Action Kung Fu Crystal Lake, Illinois
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.
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.
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.
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.