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in 1977 i was inducted into the air force. at the time i was living in minnesota. way north. grand rapids. my induction was at minneapolis. while there for two days they put me up in a hotel room with some moron who was only into partying. i walked through town and found a karate school taught by someone i had read about in magazines. cant remember his name right now. nice guy. i loved visiting martial arts schools all the time any where i went.
while walking along one day i saw a sign that said, gin foon mark, southern praying mantis. cool. i walked up the stairs and went into the kwoon. master mark was in his office and i politely introduced myself and spoke briefly with him explaining why i was there. he introduced me to one of his students, and older gentleman, who i have seen in inside kung fu demonstrating techniques with him. the older fellow gave me the tour of the school and explained southern praying mantis to me. very interesting art. i wish i could have trained in it. as we talked, the older fellow told me that bruce lee trained with master mark while he was visiting in new york. i generally took info like this with a grain of salt. everyone has taught bruce lee. but still i listened and said nothing to discredit the man. i left the school filled with ideas.
years later this information popped up again. then more recently i read the first two books written by the late sid campbell and greglon lee. they confirmed the mans story. bruce lee trained for a couple weeks with master mark. was i ever happy that what i was told was actually true! i hate when people lie about stuff like that.
after reading the first two books i emailed sid campbell and asked if and when they thought that the other books in the series would be done. he emailed me back and stated that he intended to finish them but that he had been sick. this was last year sometime. sadly to say i read sifu's post on here the other night that sid had passed away. i had no idea. i feel for his family.
it is with high hopes that greglon finishes the books, both for us interested readers and for sid. i was never really aware of the amount of influence that james lee seemed to have on bruce lee. and it was nice, like i said, to see that bruce actually did spend some time with master mark. i wish that master mark would produce a book or two and more video material. there arent too many good books on praying mantis and it is an interesting art.
I just spent a year in a Southern Mantis Ng Family style school that has lineage to Gin Foon Mark.
There are definitely some things that Bruce Lee picked up from him.
Books and Videos on SPM would only be worthwhile to someone that is training with an Instructor as it is a FEEL thing and not a list of techniques.
They tend to be a bit on the secretive side too.
My School didn't have ANY written materials. They didn't want you taking notes either. Just wanted you to let it slowly sink into your head.
No video as well.
You also were told not to show techniques to anyone.
They don't want people out there pretending to know their system and passing themselves off as teachers.
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