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Celestial Dragon Temple Boxing

"Valour, Honour, Compassion, Justice"

Celestial Dragon Temple Boxing 天龍寺拳 (also known as TianLong Temple Boxing or Heavenly Dragon Temple Boxing) is a style of kung fu, founded in the United Kingdom by Feng Shou 3rd Tengchi Neil Brown.

Students of this martial arts organisation are dedicated to the study and practice of two kung fu styles:

1. Celestial Dragon Temple Boxing.

2. Feng Shou Hand of the Wind kung fu.

Both styles combine spiritual principle, meditation, mind training and energy work with martial arts/self defence practice.

The Celestial Dragon Temple Boxing syllabus was submitted as a new style of kung fu to the Executive Committee of The Amateur Martial Association in March 2010, where it was assessed, officially recognised and accepted as a new and valid style of martial art.

Spiritual Philosophy
In Chinese dragon mythology, the Celestial Dragon (Chinese: 天龍 pinyin:
tiānlóng; Wade-Giles: t'ien-lung) is held to be a guardian of holy places.

Celestial Dragon Temple Boxing students are encouraged to embrace spiritual development by embarking (or continuing) on a Path of Enlightenment as the foundation of their study and practice, focusing primarily, but not exclusively, on the tenets of Taoism and Buddhism, interwoven with aspects of the Western Wisdom Tradition. This approach is not intended as a replacement for religious beliefs the student may already hold.

Martial Influences
Celestial Dragon Temple Boxing’s primary martial influences are Lee style Feng Shou (Hand of the Wind), a Taoist art of kung fu over 2000 years old, and Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do (Bruce Lee’s Way of the Intercepting Fist), an approach to kung fu established by Bruce Lee and officially recognised in the 20th century.

Years of blending the primary underlying principles and techniques of Feng Shou and Jeet Kune Do, through practice, application, exploration and reflection, naturally resulted in a new viewpoint. The essence of this has crystalised in the form of Celestial Dragon Temple Boxing.

The martial concept of ‘firing an arrow and touching fire’ – ie, striking fast and withdrawing the hand, foot or even the whole body with equal speed – is integral to the art, as is the utilisation of the straight line, curves, spiralling techniques, evasions and ward-offs or parries. Relaxed poise to facilitate the flow of chi, and a state of readiness, much like that of a cat which in an instant can spring into action if necessary, is combined with adaptability and fluidity of movement.

This is summarised in the following description of the art’s Celestial Dragon stance, attained by students when they reach 1st Degree black sash:

Celestial Dragon Stance
Like the shifting form of a dragon manifesting in clouds or water, Celestial Dragon stance represents fluidity of posture. Previously conditioned by form (stability gained by the numerous stances learnt, understood and mastered throughout the course of training), the student is now in a position to free himself – to ‘break the mould’ – and is able to continuously adjust his posture in subtle ways to best suit the needs of the moment. Like a dragon in the clouds, he cannot be pinned down to one shape. Just when you think you see him, he changes before your eyes to something you may not even recognise, yet still he is present in the invisible wind, the shadows of bamboo, the swaying of strong-rooted trees, the thunder and lightning, the spiralling of a tornado – with it’s inherent stillness at the centre of the storm, the rain and the rivers, and the warmth and light of the sun.

(extract from The Art of Celestial Dragon Temple Boxing, by Neil Brown, © 2010)

Training methods include those of a teacher-led group in which students regularly alternate training partners throughout each lesson - because no two martial artists are the same. Students are also advised that daily practice on their own or with a partner, outside of the school group training sessions, is also necessary, and indeed this becomes a way of life for many.

Suitability for membership and martial arts training is based on factors such as respect for others and intention to learn/practice/use in a controlled, law-abiding manner for reasons such as self-defence purposes and self-development (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual). The Celestial Dragon Temple Boxing motto being: 'Valour, Honour, Compassion, Justice'.

The teacher’s main aim is simply to be a way-shower (and there are countless ‘ways’), providing each student with the opportunity to realise their true potential, enabling them to become their own master whilst retaining their humility.

Elements of Celestial Dragon Temple Boxing kung fu include unarmed martial arts/self defence training, nei kung/energy work, mind training and meditation, sparring, stick/staff and knife/sword defence.

"Students are also fully trained and graded in Feng Shou style"

The underlying principle of Celestial Dragon Temple Boxing philosophy is that of a Western approach to the inclusion and practice of Eastern Wisdom through meditation and martial arts self defence training - for a healthy mind in a healthy body.

There are many 'true' paths and all eventually lead to the same goal. Essentially, at the higher levels, both Eastern and Western ways meet as one and both should be given equal respect.

Naturally, then, the paths are suited to different temperaments, whether determined by cultural life experience or an innate sense of belonging more to one or the other. Rarely is a person suited to walk both paths together.

Traditionally, the Sifu (teacher) regarded his students in a Master-Student hierarchical sense, in other words there was a clearly defined arrangement of individuals in formally ranked order, with the Sifu at the head. Such an approach is a highly effective one that commands discipline, quality of skill, subservience and respect of a particular flavour or type – agreeable to some, though not to all.

The Celestial Dragon Temple Boxing teacher, likewise initiating discipline and utilising the hierarchical system to a degree, does not impose a strict adherence to traditional ideas of a Master-Pupil relationship. Instead, a less formal attitude is adopted, more conducive to modern perceptions of teacher-student interaction. Friendship and mutual respect is encouraged. An appropriate Western symbol for this is the Round Table prominent in the Arthurian Legends wherein Arthur sat at a round table with his knights to demonstrate unity and equality. Such a round table, with an Eastern element - a Tibetan singing bowl - at its centre, is an excellent unified symbol for the Celestial Dragon Temple Boxing student to consider in meditation.

The martial arts practiced by Celestial Dragon Temple Boxing students (Feng Shou Hand of the Wind Chinese boxing kung fu, and Celestial Dragon Temple Boxing kung fu) are specifically for enjoyment of the art, health and enlightenment, plus self-defence reasons appropriate to living conditions in the civilised world, in a law-abiding way. Emphasis is placed on control of the mind and emotions as well as the physical body, hence training in meditation is a necessary component of study and practice. Control your mind and emotions first and you will not be let down by your physical action or reaction.