Nelson Ferreira

Nelson Ferreira

Shifu Ferreira began studying martial arts when he was five years old, in New York City, under the guidance of his father in the art of Judo. By the age of six, his family moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he continued his studies. By the time he was ten, he wanted to try other arts. Over a period of seven years he studied many traditional disciplines including Jiu Jitsu, Karate, Aikido, Kendo, Tae Kwon Do and Muay Thai among others. In 1984, his mother (a Tai Chi Chuan Instructor and Acupuncturist) introduced him to Dr. Wu Chao-hsiang (Wu Chaoxiang) and he started his study of Bei Shaolinquan (Northern Shaolin Technique). Nelson moved back to the US and in 1995 he founded the Zhong Yi Kung Fu Association in Madison, WI where he has dedicated himself to preserve his Master's teachings and promote Kuoshu in the area. He has furthered his studies with teachers such as Shifu Steve Kleppe a teacher under Master Lam Kwong-wing, Shifu Robert Louie a teacher under Master Wong Chia-man, and, his elder Kung Fu brother, Mr. Stan Henning.

Website URL:

A week ago or so I had the honor to be interviewed by the Hiyaa Martial Arts Podcast which is run by Shifu David Jones and Shifu Craig Kissling. I had the pleasure to meet Shifu Jones a few years back during Master Luo Dexiu's seminar which we hosted at ZYKFA and I also had great time meeting (via Skype) Shifu Kissling someone that not only shares a passion for Bei Shaolinquan (Northern Shaolin aka BSL) but also the game of Mahjong.

The interview was great, they are both excellent hosts, and I felt like I was just hanging out with old friends. We talked about a variety of topics in the world of BSL and beyond.

To listen to the podcast click on the following link:

Take time to also "like" their Facebook page and spread the word out about this show, they've had a variety of interesting subjects to talk about and some really interesting people have been interviewed already.


Nelson Ferreira

Zhong Yi Kung Fu Association

The tournament, held on April 28th 2012, was another great success, showing how Chinese martial arts continues to grow in our area. The Zhong Yi Kung Fu Association once again came together to host this wonderful tournament and worked very hard to please the visitors that came from near and far. Our school had a total of over 40 volunteers that worked hard as judges, referees, coordinators, security personnel, score keepers, time keepers, announcers and general staff. That's not counting the 20 competitors that we fielded that day either.

Hosting a tournament is no easy task, for anyone, it takes hard work, dedication, perseverance, tolerance, understanding and, most importantly, a TEAM. The ZYKFA Team worked hard, as they always do, to put together a tournament, not for our school, not for ourselves, and certainly not to boast about who we are, it was put together for a simple reason, the ZYKFA people (this includes students, family and friends) have a passion for Chinese martial arts and making friends in every contact. This is something that was obvious throughout the day (before and after too) as I could see our people, greeting and welcoming total strangers, making connections and friendships throughout the event.

Our judges and referees were courteous, honest and humble, giving their opinions when asked and being considerate of all competitors regardless of them winning or not. The coordinators made sure the registration and events ran smoothly (props to the Shaolin Center crew for coordinating the taolu events), food was ready and available, tickets and passes were accounted for, the Facebook page was updated throughout the day, volunteers were available and ready to help with anything, competitors and VIP's were transported to and from the event effortlessly and the area was secure from opening to close.

The most important point made by the ZYKFA volunteer crew is that it was always smiling (even under some pressure and stress) and that at no point you would hear any of us say "that's not my job" or something similarly irritanting throughout the event.

There are four anchors that our school works hard on instilling in our members and the tournament showed that the ZYKFA Team has them in spades.

禮 - Lǐ - A sense of courtesy. All visitors and competitors, that checked in with me, mentioned, at one point or the other, how courteous and kind everyone was, from staff to officials they felt most welcome by the atmosphere we created.

義 - Yì - A sense of justice. We had a few instances of misunderstandings that needed clarification but after discussing the issues and explaining clearly what, how and why all parties were satisfied and none felt slighted.

廉 - Lián - a Sense of honesty. Competitors and coaches alike remarked on how the competition was fair and the judging was consistent. When someone did not know the answer to a question, instead of making it up (to make themselves look "good") they sought the answers from the right people.

恥 - Chǐ - A sense of ethics. Decisions throughout the event were dealt with seriously and with deep consideration for what was right and wrong, from simple issues in registration to complex issues in judging. There was no favoritism or innapropriate behavior by any of our members, the ZYKFA Team demonstrated how high their ethical sense was that day.

Many people like to talk about these and other virtues when they refer to their teachings in their schools, how they teach and instill these values in their students and/or members yet you see these students (and sometimes teachers) do just the opposite when it really counts. I couldn't be prouder of our members that day, for when it counted they were there, displaying the best characteristics that represent what Zhong Yi is all about.

Thank you sincerely from the bottom of my heart.

Nelson Ferreira

Today, Sunday 3/25/2012, the Zhong Yi Kung Fu Association performed a five (5) lion Lion Dance for the University of Wisconsin Chinese Language and Culture Club (CLACC). The event was for their annual Chinese language speech contest which draws people from all over the state and beyond. We did the opening for the event and it was quite fun a big ZYKFA crew showed up and they even showed off some skills they learned recently (yesterday was the first of our ongoing Lion Dance classes - Saturdays from 2-3pm). The location was the Social Sciences Building Room 6210, 1180 Observatory Dr. I would like to thank Richard Young, CLACC and the UW for inviting us to perform at this event and we hope there will be many more in the future for the organization.

Don't forget that this Friday (3/30/2012) at 8:30pm at the University of Wisconsin - Parkside we will be performing another Lion Dance for the UWP's Asian Culture Week. UW- Parkside is just south of Milwaukee located between the cities of Racine and Kenosha, it should be a great time for a Lion Dance as it will be the first time we perform in the Milwaukee/Kenosha area, we have performed many times in the Racine area, for several events, and even my favorite Chinese herbal medicine shop The Laughing Dragon! But this time it'll be a little further south.

Last but not least don't forget the Kai Guang Ceremony (Eye Dotting) we will be realizing for the first, of many, lions we will have this year! on Saturday April 7th between 2 and 3 pm. It's open to the public and it's going to be great, this is a very special lion because it's used specifically for weddings, anniversaries and other private joyous occasions (you will not see this lion during the Chinese New Year, so it's a treat!). As I said this will be the first of many we will do this year, after this one we will do one for Hong Kong Cafe for the other sponsored lion (sometime in April/May) and it will all culminate with the lion I've been waiting for all of my life, a custom made Ferreira/Zhong Yi Lion by none other than experts (such as Corey Chan) at Of Course Lion Source ( ), we are hoping that this custom project will be ready for the ZYKFA 17th Anniversary Party which will be held on October 6th of this year. Trust me this last Kai Guang of the year will be a truly remarkable event, that you don't want to miss, as this is going to be no ordinary lion, check out the OCLS website to see what I mean.

Hope to see you all there and thank you all for the support of ZYKFA and Chinese martial culture!


Nelson Ferreira

Today, Saturday 3/3/2012 was another exciting day for the ZYKFA Lion Dance Team and Taolu Team. The Lion Dance received great reviews from complete strangers as all six lions took over the main entrance of the building, the lion dancers included Samara, Piper, Maya, Kate, Ally, Ruby, Marissa, Aidan, Paul, Ben, Wesley, Rachel, Molly, Woody and Emma, Ali did a great job as the monk, even though I forgot to bring the fan!. The music also sounded excellent with CJ on the drum (with a brand spanking new stand), Elaine on the gong, Wei Li, Crosby and Nora on the cymbals (yes, three cymbal players!!!). Ben had his first banner drop, which he executed perfectly, and everyone loved how the lions played with the crowd.

The demo was great, with lots of applause for Jaia's King of Nine Province Staff set, Aidan doing his Double Hook Swords, the crowd gave a big "WOW" when he hooked them together and swung them around his head, Crosby and Kate's paired Wu Yi/Kai Me demo where the crowd loved Kate's splits and Crosby's triple kick and the grand finale being Paul doing the Dragon Straightword set which impressed everyone with his control and ease of movement. Thank you everyone that participated it was a great Zhong Yi day!!!



On Sunday 1/28/2012 we had the wonderful experience of doing a Lion & Dragon Dance for the Watertown Library. The turn out was awesome, we had lots o great questions from kids and adults about the history and traditions and also some great pictures were taken! This is what we love, being able to reach out to different communities and share our joy and knowledge about the culture.

I would like to thank Michelle Wyler and the Watertown Library, once again, for contacting us for this event.

There was an article about it on the Watertown Daily newspaper (we made the front page! Specifically Jaia under the dragon), by Samantha Christian, she sent me a link with all the pictures taken by the paper:!i=1692106067&k=CSkrbj4

If you are interested it is possible to purchase pictures directly from them online, there's some great shots of the lions interacting with the crowd and some great shots of the youth team. Check it out!

恭喜發財! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

This post is to clarify a few aspects about the history of Chinese martial arts. One of the biggest issues that Chinese martial arts students face in their studies is finding factual information about the history, not only of their style but also, of Chinese martial arts in general. Much of what is beleived to be Chinese martial arts history is nothing more than legends, folklore and embellished novel writings. Here are a few facts about Chinese martial arts in a historical contaxt.

The earliest evidence of usage of weapons for hunting and self-defense appears in China during the Paleolithic (3,000,000 to 10,000 BCE) and Mesolithic Eras (10,000 to 7,000 BCE). Written descriptions of Chinese martial arts can be traced as far back to the Xia Dynasty (夏朝 ca 2700 – 1600 BCE).  The origins of the Chinese martial arts can be attributed to the self-defense, hunting, and military needs of the ancient Chinese people.

According to legend, the Yellow Emperor (Huangdi - 黃帝 - ca. 2700 BCE) introduced the earliest forms of martial arts to China. The Yellow Emperor allegedly developed the practice of Jiao Di (角抵)or “Horn-Butting”, which later developed into what is now known as Shuai Jiao (摔角 - Shuai Chiao) and utilized it in war.

During the Shang Dynasty (1766–1066 BCE), appears the first descriptions of a form of organized hand-to-hand combat practice that includes strikes with hands and feet as well as throwing techniques known as Shoubo (手搏).

In the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046-771 BCE), King Chen (周成王) promotes the study of both literary and martial arts known as Wen () and Wu () respectively.

A combat theory, including the integration of notions of "hard" and "soft" techniques, is expounded in the story of the “Maiden of Yue” in the “Spring and Autumn Annals of Wu and Yue” (5th c. BCE).

In the Former Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 8 CE), there was a distinction made between, Shoubo (hand-to-hand combat), for which manuals had been written, and sport wrestling, then known as Jiaoli (角力).

During the Song (960-1279 CE) and Yuan (1271-1368 CE) Dynasties, Xiangpu (相扑 – a form of wrestling) contests were sponsored by the imperial courts. The modern concepts of martial arts were fully developed by the Ming (1368-1644 CE) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties.

The Chinese fighting styles and systems taught and practiced today have developed over the centuries into what is now known in the west as “Kung Fu”. Some of these include Baguazhang, Eagle Claw, Choy Li Fut, Xingyiquan, Hung Gar, Taijiquan, Northern Praying Mantis, Shuai Chiao, Fujian White Crane, Northern Shaolin, Wing Chun and Jook Lum South Mantis.

The present view of Chinese martial arts is strongly influenced by the events that occurred between 1928 and 1937 known as the “Golden Age of Kuoshu”. In 1927 General Zhang Zhijiang (張之江) created the Center for Kuoshu Research, proposing that Chinese martial arts should be called “Kuoshu” (國術), explaining that “In our nation martial techniques have developed since antiquity and have been passed from generation to generation maintaining its original characteristics. For this reason the name should be standardized to “Kuoshu” (Techniques of the Nation). Later, in 1928, the Central Kuoshu Academy (中央國術館)  was founded by the Nationalist government to promote the practice of Chinese martial arts by the general public, many martial artists were encouraged to openly teach their art at this time, with the slogan “To promote the exchange of knowledge and tear down the curtain of prejudice between the styles”, with this many Kuoshu academies were built in the then Republic of China (1912-1949). The central idea of the Kuoshu academies was to promote Chinese martial arts as a matter of national pride and build a strong nation. National examinations and tournaments were organized as well as demonstration teams that travelled overseas and numerous martial arts associations were formed throughout China and in various expatriate Chinese communities. The Central Kuoshu Academy promoted a systematic approach for training in Chinese martial arts. A series of provincial and national competitions were organized by the Republican government starting in 1932 to promote Chinese martial arts. In 1936, at the 11th Olympic Games in Berlin, a group of Chinese martial artists, sponsored by the Central Kuoshu Academy, demonstrated their art to an international audience for the first time.

Chinese martial arts started to spread internationally with the end of the Chinese Civil War (1945-1949) and the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. Many well known martial art practitioners chose to escape from the PRC's rule and migrate to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and other parts of the world. Those masters started to teach within the overseas Chinese communities but eventually they expanded their teachings to include people from other cultures. During this time begins the division between traditional Chinese martial arts, as taught by Chinese expatriates, and contemporary Chinese martial arts or “Wushu”, as created by the Chinese government committees of the time.

In 1954 the Physical Culture and Sports Commission of China instituted a policy to reevaluate and concentrate Chinese martial arts. Prof. Kang Gewu (康戈武) points out that “this negatively affected the traditional Chinese martial arts”. In 1957 a meeting was held to define “Wushu” (). After several debates it was decided that “Wushu” would be categorized as physical education since it was different from purely military techniques and also different from martial dance and gymnastics.

During the turbulent years of the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) the Chinese people, motivated by the communist government, began to get rid of “old culture, old costumes and old habits”, during this time many Chinese martial arts manuals were burned, weapons were destroyed and teachers were persecuted. The PRC promoted the committee-regulated sport of Wushu as a replacement to independent schools of martial arts. This new competitive sport was disassociated from what was seen as the potentially subversive self-defense aspects and family lineages of Chinese martial arts. During this same time in places like Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and overseas communities throughout the world traditional Chinese martial arts groups were being formed and tournaments being organized, such as the First International Chinese Kuoshu Championship in 1975, on the island of Taiwan.

The suppression of traditional martial arts teaching in China was eventually relaxed during the Era of Reconstruction (1976–1989), as Communist ideology became more accommodating to alternative viewpoints.

From the beginning, Chinese martial arts incorporated different concepts, theories and ideas into its practice throughout the ages. These arts expanded their purpose from purely self-defense and military usage to, more recently, health maintenance and a method of self-cultivation. Each system and style developing in different ways showing a diversity of concepts, ideas and cultures not found elsewhere in the world. The influence of martial arts concepts in Chinese society can be found in poetry, fiction, paintings, opera and even films, Chinese martial arts are an intrinsic part of Chinese culture.

The term for “martial arts” in Chinese has changed several times throughout Chinese history, examples are:

Quányǒng - 拳勇 - Zhou Dynasty (ca. 1100-221 BCE)
Jìjī - - Warring States Era (403-221 BCE)
Jìjiǎo - 技角- Han Dynasty (206 BCE - 220 CE)
Shǒubó - 手搏 - Han Dynasty (206 BCE - 220 CE)
Jìyǒng - 技勇 - Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644 CE)
Pāishǒu - 拍手 - Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911 CE)
Quánfǎ - 拳法 - Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911 CE)
Wǔyì - 武藝 - Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911 CE)
Guóshù (Kuoshu) - 國術 - Chinese Republic (1911 - )
Guójī - - Chinese Republic (1911 - )
Wǔshù - 武術 - Chinese Republic (1911 - )

The Chinese term for “martial arts” is best approximated by these terms “Wushu”, “Wuyi” and “Jiji”. The term “Kuoshu” has a connotation of “Chinese martial arts” or “traditional Chinese martial arts”.

To understand the arts we study we must first understand where they came from. Folklore, legends and myths all have their place in the world of Chinese martial arts, they can be great ways to explain certain aspects of morality and how to study with a correct attitude, however we must understand the true root of these arts to fully appreciate its usefullness, complexity and beauty as we practice them.

If you are interested in further reading on this subject please look into the following books and articles:

Articles written by Stan Henning in the following publications - Journal of Asian Martial Arts, Classical Fighting Arts Magazine and Journal of Chinese Martial Studies

Articles written by Ma Mingda in the Journal of Chinese Martial Studies

Chinese Martial Arts Training Manuals: A Historical Survey - by Brian Kennedy and Elizabeth Guo

Marrow of the Nation: A History of Sports and Physical Culture in Republican China - by Andrew Morris

Spring and Autumn of Chinese Martial Arts: 5000 Years - by Kang Gewu

Chinese Martial Arts: From Antiquity to the 21st Century - by Peter Lorge

Hope you all enjoy the new website and content, much is similar to what we had on the old site but we're excited to provide many new features, including a new community based message board, articles and blogs by the ZYKFA staff.

2012 will mark the Year of the Dragon and with it many new development and opportunities for all of us, including many Lion Dances for the Chinese New Year (January/February) the Overture Center International Festival (March), the 5th USKSF North Regional Tournament (April), The US Team Qualifiers at the USKSF National Championships in Maryland (July), The 2nd UMAI Kung Fu Championships in Illinois (September), and the 4th Kuoshu World Championships in Genting, Malaysia (October)... and that's not even counting the Brazilian BBQ's!

One thing I want to make sure to mention is the team that got this website together, if it wasn't for Woody, Elaine, Randy, Moellers and CJ we wouldn't be enjoying such a great site, so next time you see them thank them for their hard work, over the past several months, updating the site and making it more useful than ever.

Look forward to seeing us all grow in 2012!



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