In the years I have been teaching I have had the good fortune to encounter many sincere practitioners on the Integrated Strength path, many of which have become students. Below I have included testimonials from a variety of people who have had both short and long term exposure to my approach.
To those of you who have contributed your thoughts to this article I want to extend my gratitude not only for your kind words but your willingness to share you experiences to help others. I think everyone listed here is a member of IntentionFist, if you have questions for them or comments, please feel free to comment on this article at the bottom.
John, Fort Worth, Texas
"I started off training in external styles years ago until I was exposed to the power of real internal power. Now I’ve been training in Yi Chuan with Steve E, and it has been a profound experience. I can tell you firsthand that Steve E. is a gifted teacher with the rare ability to demystify this misunderstood martial art for his students."
Bruce, Surrey, UK
"Having studied a mixture of various martial arts over the years I was looking for a new teacher who could help me focus more on the internal dynamics of strength generation. Luckily I found Steve who happens to specialize in exactly that.
Steve is a great teacher. His style is to not-only explain the movements of the practice and feeling-state that you need to achieve, but he also tries to put it all into practical language that explains what’s happening and why. I found that this style of explanation works very well for the way that I learn.
The training method that Steve teaches has helped me to build much better internal foundations. I do have several years experience of external and internal martial arts and my original teachers have all been exceptionally talented, but Steve has helped me increase my overall body connection greatly. I can feel the difference when I practice now, I move differently and I think about power generation differently to before.
Steve’s approach to teaching is very accessible and anyone at any level of experience can benefit from it. It can be studied by itself as a stand-alone art, but also provides a complement to anyone training in another martial art system.
I’m looking forward to continuing this journey and know that it will always be with me in one form or other for my whole life."
Nick, Southampton, UK
"I have been studying YiChuan for coming up to 20 years now.
I was a good student, as I thought, in that I did what my teacher told me to do. I practiced conscientiously but I did not ask wider and more challenging questions of myself and my teacher.
It took me some 14 years into this journey before I started asking myself uncomfortable questions about what learning really means in the YiChuan context and what are the core principles on which the art is based. My learning up to this point had been a series of skills that I had not been able to link together. Lots of ‘skills’ but no hun yuan – and therefore no art. Easier to see and talk about than to do though!
It was in this context that I met Steve. He was a breath of fresh air and our conversations and training focused in on the core of creating interconnectivity between all parts of myself and between me and the environment. His immense passion for the art and for helping people over this barrier to experiencing and practicing hun yuan has been incredibly helpful in challenging some of the very unhelpful habits that I had picked up. Intention Fist has been a fantastic resource for supporting my enquiry into the core of YiChuan. Not only is he extremely generous with his time and knowledge, he is very creative in trying to help me overcome blocks I have to accessing this core knowledge."
Dennis, NSW, Australia
"If someone was to have interest in Yi Chuan Kung Fu and asked me about starting to practice it I would say your mind must become settled and drop the ego mind and be patient.
If your practicing to become a fighter to fight I feel the mind is to busy at this stage to truly start understanding the teaching of Yi Chuan and will miss the deeper side of Yi Chuan Kung Fu in my personal opinion.
I feel that the teachers of Yi Chuan don't in teach the same way.
For me I feel the teaching of this particular Yi Chuan are unique. Steve, my teacher, really explains and demonstrates things in an easy to understand way and I'm grateful to have him as my teacher. If I was to say what I miss in my training it would be hands on practice with someone but that will come in time.
I find the more I get rid of the ego mind the better feeling of practice I feel. I truly absolutely love practicing Yi Chuan and feel it is the perfect art for me at 50 years young. When I practice Yi Chuan my mind becomes settled. When I was younger I don't believe that would of practice Yi Chuan because my mind was to busy.
I have practiced two other Kung Fu arts that I think have helped me develop in Yi Chuan but also has held me back if that makes sense. I think when I develop more in Yi Chuan I will be able to incorporate the other arts I have practice but still keep the Yi Chuan principles.
I don't think Yi Chuan is for everyone but for me I can't imagine practicing anything else. I feel I will be practicing Yi Chuan for the rest of my life."
Ana Margarita, Fort Worth, Texas
"My friend and colleague, Dr. John, introduced me to yi chuan and his teacher (Steve) after learning of my affinity for martial arts and as a self-protection instructor. I was not familiar at all with any "internal art", nor had I even heard of such a concept until I met Dr. John.
When Dr. John told me about his yi chuan practice, I was intrigued. He invited me to meet Steve, and I was grateful for the opportunity to see their training and check out this "yi chuan". I was quickly baffled and fascinated by Steve's Integrated Strength. I could not counter-attack any move he put on me no matter what I tried. He already had me participating in the tree wrestling exercise and demonstrated how it applies to Integrated Strength. I also attended a couple of his public workshops where I saw him displace every body type with every training background with such ease and grace. It was then that I knew I would begin my study and practice of yi chuan.
Steve's web content has been a tremendous aid in my understanding of the *intention* (for lack of a better word) behind internal arts, or any martial art. After my first check-in with Steve, I was able to cultivate a daily practice where I am already seeing benefits in a short amount of time. It felt odd at first given my combatives background, but I am beginning to understand more about myself and the practice. It is evident that Steve has spent many years on his own training; but has also taken the time to read, research, prove/disprove, and distill loaded concepts into digestible exercises. His presentation and methodology will help you quickly accelerate your journey in Integrated Strength. He is very motivational, encouraging, gracious, wise and whip-smart. He always cultivates an environment that fosters very good energy, which leaves me feeling renewed and excited. All of these traits make for a coach and teacher that one would be incredibly lucky to learn from, as those are rare to come by. I have two, so I consider myself to have hit the jackpot! I cannot wait to see how yi chuan influences my pekiti-tirsia kali (PTK-SMF), combatives, and grappling training–as well as my own journey in teaching, coaching, and every other area in my life–in the years to come. Thanks, Steve!"
Don, Los Angeles, California
"As a longtime Yi Chuan practitioner, I had reached some heights in my personal experience of internal Kung Fu. However, I sometimes had a hard time maintaining that. I didn’t know when I was on or off. I studied with Sifu Cheuk Fung in San Francisco where Steve would often guide the class. Steve is the only official teacher sanctioned by Master Fung. Sifu offers you the gourmet sourdough. Steve can teach you how to make pizza with limitless topping combinations. I had doubts about training online but Steve can see right away what you’re doing wrong. He could see when I dropped my frame. I also felt I previously wasn’t “giving it my all” in accessing my strength and power. Steve reminded my that intense effort is needed, even if it isn’t regular single direction strength. Steve has taken the Yi Chuan to the next level in it’s application to lower movements, groundwork, and even yoga. I am a surfer and yogi as well so I appreciate being able to integrate all these practices."
Gus, New South Wales, Australia
"I think it was back in 2014 when I found Steve in the middle of all the information on his teacher's website. I had under my belt a couple of decades of martial arts, from Judo to Yiquan (the so-called traditional way), passing through several years of Karate, Wing Chun, Aikido, and Russian Martial Art. Having experience with the practice of Yiquan and Russian Martial Art via remote learning, and willing to understand better what Yi Chuan (Cantonese form) was, I exchanged a couple of emails with Steve and then gave him a call if I recall correctly. We were living on opposite sides of the Globe, so for me, it was the only choice, hoping he would answer my questions. We had a very pleasant conversation for an hour or so, something I remember to this date, and everything he said, to my astonishment, made sense. I am a skeptical martial artist, let's say that. After the call, we organised a recurrent training session via Skype and he showed me the drills and theory behind the "magical" throws, with down-to-earth explanations on why it works (spoiler alert: it is a drill, not a combat application), and how to use the whole-body power in a real situation (it is less glamourous than it looks in the videos, but hell it works). Steve became a teacher and a friend and I hope our paths cross IRL soon."