View Full Version : Action Kung Fu Crystal Lake, Illinois

4/16/2011 5:27pm,
Action Kung Fu is a Kung Fu school of the Southern Praying Mantis variety lead by Sifu Richard Gamboa. They also have a kung fu cardio class, Shaolin Kenpo, San Shou (Chinese wrestling), a kids program, classic Chinese weapons class, and lion dancing. I am not a student of this school. I used to drive by their Algonquin location on a daily basis and was always intrigued by their very spiffy looking entrance. One day I went by just to see what a class was like, this was while they were still at their Algonquin location.

Black Sash Jook Lum Mantis 23 yrs
Black Sash Chu Gar Mantis 25 yrs
3rd degree Black Belt Tae Kwon Do
3rd Degree in Hawaiian Kempo
1st Degree Black Belt Shuai Chiao
13 yrs Black Sash Bak Mei White Eyebrow under Jack Moy
Brown Belt in Ninjutsu
4yrs Northern Shaolin
3 yes Hung Gar
2 years experience in Wing Chung
Instructor of the Butterfly Hand System
Skilled in both Northern and Southern Drunken Form
Expert in the Chinese 18 Classical Weapons
USA Representative of the Chu Ka Mantis Clan
109 Standing Chairman of the Hong Kong Chu Gar Tang Lang Cheng Wan MA Association
Member of the Hip Sing
Triple Crown Champion (fighting, forms, weapons)
Placed 3rd on the National Karate Team
Was on the 1990 USA Shuai Chiao Team against Taiwan Police Academy
1st place Champion Lion Dancing 1998
Ma Hall of Fame, 2004

I'm not sure what some of it means but that is what is on the webpage. My friend and I arrived in time for a Southern Praying Mantis class. The class started with everyone lining up in order of rank (we were at the end obviously) and a period of silent meditation...which seems like a good idea, but since I have no formal training in meditation, it didn't do me much good. The beginning of the class consisted of stretching and warmups, then it was on to practicing certain blocking positions. Some of them looked absolutely HORRIBLE for self defense, with hands being held inwards towards the body as if I had some kind of severe arthritis. I will give them this though, holding some of those stances really worked out my muscles. No wonder those monks are so freakishly athletic. We then proceeded to learn some attacking moves and practiced them with our partner(no contact). The head instructor visually checked all moves and stances. The class ended in a similar way in which it started, paying respect etc.. so.. here are my ratings based on my limited experience.

Aliveness: 2 -5

This was a tough one to rate. The class I attended had 0 sparring an no contact. Having said that, according to the website the advanced classes have sparring. Also they have a San Shou Chinese wrestling class with grappling.

Equipment: 9

This is based on the Algonquin location. Their was not much equipment wise when compared to a MMA school, having said that the entrance and classroom was quite elegant and had a "Buddhist temple" vibe. They had a wooden dummy and Chinese weapons lined the walls (they were used in a later class). I do not know what the new location looks like.

Gym Size: ?

The classroom was an adequate size for the class but was by no means large. However according to their website they have moved to a new/larger location in Crystal Lake.

Instructor/Student Ratio: 9

In the class I attended there was plenty of personalized instruction and about 8 people for 1 instructor and 1 assistant instructor.

Atmosphere/Attitude: 6

The instructor was pretty nice and helpful. The other students kept to themselves for the most part. There was a definite sense of respect and awe for the grandmaster. Just in my time there I overheard stories of how people would come in off the street and challenge the Sifu and essentially get their butts kicked.

Striking Instruction: 5

Striking and counter striking was one of the main focuses of the class. Most of the strikes seemed to be directed at pressure points or sensitive parts of the body (throat, eyes, knees). I give it a 5 because there was no sparring and I am not aware of any success at local competitions.

Grappling Instruction: ?
There was not any real grappling at the class I was at. Having said that, it would not be fair for me to rate grappling because I did not watch one of their San Shou(wrestling) classes.

Weapons: 5

The school trains in classical Chinese weapons. I got to watch several students practice. Some were just practicing forms, but others were doing 2 man exercises at a considerably fast pace.


For being a Kung Fu school, Action seems to be a reasonably well balanced school and offers a variety of different classes. What I liked the most about the school was its elegant presentation. If Kung Fu is what you're interested in and you're in the Northwest suburbs, you should check the school out.

4/17/2011 5:19pm,
San Shou is not Chinese Wrestling. Shuai Jiao is. San Shou is essentially kickboxing with takedowns (without getting into too much detail)

4/17/2011 9:20pm,
San Shou is not Chinese Wrestling. Shuai Jiao is. San Shou is essentially kickboxing with takedowns (without getting into too much detail)

Oops...thanks for the clarification. The website says Shuai Jiao not San Shou. I start thinking about Chinese food and space out completely.

5/04/2011 4:38pm,
You left out some of his resume. it is very interesting:

MA Film Consultant, and Actor
Owns 3 school (Chicago, New Jersey & California)
Conducts seminars nationwide
Appeared on the Rockford news for women self-defense
Consulted for the Guardian Angels on Carpentersville street watch
Consulted for the “Stranger Danger” program in Illinois
President of Shaolin Brand martial arts supply company
President of MA of China Historical Society and Hall of Fame
Owner of Hong Kong Chef Chinese restaurant in Dundee Illinois
Owner of DitDaJow.com and produces and distributes Jow world wide
Degree in Chinese Sports Medicine
Degree in Tui Na Massage
Dr. Degree in Chinese Herbology
Certified Bounty Hunter (Bail Enforcement Agent)
Starred in the theatrical play Dracula (part: Dracula)
Kung Fu instructor in the film festival Broom Stick Closet
Martial Arts Choreographer on various movies
Stars in the soon to be released TV show OCTF

5/23/2013 1:22am,
Action Kung Fu is a martial arts studio and it is provide you and your children traditional martial arts training, so that you can achieve your full potential, both as a martial artist and as an individual. The Action Kung Fu School is proud to bring you the best in Martial Arts instruction.Teaching excellence is also best,Sifu Richard Gamboa personally selects our instructors, not only for their skill and achievement in Chinese Kung Fu and martial arts, but also for their ability to effectively relate their knowledge and understanding to students of all ages, levels and backgrounds.

11/25/2013 10:53am,
its my opinion that the definition of bullshido is right here at action kung fu. Ricky Gamboa abandoned real kung fu many years ago for dreams of being rich and famous. it was actually funny to watch, with in a few short months he had gotten his masters degree in shaolin kempo and started in with children's class and black sash programs under the vallari name. that is what he does now. i mean really just look at his resume its laughable . how do i know...i was a student looking for real kung fu with him off and on for a few years. he said i didnt earn the right to learn any more from him. that was years ago, maybe something has changed in him giving new hope, but from the looks of his website i doubt it. OK for the positive side, he does know and is good at southern mantis kung fu but only a very few people have learned real martial art from him and that was long ago. most have since left for better things i think. he has NEVER graduated any student in kung fu. its his fault he sold out. My advice is look elsewhere if you want southern mantis kung fu. there are a few others in Illinois teaching for real.