Serge Martich-Osterman has been teaching Shaolin as an extra-curricular activity at the University of Sydney since 1965.
Serge is a Shaolin Master.
THE KEMPO - KARATE CLUB
Sydney University Kempo-Karate Club was established in 1965 to facilitate the practice of Shaolin Ch’uanfa.
At the time, the general public was not aware of Chinese self-defence traditions.
As “Kempo” is the Japanese pronunciation of ch’uanfa, and “Karate” is an Okinawan self-defence art derived from Southern China, the name “kempo-karate” was chosen to suggest the nature of our activities.
*General training sessions may involve any or all of the following:
• strengthening & other exercises
• dhamma (buddhist philosophy)
• unarmed fighting techniques
• armed fighting techniques
At university, I studied Chinese language, history and culture not only because I was interested in Shaolin. I was interested in all things Chinese and saw a formal, university study of Chinese language, history and culture as a way of deepening my understanding of the Chinese people, their world-views and the skills that might develop based on such world views.
But, because I’m a master of Shaolin (a Chinese art) and thoroughly well grounded in Shaolin this doesn’t mean I’m deaf, dumb, blind or insensitive to the world around me.
I was born in Italy of mixed Italian Slavic parentage. Ethnically I’m an Italic Slavic smorgasbord.
I’ve taken the trouble to learn to read (and, more or less write) Italian. My own language is a form of Venetian and I can read Fiore Dei Liberi’s (b. Fiore de Cividale d'Austria ca. 1340s - 1420s) Floss Duelatorum in the original.
What I’ve discovered is the same truth that any competent fighting arts master discovers when he examines the teachings of another competent fighting arts master. Beneath stylistic variants, the substance of any human fighting tradition is incredibly similar if not identical.
Although the breadth of Eurasia separates Italy from China, anyone with eyes to see will discover that the basics or essentials of their fighting arts are virtually identical.
In the case of the fighting arts of close neighbours like China, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan, the identity is even more obvious.
This is not only a matter of one-way transmission from a nominally dominant or ‘superior’ culture to a nominally dependent or ‘inferior’ culture, since this argument fails completely when considering the tight relationship between the fighting arts of medieval Italy and medieval China.
It has everything to do with being human!
Because we’re human, we more or less think, speak and act as humans.
Our thinking may differ slightly from place to place.
Our languages may differ slightly; our bodily movements may differ slightly from place to place.
But the underlying structures that characterise our thinking, our speech and our movements are virtually the same.
Each of our assistant instructors is experienced practitioner in his own right.
As you can see, I’m not ethnically Chinese. I didn’t spend years studying Shaolin in China!
I started training when I was 13 years old and was fortunate enough to receive direct tuition from three qualified ethnically Chinese Shaolin teachers in Sydney, Australia.
Although I’m not ethnically Chinese, my grounding is in Shaolin, a Chinese Buddhist art of self-defense. Although I’m a foreigner (from the Chinese point of view) I’m a master of Shaolin.
- is the Chief Assistant Instructor and my most senior student. He has been training with me for over 40 years.
(aka Jackie Chan)
- has been training with me for over 30 years.
John Di Giorgio
- has been training with me on and off for 20 years.
Several senior students, each of whom has been training with me for at least 8 years, assist these three.
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