Chief Instructor: Sifu John C. Loupos - Since 1968

"Tales and Strategies from the Jade Forest and Beyond"

Excerpted from New England Martial Arts Magazine

Influencing children to think critically about their world and the choices they have to make within it is every parent and educator's mission. The martial arts instructor provides his or her input generally through positive role modeling and by giving constant reinforcement over a long period of time. Given the fact that martial arts instruction is typically geared toward a whole class as opposed to private one-on-one lessons, wouldn't it be nice if someone wrote a book for kids (and their parents) addressing some of the concerns they have about their martial arts practice, as well as the issues they must deal with in their daily lives?

Well, John Loupos, chief instructor at the Jade Forest Kung Fu/ Tai Chi Academy has done just that. His book, "Tales and Strategies from the Jade Forest and Beyond," a collection of stories, histories, and Kung Fu exercises, addresses a number of concerns young martial artists have about competition, making choices, parental involvement and the use of self defense. Loupos frames these problems in stories about realistic characters who are faced with some very important choices. And, while the kids in the story resolve their problems, Loupos does not let the issue rest, but rather places questions at the end of the chapter to allow the reader to search for alternate solutions. Loupos' writing style is clear and age appropriate (although he recommends that younger readers to age 9 or 10 may want to have the book read to them). His approach is to prod the student into thinking out solutions to problems for themselves.

Designed as an oversized, spiral-bound trade paperback, the book's layout is open and easy to read, with enough illustrations (drawn by the very talented Linda May Ellis, Lori Sartre, and Michelle Jones), to keep a kid captivated. Other chapters in "Tales and Strategies" delve deep into important Kung Fu fundamentals such as proper breathing, rootedness, and mind/body exercises. Loupos presents this information as more than a mere how-to lesson; he provides simple, straight-forward explanations about why these exercises are important and how they can be applied to daily life.

"Tales and Strategies" also includes stories based on figures from Chinese history as retold by Loupos. They are tales of people faced with a dilemma or dangerous situation who must find a way out. What's interesting about the legends, and of lasting value to children, is that none of the protagonists solve their problems through violence; instead they use cunning, intelligence, and critical thinking.

Loupos brings to this book a vast foundation of Kung Fu knowledge. He began his studies in 1966 and is the founder of Jade Forest Kung Fu/ Tai Chi/ Internal Arts. He is an advanced instructor in the Healing Tao system of meditation and chi kung. He earned a black belt in Okinawin karate and has studied aikido, Northern Shaolin Kung Fu, Choy Lay Fut Kung Fu, Tai Chi Chuan, and has been to the Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng, China for advanced studies. He also maintains a health care practice in Classical Homeopathy. This is Loupos' first book and for an initial attempt at children's writing, it hits the mark. Hopefully, he will use his writing talents and vast martial arts experience to produce a similar work for we older kids. For now, we can gain insight into our decision-making process and our own martial arts practice by reading "Tales and Strategies" to our children

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