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Thread: Monk From Brooklyn

  1. #1
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    Monk From Brooklyn

    Has anybody read this book? It has made me really think twice about even visiting shaolin for a short time. I know the author posts here sometimes. I would like to know more on how he sees the experience in hindsight.

    It was a complete contrast to everthing you see on documentaries about shaolin. It actually seemed like a completely bad experience.
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  2. #2
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    Remember it's the experience of ONE person, for ONE trip, with NO preparation and contacts, and ROUGHING it in a - by the sounds of things - very poor local school. I've been to Shaolin twice (3 months first trip, 3 weeks second trip) and had excellent experiences both times, with the first a big "adventure" which I will remember forever as well as having helped improve my MA no end.
    All the same don't expect 5* luxury, Shaolin still is a somewhat "uncomfortable" travel experience, but if you have suitable budget and contacts then it can by all means be enjoyable and have a huge impact on your MA skills. And remember, Shaolin is the cradle of 'kung fu', 'hard work', and as such IMO must be reached as a place somewhat difficult to reach, to be "earned", a place of fighting monks forged by hard training and harsh environment ... the day (appraching a little too fast) that staying at Shaolin will be like staying in Vegas will be the day that going to Shaolin has lost any meaning.
    So get the contacts, save the budget, go there now, train hard and enjoy

    Wall

    PS: I really enjoyed the book ... often "obnoxiously funny" in its americaness ...
    Last edited by wall; 11-13-2005 at 02:12 AM.
    > it is your mind, that creates this world >

  3. #3
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    having read his articles, butr not the book, it seems evident that there was a lot of presumption and assumption made by teh author before going and getting into the reality.

    when teh reality did not match the romantic view, there was a collapse in the view and a more negative connatation took place.

    I think that at the root, this is human nature. It's like thinking you know someone, then finding out you really don't know them as well as you thought and then tossing the whole thing because it doesn't meet an image preformed in your mind and expectations.

    Better to have that cup empty before putting anything in it.

    Having said that, I like the gritty nature of his writing style, but it becomes clear that the author is already putting his methods above others without actually investing in the other way before making judgement.

    It takes a while to really get to the meat and potatoes of any training regimen. When you let your old ways stand and don't fully open to a new way, that new way will never be comprehended fairly and even less so in a fuller nature.

    Is shaolin accusable of being a greasy tourist pit? Yep, that factor is there. It is romantic presumption and false expectation that has created that. Had it been left alone for what it was, i am not sure thise would have occured in the fashion taht it has. Still, there is value in seeing what is and comparing it to what you think it was.
    Kung Fu is good for you.

  4. #4
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    I agree completely with that post. I enjoyed the read (although somewhat depressing), I thought it was his previously well off lifestyle that shaped such a negative outlook. For instance I remember at one point he refused to help pull up some plants so they could train in the area because he felt farming was beneath him. Maybe the Chinese rural lifestyle was to much of a change for a New Yorker.

    He also seemed to want to work on his techniques quite often as opposed to theirs.
    Hung Sing Martial Arts Association
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  5. #5
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    Antonio still writes for us

    In fact, we have another piece by him coming up next week or so on the e-zine. I hear from Antonio all the time. We keep a ver active correspondance since he's one of our more significant e-zine contributors. He has an article in our current issue (NOV/DEC 2005. Antonio is headed to Hong Kong next and promises me he'll investingate the HK kung fu scene.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  6. #6
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    I like antonio's stuff. he always seems to get right to the chase of what he wants. and wants to learn "the stuff not taught to round eyes" so i give him props for being persistent.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho Mantis View Post
    Genes too busy rocking the gang and scarfing down bags of cheetos while beating it to nacho ninjettes and laughing at the ridiculous posts on the kfforum. In a horse stance of course.

  7. #7
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    The Book from Brooklyn

    I appreciate everyone taking the time to read my book. I agree with everything you folks have said. The book is sometimes very depressing and negative, and at times it is very funny. But this was the roller coaster of emotions I went through when I was at Shaolin.

    And, I also agree, this is only one personís experience. But, it is a diary, so, by definition, it could be only one personís experience. And everyoneís experience will vary, as we all have differing backgrounds and experiences.

    The one point I would like to speak to is, someone claimed I didnít prepare. Actually, I spent fifteen months studying Kung Fu and Chinese in Taiwan before going to China. My spoken Chinese was fairly good when I arrived, as none of my teammates in Taiwan spoke any English at all.

    Lack of preparation wasnít an issue.

    Speaking Chinese, however, was a double edged sword. It gave me more access to my Chinese friends, and I learned a lot form them, and grew extremely close to them. But the down side was that I wound up in arguments and fights which other foreigners avoided, simply because they were unaware of what was going on.

    As far as the experience not matching my romantic view, definitely, when I started training and living with my team in Taiwan, I had a romantic view of what Shaolin would be like. But by the time I left for china, I knew it wouldnít be like in the movies.

    To be fair to China, I was extremely brainwashed by years of service in US military which taught me that communists were evil, and in Taiwan, on a daily basis, I was taught how backward and stupid and dishonest and dirty everyone was in china. So, some of what I found matched my negative expectations, and reinforced those beliefs.

    Immediately after left Shaolin, and got stranded in Hong Kong because of SARS, I took a job in Jiang Men, which is a small city in Guang Dong province. I had such great friends there and while they werenít as rich and sophisticated as my Hong Kong friends werenít they were actually worldlier than my Taiwan friends. So I deiced that many of the negative things I saw in Shaolin were not true of everyone in china, only of rural Chinese, and those observations such as: low levels of education and widespread illiteracy, are true of rural people everywhere.

    I would advise anyone to go there. And I would definitely go again. It was life changing and an incredible experience but I didnít go there to learn kung fu. I went there for the experience, cultural, linguistic, and other. I could definitely have learned more Kung Fu at Tago or one of the foreigner hotel/schools. But I wanted to be the only Caucasian, in a truly Chinese program.

    Shaolin helped shape who I am now. And I would never want to turn back time or eliminate that part of my past. Since then I have studied in a temple in Thailand and in other martial arts programs in other countries. For me, professional fighting is my primary art and I got great training in Cambodia. But china, Shaolin was the most life changing and the best experience in terms of culture and language.
    Antonio Graceffo, The Monk From Brooklyn

  8. #8
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    Paging Brooklyn Monk

    Is there anyone here that goes by that name?
    Simon McNeil
    ___________________________________________

    Be on the lookout for the Black Trillium, a post-apocalyptic wuxia novel released by Brain Lag Publishing available in all major online booksellers now.
    Visit me at Simon McNeil - the Blog for thoughts on books and stuff.

  9. #9
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    monk

    Is there truly a real shaolin monk in brooklyn new york or any were in new york??

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SimonM
    Is there anyone here that goes by that name?
    I think the guy you are looking for usually hang in the shaolin forum.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by greencloudtj
    Is there truly a real shaolin monk in brooklyn new york or any were in new york??
    greencloudtj- There is Shifu Shi Yan-Ming, a 34th generation Shaolin temple monk who defected to NYC in 1992 and he founded the U.S.A. Shaolin Temple.

    http://www.usashaolintemple.com/inde...d=31&Itemid=51
    "Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything." Mr. Miyagi

  12. #12
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    Actually it's cool. Brooklyn Monk is Anthony Grafecco. He writes a few articles on the EZine. Seems like a pretty together guy. Blooming Lotus was over on another forum claiming him as support for her stupid claim that point sparring was invented to allow deadly masters to do pressure point strikes safely.

    However in his FEW posts to KFM Mr. Grafecco has actually come out criticizing pressure point stuff on at least one occasion so it's more baloney from the worst troll to ever troll any martial arts forum.
    Simon McNeil
    ___________________________________________

    Be on the lookout for the Black Trillium, a post-apocalyptic wuxia novel released by Brain Lag Publishing available in all major online booksellers now.
    Visit me at Simon McNeil - the Blog for thoughts on books and stuff.

  13. #13
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    it's Graceffo

  14. #14
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    monks

    Does any one have any in fo on how many true monks,live and train in new york city or new yorks chinatown,and if so wich ones have not yet become commursilized>>

  15. #15
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    "true monks" is already a subjective term.....lol

    I hear that there are girlfriends, meat-eating and other "monk-no-no's" going on.

    But TJ, the CMA that you train in, is very different from the contemporary 'shaolin' stuff.

    If you want to find out a lot about the monks...look up a guy named "Ping". He knew them before they came to the USA. He has a lot of interesting stories.....

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