IronMarshall

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About IronMarshall

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    Dao Bum
  1. Sifu Dan LaRochelle and the Rizzo brothers

    My comments about Dan LaRochelle not only reflect my personal experience with him, but also a handful of other people I've come into contact with who are also interested in Bak Fu Pai. I certainly don't want to speak for them as that's hearsay, so please don't take my word for it. It's extremely disappointing. However, I have also come across another individual such as yourself who claims that they have had a long-standing relationship with Mr. LaRochelle and that he's always replied to emails and answered questions with him. But I also know that this individual has spent a LOT of money with Dan. Probably thousands. Perhaps that's why he's willing to spare five minutes to send an email to him? Or to you? How much have you spent with him? And is that the deciding factor of whether or not the rest of us are worthy enough of his time? This individual also claims that LaRochelle has a massive hidden library of Doo Wai material that has never been for sale publicly on the website and that if you're lucky enough to make friends with him; he's willing to sell you some super rare stuff. As for the Rizzo Brothers; honestly, I've only contacted them that one time because I was in the area. I'm not really blaming them for their unavailability as it was a pretty random, spur of the moment inspiration that I had since I was near them. I only wanted to relay my experience. If I ever go back out that way; I'll try to make preparations weeks in advance to ensure they're available and do things in a more mutually practical way. If the issue were with one single guy, seller, instructor; it wouldn't be such a big deal. But the problem is that it seems like it's ALL of these guys. Not only are they horrible to their potential customers and students, but they're horrible to each other and they're all forking over large sums of cash for horrible videos so that they can individually claim to be the number one leader of the system (or a certain part of the system). Why? Because this system in particular has set a precedent for having people (as you yourself claim above) pay upwards of $30,000 for a video on a Qigong Form. That's a serious revenue stream. Hell, I've been practicing Tibetan Lama Burning Palm since 1994. Anyone out there wanna pay me $6000 for some high quality videos and a few certificates? I could use a new motorcycle. Or a nice vacation. Come on guys, hook a brother up? I think, after Doo Wai dies, you're going to see a whole army of guys popping up claiming to have secret knowledge of this and that. And Grandmaster Doo Wai is known for handing out titles, ranks and Grandmasterships. So, whether we're talking Garry Hearfield or anyone else; I'm really not that impressed by their resume. And unless Grandmaster Doo Wai himself ever posts a list of certified representatives; instructors and students, how are you, me and anyone else really sure of someone's claims? We can't be, unless we can ask him ourselves. And that's unlikely to happen. And also, all the available instructors (which are few and far between) are also going to probably expand on their claims of styles and mastery from Doo Wai after his death. Why wouldn't they? If they can keep feeding the sheep a line of crap about paying them $300 for this or that; it's a major cash cow for them. So I think it'll be interesting to see the feuding between these guys at that point. (Also, I do actually have respect for some of these guys as they are actually very accomplished in other martial arts systems on top of what they do in the Bak Fu Pai realm and I'm only speaking about how I sincerely feel about this particular material. Nothing else.) I think another interesting point is that you never see a "complete" demonstration of an art by any of these guys. Ask them how many forms there are in Omei Bak Mei, or White Tiger Kung Fu and then ask to see a quick demonstration of ALL the forms at once? Or how many levels of Sunn Yee Gong and ask to see a demonstration of all the material. My feeling is that they can't do it and they only show what they've learned and none of these Grandmasters, Instructors and/or Representatives have even learned all the material they're claiming to have been given. They'll show a few basic things and then maybe one or two advanced things that gives you an impression that they must know all the intermediate things too. A sort of sleight of hand there. If I can do White Belt Form 1 and Black Belt Form 10, then obviously I must know all the forms from 2 to 9, right? I don't think it's unreasonable to ask to see a demo that verifies their claims. Do you? I mean, if I walked into a Kenpo school and asked to see all the forms, or self-defense techniques they allege to teach; the guy would show me. And if he couldn't then I would have serious cause to think he's a fake individual who's misleading his students and/or audience into believing he's the keeper of a knowledge which doesn't actually possess. If I walked into any Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Kung Fu, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school in the world and asked to see a demonstration of all their forms; or techniques at a certain level; I would be obliged in most cases. Particularly if an instructor is skilled. They like to show off their mastery. Instead, when it comes to the majority of the Doo Wai guys; you get excuses, or paranoid rants, a changing of the subject and a verbally abusive list aimed to discredit you simply for asking about proof of mastery. Cuz how dare anyone question their obvious superiority. They claim that you're only out to steal their system or info and therefore they can't show you 'cuz you're a spy. Or they make a claim like Doo Wai has only authorized me to let certain parts out at certain times. Huh? That hurt my brain. So.... he gave you the info but told you only to release it at certain times? For what purpose exactly? I think what they really mean is; "I'll let it out as I learn it." As for the price tags on some of the videos or training; I cannot believe anyone would pay $300 or even $30,000 for a series of meditations. But hey, if you create something you have the right to charge whatever you want for it. There are far more popular systems of Qigong and Internal Arts available, some of which (like Tai Chi) have been analyzed and studied by Harvard Medical School with a long standing record of verifiable evidence to support certain health and fitness claims. I'd much rather dedicate a large portion of my energy into the practice and research of a system that is widely available enough that you can compare and contrast your skill sets with others. I don't know why people insist on trying to find something rare and unique that only one or two people on the planet might know. That tells me you're learning something for your Ego, not for it's actual benefit. 90% of the guys who claim lineage under Doo Wai have never even met the guy face to face. They've learned what they teach from the same horrible videos we've all purchased. And yet they'll sit back and say they are doing it the right way and they know that because Doo Wai blessed them with a certain "special" extra knowledge about that method that those other guys don't have. Or that you don't have. You can't simply do a google search and verify any of their claims. You can't compare their performance of a Qigong set, Form or Procedure with someone else because - well, this stuff has to remain secretive. We live in the information age. If you can't verify or research something online; there's a big issue with that, in my opinion. And for people who claim to have the most POWERFUL, LIFE CHANGING, HEALTH PROMOTING methods of Chinese Martial Arts the world has ever seen; I certainly don't see anyone making an effort to get those life-saving methods into the hands of people who might actually need or benefit from them or volunteering to do health studies with groups of sick patients to see if the addition of these ultra-powerful Qigong and Meditations methods actually improve someone's health.
  2. I wasn't trying to insult Mr. Frantzis. I've never met him and I do not typically like to cast judgment on martial artists I've never shared personal experiences with. And, for the sake of being totally unbiased; I do not actually believe that one's "performance" of an art reflects whether or not they are deeply "knowledgeable" about the art. Some people can't do and are better suited as scholars and teachers. Others have no patience for the in-depth, but are incredibly skilled in the application of their art. Like you said, sometimes people can be knocked on their butts with an injury (or illness). His body-type and mobility issues fit a perfect example for this argument though. Particularly in America where a significant portion of the population is obese and consume a very poor diet. I guess we love our comfort food more than our health. Perhaps it's worth noting, in particular for Mr. Frantzis' case; that sometimes these masters suffer traumatic injury, and that it's difficult to overcome for anyone, medications and pain killers are often prescribed in heavy doses (particularly in America) which numb the senses and leave you lethargic, tired and lazy; which also means you end up sitting around more than you did before, eventually gaining weight , developing heart disease and dying younger than you should have. But for the record; I sincerely meant no disrespect to Mr. Frantzis or any of his followers. I find him to be an incredibly knowledgeable teacher, I enjoy his videos and publications and whatever demons he's fighting to overcome; I wish him the best. He was just the first guy that came to mind as I was watching some of his Tai Chi Course Lessons that morning.
  3. I've often pondered the same things. I was watching a video by B.K. Frantzis today on tai chi wondering why anyone would pay lots of money to learn about "health" related martial arts practice by a sweaty, possibly obese over-weight guy with limited functional mobility? These are very clearly people who preach one thing and live another. I think most of these enlightened individuals with their healing powers are greatly over exaggerating their abilities. Why do masters die young despite their mastery? Because human beings aren't simple one dimensional creatures. You cant out work a bad diet and expect to have abs. As much as people want to believe; qigong, meditation, yoga, etc. are not one size fits all keys to immortality that give you such strength you can ignore health science, nutrition, exercise and moderation. Diet is a factor. Environment "can/may" be a factor. Exercise is a factor. Many things play a role in our overall health. We are multi dimensional beings and putting all your eggs into one basket in any area of life seems like an extremely limited approach. I've always believed in training to improve my "quality" of life. Not necessarily the quantity of it. Maybe, had those masters never practiced their art to begin with, the inevitable death that stole them away would've happened sooner and debilitated them to a much greater and harsher level had they not attained what level of mastery they did have. It's hard to say. But they followed their own path. Lived their own truth. And that's all any of us can do. Find the things that give you peace, bliss and balance. Be disciplined and diligent. Hope for the best.
  4. Sifu Dan LaRochelle and the Rizzo brothers

    I've had similar experiences as you on this topic. I've talked to maybe a half dozen people on facebook; all who've messaged Dan LaRochelle at some point and only one or two people ever got a response. The one's who did get a response only got that single reply and nothing from their follow-ups. So apparently he does not care to return or reply to messages, to answer questions or to run his business with any level of competency or care. From a purely "business" analysis; WhiteTigerKungFu.com is a joke: Customer service? (i.e. reponse to messages about products) is zero. Fail. Quality of the goods? (i.e. 20-30 year old low-quality VHS clips transferred to digital for download) is very poor compared to quality of similar videos shot today with cell phone cameras. Very poor quality when compared with the current market and industry standard. Quality of instruction on the videos? (None. They're demonstration's Doo Wai made for his own clan and left it up to them to figure it out, which is also why six people performing the same Qigong set or form all look different from one another). Which is also why you have those same six instructors bickoring on the internet over which one is the right way to do it and each one trying to claim that they have secret knowledge from Doo Wai which is supposed to give them leverage of legitimacy. It doesn't. Pricing Structure of the goods? (People are apparently still clinging to the idea that a meditation or Kung Fu can have monetary value placed on it and that this style in particular is worth ten's of thousands of dollars). Completely laughable and ridiculous concept. Does the over all price reflect the quality of video? NO! Or the quality of instruction? NO! Or the quality of Customer Service and Interaction? NO! I've messaged LaRochelle 3 or 4 times personally over the past 4 or 5 years and have never got a response to any message. I've also messaged the Rizzo brothers via their website as I was in their area a couple years ago interested in swinging by for a private lesson and they never responded. I tried calling the phone number when I was there and a woman answered who could not help me with the "private lesson" information and asked me to call back on a different day. A day that I was no longer going to be in their neighborhood. So that was a bust. I've talked to 3 or 4 other guys who are supposed to be rather "high level" in the Bak Fu Pai world under Doo Wai and every conversation I've had with them is absolutely pointless. One guy tries to talk like a sage and answer every question with another more spiritual question; which doesn't play. Not even a little. Maybe it works when someone's asking you life advice, but not when you're asking simple straight forward questions. Let me give you an example. I asked him a simple question about Tibetan Lama Burning Palm. I asked if there was more to the system than the simple 9 meditations. His response was something along the lines of "before you can know the answer; you must seek to understand why you ask the question." Oh but it didn't stop there. He'd get me going on this whole "you have to go back to the beginning of it all" kind of thing. I assumed he meant the universe, right? 'Cuz we're talking about the Taoist influence on some of these arts. What he actually meant was the beginning design of human beings by alien's who put us here to fulfill a specific purpose and when I understand that purpose I will have attained the highest understanding of Qigong. No, I'm not kidding with you. This is a guy very close to Doo Wai. Now, I'm not trying to bash him or anything. I dig the whole "alien's brought humans to this planet" idea and I'm down for whatever beliefs people might have. But if you're even a remotely intelligent person; surely you can understand the absurdity of someone asking a straight forward question only to get a 40 minute long conversation about alien's being the source of human life. It doesn't wash. Why cant you just answer the most basic questions? I also remember asking him how many forms were in the Bak Fu Pai system only to get another long sagely conversation about how forms are meaningless and it's what we understand that matters; and to understand... you guessed it; you have to go back to the beginning. The beginning of human being's creation by alien's. Who knows, maybe the guy is just screwing with me. But again, a rational person would have to ask, why? Why can't you just answer the most basic and fundamental questions about your system? Is there something wrong with a guy knowing how many levels to Tibetan Lama Burning Palm there are? Or how many forms are in the system? Or why do they practice Flying Phoenix when there are supposed to be much stronger, simpler and more powerful healing methods in Bak Fu Pai? Another guy very close (and who is also a close friend of the previously mentioned fella) is so paranoid of anyone and everyone who asks him a question about Bak Fu Pai he absolutely refuses to answer you and instead accuses you of being a spy. Actually, he accused me of being a spy for the Rizzo Brothers. I'm not completely up to speed on the whole internal politics with these guys; but apparently they can't even get along with each other. Rizzo is the successor to Bak Fu Pai. For better or worse. Why does he need spies? What are these spies after? What does one of the Rizzo Brother's having a spy have to do with a simple question about White Tiger Bak Mei? He seems to be a likeable enough guy. We've had a dozen conversations. He's very willing to share and talk about another Kung Fu master he studies under. He talks about him all the time. Praises him deeply. More than willing to answer questions about that system. Its forms and training methods. But if you try to steer it back to Bak Fu Pai; YOU'RE A SPY! WHAT ARE YOU REALLY AFTER?! It's all so absurd and ridiculous. I think you really have to question a group of people who can't be honest within their own group; let alone anyone looking for a legitimate answers. I think I saw of these guys who has a video on YouTube literally accuse a guy of being butt hurt that he didn't get something for "free" when the guy asked if he could simply repost the same demo video he made without background music and instead allow people to hear the original audio - which looked to be of him teaching an application from Tibetan Lama Burning Palm. Most of these guys are so childish and defensive I can't imagine you getting anywhere with any of them so tread very carefully, buy some chapstick and plan to do a whole lot of butt kissing and stroking some ego's because that's about your only option. I wish you the best of luck on your endeavor and hope you find the answers you're seeking. And whether you do or not; be sure to come back and share your journey with the rest of us.
  5. Thank you Dao Bums!~

    Thanks for accepting me! I look forward to learning about the Taoist Arts.