Philip's martial arts background
In the late 1970’s, I was attending The Law & Security Course at Algonquin College. At the school’s gym there was an Asian man practicing kung fu. I was always fascinated by Bruce Lee and kung fu and wanted to learn. Eventually, I met Master Philip Lai who was meditating in lotus position, in the gym. I waited until he was finished and asked if he could teach me; he told me to meet him at a later date.
When I met Master Lai in the gym, I was pretty aggressive and showed him my kick boxing techniques; I attacked him but he swiftly moved out of danger and before I knew it, I received a kung fu chop to my neck. At that point I tried to counter but I was immobilized and could not move nor respond as my mind was frozen and stunned. Another time I tried a kick attack but he swiftly moved and fractured my toe. I sort of realized that I had to show more respect to Master Lai or I could get hurt very seriously. Then he told me he did not want to train me and walked away. I was devastated and really wanted to learn kung fu, so I apologized for my bad attitude. I was surprised when he said he would train me, but that I had to show better respect. He taught me Shaolin and Lai Kung Fu in the gym stairwell where we could do private lessons without being interrupted.
Master Lai has taught me Shaolin 8 Horses, Butterfly Palm Techniques, Tai Chi 8 Step Movement, and qi gong. The qi gong exercises have taught me to use the mind to heal vital organs and the body by sending Qi and flushing out toxins through visualization combined with physical exercises. The fascinating thing is that Master Lai has adapted and improvised the best qi gong masters techniques to make them even better and more efficient to help his students. I had to learn a higher level qi gong to balance my body and mind in order to incorporate the soft and hard school techniques; a martial artist is not fully trained unless he incorporates the hard and soft school techniques to help heal the body and expand the mind.
Martial arts and qi gong have helped me deal with all situations by using the mind to solve problems. There are situations whereby I respond with a strong mental response and others in a soft manner or by no response. I have learned to use ethics in all tasks. Master Lai has also helped me control my financial situation that was out of control. He told me that a well trained martial artist has control over his whole life—not just in fighting techniques—but in all aspects of his life. I have a leg injury and wear two steel knee braces but am still on my feet all day. Martial arts help me deal with pain and manage it; otherwise, I would probably be a good candidate for a wheel chair.
Full honour is given to Master Lai’s father who was a Shaolin trained martial artist; he taught his students to grow mentally, physically, and spiritually in kung fu, helping them in all aspects of life. Master Lai has dedicated his life to his father’s teachings and has vowed to train interested students in kung fu and qi gong. I would recommend him to anyone who wants to learn the Tao of Life through martial arts or qi gong.
July 24, 2014