Kids’ kung-fu for body and mind

If you're between the ages of seven and 12 and you've been knocking around the idea of doing a martial art, newly arrived Rosslander Taylor Capozzola is set to kick off a seven-week, 14-class program in kung-fu at Better Life Fitness.

  • May. 11, 2011 10:00 a.m.
Taylor Capozzola

Taylor Capozzola

If you’re between the ages of seven and 12 and you’ve been knocking around the idea of doing a martial art, newly arrived Rosslander Taylor Capozzola is set to kick off a seven-week, 14-class program in kung-fu at Better Life Fitness.

Capozzola, who also recently started a women’s flash-fight defence course, has 13 years of kung-fu experience.

Originally from Manitoba, he has trained with “multiple different reknowned black belts,” in kung-fu, all “in the same style.”

“This kung-fu specifically is a time-tested art,” he explained. It dates back hundreds of years, but took its present form under the legendary master Chan Heung in 1836 after he studied under three Shaolin martial arts gurus in China and combined their teachings into the Choy Li Fut system, named after the three instructors.

“His first instructor was renowned for southern Shaolin open-palm techniques,” Capozzola said, “and his second instructor was famous for big circular punches and the tiger claw.”

By age 15, when Heung had surpassed both his first two instructors, he was send to a mountain where a northern Shaolin monk was hiding out, the Green Grass Monk.

“He ended up finding the monk who instructed him in kicks and leg work, but also taught him meditation, internal exercises and chinese traditional medicine,” Capozzola said.

At the time, Heung designed his system particularly for use in the battlefield and for self-defence, not just for sport, but Capozzola said “fighting is now what I focus on.”

“You have to train a long time before you really start fighting. Sparring is definitely part of what we do, but right now, since this is a brand new thing, I want to focus on the art,” he said. “It’s a complete system more than a ‘style.’ It develops body, soul, and mind,” Capozzola said, with breathing exercises and an emphasis on the art as a moving meditation.

The system, which involves “a lot of circular movements, agile footwork, and training with weapons” is “excellent for anyone,” he said. “There’s no real ‘top level,’ it’s a forever, continuous process of learning more and more.”

Excited about the skills he’s going to impart, Capozzola said “it’s a great kids program. There’s no garbage — it’s all there because it works, either for fighting or developing the body or mind.”

The first class is on May 16 at 3:30 p.m., and the cost for the entire course of 14 classes is $70. You can register by contacting Better Life Fitness at 362-3348, or Capozzola at tcapozzola@gmail.com.