Fonda Lee

It has taken me a long time to get around to writing this testimonial because I’m not sure I can adequately capture in a few paragraphs how much the Portland Shaolin Center has enriched me as a martial artist and as a person. When I first walked into the school three years ago, I was on the hunt for the ‘right school’ for me; I had quite a bit of prior martial arts training, but had taken a long break and felt I’d been missing something important in my life that entire time. For some people, martial arts is like the best kind of parasitic infection: it gets into your blood and doesn’t let go. I was dying to train, but I knew I wanted certain things:

  • A traditional (but laid back) school, teaching traditional martial arts (not a gym, not MMA, or Tae Bo, or fusion anything)
  • A varied curriculum, including forms, weapons (so very awesome), sparring, and more.
  • Instructors who were accomplished, devoted martial arts, skilled and supportive teachers, and cool, friendly human beings.
  • A flexible and full schedule of classes so I could be sure of keeping up training by picking and choosing what times I could attend.
  • A place geared primarily for adult students.
  • Reasonably priced tuition with no “get to black belt contracts,” hidden fees, etc.
  • A school with a rigorous emphasis on form and fundamentals, on quality of students over quantity, on making you the best martial artist you can be instead of hurrying you through belt ranks.
  • A community of fun, dedicated, like-minded students I could soon call friends.

I must admit, I was worried about being able to find a place that satisfied most, much less all, of the things on my wish list. I visited many schools, and Portland Shaolin, despite being on the other side of town from where I lived, was the one that hit all the right notes, and did it in spades.

Three years later, I know without a doubt that I made the right decision. When I’m not at home, or at work, I want to be at the school. There are times I’ve been there for two hours but still don’t want to leave because I’m having too much fun, and you know, “we could run through that form one more time.” Or days when I’m tired and lazy, or had a bad day at work, or am sore from the last day’s class, but I get up and go to kung fu anyways, because it’s worth it, every time.

If my list matches your list at all, come. Come for the martial arts, stay for the community. It’s something special.

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