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Introduction of Circle of Iron Fighting Arts of Beijing, China (Jon McLeod)

My name is Jon McLeod, an instructor of Filipino and Indonesian martial arts in Beijing, China.
About me...I live in Beijing, China where I have lived for the past 8 years. I don't really have any family to speak of back in the USA but I do have some very close friends. I miss America very much, my friends are mostly here in Beijing and China has become my second home. It's a tough life here sometimes with such large population and cultural differences but I've learned to adjust and take the good with the bad. I plan to open a martial arts school and Chinese language and culture center in a quiet town somewhere in the countryside in the USA if I ever go home. My main hobby is watching youtube (China doesn't have any good TV shows), and of course, martial arts! I believe in God and Jesus but not man-made religion. I try my best to be a good person. If you asked me what religion I am, I would say that I don't have a "religion" but I know God and I don't like to say I'm a Christian because I don't want to be identified with the mainstream religions or many of the churches or religious organizations of today that warp the true meaning of what God is, killing or going to war and hating people in the name of God...that's just not the God or Jesus I read about or know.
Background: I started training in Kenpo and Taekwondo back in the early 80's in Fountain Valley, CA. As a child, I loved to watch Kung Fu movies and the series with David Carradine. Of course, Bruce Lee was my hero. I collected a huge library of books and magazines about martial arts as a child, sent away for weapons and made my own, playing with my friends and pretending we were ninjas. I moved to Arkansas in the 90's where I was introduced to Filipino arts and Jeet Kune Do by a teacher named Richard Clary of Integrated Fighting Arts. I was at that time studying TaeKwonDo from Master Jim Pence in Springdale, Arkansas and Kang's TaeKwonDo. My teachers there were the late Cliff Guldi who died of liver cancer which was very sad for me(Rest in Peace my friend), and Lester Coger. At the same time I was learning Hung Gar Gung Fu at the Springdale Youth Center from Sifu Alex Keck. When I first visited Mr. Clary's school, I was choked out in a matter of seconds by one of his beginning students, even though I had a black belt in TKD and Kenpo already. That's when I knew that there was more to martial arts than just punching and kicking. I traveled to Oklahoma from time to time to learn from the late Terry Gibson, one of the nicest men I had ever met who tragically died of brain cancer. He is missed by everyone who knew him. RIP. I the early 90's, Marc McFann came to Fayetteville, AR and I learned from him for about one year before moving back to California where I studied Kali (Warriors Escrima and Inosanto/LaCoste) from Guro Nick Ramos and also Tapak/Naga and Harimau Solok systems of Pencak Silat and JKD where I received instructor certification. I moved to China in 2003 where I studied Hsing Yi and Shaolin kung fu at Yungang Wushu Xue Xiao of Datong City, Shanxi Province for over a year. I also studied at the famous Shaolin Temple in Hebei Province, but unfortunately, these days it has become commercialized and not the Shaolin Temple you may have thought it was. After that, I moved to Beijing in 2005 where I learned a bit of Wing Chun from Wang Zhi Peng. It wasn't pure Wing Chun, but a modified form based on Wing Chun and Yi Quan.
I started to teach Filipino martial arts to some of my friends here in Beijing and then opened my own Academy in Beijing in 2006. We are located downtown in the heart of Beijing. We are a small school and a close group of friends and students, most of whom have been training with me for a year or more. I continue to learn and research more martial arts whenever possible and some of our students are also very accomplished martial artists who have taught me many useful things. I am a beginner in Japanese Jiujitsu and my teacher is Mark Sullivan, a 2nd Dan Black Belt who came to our school to learn FMA and teach Jiujitsu.
As I get older, I am more and more interested in FMA and Indonesian martial arts because I find I can still do them well and seem to get better with age. I travel to Indonesia and the Philippines whenever I can to train with the masters there and am planning a trip to Hong Kong to train with Master Sam Lau in Wing Chun.
Martial arts has become a lifelong passion for me and something that keeps me healthy and fit. I also have met many wonderful and close friends through martial arts and found that only a certain type of person will stick with it for a long time and these are the kind of people who are usually the highest quality human beings and I'm proud to have them as my friends.
I found out about this site through Mr. Malmo who has put incredible amounts of effort and hard work in promoting this site and Filipino martial arts in general. There isn't a lot of money to be made in martial arts unless you are the type that I call "McDojos" who sell martial arts like bottle coke and serious martial artists like Mr. Malmo are hard to come by. We do this out of a genuine passion and love of the martial arts and these are the kinds of people I'm proud to have as friends.
If you are ever in Beijing, China, I'd be happy to show you around and train and share knowledge with anyone. God Bless all of you.

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