On the road to China

By GREG WHITE

MOVIES and an iconic television series have been made about Kung Fu but to most the ancient martial art still remains shrouded in mystery.

Kung Fu is a sport and lifestyle with a strong Coffs Harbour support base but two local devotees are going to extraordinary lengths to take their exploration to the highest level.

Michael Landas and Craig Moran are preparing to spend 2008 in the People's Republic of China, studying the teachings of Kung Fu with the Shaolin monks.

"After 10 years following the art I wanted to go to the 3rd dan black belt level," Landas said.

"There was nowhere remotely close to Coffs to get the degree I wanted so I simply went to the internet.

"The process just went from there after I found the Wu Shu academy."

The Shaolin monks are the world's best in their craft having founded the Kung Fu art 250 years ago.

Mentally challenging with innumerable styles and sub-styles, the Shaolin martial art has developed from 72 basic fighting movements into five styles named after the animals each move represents - the tiger, leopard, snake, dragon and crane.

"We follow the teachings," Landas said, "but not the full monastic lifestyle at the moment."

Landas believes that will come when the Coffs duo take up residence with the Shaolin monks and begin full-time training.

"It's very intensive with a program running five days every week and various disciplines away from practice," he said.

The pair need to raise $40,000 over the next year to fund their expedition.

"While the Aussie dollar is competitive we can keep the costs down," Landas said.

"Demonstrations are being performed at Cavanbah Hall and we're having the usual raffles and sausage sizzles to help send us away."

Corporate contributions also would be extremely welcome with Michael Landas ready to 'talk turkey' on 0400 936 416.



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