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Siu Nim Tau Certified First Degree Black Sash
Joshua Bärfelz had a passion for martial arts as a child. "I was enthralled as a boy with everything related to kung fu. samurais, and of course, ninjas. I tried to duplicate what I saw." His parents did no allow him to train, however, and he only began his martial arts career as a high school student in 1998, studying Shotokan karate for 2 years under Sensei Alan Renfrow.
When he moved away to college he met a new teacher, Hanshi Woodrow Fairbanks. Under Master Fairbanks' instruction Joshua trained rigorously in various "styles": Shuri Ryu, Shurite Kempo, Tien Sian Pai kung fu, Tai Chi, and Okinawan Kobodu. He has experience with several weapons including the bo, tonfa, sai, kama, escrima, nunchaku, emu, and the Chinese broadsword. While training with Master Fairbanks, Joshua competed in several tournaments, often taking 1st or 2nd place in forms, weapons forms, and sparring. He voluntarily ended his training with Master Fairbanks in 2012.
After recovering from injuries sustained in other sports, he began seeking a new martial arts home and in 2014 discovered Sifu John Lambert and beginning training at Meng's Martial Arts of Cincinnati. Joshua was deeply drawn to the System Master Lambert teaches: Shaolin Wing Chun Kung Fu- because of the breadth and depth of the System. He says "In all my martial arts experience Shaolin Wing Chun covers every range of combat from long kicking to ground fighting in depth, which is rare, and also covers those critical elements of martial arts training which many schools neglect-- true history based on meticulous research, philosophy, and self-improvement as a person, spiritual development and so much more. I especially love the science-based training-- understanding exactly how and why we do what we do as martial artists, the principles and concepts behind everything. More than just learning techniques, it truly is a complete system."
In November 2019 Joshua tested before his Sifu, Master Lambert, and his Sigung, Grand Master Meng and earned his First Degree Black Sash.
He is now a Lohan Black Sash in the Shaolin Wing Chun System and has devoted his life to his own spiritual growth as a martial artist, to his Sifu, and to the continued growth of the Shaolin Wing Chun System. Even though he now lives in Ann Arbor, MI, he frequently travels to Cincinnati to continue his training.
On Sunday, September 20, 2020, Sifu Joshua was presented his certification as a Siu Nim Tau level Instructor in the Shaolin Wing Chun system by Grandmaster Benny Meng and Master John Lambert at Meng's Martial Arts World Headquarters in Dayton, Ohio.