August 31, 2004 > Moore's Chinese Martial Arts
Moore's Chinese Martial Arts
As a five year-old, Tim McNabney lived in Hayward, across the street from a "Grand Master." He and some of the other neighborhood children learned forms and techniques "on the front lawn and driveway" from one of the icons of Chinese Martial Arts. "It was in my blood," says Tim and later in life, returning from living in Texas, he sought a Chinese martial arts school to learn and refine his skills in the ancient form of kung fu, called Shou Shu. He began training at Moore's Chinese Martial Arts school in Newark and after three or four months, met the Grand Master - the same man who trained him as a five year-old boy, Da'Shifu Ralph Moore, brother of the founder of present day teaching methods of Shou Shu, the late Da'Shifu Al Moore Sr.
Shou Shu, a Mandarin warlord art, translates as fighting in the "way of the beasts". It's a complete fighting system that incorporates seven fighting animal styles of china. Each is studied to apply movements of self-defense, known as San Sao to create one of the most sophisticated systems of self defense ever devised. The animals include: Dragon (Long), Master of Illusion; Cobra (Fu), the Glass Eyed Snake; Praying Mantis (Tang), Master of Chin Na; White Crane (Ba He), the Steel Element; Mongoose (You), the Master of Evasion; Tiger (Hu), Soft Power and Bear (Xiong), the Foundation of Power. Shun Shifu (School Headmaster) McNabney, a 4th degree black belt, emphasizes that at Moore's School of Chinese Martial Arts, students study all seven disciplines and enter a "family atmosphere" of caring and a way of life instilling confidence, respect, concentration and discipline that will "last a lifetime while improving health and fitness."
The animals of Shou Shu form the principals of the physics and alignments for fighting skills. As students progress from white belt to black belt status, a portion of each animal's style is learned, although the bear predominates since it is considered the foundation of Shou Shu - "defense, humble until provoked." Students learn parts of the other animals, but the pure form of each are reserved for levels of black belt training (e.g. first degree black belt - bear; second degree black belt - tiger; etc.). Each beast represents a style that may take many years to master.
Shun Shifu McNabney says that his schools train primarily for self-defense "reality fighting" rather than tournaments. Sparring and training for tournaments may lead to "pulling punches" used to score points while avoiding injuries. Many techniques in Shou Shu are used when a student finds themselves in a matter of life or death. In such circumstances, all resources must be used without reservation. "Reaction training" creates spontaneous movements from muscle memory.
Weapon training is considered "an extension of the body" and is introduced after basic training. "You learn to use your body as a weapon first," before starting with other weapons. The first weapon learned is the staff (stick) at the purple belt level, followed by the broadsword. Each weapon has its own level - each compliments the next. "Weapon movements improve body movements and hand forms," says Shun Shifu McNabney. Weapon training is not required, but is encouraged to enhance Shou Shu training. Although most Kung Fu styles include weapons, the forms and movements can differ.
Classes at Moore's School of Chinese Martial Arts are divided by age and skill level. Kid classes include age 5 through 12. Further divisions split groups by skill and into ages 5 -7 year olds and 8 - 12 year olds. There is no division by sex since Shun Shifu McNabney feels that women should train with men, gaining experience in how to handle male adversaries. As a beginner, individual orientation classes (5 -7 classes) "acclimate" a newcomer to the basics. This gives the teacher an opportunity to assess which group is appropriate for the new student.
Classes may warm up together and then split into smaller groups to practice techniques and movements with a staff member. Each adult will not only attend group sessions, but continues with individual instruction on a weekly basis as well. Shun Shifu McNabney says that at Moore's, everything is "tailored for the individual" but group practice allows "hands on" practice between people of different size, weight and sex. This creates a good confidence level especially when smaller students and women are able to handle and control larger people.
Entry to the world of Chinese Martial Arts requires a commitment of at least two practice sessions per week. Shun Shifu McNabney invites all students to spend as much time as possible at the studio. He says, "Once a person joins the school, he/she has full use of the facility; it's unlimited." Classes are offered throughout the day - afternoon and evening including Saturdays. "Once a person joins, they can attend two classes a day, stay all day if they wish and come in on Saturday's too!" The minimum of two classes a week is designed to "draw a roadmap" and set goals. Each belt color represents a curriculum and a set of skills. Belts are markers of achievement and progress.
Moore's Shou Shu Kung Fu is currently taught at seventeen schools throughout California. Each adheres to the precepts of the late Da'Shifu Al Moore Sr. and presently Da Shifu Al Moore II. Moore's schools are open to students from other areas whether visiting or relocating. Shun Shifu McNabney runs the only two schools in the Bay Area (Fremont, Hayward) while the others extend from the Sacramento area to the San Diego area. The Headmasters of all Moore's schools meet weekly with Grandmaster Da Shif Al Moore II for ongoing training and to maintain purity of the art. Several times each year, all Moore's Chinese Martial Arts members have the opportunity to attend two day camps to train and enhance their martial arts skills.
Shun Shifu McNabney recently returned from Los Angeles where he was inducted into the United States of America Martial Arts Hall of Fame on August 7, 2004. Nominated by a Grand Master of Chinese Martial Arts, McNabney's qualifications were rigorously reviewed by directors of the association and he was accepted for induction. Shun Shifu McNabney invites everyone in the greater Tri-City community to come by Moore's School of Chinese Martial Arts and experience the proud heritage of this ancient and practical form of self-defense. McNabney emphasizes that at Moore's, students, young and old, embrace a way of life full of confidence, self-discipline and self-control that will enhance fitness and reduce stress. Come by to meet Shun Shifu McNabney and let him show you how Shou Shu Kung Fu belongs in your life.
Moore's School of Chinese Martial Arts
Monday - Friday; 12:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday; 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
115 Anza St., Fremont
458 Tennyson Rd., Hayward