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Students at the Shorin Center exhibit nimble, graceful movement. Their intense, focused steps are fluid and learned, students confident in their maneuvers. When they walk through the doors here, they learn the ancient arts of kung fu and tai chi — but they also learn self-discipline, commitment, self-assurance and self-esteem.
“You’re learning self-defense — how to break hold, throw someone to the ground — but you’re also creating strong roots physically, mentally and spiritually,” said Wayne Minks, owner of the Shorin Center which, for 15 years, has operated in Colorado Springs’ west end on Garden of the Gods Road.
Learning kung fu (“hard work,” literally) brings with it opportunities for personal growth in ways that aren’t immediately obvious, Minks said.
“You learn to quiet your mind, keep at peace ... You learn to cope with the stresses of life much better, and you learn better negotiating skills because you learn to communicate better.”
Grandmaster Gene Brigham founded and ran Shorin Kung Fu, Inc., which opened its doors for the first time in California in 1987. Brigham was a 10th-degree black belt who studied various styles of kung fu worldwide before developing the Shorin style, a combination of several different kung fu styles, said Minks, who took over ownership of the center in January.
The center offers Shorin Kung Fu and Tai Chi, an ancient form of martial arts, alongside its kids and Golden Spirit programs.
The Golden Spirit program, which has been a part of the center since its beginning, benefits special needs adults. It helps them improve motor nerve coordination and mental faculty as they learn leadership, communication, conflict resolution, peer support and more, Minks said.
Minks also plans to expand the center’s kids program with the help of his instructors, implementing outside curriculum required for promotion within the dojo intended to teach children confidence, self-esteem, and how to be a productive member of society.
“We have found … each one of us develops confidence and self-esteem through our teachers and our parents, but a lot of it is also among our peers,” Minks said. “We want to develop a program where kids see that by being good citizens they get recognition within the dojo, and maybe that encourages other kids to replicate it.”
The Shorin Center also offers free trial classes. For more information, to sign up for a trial class or to become a member, visit shorin-kungfu.squarespace.com, or contact them by phone at 719-268-9560.