Bob Strong, 2014 Student of the Year
When I started practicing with Sifu Rafal Brzozowski, I was unable to walk without the use of a cane. Hip replacements and nerve damage in my feet had taken a toll on my body and my spirit. After a year of direction and encouragement from Sifu, I was able to regain the use of my legs to the point I no longer needed a cane. I have taken advantage of the group classes and the one-on-one private lessons offered by Lau Kune Do, which have increased my proficiency in self-defense, fighting skills and weapons training.
I have been a student now for almost four years. My mobility and balance continue to improve. The daily practice in Lau Kune Do has restored my spirit and the self-confidence I need to continue to work in my profession.
When I initially joined Lau Kune Do Temple of Martial Arts, I had very limited knowledge of traditional self-defense techniques. I contacted Sifu Rafal to discuss my interest in LKD and after meeting with him it quickly became clear that I was at the right place to learn. The first couple weeks of training involved movements I had never done before and for that reason seemed a bit odd, but the more familiar I became with the art the more I noticed how much calmer I felt towards stressful encounters outside of temple.
As a twenty-year-old college student, joining LKD is one of the smartest decisions I have made. Practicing Kung Fu and Tai Chi with Sifu and fellow students has positively strengthened my overall well-being and morale. Sifu is an extraordinary teacher and mentor who dedicates his life to helping students of all ages improve physically and mentally in the most profound ways.
Sifu Rafal is a master in a long tradition of Kung Fu and Tai chi and Qi Gong. One may choose to practice either or both at the Lau Kune Do Temple. I started with Tai Chi, and then Kung Fu looked so enticing I started that as well in private sessions.
I am 73 and have found, after enjoying many other forms of “sport,” that this has been the first practice that nourishes my body and mind, without causing physical damage!!!
Tai Chi is challenging, as there are long routines that require mind and body coordination and memory. I thought at first that I would never be able to remember the routines, but Sifu is patient and non-critical and I surprised myself by being able to learn the sequences.
The Temple is a supportive, noncompetitive, quiet environment that has classes for youth to elders!
I met Sifu Brzozowski during the summer of 2010. Eager to start my training in Wing Chun I called and set a date to be interviewed. I found Sifu to be a soft-spoken man with cat-like reflexes and the uncanny ability to project wisdom into any conversation no matter how far off on a tangent it goes.
The Lau Kune Do system not only offers a foundation in Wing Chun, Hung Gar, Ba Qua and Tai Chi, but also brings discipline, confidence, respect and, most important of all, peace of mind. In short, the system and people you train with at the temple will make you a much better human being than you were before.
“Lau Kune Do, it does a body good.”
Several years after college, in the fall of 2014, a life-changing event left me searching for avenues to overcome this transition to adulthood, and I decided to focus on my physical health in the hopes that my mind would follow. To that end I began looking into Tai Chi and Kung Fu in the Santa Barbara area. I visited and spoke with several other instructors before I had my initial meeting with Sifu Rafal Brzozowski. As a result of this discussion, it became apparent that only the Lau Kune Do School of Martial Arts provided a school of thought which equally emphasized rigor of both the body and the mind.
My initial impressions have proven to be true as I have made progress both physically and mentally since beginning training, bolstering my body's coordination and strength as well as improving mindfulness techniques. The classes can be challenging so there is always more for me to learn, and Sifu Brzozowski is patient, motivating and has great passion for the work he does – at great benefit to his students. The students themselves come from all ages and backgrounds and I have found it a joy to learn and develop in such a warm and welcome community as Lau Kune Do provides. Training at Lau Kune Do has played a pivotal role in my increased quality of life and I am proud to be a student there.
Sifu Rafal Brzozowski is a generous spirit; his instruction is clear and he is patient. Tai Chi improves both my balance and my temperament. Our student body ranges from children to "the mature" yet Sifu's spirit ensures that there is no competitiveness among us; we practice together even as we each walk our own path. I have been a university professor for three decades and sifu ranks among the best instructors I've encountered.
For the past eighteen months I have been a member of the Lau Kune Do Temple in Santa Barbara, where I have been studying the Chinese martial art known as Wing Chun. I have become a big fan of Sifu Brzozowski, the chief instructor at the temple. He is an extremely knowledgeable, articulate and very patient teacher. In addition, seeing him actually demonstrate specific techniques is truly inspirational. One immediately sees and understands what Wing Chun is all about from a physical or external perspective.
Doing Wing Chun well requires great balance, flexibility and body control. The training and instruction I have received at the temple, as well as my own practice, has allowed me to improve my abilities in all three of these areas. In addition, to the physical or external side of Wing Chun, there is also an internal and mental side. Sifu Brzozowski constantly talks about and emphasizes the need to relax, focus and breathe while doing Wing Chun. The objective is to eventually learn to perform all of the movements and techniques ‘effortlessly.
We had been wanting our children to learn self-defense for some time and had considered a half dozen or more places before we visited Lau Kune Do. Sifu was low-key but welcoming. That was over two years ago and we could not have made a better choice. Our kids hold Sifu in high regard and we think he has been an excellent influence.
The practice teaches perseverance, focus and self-regulation. They have learned about balance and the importance of form. This is all done in a respectful, positive environment.
We feel blessed to be a part of the Lau Kune Do community.