total Fang Shen Do review
Hi, for those of you that have been hanging here for a while you may have known a guy named Fangshendo.
that guy was a total dick, deeply delusioned by his style and worshipping his sijo/sifu he had a closed mind.
... that guy was me.
Hi my name is GreenHornet and I just turned to the dark side if the MAs. I quitted FSD yesterday and started to train in a real MA. I have been a student at the montreal FSD school for 5 years and I achieved the rank of brown belt.
in this review I will express my opinions on the Fang Shen Do system and I insist that the critics that I will express are only opinions, I don't wan't bullshido.net and its staff to be involved with even more lawsuits, I think they got enough to deal with for the moment.
I started FSD at the age of 16 (I'm 21 for those wondering). At this time I was a little non-sportive nerd with long hair (I litteraly looked like a girl) and I knew little about MA even if I had a strong interest in them (movies, bruce lee, etc.)
So when I saw that PAtenaude's kung-fu around the corned near my father's house, I was very excited and I asked my father to pay me a year suscribtion for my birthday.
I must admit that 5 years ago FSD was not as a big Mcdojo that it is today, yes the price was high for a year around 800$ CAN. for a year and that was only for the membership (more on this later), but it was my birthday and my dad paid with not much regrets I guess...
the lead instructor of my school was (and still is) sifu Martin Patenaude, the son of the grandmaster and founder of the style sijo Jacques Patenaude. Sifu M. is a not very tall but very muscular man near the age of 30. Now I must admit that his skills are impressive, he is certainly the strongest ad fastest man I ever knew and his fighting abilitys are sharp as a razor blade. I know not much about his grappling skills but he seems to be ok in that range. FSD does not really like to take it to the ground ( more on that later). His weapon skills are very good too, he seems to have some knowledge on FMA even if Im not sure if its legit... and he got knowledge of the kobudo weaponry.
yeah so he is good... but how good are the students?
Well when you got a Kung-Fu school (or pretend to have one) the population of your class seems to vary, some where normal guy who wanted to learn MA (like me) some where kung-fu wackos worshiping his deity Sijo ( the school encourage this) and some where showoffs ( they dont last very long...)
Having that large specter of people comming to your dojo you must adapt your training so it will fits for everyones need. the FSD system pretended to do so.
I will explain how the class where working in GENERAL, it was not always like that, but most of the time it was. The instructor would call the class to begin and the student would form 2 or 3 rows facing the instructor in charge. Then the instructor will pickup your presence card (system established 2 or 3 years ago). After that you would do your salutation. Next we did vase meditation wich consist of simply sitting down and breathing yadayada
one exercice wich always seemed weird to me was the eyes rotation exercice... you were supposed to visualise a big clock in front of you and then your eyes would rotate clockwise and then counterclockwise. It was supposed to help keep your eyes in good health and to prevent headache.
Next step would be some pushups and running in place (20pu-1minrun-20-1min-20-1min) after we did some sit ups (3 or 4 sets of 30 aprox.)
Then we did some streching for 5 to 10 mins.
After that you would proceed with some breathing exercice a la taichi.
Now the next step is very intersting, heres why: in the FSD system if there was a thing that you were garanteed of it was that there would never be any form that you would have to learn... Well guess what my friend, its a lie basically there are 3 forms in the school: the lin sil die dar form (something looking awfully similar to the sil lim tao form)
the wooden dummy form and then the ABCD form (nice name huh?)...
About the ABCD form: one thing that had me laughing in my beard was when I was introduced to it, the instructor was really aware of the fact that system was supposed to be from free and when he started talking about it he said something like:"well .. you know we say that... but know you guys are advanced enough to learn forms (It is taugh at the brown sash level)
Continuing with the usual classes: we did chi sao and other drills like chi sao (there is an energy drill at each sash level)
then next 30 min would concentrate on techniques, but those would never, and I say NEVER praticed with resistance. It happened rarely that we would do some sparring in the regular classes, and I did once in 5 years grappling techniques (if you don't count the anti-grapple). Not that complete for a complete style...
at last the classes would finish up with the almigthy stations... This exercice would consist of doing some type exercice for 1min at maximum intensity, with 15 to 20 different exercices. To some it might look like a good way to get in shape, but let me tell you that compared to my kickboxing classes its nothing...
At last you would get in 3 rows and do 2 or 3 x 10 x 20 chun choies, I mean 2 counts of 10 reps of 20 chain punches.
Salutation, add some water and you got a usual FSD class.
Was it long enough? good 'cause I'm not done yet :toothy12:
The belt system: When I started you would have to pay each time you passed your belt and of course the price would get higher each time :) At the beggining there were only 6 sashs: white, yellow, blue, green, brown, black. But with time the number of sashs doubled because of some stripe system. Of course that stripe system was created to dilute the teaching, wich would make the learning more easier and FASTER, for you and for the teachers. Of course this is a marketing maneuver to mae the incomes faster.
About the belts requirements: yes there are belts requirements, for the brown belt you must participate to a training camp, wich is a fun experience, but costs 600$ CAN less fun
+get your weapon level #1 wich consist of 12 weapon seminars for 450$ CAN.
If you make the quick math it gives a nice bill of 1050$ + 1400$ for a year subscribtion...
Now for the black belt you simply double that **** (level 2 weapon and another training camp) and you got your next bill + you must do a focus on result (breaking arrows on your throat) seminar for a nice 150$.
More marketing BS you ask? ok: We got a black belt club allright, a masters club too, and a school owner club... My my... and all of theses cost a truckload of money of course.
The fighting style it self is just some offshoot of wing chun (it was called modern wing chun before) with some high kicks, boxing moves, knees and elbows, some basic SD stuff, add kali sticks and kobudo weapons and some anti-grappl.. err... grappling moves and thats a pretty much good resume of the FSD fighting style.
By the way my sifu is supposed one of the best weapon expert in the world according to some dvd I got... Oh yeah they got DVDs and books mate...
You must know that if the FSD familia... er sorry... crew may give you a weird feeling of a cult or religion and the fact most of them are part of the same family doesn't really help... And if they all are MA masters they are also marketing masters : http://img185.imageshack.us/img185/3579/mafiosio6ey.jpg
But with all that **** did I ever learned to fight? hmmm well seeing how I get owned every time I spar I would say no.. but when I asked my instructor why I sucked so much even after all these years he said: "your punching is good, your kicking is good, you just need more experience in sparring, but don't worry on the street most people are untrained so you would probably beat them."
WTF I said to myself, so I can't fight because of your method of training and you tell me that its not so bad because YOU think I would PROBABLY win against someone untrained... DOUBLE U TEE F!!! I feel much more safe now...
Now I did get some improvements off this school, I got in better shape, and it made me get in contact with the MA world, especialy with Bruce Lee.
Believe it or not it his because of the FSD theory about effectiveness and non-bullshit that I found bullshido.net
So in a way it is because of Fang Shen Do that I puke my guts each kickboxing classes and that I get my elbow hyperextended in BJJ (MMA).
Before I end this self inflicted torture I would like to add this article is not directed to Canadians only but to all martial artist in the world. The FSD crew got plans and they are coming my friend. I don't wan't to be an alarmist but seeing how they expended in the last 5 years ( going from 8 to 20 schools in Ontario and Quebec )
So for the people in the states be prepared to fight this BS soon.
So this is how I wasted 5 years of my life
This is how I was a bullshidoka.