Chris Young has been engaged in martial arts or gymnastics for nearly his entire life. He has over 20 years of Chinese martial arts experience in several styles. He started teaching over 10 years ago. Although most classes at Steel Dragon are teens and adults, he also teaches kung fu to kids at Reserve Elementary and short courses to expose kids to kung fu through schools and youth programs. Chris has Act 33/34 clearances. He is on the board of the International Baiyuan Tongbei Quan Association.
While he teaches, Chris continues to train and improve his own kung fu and lion dance knowledge as well and studies Xing-Yi and Bagua in addition to Baiyuan Tongbei, Ying Jow Keun and Wu Tai Chi. He is a disciple of Master Zhang Yun of the Yin Cheng Gong Fa Kung Fu family, originally of Beijing, and his lion dance mentor is Corey Chan of San Francisco.
In addition to Chinese martial arts, Chris also studies Capoeira Angola (a Brazilian martial art) with Mestre Nego Gato's Academy, and is on their board.
Outside of the martial arts, Chris was also a Commissioner on the PA Governor's Advisory Commission for Asian American Affairs and the board of the National Association of Asian American Professionals - Pittsburgh Chapter.
Assistant Coach/Instructor... Jon Wilson
Jon was first introduced to martial arts with Tae Kwon Do with his uncle and earned his black belt at a young age. He put martial arts on hold during high school to pursue other life goals. Encouraged by the woman who would later become his wife, Jon started to train at Steel Dragon in 2009. He soon began immersing himself increasingly in his training, and even found himself performing lion dance at his own wedding. He is a disciple of Chris Young. Jon's training focuses primarily on Ying Jow, Xing-Yi and Lion and Dragon Dance. He also helps instruct classes and coach lion dance at Steel Dragon and also teaches an after school program at Reserve Elementary. He has Act 33/34 clearances.
Our School... Gong Lung (Steel Dragon)
Steel Dragon was initially founded as a lion dance team in 2003. Because good lion dance requires a strong kung fu foundation, Chris started teaching Ying Jow Keun as well. Over a few years, Gong Lung developed a reputation in Pittsburgh for lion dance as well as for kung fu. Eventually, his sifu, Master Zhang Yun, suggested he should teach Baiyuan Tongbei as well. So this informal group gradually grew over the years and became an actual, physical martial arts school in 2009. It continues to grow, and Chris and the students of Gong Lung grow with it.
We are often asked if we train girls too. The answer is of course! Girls especially need to know how to defend themselves! We don't care what a person's race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, or whatever is. These have nothing to do with a person's martial arts ability or ethical integrity. When a student is training, s/he is just a martial arts student like everybody else. During class these distinctions don't mean anything.
We are located at the Ice House Studios, 100 43rd St. Suite 113; Pittsburgh, PA 15201 (Lawrenceville neighbourhood of Pittsburgh), 2.5 blocks towards the river from Butler St.
If the front door is closed, press #113 on the panel beside the door to be buzzed in.
Map to the kwoon:
24 July 2011 - Chen Jin Ba Gu Shi San Shi. Thirteen posture tendons and bones stretching form. This form can be fairly intense physically and challenges leg strength as well as enhancing flexibility and root, and is good for enhancing your basic kung fu. Cost same as a class for active Gong Lung students; $40 for others. 11am-1:30pm.
2 December 2009 - Maculele Seminar. Afro-Brazilian Stick Fighting. "Maculele is a part of the African Brazilian Tradition of Capoeira. It is a kicongo word that means to calm the spirit before confrontation. Disguised as a dance it was created by Africans working in the sugan cane fields of Brazil and was used to carry out their escape from slavery to freedom." Presented by Carol Chapell of Mestre Nego Gato's group 5:30-6:30pm Adults $15, Youth $8
22 November 2009 - Tong Bei Workshop With Strider Clark. Informal workshop on Bai Yuan Tong Bei.
15 November 2009 - Chen Jin Ba Gu Shi San Shi. Thirteen posture tendons and bones stretching form. Cost same as a class for active Gong Lung students; $50 for others. 1pm-3:30pm.
23, 25 and 27 September 2009 - Capoeira Angola. Mestre Nego Gato present workshops on Capoeira Angola, a great Brazillian martial art. 6-8p on Wed and Fri,, 23 and 26 September, and 2-4pm on Sunday, 27 September.
9 August 2009 - Chen Jin Ba Gu Shi San Shi. Thirteen posture tendons and bones stretching form. Cost same as a class for active Gong Lung students; $50 for others. 10am-noon.
28-30 August 2009 - Dragon Dance seminar by Corey Chan. Restricted to Gong Lung & Yin Cheng Gong Fa members
About Lion Dance
The lion dance has a continuous history of over one thousand years, and its origins may reach back more than two thousand years. Many stories surround the lion dance and its origins. One of the more popular ones is that an Emperor of China had a dream where a creature resembling a lion saved his life from evil spirits. When he woke he declared the lion a symbol of good fortune. However, since lions are not native to China, artisans had no idea what they look like. As a result, they fashioned an animal with the attributes of other fortunate creatures: the dragon, the phoenix and the dog.
There is perhaps no art that encompasses Chinese culture, history and philosophy more comprehensively than lion dance. Over its long history, lion dance has incorporated elements of Chinese opera, classics of Chinese literature, Taoist, Buddhist and Confucian philosophies, Five Element theory, all sorts of varieties of symbolism from Chinese (and most specifically Cantonese) society, and Chinese martial arts.
The lion dance is now an integral part of not just Chinese culture, but of many Southeast Asian cultures such as Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese. In fact, the most famous teams are probably from Malaysia.
There are many aspects to lion dance today, and lion dance has performed a number of different roles over history. For instance, lion dance was used to raise money and facilitate communication by revolutionaries attempting to overthrow the Ch'ing, or Manchu, Dynasty. Today, a lion dance can perform many types of purposes, including ceremonial, entertaining, competitive or some combination.
The lion dance is used in ceremonies ranging from the more formal and solemn to the more informal and joyous. Either way, the lion's purpose is to bring good fortune and to drive away any malevolent spirits that might be hanging around. The lion is almost always associated with auspicious acts and events, and must obey certain rules of propriety. These types of events can include house and business blessings, weddings, and other joyous occasions. Lion dance is used to open up a New Year, so it is commonly seen in Chinatowns throughout the country during Chinese New Year celebrations.
A lion dance can also be used to tell a story and simply entertain. Often, there are one or more other characters who interact with the lion, and in fact there can be more than one lion in a performance. These stories are always uplifting and resolved positively, in keeping with the positive nature of the lion. There is no such thing as a lion dance tragedy! Finally, there are various forms of lion dance competition. Malaysia in recent years has dominated this sport, which is often performed on poles reaching up to 12 feet high.
A lion dance typically revolves around a cheng, or puzzle. The cheng sets up the challenge that the lion has to solve according to rules and protocols of lion dance. Often, the chengs have specific purposes or meanings. For instance, "Auspious Lion Welcomes the Bride" is for bringing blessings upon a marriage and "Drunken Lion" celebrates the togetherness of strong friendship. Some chengs are designed to rid the sponsor of bad fortune as well. Sometimes chengs are just performed for entertainment outside of their particular meanings. In any case, there are hundreds of chengs and sometimes new ones are even created. Often different props such as swords, daggers and spears are used. Additionally, tight ropes, benches, tables and other items may be used as barriers or pllatforms for the lion. There are a lot of variations, and each team may have a little bit different ways of solving a cheng. So lion dance isn't just one stanrdard routine. There are many different lion dance performances and styles you may see that are different of each other. The important thing is that protocols are followed and the chengs are solved correctly.
Typically, lion dance teams are either associated with a kung fu school or are independent. They have also been associated with benevolent associations and other groups as well. Good lion dance depends upon strong stances and foot work and athleticism. This is why kung fu training is an integral part of good lion dance training. Lions also require the development of tsan, or spirit, as well as endurance which is why many kung fu schools use lion dance to enhance their kung fu training, as we do here at Steel Dragon.
Gong Lung Sing Si Deui... the Steel Dragon Lion Dance Team
The Gong Lung Sing Si Deui training requires Ying Jow Kuen kung fu training as a basis, and then lion dance, tumbling and drumming. The kung fu training provides much of the basis for the lion dance. Strength, flexibility and endurance are developed as well as awareness and the ability to work as a team.
We currently perform blessings and other ceremonial performances as well as the more generally entertaining lion dance routines. While we do not currently compete, it is we expect to start sometime down the road.
We perform a number of different chengs, are are always working on new ones. Some of the chengs we do include "Auspicious Lion Welcomes the Bride", "Drunken Lion", "Five Elements", "Fierce Tiger Gazes at the Moon" and "Blossoms Opening in Four Seasons". If you have a specific cheng and purpose for which you need a lion dance, please let us know.
Read a little about us in this article from the Trib PM from Feb 2010.
For more information on booking a lion dance and our currently scheduled and confirmed performances, please click here.
Assistance starting Gong Lung Sing Si Deui generously provided by the Sprout Fund
|About Kung Fu and Chinese Martial Arts
Chinese martial arts, or kung fu, has a long history stretching over thousands of years. Over this time, these fighting skills have become more sophisticated, refined and effective, profoundly influenced by Buddhist and Taoist concepts. A wide variety of skills and approaches have been developed. Currently, there exist hundreds of styles of kung fu which embody these skills and philosophies in different ways and in different measure. At Steel Dragon, we teach 3 different styles of kung fu: Ying Jow Kuen (Eagle Claw), Baiyaun Tongbei Quan (White Ape Connected Back), and Xing-Yi Quan (Mind-Movement Style).
Ying Jow Kuen
Ying Jow Kuen is a Northern Shaolin kung fu style known for gripping, joint locking, takedowns and pressure point strikes. Ying Jow Kuen arose from the hand locking techniques developed by the famous General Ngok Fei, combined with Faan Tzi, known for it's kicks and legwork in particular. This was accomplished by the monk and Faan Tzi master Lai Chin. He originally called it Faan Tzi Ying Jow Pai, then it became known Buk Ying Jow Kuen, or simply Ying Jow Kuen. It is also known as Ying Jow Pai or Bak Ying Jow Pai. The famous Ying Jow master Chan Tzi Ching helped establish the first Ching Mo Association in Shanghai, and since then Ying Jow has been among the styles associated with that school.
In training, an emphasis is initially placed on the development of a strong kung fu foundation such as stance work, root, striking, kicking and so forth. Most of these foundational skills will be applicable to other styles associated with the Ching Mo schools (and in fact, some basic Ying Jow forms are Ching Mo forms), and even more generally to many other Northern Sil Lum (Shaolin) styles. Without a strong foundation, the application of skills, advanced or basic, is not possible.
Ying Jow fighting principles are "Claw and Hit, Catch and Lock", "Tear Muscles, Break Bones", "Strike Pressure Point, Stop the Breathing", "Hold and Destroy, Blockade", "Evade, Flying (jumping)", "Controlling, Throwing", and "Absorbing, Falling". These skills express the fundamental characteristics of Ying Jow.
Areas of training include forms, techniques, principles, combinations, stance work, partner work, iron training, weapons, locks, chi gong, meditation and fighting. Physical conditioning is also part of the overall training regimen. Note that the conditioning is specific to Ying Jow and different than that of Baiyuan Tongbei and Xing-Yi.
Baiyuan Tongbei Quan
Baiyuan Tongbei is believed to be have originated at least 1000 years and as long as 2500 years ago, and is a kung fu style based upon Taoist principles. We are part of the International Baiyuan Tongbei Quan Association (IBYTBQ), which is a branch of Yin Cheng Gong Fa. We teach the Shi branch of Baiyuan Tongbei. Known for its effective fighting skills, this kung fu style is sometimes referred to as "Black Fist".
Although Bai Yuan means "White Ape", Baiyuan Tongbei does not imitate the physical movements of an ape, but rather the "mind" or "feeling" of the ape. To this end, a Tongbei fighter endeavors to be quick, aggressive, accurate, changing and adapting, and clever.
There are few kicks in Tongbei, and they are all low, sudden and small and generally performed in coordination with a hand technique. Fighting skills are categorized as quick hand skills, hard and heavy skills, disruption and displacement skills, and controlling and throwing skills.
The most important concept in Baiyuan Tongbei is tong bei, which refers to the linking of the two arms through the back by making the arms more extended and relaxed, and allowing internal forces to pass smoothly through the back and into the hands. The development of this skill is a signficant part of Baiyuan Tongbei training.
More information about this style can be found on the IBYTBQ website.
Unlike many styles of kung fu, forms, though they exist, do not play a significant role in Tongbei training. The emphasis is on practising specific skills and combinations, first solo and then with a partner. Iron palm also plays a vital role in Tongbei training. Chi gong and physical conditioning are also part of the training. Note that the conditioning is specific to Baiyuan Tongbei and different than that of Ying Jow and Xing-Yi.
Xing-Yi is an internal martial art whose origin, like Ying Jow Kuen's, is often attributed to General Ngok Fei (AKA Yue Fei). However, many people attributed it instead Ji Jike from Shanxi Province. There are a few types of Xing-Yi, and we teach the Hebei style.
The fundamental concept underlying Xing-Yi is that internal and external components of this style must be developed together. The term "Yi" means mind, or spirit, and refers to the internal components characterised through the Five Elements: Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth. This forms the foundation of the system. The term "Xing" means movement, or shape, and refers to the external components which express the applications of the system through the 12 animals' fighting skills: Eagle, Bear, Dragon, Tiger, Monkey, Horse, Alligator, Rooster, Hawk, Swallow, Snake and Ostrich.
The Five Elements is a concept in Chinese culture which originated about 5000 years ago and constittues a philosophical framework to express the foundation of all things. From the five elements, all aspects of the universe are generated, changed and destroyed. Two cycles, the creation cycle and the destruction cycle, express the mutual influences between the elements and their development and change. In the Yi part of Xing-Yi (Yi-Quan), this conceptual framework is applied to martial arts and is the basis of all Xing-Yi fighting skills.
The 12 animals fighting skills express the application of the system. However, in contrast to most other animal simulation styles, animal skills in Xing-Yi aim more to express the animal's inner character and spirit as opposed to immitating its physical movements.
Physical conditioning is part of the overall training regimen. Note, however, that the conditioning may differ from that of Ying Jow or Baiyuan Tongbei.
Kung Fu and Lion Dance
Just as Sil Lum Kung Fu provides the foundation for lion dance, lion dance helps develop Sil Lum Kung Fu fundamentals, including stance, movement, stamina and strength. Most importantly, lion dance develops san (shen), or spirit, which is vital for kung fu, especially in combat. As a result, lion dance in strongly recommended for Ying Jow students.
Kung Fu Training at Steel Dragon
A question that has been asked is "how long will it take before I can fight?" The answer is, it depends. Who are you going to fight? What is your skill level now? What kind of condition are you in now? How often and how hard will you practise? And even more questions than those. Many variables go into this kind of question.
There are two old sayings that are applicable to this issue as well. "There is always a bigger mountain" means that there will always be somebody better than you. Also, "The only way to guarantee that you will not lose a war is to not get in a war". This means there is always a chance you can lose, even to somebody who is weaker and less skilled, just by luck. Keep this in mind before getting into a fight. Most of the time, it's not worth the bother to get into a serious fight.
Chinese martial arts is useful for more than just fighting; it also develops health, fitness and mental discipline of the martial artist. Regular practise can result in reduced stress and a feeling of well being.
Training at Steel Dragon, regardless of style, emphasizes fundamentals. Without a strong foundation, one will not be able to defend oneself effectively regardless of the number of techniques and skills one supposedly knows. Effective kung fu is predicated upon a solid fundamentals.
Finally, a traditional set of ethics (Mouh Dak) also underlies training. It is inappropriate to use one's skill in fighting to pick on the weak and defenseless, for example. As one grows and develops as a martial artist, an understanding and adoption of such ethical standards is expected.
One last note: It may be noticed that Cantonese terminology is used when discussing Ying Jow and Lion Dance, but Mandarin terminology is used when discussing Tongbei. This is because the instructor's family speaks Cantonese as did those from whom he learned Ying Jow and Lion Dance, but Zhang Yun, from whom he learned Tongbei and Xing-Yi, speaks Manadrin, being that he's from Beijing.
This section is for members of Steel Dragon. Students may login to access their training information.
Click here to access the Steel Dragon Forum. Please note this forum is open only to members of Steel Dragon and requests for accounts from non-members will be ignored.
Check the schedule for times and locations.
Class Philosophy and Approach
Although training is rigorous, each person needs to start where they are and progress from there. People are asked to wear comfortable, loose clothing to class and to remove jewelry to avoid injury. Generally, the first hour is conditioning and the second is one or more of the other four training elements.
A person’s fundamentals in each of the five training areas is developed to be very strong. Each person is likely to have different strengths and weaknesses. Belts and sashes are not given at Gong Lung. Not only are they not traditional for the Chinese martial arts, but they tend to distract from the goal of developing high quality kung fu skills by setting superficial goals. The real indication of how good somebody is... is how good they are, not just in how many moves they know, but how well they use and execute them. Steady improvement in each of the five elements is the goal of training. Each person is dealt with individually based on his or her qualities.
Training is oriented more towards practical application (ie. self defense) than tournament competition in kung fu, and more towards traditional lion dance performance (house blessings, marriage, business blessings, event openings, etc) than competition. That said, if a student wishes to compete in martial arts tournaments, he or she can be assisted in this regard. Additionally, the team is likely to enter competition lion dance down the road.
Fighting is part of the kung fu training for those individuals who have reached the appropriate skill level (including control). Fighting is only allowed under supervision. However, if you do not want to fight you are not required to do so.
Engaging in this training consistently can result in better physical fitness (including increased strength, agility, flexibility and endurance) as well as a greater ability to defend oneself. Additionally, the training develops both team work as well as individual self-discipline.
Classes for adults are typically 2 hours long. This provides sufficient time to both work on kung fu related conditioning and actual skill set development. Failure to devote adequate time to development physically and mentally will result in subpar kung fu skills which will mostly likely not be useful in the real world.
Each student at Gong Lung also gets a student account on this website. Each account provides study aids such as to help the student when practising outside of class. Each student's account is tailored to their individual development and provides assistance with the material they are currently learning.
In addition to class, Gong Lung will on occasion host different martial art seminars or arrange for a trip to observe or compete in a lion dance competition and other events.
Conditioning involves strengthening the body , making it more flexible and improving endurance. Without a doubt, a well conditioned body is an advantage in any martial art, including Chinese martial arts. The conditioning regimen for both kung fu styles develops flexibility in the joints, ligaments and muscles. Strength is developed in the legs, core and arms, as well as throughout the body as a whole. Internal energy is also developed. Basic chi gong is also part of the conditioning.
Little if any equipment is required for the conditioning. Weights are not part of this regimen. Mostly, one works with one's own body.
Exercises vary from class to class, and between kung fu styles. Each individual starts at a level appropriate for him or her, and the degree of difficulty is increased as they improve.
Naturally, the conditioning is aimed at improving each individual's kung fu and lion dance abilities. However, it can also stand alone, so people are able to come for just the conditioning if they so desire. They can leave at the brief break between the conditioning and the rest of the training.
What is included in the kung fu training will depend upon the style being trained. To learn more about the individual styles and the training, please click the "Kung fu" button. The material each student is taught at a given time depends upon the his or her skills at the time. Fundamentals are stressed in the training for the simple reason that it is more useful to be able to use basic skills very well than fancy skills very poorly. As the student's foundation gets stronger, more advanced skills are introduced.
Steel Dragon emphasizes more the practical use of kung fu rather than the competition aspect of it. However, if a student wishes to compete in competition, s/he can be accommodated. When forms are taught, for example, applications from the forms are brought out as well.
Competition fighting is not taught, but if a student requests they can be assisted in this area as well. However, it is worth keeping in mind that competition fighting is usually not the same as what one should do in a real fight.
Tumbling is part of both Ying Jow Kuen and lion dance. Tumbling skills can be very useful in a fight, and they also come into play with in doing the lion and dai to fut (big headed Buddha) characters of the lion dance. These skills include roll, flips, cartwheels, aerials, handstands and so forth.
Drumming is the heart beat of the lion, energizing the lion's spirit and moving the lion to action. Drumming includes not only the drums but also cymbals, gongs and other instrumentation. Drumming can also be used to accompany martial arts demonstrations. Drumming can also include spin kicks and other acrobatic techniques while drumming. Although often taught separately from the rest of the lion dance, it is really an integral part of the lion dance.
Lion Dance (Sing Si) depends upon the fundamental kung fu skills such as stance, root and timing developed in the Ying Jow Kuen training, and builds upon them. It develops team work, awareness and the ability to sense what others are doing and adjust. Lion dance requires considerable endurance as well. Although it stands on its own as a skill, it can improve one's kung fu skill and is made better by great kung fu skills.
Although team members tend to specialize in one or two positions on the team (lion head, tail, drummer, dai to fut..), they are required to learn all positions so that can understand how each team member's role fits with their own.
Lion Dance training is open only to those training in one of Gong Lung's kung fu styles.
All classes are held at our kwoon (studio) at 100 43rd St Suite 113, Pittsburgh, PA 15201. This is in the Lawrenceville neighbourhood of Pittsburgh.
Each class runs 2-3 hours.
You are welcome to come by and try or observe a class at no charge to see if you like it. There are no contracts or other such financial commitments or obligations.
Multiple and per class rates are available. Family rates are available as well.
We sometimes offer special classes. For instance, through the Penn Avenue Arts Initiative, we offered a 2-month introduction to kung fu for middle school students in their service area. We offered a similar class through Shady Side Academy. We also teach a class through Reserve Elementary School.
Classes can be arranged for private groups as well.
Private lessons are also available. Contact us for more information.
Contact us to find out more. Call us at 412.362.6096 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can reach us by sending email to email@example.com or calling 412.362.6096. We are more than happy to answer any questions you might have regarding training or performances. You are also welcome to stop by at the school, located at Ice House Studios, 100 43rd Street Suite 113, Pittsburgh, Pa 15201 (Lawrenceville). If the front door is closed, enter #113 to get buzzed in.
Gong Lung Sing Si Deui is happy to perform at your event! We do house, restaurant and store blessings, weddings, and perform at various celebrations and cultural events. We are also happy to open events and conferences, and perform for schools from elementary to university.
Current Lion Dance Performance and
We have previously performed for:
As a martial art, Tai Chi aims to achieve the maximum result with the minimum force. It accomplishes this through relaxation, sensitivity, utilising the principles embodied in the Dao. It is a subtle, complex style that takes plenty of time and understanding to utilise. However, its principles can also enhance one's ability in other martial arts because of the deep understanding of mind-body connection upon which it is predicated.
As an exercise, Tai Chi can be and often is used as a way to maintain and improve health and mental focus. It is also said to have a therapeutic effect for those dealing with such issues as arthritis, high blood pressure, stress, asthma and other ailments.
Tai Chi training at Gong Lung is Wu Tai Chi in the tradition of Yin Cheng Gong Fa. Training includes open hand, push hands, and weapons.