Mark Appleford
Shaolin Wahnam Instructor, Scotland

Mark free sparring with Riccardo

Sifu Mark Appleford of Scotland free sparring with Sifu Riccardo Puleo of Italy during the Advanced Combined Shaolin Taijiquan Course in July/August 2005 in Malaysia.

The following discussion by Sifu Mark Appleford “Why I Train with Sifu” is reproduced from the thread How can i phrase this i really want to know ! started by Kin Tama in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum on 13th October 2005

Why I train with Sifu

“Sifu is a man who truly lives his art. He is also very highly experienced and qualified. He is his art in the true sense, not only does he practise a martial arts but he understands, and can teach the philosophy and internal teachings behind his art.”

Mark Appleford

Mark Appleford

Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Scotland

12th April 2003

Originally Posted by Kin Tama

“I really want to know why all of the wkk students are wkk students, what is it that makes you do it.

Now to the part that may sound like trolling, looking collectively at the forums, at the prices you pay, especially at the standard of what you demonstrate in the video clips. It is not only horrendously low standard but also looks like you are stuck in a glass shell where people look from outside inwards but you cant see the rest of the world outside.”

Hey Kin,

I don't think any offense has been taken at your post and as you can see it has not been deleted. Our ethics as Shaolin Wahnam Instructors doesn't allow this, more importantly our innate morality can't let us do this.

You may see my answer as a bit soft but here goes.

Sifu is a man who truly lives his art. He is also very highly experienced and qualified. He is his art in the true sense, not only does he practise a martial art but he understands, and can teach the philosophy and internal teachings behind his art.

Now we come to Sifu as an individual, his knowledge is wide ranging on many subjects. His perspective on life is truly inspiring. More importantly he cares about people and his students.

A lot of us here can honestly say that our time with Sifu has changed our lives, I know I can.

Now you can take that statement anyway you want! But I am more than happy with my studies and my experiences with Sifu and the rest of my family. The word to note here is “experiences”, no offense but until you meet Sifu we can only explain why we are his students, we can't make you realise, and that is the difference.

Yes the prices are high, but there are a number of things that validate this. One is the money back guarantee. Another is the defined goals and objectives. There are lot more reasons I could give but I don't see the need to. We don't make people pay, it is their choice and I think most people are happy with it.

Mark free sparring with Riccardo

Sifu Mark assesses his sparring partner to find an opening while keeping his guard should the sparring partner attack suddenly

Ok the video clips. That is all they are videos clips, clips at a certain moment in reality, It is like only seeing a thread in a tapestry, you only see that tiny part and not the rest of the threads that make up the picture. You end up narrowing you eyes just concentrating on that thread. Take a few steps back and enjoy the whole picture.

Those videos were taken on a course and yes people were sparring slowly. So if people make choices about coming to Shaolin Wahnam from the videos they are only seeing a very narrow perspective. It is actually quite interesting that professional Thai fighters spar slowly and softly. This still allows them to learn and work skills such as time and spacing, angle recognition, structure and body mechanics and a few other things as well. (Smile) Oh and techniques, flow, defense postures, offensive combination and tactic, emotional focus and it also keeps them safe. Like I said when you only see a thread of the pictures you miss so much more.

“Don't look at the finger (hitting the student on head) or you miss all the heavenly glory.” (Smile)

The art truly is vast and the training methodology is exceptionally good.

The people in the Wahnam family come from a broad range of background. We have people who are exceptional fighters to true scholars. We have engineers, doctors, politicians, executives and very ordinary people like myself. A lot of us have paid the fees and attended these courses. We get taught the training methodology and are given tools on how to use them.

On the courses we get given the essence of the art and how it flows through all aspects of your life. I will be quite honest on my first course. I did not make it past the first 6 combat sequences and there are 16!! But I did learn how to use them and was given a road map on how to deepen my understanding. Not only that I was given the gift of learning chi kung and the understanding of the internal arts. That alone has changed my life and that is a whole book in writing, not a thread on the forum.

Ok you made some comments on our understanding of other arts. I am not going to speak for my other members of our family. I think it is safe to say that I have an understanding of other arts, I even have direct experience in some of them.

Now I don't like mentioning who I have trained with as it sounds like I am trying to bolster my own arguments but I feel that it is necessary to show that I have standard to judge Sifu and his arts.

Here are some of the people I have trained and by this I don't mean attending weekend courses. I mean I have spent considerable time with them, years in some cases. I have trained with Rick Young in JKD, Ip Chun in Wing Chun, I have trained in Hong Kong with some Philipino martial arts and with the likes of Erik Paulson, Rick Faye etc. I have boxed, wrestled, Thai boxed, also studied other systems of internal arts, not just in the UK but also in mainland China. Other members of my family have much more experience, knowledge and skills in other arts than I do.

The reason I mention these people is that I think my experiences with them give me the ability to have a fair perspective on this art.

Thanks for you time



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