Albany Shaolin - Delmar, NY
A subdivision of Dewey's Martial Arts Academy in Delmar, NY, Albany Shaolin boasts nothing yet proves that a large school is not necessary to develop one's martial abilities to their full extent. I joined just over a month ago, after hearing about a good Kung Fu school near my house, and meeting a few students at the North East Open Martial Arts Tournament. I got an invitation to attend a class, and found that Albany Shaolin was almost exactly what I was looking for. Full contact, realistic training on both a fighting and philosophical stage, and a very experienced instructor.
Class costs $40/month and meets every Friday from 6-7:30 in the largest of 3 rooms. Students also meet up on occasion to train what we learned, or to lift/run/exercise. But when class ends, Sifu W. asks if anybody wants to stick around and train in the back room. That's where the fun begins. We learn clever techniques, spar, get the techniques right, and repeat for about 60-70 minutes. I have some highlights to post, but the video is pretty large enough so it must be compressed first.
As for the review grading system:
Quality sparring and fighting is pretty much the main focus of the school. Full punches, kicks, and throws are allowed, along with groundfighting (if the fighters want to). We have to have headgear, gloves, and cups on. The ground rules are that we can hit hard, but remain in complete control at ALL TIMES, so that if somebody drops or stops for some reason, nobody gets cold-cocked in the temple. For newer guys like myself, Sifu W. tells us to "stay light" to prevent any accidents. This doesn't men that we play tag though.
We bring our own protection, of course, but there are plenty of bags at the school. Some are older and slightly ripped, but they get the job done well. There are a few standing heavybags, but I have yet to use them.
Gym Size 4.5
There are three training rooms in the school. The first, and largest is roughly 20'x40'. The second is about 20'x20'. The third room has been under reconstruction and off limits, but appears to be 15'x25' or so. All rooms have foam matting.
Sifu W. teaches all classes, and has his senior students help if he is late, or busy with another student. He has over 20 years experience (many of them in China, at a temple), and is an expert in many different Shaolin-related styles. Sifu W. also has a history of ring fights, but I believe that they were amateur fights, possibly between schools, or events in China.
Everyone wants to learn. Everyone is supportive of each other. Almost everyone loves to fight, and between the ones who do, it is a slap happy bro-fest of pain.
Striking Instruction 7
Very in-depth. Sifu W. shows us many different strikes, and combinations with them. Whether its a new punch, kick, block/strike combination, or sweep/throw, Sifu W. helps us learn the proper technique.
Grappling Instruction 4
I haven't seen any groundfighting instruction as of yet, but I learned a basic clinch defense last class. We are allowed to grapple and groundfight during the second hour, but Sifu would rather us apply what we learned in class.
I gave this a 2 because I have yet to see any weapons. I do know that we use them in forms, and learn basic techniques. I just haven't seen anything yet.
For some forms/tournament sparring videos visit: https://www.facebook.com/groups/21772100344/
If you live in the area and want to learn some good Kung Fu, stop by for a free lesson.
- Route 443 from Bethlehem turn left at the light in front of the plaza
- Delaware Ave/Route 443 from Albany drive straight into Delmar and turn right at the light in front of the plaza