Do. In general, I feel stronger and more relaxed. I have also noticed with both of my boys that they show more poise and self assurance, especially when dealing with the difficulties of being elementary and middle school students. I gues what I am saying is that the increased strength and coordination that I feel and see in myself and my boys is only the basis of what I appreciate as the benifit of Shaolin Do.

It is as if working hard day by day to learn forms and practice them gives a person the right and responsibility to use them, while, at the same time, the learning method itself becomes a tool for the rest of life. I particularly enjoy seeing it in a child, if even for a brief moment, like where Michael was stuck on a piece of the bo kata. There is that first attempt that does not work, then a pause and a moment of thought, then more failed tries, until eventual success. To have then seen the same process unfold with Michael and a reading assignment from elementary school where he stumbled on a phrase then went back over it again and again until he corrected it himself, well, all I can say as a parent is that some joys can not be measured.

-Rob Stevens

Rob Stevens

Shaolin-Do Carries Over Into All Areas of Life

Since I began taking Shaolin Do Kung Fu, many things have changed for me. I used to have immense struggles with self esteem and self confidence. Taking your classes has vastly improved both. I have lost weight and have kept it off for almost a year now, I enjoy teaching music much more, I am more confident in my teaching and playing abilities, and I am over all a happier person. Physically, in addition to losing weight, I am able to do so much more than I used to. I am much more flexible and no doubt MUCH stronger. My husband, family, and friends have all commented on the changes I have experienced. I have been so thankful for the opportunities you and your school have given me! I plan on staying for quite some time.

-Becky Miller


One Of The First Texas Black Belt Students

As a student of Master Joe from the early days of the Austin school [Bill was among my first Texas black belt students] and now living in Denver, I wanted to share two thoughts with people that might be thinking about joining or have recently joined: Shaolin-Do changed my life!

The training Master Joe has shared has touched on so many critical parts of living right, from exercise and diet to mediation and philosophy. In this information age we are constantly barraged with this or that craze that promise a quick solution to our problems. In contrast Shaolin-Do provides an approach, a way, to make concrete changes that have improved my life both physically and mentally (strength, energy, balance, concentration, endurance, and perspective to name a few). These effects are not instantaneous; rather they require both time and effort.

The understanding of the value of this commitment is part of the training. In addition, being surrounded by people who share this commitment is a powerful force that makes the journey even more rewarding. I owe Master Joe a huge debt for the time, dedication, and immense generosity of spirit with which he has built this school. In training here you will find both a community and family that will change your life as well.

-Bill Karlquist

Coming Back, Even Better

I was a pretty average student of Shaolin-Do when I began in 1997. I enjoyed the workouts and learning the katas. I felt fit. Then, in 1999 I moved to New York to pursue a job opportunity. I let Kung-Fu (and regular exercise in general) fall by the wayside as my work hours increased, and so did my exhaustion.

2001 brought me back to Austin, TX, but I barely considered returning to Shaolin Kung-Fu. I had been gone too long and had forgotten too much. Instead, I took my company's gym membership and bored myself to death on the treadmill. One day I took an alternate route back from the gym and saw a familiar sign: Shaolin-Do Kung-Fu. So, I walked in and signed up. In less than a month, I was back at Kung-Fu, and it was as good as I had remembered it. Better, I was even more committed to what I now realized was a special and unique physical and mental workout. I'm now a first-brown, and working hard towards my black belt. Has it been challenging coming back? More than I could have imagined! But I am happy and proud to have done it.

-Derek Bonikowski

25 pounds Lighter and 15 Years Younger

Master Joe,

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know how much we are enjoying Shaolin-Do so far. Angela and I had reached that point - our early thirties - where we both had been sitting behind a desk for about 10 years without any real form of regular exercise. It was catching up to us, and we knew it was time to search out a physical lifestyle which we could actually live with.

Of course, we considered a standard gym membership, but neither of us really go for the neon and spandex atmosphere that usually accompany those sort of places. I also know from experience that unless I am engaged mentally in something, my interest will fade pretty quickly. Kung-Fu seemed to make more sense, as it could teach us real skills and knowing that Angela could defend herself in a bind was appealing to my peace of mind. So we came to an intro class, signed up, and started sweating. Well, it's been 5 months. I'm pleased to say that we both are absolutely in love with Shaolin-Do Kung Fu. I can't imagine any better way to get healthy. Shaolin-Do works your body, mind, and spirit.

How effective is the workout? Sounds cheesy, but I actually lost 25 lbs in the first 3 months. I feel better than I have felt in 15 years, and the people we've met are all down-to-earth and serious about a long term education in these amazing arts.

Thanks again! We'll see you in class!

-Blaine & Angela Pierce

A 6 Year Old Finds Discipline and Confidence

I wanted to let you know how pleased we are with the school. My son, Dylan, has been enrolled in Kid's Kung Fu for about 6 weeks now. He is progressing well and absolutely adores his teacher, Mr. Paul. I am quite impressed with Paul, too. He seems to have just the right combination of patience and discipline to help the kids learn effectively. As a result of his training, I am beginning to see better discipline and self-confidence in Dylan. And the best part is that he enjoys the classes so much that he is always anxious to attend. Thanks for recommending that we try the school and please pass my thanks along to Master Joe and to Paul, of course.

-Sheri Moore

Head of UT Dance Finds New Inspiration

I'd like to boast about all of the aspects and benefits of Shaolin-Do Kung Fu and Tai Chi, the weight loss, flexibility, self-defense mechanisms, empowerment but most importantly the atmosphere. As a professional performer and movement instructor myself, the learning environment is very important. All of the instructors are motivated to enable the individual. Yes, it's hard work, yes what you accomplish is up to you, but the students desire to do well is always sparked by the profound knowledge and individual concern given by each and every teacher. I always come to class with the intention of trying my hardest, and I always leave feeling I did, because of the instructors and the atmosphere they provide. What a fabulous way to learn!!!!!

-Lyn C. Wiltshire, Head of Dance, University of Texas at Austin

25 Year Veteran Chinese Martial Artist Finds a Surprise Right Here in Austin

I have studied many different arts for over 20 years; Tae Kwon Do, Go-Ju Kai, T'ai Chi, Praying Mantis, Wing Chun, and Kung Fu with a World Champion Wu-Shu master (one of Jet-Lie's classmates).Shaolin-Do is undoubtly one of the best martial-arts schools available. It is the perfect blend of traditional forms, practice and fighting application.

In the common martial art school, the material is taught slowly and there are very few high-quality students as a result. The Shaolin-Do program provides modern day, exciting training but still retains the deep knowledge and true spirit of traditional Shaolin principals.

Master Schaefer is not only very good in Shaolin martial-arts but also has a profound knowledge of the history of Chinese's martial-arts and its philosophy which I have not seen in many Western practictioners. He is truly trying to pass on his knowledge and has successfully produced many excellent students. His instructors have not only mastered the Shaolin skills and philosophy but have also absorbed his warm and friendly approach to teaching the art.

Thank you Master Shaefer and all the instructors I associate with at Shaolin-Do"

-Tim Ton

NOTE: "I would like to add that Tim is an advanced and very accomplished martial artist. Along with a vast experience in Chinese martial arts, he is well known in the international community and has done stunt work in several Jackie Chan films. I am honored that he has said such generous things about me and my school. He is an great asset to our program.

-Master Joe Schaefer


Owner of the Largest and Most Reputable Massage School in Central Texas Finds what was Missing in Every Other Martial Arts School

My name is David Lauterstein. I run the Lauterstein-Conway Massage School of massage therapy in Austin and have been involved with the healing arts and sciences since 1977. I have also studied martial arts a number of times in my life - kung-fu, karate, hapkido, boxing, tai chi. Until I started Austin Shaolin-Do, each had something missing - either they took themselves too seriously, didn't seem to care about the students, had boring, egotistical, or macho teachers, weren't clear in their instructions, or were unsafe, not setting clear boundaries for classes.

Since January, 2002 I and my son, Jake, have had the pleasure of studying at Austin Shaolin-Do. The teachers have a great combination of humor, non-competitiveness, physical and mental challenge, expertise, and care. This creates an atmosphere of lightness even though we work hard at learning. The teachers have humility - they are clearly enthusiastic students themselves and it shows. I have lost ten pounds, dropped 50 cholesterol points (!), and left behind long-held tensions in my back, knees, and arms. My son, Jake, is more confident, stronger, more disciplined and self-assured. We are thrilled to know Master Joe Schaefer and the other great teachers and assistants. This tradition, as transmitted by Austin Shaolin-Do, is encyclopedic, challenging in all the right ways, and it is taught with care, enthusiasm and expertise.

-David Lauterstein

Shaolin-Do Saved My Life

I was a student at the North Austin Shaolin-Do school for only 4 months before moving to New York. Kung-Fu was not my first experience with martial arts, but I would have to say it [Shaolin-Do] was the most informative.

Trying to catch a ride somewhere in Albany NY, I was then approached by 2 young men who proceeded to harasses me and try to take my personal belongings. One of the men pulled a knife out from behind his back and swung it wildly at my arm when I refused to comply with their demands. What happened next happened so fast I didn't have time to think. I grabbed his wrist and struck his elbow hard [like short form #4]. He dropped the knife to the ground. The other man tried to punch me and I stepped in, blocked and back swept [like short form #7] him. He hit his head on the concrete and was knocked out.. This happened in about 30 seconds. I had no time to think, just act. I am very glad that I had learned so much from Shaolin-Do and I believe that it saved my life.



Thanks from A Lifetime Student

To the Shaolin-do School:

As a student of the Martial arts for 30 years, the last 10 of which are in Shaolin-do. I can tell you that I never have I seen such a depth of information or a willingness to teach as I have seen with Grand Master Sin The or with Master Joe. The information learned in this school "just to get to 1st degree Black Belt contains more knowledge than all the systems I have experienced or seen. THANK YOU, MASTER JOE FOR ALL OF THOSE HOURS THAT YOU HAVE PUT INTO MY TRAINING

-Karl Chunn

Father and Son Experience Shaolin-Do Together

When my son was getting ready to turn five year's old he started expressing an interest in marital arts. So my wife and I started looking for a school where he could go. We didn't want a school where all the instructors were worried about only the fighting aspect of marital arts. We wanted a school where he could be part of one big family.

Master Joe and all of his instructor's provide such a school. The children's classes are taught with instructor's that are kind and patience. They always find ways to motivate and teach children of different abilities and backgrounds. After taking my son to his first lesson and talking to the instructor my wife and I knew that this was the school for our son. After a few months of my son taking classes he asked me to join. He didn't have to ask a second time! Knowing how well organized and smooth running the children's classes are I knew I didn't have to worry about the adult classes. I joined and have loved it ever since.

-Johnny & Jonathon Alirez


A Student that Takes Full Advantage of our HUGE Schedule.

There have been weeks when I make 7 classes between Monday and Friday. That doesn't happen often but it has happened. Those are great weeks. On the days I feel the worst are the days I need to go to kung fu the most. I have yet to go to a kung fu class, at any belt level, and feel bad when class is finished. I feel spiritually uplifted after class. I am taking Shaolin-Do kung fu because I truly love it. I will continue to go as long as my love for Shaolin-Do lasts. I expect this to be a very long relationship. I hope in some small way I can help people love kung fu as much as I do."

-Rand Van Fossen


Shaolin-Do Helps With AD-HD

Thank you Sifu Ryan for the worderful inspiration. My grandaughter is 7 and had ADHD. I searched for six months for the right school, trying the free classes in each, and I finally found it. Patricia has only been attending for two months but already there is a marked increase in her confidence and agility. She is very proud of what she has achieved. I will certainly recommend your school and plan to put my two younger grandsons in it when they are old enough.

-Beverly Gibson

Shaolin-Do Helps Defeat The Symptoms of Asthma

I was attracted to the martial arts from a very young age, but never got the chance to practice one of the arts. In fact as a child I always had difficulty doing anything that was physically trying due to the fact that I have had severe asthma since I was three years old. When I moved out of my house to attend college I promised myself that I would put myself into a martial art.

I never expected to find a school teaching Shaolin kung-fu. It only took watching a single class at the previous school on north Lamar, and I was hooked. After waiting three weeks before new students were allowed in, I then began my martial arts training. It's been a little over a year and a half now, and I've since grown out of my asthma due to the training that Shaolin-Do has put me through. My stamina has sky rocketed, and I have learned more patience and willpower that I know I would have otherwise. I can no longer picture my life without training in Shaolin-Do. I believe that inside of everyone there are only a few things that truly matter in there lives, and Shaolin-Do is one of those in mine.

-Eric Douglas

I have always been Interested in Martial Arts

I have always been interested in the Martial Arts , before I joined Shaolin-Do I did alot of research. One of the warnings my investigations found was "Beware of the Show-off teacher" . I started learning Kung Fu in February (2001) and expect to move to my next belt shortly. I can honestly say that Master Joe is absolutely grounded in his approach to teaching students. If you have a question it is always answered enthusiastically and positively. Martial Arts is not easy, nothing worth while ever is, but having a great teacher like Master Joe can help anyone pull thru their challenges.

-Steve Shire

New in Town

When I moved to Austin, we were new to the area. We wanted to meet people. Being a programmer who sites down all day, you get kind of flabby. You don't have anything to get you up, other than going to the coffeepot everyday. And my age was a factor. Joining and participating in Shaolin-do gave me a chance to meet a lot of people in the community. It's at your own pace and allows everybody to get involved and achieve your own level of accomplishment. I have lost a significant amount of weight, and I have gone down three pants sizes. I have achieved a better ability to focus on projects that I start because I have the energy to focus.

-Warren Yetman


Thorough Shopper

When it comes to the interests of my children, I am a thorough shopper. So, when my son and daughter showed interest in martial arts, we set out to find the BEST SCHOOL IN AUSTIN. And we found it at Shaolin-Do. Not only is it a comprehensive martial art with a long and rich tradition, but the staff teaches and earns genuine respect through thoughtful, dedicateinstruction.MOST IMPORTANTLY, the kids have fun. Lots of fun, as they strengthen body, mind, and spirit. All of this, and Shaolin-Do has the best prices in town.

- Jun Hurt

Senior Citizen

As a senior citizen, I need to worry about my health, flexibility, balance, and coordination. Tai Chi has helped me in all those areas. After just a few months practicing Tai Chi at Shaolin-Do my doctor couldn't believe that nearly every measurable health parameter was improved.

-Jackie Merrow

I Have Been A Shaolin-Do Student Under Master Schaefer for the Past 10 Years!

I have been a Shaolin-Do student under Master Schaefer for the past 10 years, having moved from Austin to Minneapolis, MN a little over two years ago. I still travel to Austin to train under Master Schaefer, but I sure miss the North Austin School!

The school is a great place to train and work out, with a lot of space and a really good group of students. Master Schaefer is an incredible instructor, who teaches with patience, humor, heart, and tremendous skill. I am amazed at how much Shaolin-Do has improved my overall health, flexibility, stamina, will, and confidence. In fact, during each year over the past 10 years, I have felt better, looked younger, and become stronger, having more energy and drive. These improvements have been a direct result of the external Shaolin-Do training (katas, conditioning, etc.) and the internal meditation and Tai Chi training. This is hard to put into words, but my experience with Shaolin-Do under Master Schaefer has transformed me, improving my quality of life and giving me the opportunity to make myself a better person in many ways. Shaolin-Do has become an integral part of me, and I look forward to training in Shaolin-Do for the rest of my life.

-Ken Link

Spoiled by Shaolin-Do

Master Joe Schaefer,

You probably do not remember me, but I was a student at your North Austin school almost two years ago. I never advanced very far, in part because of my hectic work schedule. Regardless, I just wanted to send you an email to say "hi" and let you know that the reason I stopped going to class was because I have moved out to California.

Since I have been out here, I have looked around at other martial arts schools and styles. It was something of a shock to see that none of them matched up with your school, be it in the quality of the school, how often the school was open, how friendly the instructor's were, the material presented, etc. Regrettably these schools did not match up to the standards I had come to expect from my brief time with your school. Basically I would like to congratulate you on the success of your schools, and thank you for being a great teacher. I am glad to see that Texas has more Shaolin-do schools that have opened in the past few years. Your school is truly one of the things I miss about living in Austin.

-Stephen T. VanWambeck