James Lind – Chinese Shao-Lin Center of Raleigh – Black Belt 8.11.21
I started T'ai Chi, Shao-Lin, and Wooden Man/Iron Monk as part of my occupational and physical rehabilitation
from the second of three spinal surgeries, all of which came about from a vehicle accident.
I was in in-patient rehabilitation for about a month after the second surgery. About 7 months after starting
the rehabilitation through martial arts, I had third of the spinal surgeries. The third time, my hospital
stay was two days.
The surgeon, the same one who did the others, and his surgical PA, remarked on the amazing toughness that had
developed and the surprisingly and remarkably fast recovery from not only the prior surgery, but also the
ability to discharge after only two days following the third. Within limits, I was moving about on my own.
The toughness that had developed in those months also precluded the need for vertibreal fusion because the
muscle and ligament structure that would remain post surgery would be strong and tough enough to hold the
remaining structure together -- something very unusual for most surgical patients my age for the surgery I
As I began to resume T'ai Chi, Shao-Lin, and Wooden Man/Iron Monk, the post surgical limitations subsided
well over time. While not completely gone, they continue to diminish over time and nerve damage continues to
As with any endeavor, you get out of it what you put into it. For me, it has been worth all the time and
effort not only to learn a rich, beautiful, and engaging art, but to also reap the wellbeing benefits the
Chinese monks who created this art intended as one of its great outcomes for its practitioners.
That wellbeing extends beyond the rehab and into superbly managed diabetes without medication, a stellar
physiological state as measured in my periodic physicals, low blood pressure, and a heart rate of about 62 at
rest. Very few others my age as I approach 70 in a little over a year can say as much. I look forward to the
next decade of wellness -+ in large measure an outcome greatly facilitated by this fabulous art.
Dennis Kirkpatrick — 5 star
"The last 10 years has been an amazing start to journey more insightful than I could have anticipated. The hard work and requirements for being a Shaolin black belt have stretched me, helping me to grow and learn.
With Elder Masters David and Sharon Soard and all my fellow students, my daughters and I are part of a much larger family. I am very thankful."
China Trip 2019, nearly three weeks in China, spanning Bejing, Denfeng, Huashan, Xi’an, Zhangjiajie, Shaoyang Langshan, Changsha and then Hong Kong. What a fun and engaging trip! Here are some highlight photos.
John Blake — 5 star
"You know when you really appreciate something and feel very blessed to have found such a great martial arts school?
Well, I feel that same feeling, and I am really happy to be attending Shaolin Kung Fu & Tai Chi Wooden Man.
The atmosphere of the place just brings about a sense of warmth and overall pleasantness.
The instructors are not only very knowledgeable, but also attentive,
they really care about your personal growth and advancement in Shaolin wushu and Tai Chi."
— 5 star
"The Shaolin School is like a close family of dedicated students and masters
all helping each other to better our lives,
health and understanding of martial art and self defense,
all while having a ton of fun."
— 5 star
"I personally enjoy this school! The work and effort you put in really pays off in time,
and the Masters are always there to help you out."
— 5 star
"This is a sanctuary like no other I have ever been to. I have been a student here for nearly 10 years,
and have learned more than just punching and kicking, and more than just meditation and T'ai chi...
This school has an Abundance of knowledge, skill, and fortitude, as well as teachers and students who are welcoming and helpful.
Being a new student was intimidating for me at first, but even a shy person like me, was able to find a way to ease into it, and I have enjoyed it ever since!!!
There is an abundance to learn here!!! I Still have not learned all there is to know in this art, and I look forward to learning more!!!
I'm so excited because there is never a boring day in my life!!! Any time I start feeling bored, I simply start thinking of different forms and fun things to work on...
and the boredom is beat!!! Its some REAL Kung Fu Fun!!! I love this school, and recommend it Everyone!!! I couldn't have found a better school. I am So grateful!!!"
What an amazing class! First, describing the history and the application of each key strike or block, David took three large groups of students four or five times through each of four sections of the form, leading the taolu himself, for three hours.
With some notes and his shrewd teaching methodology, I now can perform Fujian White Tiger Trigram Chopping Fist. EVERY strike was one or multiple pressure points!
Now I just need to keep working to master it one day :)
I started attending classes here because I wanted to practice Tai Chi. I had no interest in Kung Fu. But after a year of practice and watching the external training, I decided to go ahead and jump in. It has changed my life! When I moved further away from the school, I tried attending classes at a different school for 6 months, and it had nothing on Shao-Lin. Returning to the Shao-Lin school was like coming home. I'll never voluntarily leave again.
I am stronger in body, mind, and spirit than I have ever been in my life. I want my children to grow up being taught by Matter David and Master Sharon.
I recently tested to first degree black belt, and I consider that one of the greatest achievements of my life. I would recommend this school to anyone!
This is my sanctuary/y where I always come back to. I feel the most grounded and nourished when I am back and practicing the art of Kung Fu . Thank you Sharon Soard and David Soard and all of my Shao-lin brothers and sisters!
The Chinese Shao-Lin School has brought many positive changes to my life. The diversity of the material that is taught, and the way he incorporates this rich art, not only into Martial Art Instruction, but into lessons on coping with lifes challenges make this School and Elder Master David a unique experience that I highly recommend.
Classes are challenging, full of History, Knowledge and fun! All of this made even more special under his tutelage of enthusiastic and inspiring teaching.
Master Herbalist; Nutritional Consultant, N.C.
I have been a student at The Chinese Shao-lin Center since 1999. I started in the Colorado Springs school location five days after moving to Colorado!
I studied kungfu else where back east since 1991, so I was familiar with kungfu ... or so I thought I was.
Ever since that day, I as hooked! The amazing thing about this school and the instructors at Shao-Lin is the drive, passion, desire, care and concern that they have for each person. That care and concern goes beyond just the uniform, belts and stripes! Throughout my time training and learning with my Masters, they have been in my corner during the stormiest times
in my life -- just like the legends of the ancient masters of kungfu over 1500
years ago. A true master is a true friend, and a true friend is a true master.
At Chinese Shao-Lin Center, you ARE somebody!
This environment promotes learning on all levels - physical, mental and emotional. I was amazed at what I learned to do. I am still amazed at what I can
still do and continue to learn to do in this amazing art!
40 years old -- and still learning and having fun doing it in a great art, system and school with wonderful classmates and great Masters.
Shao-Lin since 1999
Nothing but the best!
Very hard to find a high ranking instructor working so hard to develop people at all ranks. Lots of experience and a clear understanding of Shaolin, its heritage, and real world application.
Carlos Valencia - 4th Degree Black Belt
The World is a crazy place right now. But perhaps it has always been so. If I take a wide long look at history, oppression, 'isms of every kind and abuse have... always been with us.
Perhaps that is why I am so grateful today, that I went to CSC Kung Fu last night. When I get to class and get out on the floor with my buddies, everything stops. My mind gets a break from the madness and my body gets worked and trained.
Last night's meditation/putting out the candle class with Master Sharon Soard was phenomenal. Yes, I went to bed with that familiar Shao-lin pain, but its worth it. I hope everyone can find a place, where they can turn off the madness for a while.
"Friends that train together, stay together! One meets the best people at CSC Shao-lin. . Shao-lin Kung Fu enriches my life, body, mind and spirit!.
"I began studying Shao-lin Kung Fu in December 2009 and earned my first degree Black Belt in August 2012."
Najah - 2nd Degree Black Belt 2016
Your teaching, kindness and enthusiasm is very much appreciated.
Diego says that he always meets such kind people at Kung Fu.
Solomon's confidence has never been better. Refreshing!
So with much gratitude, thank you!
Master David's in depth knowledge of the Shaolin art, internal fighting systems and martial arts in general shines through when he instructs his students. Even after 30 years teaching Shaolin Kung Fu, he still maintains a young heart that is enthusiastic and eager to share the sometimes overwhelming abundance of knowledge.
Master David makes learning fun with his witty humor and his astute observations. Above all, he has a deep understanding of actual fighting applications hidden within each fighting system and of the strategy required to set them up properly for sparring and combat application. His lectures and demonstrations of proper timing, strategy and use of deception for sparring and combat are always huge eye openers even to many of us senior students. I have had an amazing journey of discovery and learning as a student of the Shaolin art and I'm glad I discovered his school. I only wish I had started even earlier, for I had walked into the school countless times for a few years before actually joining.
What makes the school even more unique is that his wife Master Sharon is the perfect counter balance with a very different style of teaching and a slightly different perspective that occasionally focuses more on the conditioning and health aspects of the art as well as the more technical aspects of training. The two instructors are like Yin and Yang each having a good balance of martial application, conditioning, and technique, yet each emphasizing slightly different aspects of the art for a complete learning experience that is truly unique. We as students definitely get the of both worlds.
Emir Santana Student since 1996
"It was April 19th 2013 when I walked into the Chinese Shao-lin Center in Salt Lake City for the first time. Tomorrow I stand before a panel consisting of black belts, my Sifu, Masters and our Elder Master to demonstrate that I have acquired the martial skill to advance to the 1st degree black belt level.
I can honestly say that I haven't had this particular blend of emotions since I took my final PT test in Basic Training. But you know what, I have never been more prepared for anything in my life!!! Its hard to find a more passionate, dedicated and supportive group of people in this day and time than the ones I have met in Shao-lin. I have been supported and encouraged every step of the way and I would not be where I am now had it not been for them. Because of them, my fellow Shao-lin martial artist, I have an indescribable love for the Art of Shao-lin.
And even after all this time...my journey begins tomorrow!"