When I first started training in the martial arts, I was living in Phoenix. The following is a list of all the past teachers I encountered on my path which lead to Xingyiquan and Master Gong, with whom I train under now.

My very first school was a Chinese Shaolin Center in Phoenix Arizona, which outfitted it's students in a karate gi; complete with the school logo. Through hard training, sparring and practice, I reached the 4th level of green belt in seven months. For me, it was a great first step into the martial arts to get some basics, sparring practice and body conditioning, but the more I read and researched the arts, the more I realized my heart lay in the internal arts. The school's head instructor at the time was Tim Catellier. He was an excellent teacher and I believe the school's success thrives due to his charisma alone.

Since then, I have trained in Xingyi for a few months with Martin Werner at Green Mantis Gung Fu in Mesa, who teaches Xu Hon Ju's lineage of Xingyi.

In 1998, I traveled down to Tucson and sat in on a Xingyi class with Vince Black. He was very kind and changed the way I looked at teachers. His eyes were like blue ice, and seemed to glow from his raised spirit and qi. He invited my friend and I into his home and showed us his acupuncture practice and told us stories of his master Hsu Hong Chi. It was an enlightening experience and I'll never forget it.

I have also trained in Wing Chun from Brian Tufts, a disciple of Augustine Fong, and learned a bit of White Crane from Ruhu Zhu, a Cantonese teacher from China.

My friend Dave Meikle, whom I met on the Hsing-I.com's message boards, has taught me a lot about the internal arts and first got me into Xingyi. He lives and teaches in Vancouver, Canada. He now trains exclusively in Baguazhang. He still checks in to make sure I'm training correctly.

My last teacher in Phoenix was Tien Bai She from the Green Dragon Society. He is trained in the Wu Tang styles of Gong Fu, so emphasis is placed on breathing and internal power is both the external and internal arts he teaches. I trained with him for year, right up until I left Phoenix. He is a generous and hardworking teacher and I miss training under him. His classes were the most strenuous and rewarding I had been through in the past. The has since closed and Tien returned to Chicago.

Since moving to Los Angeles, I began training in Xingyiquan under 83 year old Master Gong Zhongxiang and his disciple Shun Quan who are both from China. I also met Shun on Hsing-I.com's board. Master Gong teaches Xingyiquan, Yang style Taijiquan, and Imperial Palace Baguaquan.

Pictured: Deng Fu Xing with his first teacher Jia Chun Yuan.