Frequently Asked Questions

About Us

Q: What is Calvin Chin’s Martial Arts Academy’s teaching philosophy?

The Academy provides an environment where both the body and mind are nurtured, and mutual respect fostered. We teach martial arts for fitness, for enrichment, and for self-discipline. We offer the right tools to succeed in our programs to anyone who has an interest to learn, providing an education of the highest standard that in earlier times was reserved for "indoor students". This translates into "open" instruction - interpreting martial arts theories and passing valuable insight that enables our students to have the best opportunity to excel in the arts. We acknowledge and cater to different learning styles, and we offer a non-competitive environment where each student is taught by the chief instructor and supported by other students. Our training is through a systematic approach utilizing the Fu Hok Tai He Morn method; adapting to each individual and segment of our membership. Youths, adults, and seniors are taught in separate programs with specific methods proven to be effective for each group.  We find that youths have the ability to absorb sequences quickly and refinement is secondary to accumulating an inventory of forms. Kung Fu is a positive outlet for youthful energy and curiosity and paves the groundwork for higher thinking. Teens are at an age where confidence can make the difference in their outlook. At this age, their inner-self is strengthened through the discipline of martial arts. They train with other teens of varying ranks building trust and support for one another. Teens are ready for more depth of knowledge, and can start to apply theory to develop better skill. The fitness and health aspect generally motivate adults who study martial arts. They want to hedge against the aging process through physical and mental stimulation. Adults can best appreciate the martial arts theories that guide our system, and this knowledge awakens their spirit, spurring them to achieve beyond their expectation. Adults find that the Academy offers a great support system, a connection to others, as well as a stress-free environment for learning. Seniors learn tai chi in hopes of gaining better health and improving quality of life. Securing a sense of well-being increases their independence and confidence. Scientific findings indicate that seniors are significant beneficiaries of tai chi; accordingly, we offer a shorter sequence with special aids providing seniors more immediate results. We believe that anyone who wants to learn martial arts has a better opportunity to achieve in our programs based on the methods and support.

Q: What is natural strength?

As one becomes more skilled, less strength is needed. This concept is contrary to the popular belief that power equals brute force. A novice will use excessive strength in execution, and unless there is proper guidance, execution will become stiff and rigid, what we consider dead strength, resulting from isolation of movement. Over time, this becomes habit. In our training, the student learns to use natural strength, adjusting body position to find where it has the structural integrity to function optimally and using the least amount of strength required. This is live strengthgenerated by whole body integration. Every part of the body is adjusted, and the more skill one has, the more subtle the adjustments become until one becomes so efficient, it takes less to create more. The resultant force is superior power.

To learn more, read Sifu Calvin Chin's article, Seeking the Softness in Hung Gar.

Q: What is Fu Hok Tai He Morn?

Fu Hok Tai He Morn is the system taught at Calvin Chin’s Martial Arts Academy that includes three traditional Chinese martial arts. The words are a composite of the three systems: Fu Hok for Shaolin Hung Gar Fu Hok (Tiger Crane), Tai for Wu (Chien Chuan) Tai Chi, Hefor qigong (he-gong in the Cantonese dialect) inherent in all three, and Morn for Mu Dong Yat Hei Ngm Hahng Morn. The late Grandmaster, Kwong Tit Fu was a proponent of each system, and he founded Fu Hok Tai He Morn to commemorate each of his teachers. Through extensive training and research into the classics of martial arts, he discovered that there were universal principles and concepts contained in each of the three systems; not evident until the advanced stages of learning. This discovery allowed him to formulate a training method based on these higher-level theories. Most notably, the use of natural strength was adopted and introduced at the earliest stage of training, as this is essential in developing superior knowledge. Although the three systems appear distinct at the beginning stages of learning, Kwong Tit Fu found them to be complementary systems when refined under the training method of Fu Hok Tai He Morn where one system supports the other. The Academy teaches each traditional system in separate programs, leaving all form sequences intact while creating its unique style through an understanding of the mechanics of natural movement. 

Q: How are students ranked?

Many traditional systems do not have a belt system; rather there is a hierarchy based on seniority. In many commercial schools, the black belt is the ultimate goal with no other achievement beyond that; while in traditional systems, achievement is through self-cultivation and a belief that there is at least a lifetime of learning. We incorporate the philosophy of both schools. Ranking in kung fu, serves to provide motivation for learning and a sense of accomplishment. This is particularly important for children and helps them gain confidence, pride and self-esteem. Therefore, we have a system in place based on colored belts/sashes. Progression within each belt ranking includes earning stripes, up to four stripes in each colored belt. These are earned through refinement of form and drill sequences; taking a longer period to advance between each belt ranking as more theory is incorporated into the curriculum. Students learn at their own rate; no one is pressured to move faster or slower than is appropriate and comfortable for them.  The brown belt ranking begins the advanced level of training at the Academy where formal written tests along with tests of physical skill become part of the criteria for advancement. The last belt ranking earned at the Academy is the black belt with four stripes. There is no gauge as to how long it takes for one to reach this level. This achievement is subject to each individual, as students learn at their own rate. The progress of each student is gauged in regular classes. Therefore, we do not have separate testing dates, eliminating stress and additional fees associated with them. Training not only continues beyond black belt level in the Fu Hok Tai He Morn system, but some will contend that training actually begins at this level when the body and mind have reached a higher level of refinement. Gold belts are worn by instructors who have a minimum ranking of a black belt, and have been certified by the late grandmaster, Kwong Tit Fu or Master Calvin Chin to teach specific programs. Because systems vary, the term master is often used very loosely in martial arts. Mastery in martial arts is achieved when both the body and mind have digested the principles and concepts that guide the system; where one can both communicate and demonstrate the knowledge. Understanding comes through self-cultivation and sufficient time spent with a master. In the higher levels of martial arts, belt ranking has much less significance. A master in the Fu Hok Tai He Morn system wears a "non-color" belt. Its sole purpose is to secure his/her pants in place.

Q: Why do you bow to the altar?

Classes begin and end with all students bowing to an altar, and then saluting the "Sifu", which means master or teacher. Bowing does not indicate acceptance of any religion. It is an acknowledgment of all the teachers and ancestors whose hard work and creativity contributed to our system of martial arts. It is a token of respect and gratitude which reminds us that learning this art is a privilege. We salute our Sifu to show respect to him. He, in turn, salutes all the members of the class.

Q: Why should I enroll at Calvin Chin's Martial Arts Academy?

Aside from the superior curriculum and instruction, what distinguishes the Academy is the culture of mutual respect that exists throughout. We have children, families and adults from various backgrounds and skill levels, all converging at a place they love, fully supported by others who care about them.

Q: How can I enroll?

Registration is on-going at the Academy and must be done in person. We welcome those who wish to take a free trial lesson or observe a class prior to enrollment. Youths, under the age of 18 require a parent/guardian to complete the form. We offer a trial period of eight sessions in our Intro program in either kung fu or tai chi for all new participants. During this Intro period or during a trial lesson, comfortable clothing and rubber sole shoes are worn. While we can appreciate that students may have prior martial arts training and may also be studying more than one discipline, Intro students should not wear uniforms from other martial arts schools at the Academy. After completion of Intro, a student can choose to enroll monthly or quarterly, and at this time, those enrolled in kung fu must purchase a uniform. Because we have no belt ranking in tai chi, students are not required to wear uniforms, but many do. We accept checks or cash for payments. Extended annual contracts is not our policy and prior registration is not required.

Q: Can I buy a gift certificate?

Gift certificates for martial arts lessons are a great way to introduce someone to our kung fu or tai chi programs. Those who want to commemorate a special occasion can purchase a gift certificate for the Intro program or a private lesson. We feel that anyone can benefit from our programs, and a gift certificate to Calvin Chin's Martial Arts Academy can lead someone you care about to better health and well-being. In addition, for our current members and families, a gift certificate for monthly and quarterly tuition is a practical and thoughtful gift. To obtain a gift certificate, or for more information, please contact us.