When I started training with Master Raymond Fogg, I drove 40 minutes one-way to class every day. I arrived one hour early to clean the school, do repairs and then go through iron arm, shin and palm training. Class was three hours every night and all levels trained together. There was never any talking, water or restroom breaks during class unless permission was given by Sifu.
Classes consisted of warm-ups, stance training, hundreds of kicks and sweeps, forms, weapons, trapping hands, sticky hands, blood, sweat and tears. After class we would normally hang out and play hands, sometimes until midnight. We never used any gear for sparring and we fought on a wooden floor. The only rules for fighting was not to take your partners’ eyes out; everything else was legal. This was – on average – five days a week.
I also trained at home everyday. There was no such thing as over-training back then. I cut down my own tree to make an iron arm training log which I hit one hour every day. Along with conditioning, I would spend hours on forms training. All this while raising two daughters, going to college, and teaching gymnastics. It’s amazing how much you can get done each day when you are motivated.
I referred to our school as the Piney Woods Temple. Like the Shaolin Temple, we lived and breathed Kung Fu. Sifu Fogg brought his experience of being a black belt in TKD, Judo, Wah Lum Tam Tui Mantis and 7 Star Mantis along with his Marine Ranger training into our Kung Fu classroom. Only the strong survived. I owe everything I developed – my patience, fighting skills, and humility – to Sifu Fogg and my kung fu brothers Dai Sihing Tucson Gross, Sihing John Cheng and Sihing Brandon Jones.
I watched people pass out while sitting in horse stance. We would hold horse stance for long periods of time focusing on our breathing and keeping a level stance. Sifu would be in the back room and we would think he forgot about us. We would have puddles of sweat around our feet marking the wooden floor. I was not the best among my brothers — I just never gave up. There is no secret; the secret is in training.
Old school is the best school.
– Sifu Hughes