Kung fu club members trained in living rooms, lounges

Pamela Crimbchin

The enthusiastic Green Dragon Kung Fu Club explained to potential members at its orientation meeting Thursday night that they will be stronger, healthier and have better self defense after just a few practices.

“Everything (in life) is easier after kung fu,” said Mike Burngasser, junior flight technology major. “If you get done, and you’re just pouring sweat, the rest of your day is nothing. The rest is easier.”

The Green Dragon Kung Fu Club was founded at Kent State 37 years ago, by John Allen, also known as Sifu. Sifu, or teacher, Allen has trained in and studied the ancient Chinese martial art of kung fu for more than 45 years.

The club practices once a week together, but much of kung fu is easy to do in small areas, which is perfect for college students in small residence hall rooms, apartments and lounges, Burngasser said.

Margie Smith, co-director of the Green Dragon Kung Fu Club, joined the program in 1978 after seeing a co-worker do kung fu in a restaurant.

“This is something you can do in a small area,” Smith said. “We train the students so they know how to do that. You can break it down and just work on a few steps at a time and still be able to fit it into what your living quarters are.”

Smith said Sifu Allen started his training in his living room with furniture and 6-foot ceilings.

High school teacher Karen Faulkner has trained with Sifu Allen and the Green Dragon Kung Fu Club for 18 years. While attending Kent State, Faulkner and her friends practiced in their residence hall room.

“We used to go down to the little lounge in the dorm or even just do our maneuvering drills up and down the dorms hallways,” Faulkner said.

Faulkner is only 4 feet 11 inches tall and weighs less than 150 pounds. However, by training regularly with the Green Dragon kung fu techniques, she is able to bench 155 pounds.

Members of the club said they have more energy, flexibility, stamina, coordination and confidence, as well as exceptional physical and metal strength from practicing kung fu.

“It’s a lot more interesting than getting on a treadmill,” Smith said. “You can get on a treadmill anywhere, but you’re not going to learn how to do this stuff anywhere. You (want to) walk away from that college experience being able to say, ‘Hey, I did kung fu in college.'”

Contact Student Wellness and Recreation reporter Pamela Crimbchin at [email protected].