I have had several e-mail interactions with him since the ones posted. He comes accross as very professional, polite, etc...no ego...very willing to answer questions. But rather than be his go-between, I will let him post on his own. All I can say is that he made a good impression on me. I will post Martin's reply in regard to his sambo when I get it.
As far as reacting with his gut, what I mean is, that he was probably just pissed at being questioned, and contacted directly...and wrote his e-mails from that place. I know from experience, that having one's credential questioned can be real angering. I has some similare issues when I started my club. But, the fact that he contacted me, let me post his e-mails, and intends to comment himself, only speaks well for him.
At this point, I have no issues with Sifu George.
I have the privilege of being one of Sifu George Fiitzgerald's adult students, as well as for some time taking my girlfriend's son to the junior classes.
I simply do not have enough positive words in my vocabulary to describe George Fitzgerald, the man, the Sifu, the friend!
He is the quality of human being most of us could only hope to be!
I have, over the years, trained under several instructors to varying degrees, including great people like Clive Elliott, Peter Consterdine, Geoff Thompson and Matty Evans.
George Fitzgerald is second to NONE.
There is of course some commercial aspect to the school, but like us all, the man has to pay the bills. Things that do not exist in the teachings at Tang Lung are ego, arrogance or the so called mystical secrets of some "masters".
Instead, there is skill, patience, understanding and the wisdom of experience.
I am happy to respond to any questions or comments in regards to my Sifu or School from the perspective of a very gratefull and respectful student.
i didn't look at kiddie programs, but 900$ for ten lessons (a bit less than 100$ for privates) seems to be a reasonable deal if the teacher is legit. of course it depends on how long it lasts...
similar rate as my BJJ BB's privates.
Tang Lung Combat Academy - George Fitzgerald in London, England
Dear Members of Bullshido.net,
I am replying in regards to several posts made about me, SIFU George Fitzgerald, and my school, the Tang Lung Combat Academy.
Forums such as this no doubt are set up with the intention of exposing the many false or exaggerated claims that unfortunately seem to run rife throughout the martial arts world. Unfortunately, this can sometimes also lead to wrongful comments about perfectly legitimate schools and instructors. I will try to explain why I believe that I have become one of these unfortunate people. I will try to answer each of the comments that have been made, in the order that they were made.
Thank you for your time,
- JUNIOR BLACK BELTS: As with most martial art schools, I do indeed teach children as well as adults. However, they are NOT taught the same syllabus as my adults and upgrade to senior Black Belt when they are 16, as is the practise of many other schools. The children I teach are taught a syllabus called Young Dragons which has been specifically designed for their age group, concentrating primarily on character development, bully prevention and sport-style martial arts. Those who pass our 6-hour grading test are awarded a JUNIOR Black Belt. At NO time is a JUNIOR Black Belt allowed to train with my adult students, let alone act as instructors to said adults. If a JUNIOR Black Belt decides to continue with adult classes when they are old enough, they begin as WHITE belts.
- BLACK BELT ROSTER: The fact that we have a lot of JUNIOR Black Belts should be applauded rather than ridiculed. These youngsters are not involved in all of the negative events that we constantly read about or hear of in the news. Plus, they are the future of martial arts. The fact that we don't have a lot of adult Black Belts could be a sign of how strict our standards are; if we were a McDojo as has also been implied, I would be selling Black Belts left, right and centre.
- PRIVATE LESSONS: I, again like most schools, advertise an option of taking private lessons. I am often asked for these by those who cannot commit to regular attendance of a martial arts school. I DO NOT say that my regular members must also take private lessons in order to progress, and 99.9% of my students have never taken a private lesson (but continue to progress and earn rank.) The cost of these private lessons is the same as that charged by most martial arts instructors here in London.
- SUCCESS UNIVERSITY: This was a link to the #1 Personal Development site on the internet and as such is definitely NOT a scam! Personal Development is as much a part of the martial arts as any punching or kicking. However, as this has apparently been misunderstood, I have decided to remove it from my website's menu and keep it for my students use if they so desire.
- MY FATHER: This was what riled me more than anything else. I DID NOT say that my late father was famous, only that he was known to many as the Bouncer, which is fact. Even one of the wreaths at his funeral spelt the word BOUNCER. The name Bouncer has probably been used by many and is not exclusive to Geoff Thompson, nor is the phrase, 'pavement arena.' To avoid any further confusion, I have changed the phrase pavement arena, but my father was and always will be, known to many as the Bouncer. I have been very fortunate over the last 35 years to have met many of the world's greatest martial artists, and even luckier to have trained with many of them. However, I would not call any of them 'my hero' - I would reserve such an honour for my father.
- CREDENTIALS: I DID earn a Bronze medal in the British Kurash Open on the 21st of February 1999. On my personal resume section of my website I also mentioned some other medal wins, all of which can be verified (Martin Clarke.) Not only are all claims authentic and verifiable, it may be of some interest to know that for some time I was also the General Secretary of the British Combat Association. No mention was made of wins made by my students (of which there were several) as this was a page detailing MY background.
- McDOJO: My understanding of this term is a school that teaches dubious martial arts and is only interested in selling belts. The Tang Lung Combat Academy is a professional school and is obviously a commercial enterprise. However, as all my qualifications are 100% genuine, and I certainly do not hand out grades like candy, I do not think the term McDojo conveys a correct impression.
- SAMBO STEVE: I have corresponded with Steve and I thank him for helping by posting some of my e-mails and his later comments. By the way Steve, thanks for registering me to your newsletter - it's a great read.
- CONCLUSION: Posting on forums can be tricky as sometimes comments can be read the wrong way. I am grateful that there is place for people to check out instructors and schools, but I do think that this has to be done in a more direct and responsible manner in order to avoid misunderstandings.
SIFU George Fitzgerald.
Thanks for posting, One thing you should be aware of is that typically people list possible issues with a school and then contact the instructor with questions regarding those possible issues. You have answered all points raised and as far as anyone here is concerned there are no problems.
Often if things progress in a negative manner someone will directly meet with an instructor in person, perhaps take a class etc. there isn't much of an alternative means towards achieving the goal of this site.
Regardless i myself am i glad you came here and quickly resolved the misconceptions, now you should have someone do a write up on your school in the school review section!
Thank you. I hope that I have managed to clear up some misconceptions about myself and my school. I did make a mistake in my previous reply - it should have read that I was at one time the General Secretary of the British Combat Sombo Association (with Martin Clarke), not the British Combat Association, which I believe is an existing group.
Anyone and everyone is more than welcome to try any of our classes, and thanks, I will look into the school review section.
Regards to All,
SIFU George Fitzgerald.
Thanks for coming here and clarifying things and good luck with your school & training.