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Shaolin-do Kung Fu

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Balance mental and physical health by practicing this ancient martial art.

Founder Joseph Meissner of Shaolin-do Kung Fu, a martial arts studio located in the Bywater, began studying kung fu as a way to delve deeper into his physical awareness as an actor. He trained extensively for 10 years, and established Shaolin-Do before Hurricane Katrina.

Explaining why kung fu is more than just a workout, Meissner says, “The disciplines I teach were developed by practitioners of spiritual traditions within Buddhism and Taoism. In those traditions, enlightenment or immortality are only attained after many years of meditation.” In other words, in order to achieve your ultimate goals, you must first set yourself up for a long, healthy life. Enter kung fu.

The physical benefits of kung fu are numerous, and include increased strength and endurance, flexibility, agility, and the ability to protect oneself — but the discipline offers many mental benefits as well. “The science is showing now that one of the best ways to stay healthy, mobile and alert well into old age is to keep learning new physical skills,” says Meissner.

Shaolin-Do offers kung fu classes for students of all levels, including kids. In addition, the school provides instruction in tai chi, a martial art traditionally taken up by kung fu masters in mid-life.

Meissner encourages new students of all ages to give kung fu a try. “It’s fun! That’s what I hear the most, and it’s the best reason to do any kind of leisure activity,” he says. nolashaolin.com