One of the Magazine Articles on Gary Martin

Since 1979 the Gary Martin Kung-fu Centre has had hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles written about it.  Following is one of them.


While many people claim to have dedicated their lives to the martial arts, few can make the claim like Da Shi Gary Martin. Head of one of the world's largest single martial arts schools, Da Shi Martin's history in the martial arts is a fascinating one.

Gary Martin's martial arts career spans almost his entire life, having begun his training as a four-year-old under his grandfather's instruction. Trained diligently in the Taoist martial arts and internal energy concepts, Gary was immediately hooked and took to his training with huge enthusiasm. Throughout his formative childhood and teens, Gary was the consummate student of the arts.

"Every spare minute I had, I trained"

"Every spare minute I had, I trained. As a teenager, my social life was centred around kung-fu. I lived, slept and breathed it, "Gary remembers. Gary has always had a competitive personality and constantly sought out sparring partners from other martial arts to widen his knowledge of human combat skills. Gary recalls that by the late 1970's, the Bruce Lee effect had started to taper off and with it came the demise of the huge number of bogus schools that had started in the early '70s. After consultation with his grandfather, Gary was given permission to start teaching the arts in 1979. That was really the turning point in Gary's life. For 20 years, he'd dedicated himself to perfecting forms, mastering weapons and learning to control and focus his mind on harnessing the ch'i in his body. Now it was time to turn his energy on to helping others along the difficult path to kung-fu mastery. Da Shi Gary describes his early classes as "a waking nightmare".

"I had to pass. "

"I was inexperienced and it showed." Gary laughs when recalling the early days. But, true to his nature, he persisted and his School grew. However, in the early 1980's Gary faced a new challenge. It was time to step from under his own teacher's wing and seek international approval through an independent Gold Sash grading. The timing couldn't have been worse. Now married with a baby daughter and a mortgage, Gary was working two jobs to stay above water and teaching his art three nights a week - and now he was to commence preparing for the hardest grading of his life. "We had to take out a bank loan to pay for the airfares and accommodation." Gary recalls, "I know that if I made one mistake it was back on the plane to fly home and try again a few years later. I had to pass." And pass he did.

Now armed with confidence of having been independently assessed, Gary poured his heart and soul into his kung-fu School, which began to boom. And boom. "The reputation of our School spread rapidly and throughout the 1980's and '90s, we were constantly looking for bigger and bigger premises,"says Gary.

Admitted to hospital Gary actually booked himself out, taught that nights class, and then went back to hospital for treatment

Da Shi Gary's dedication never diminished - in fact, his passion for the arts grew stronger. On a few occassions that commitment was tested, but never more so than when, in 1996, his hand was punctured through completely by a bolt while working on an old caravan. Admitted to hospital Gary actually booked himself out, taught that night's class, and then went back to hospital for treatment, two nights in a row. Gary's wife Julie, also tells of the two weeks in the late 1990's when he taught with pneumonia: "He would teach a class, go and vomit then go back out and take another class, and not one student knew."

Senior students of Sifu Gary claim his martial arts skills are extraordinary. Those who receive a ch'i strike or worse, a Hsing-I shock punch, are astonished by his speed and power. Each night Gary teaches and demonstrates the art to his students at what could only be called the highest level. One senior recalls recently seeing Da Shi Gary blast a heavyweight member of the school through a toilet door while he was demonstrating on a kick shield for a beginners' class.

"Gary's demonstrations are always explosive."

"I think they got the point well and truly," says the student. "Gary's demonstrations are always explosive. You know he is going to kick you in the head and he will, you just can't see it coming to evade or block." He says this is a common claim made by the students.

But for all the fire and energy that Da Shi Gary Martin unleashes every night in his teaching, the School's senior members all say it's spiritual and internal aspects of the arts they love the most. Through many years of study under his teacher. Da Shi Gary developed a deep passion for the Taoist concepts of ch'i and thought power. Gary's students now crave that knowledge and are gradually introduced to exciting aspects of the art such as aura-diagnosis and the advanced relationships between traditional healing and martial arts iron-shirt training, for ultimate striking power.

Gary's lifelong kung-fu journey has introduced him to many fascinating masters, some who have even visited his Sydney School to witness first hand Gary in action. Almost every Christmas when his School shuts for the holidays, Da Shi Gary heads to Asia to seek out old kung-fu friends and regularly makes new ones as well.

One of the greatest achievements a teacher can have is to see his students attain their own Gold Sashes. In 2003, six of Da Shi Gary's students reached this rarified grade after over 22 years of study.There has since been three more graded to Master. The Gary Martin Centre has over 50 Red Sashes (the grade below Gold Sash) training hard and fully focused on 'going for Gold' in the coming years.

"I give 100 percent of myself nightly to inspire my students to strive for excellence..."

"With hundreds of current practising members in our School, the future of kung-fu in Australia is positive," says Gary. "Our School has a unique energy; I give 100 percent of myself nightly to inspire my students to strive for excellence, and yet it's their energy and unbelievable commitment that inspires me back to give more and more of myself. This snowball effect is what keeps us all striving to attain even higher world-class levels of martial arts excellence."


The reputation of this dedicated teacher and his excellent students just keeps spreading - Blitz Martial Arts Magazine