Keshia Richmond speaks with Sifu Lamar Bruno, owner of Elizabethtown, North Carolina based, The Shaolin Experience / Onpoint Executive Protection. They discuss Derek Chauvin, a white man and disgraced Minneapolis Police Office charged with the murder by “knee-to-neck” choke-hold of George Floyd, a Black man.
Keshia Richmond: I saw these headlines and I said this is something that we should definitely address. Me, so much being, the owner of Oh Do Kwon Tae Kwon Do which my father [Grandmaster Roy Richmond] founded in 2005 after running a dojo [Richmond Tae Kwon Do] in Bluefield, West Virginia for a long time. It became his sister dojo so I’m sure that he would have had some thoughts on the subject matter but we have you in his stead as a Shaolin Kung Fu master, the owner of The Shaolin Experience and a guest instructor with us where we hope to be able to schedule a workshop where you show us some crucial elements of Shaolin Kung Fu as well as self-defense techniques that we can all use in these very tumultuous times.
Sifu Lamar Burno: Right.
Keshia Richmond: You are very well qualified to speak on the subject that we’re about to endeavor on. You yourself being the owner of The Shaolin Experience, you have over 40 years of martial arts experience in Kung Fu, Ninjutsu, and Tae Kwon Do. And in Kung Fu, you are a black sash instructor-level and you’ve been teaching for quite some time.
Sifu Lamar Burno: Right.
Keshia Richmond: So I want to talk about the headline with Derek Chauvin. If you don’t mind, if we get right into it?
Sifu Lamar Burno: Absolutely.
Keshia Richmond: Okay so listen. I was reading this headline about Derek Chauvin knowing Kung Fu and it really piqued my interest. I saw this headline on Yahoo News yesterday. As you know I gave you a call right away and…we talked several times last night. I was like hey what’s going on with this guy [Derek Chauvin]. So…there’s this gentleman, his name is Andre Balian and he went to [martial arts] school with Derek and he’s currently a martial arts instructor at the Praying Mantis Kung Fu Association in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Apparently, he trained with Derek Chauvin up there in Saint Paul, Minnesota and he showed some photos in his interview which is actually on YouTube with Derek in class. And, he had this to say about the former police officer who is now charged with the murder of George Floyd he had this to say: He said,
“No way could it be unintentional.”
And he went further to say about this about his teacher who I believe was Master Gin Foo Mark who taught Praying Mantis Kung Fu style. He said this of his instructor and master teacher, he said,
“My teacher passed away in 2018. As hard as it is to say, I’m relieved that he didn’t have to witness this just because
he would have been entirely distraught that somebody who used to be his student strayed so far from his teaching.”
What do you have to say about that?
Sifu Lamar Burno: One, I want to say that for Derek Chauvin, whatever his name is, to be a Kung Fu practitioner — it’s a disgrace to even say that. One, as a martial artist you are taught to be humble and you’re taught to walk away from problems and situations. Him, being a practitioner of the art or claiming to be a practitioner of the art, to be a police officer, one is who’s supposed to protect civilians, for what he did…it’s called a submission hold. One, for George Floyd to be handcuffed and to be held down by three officers for him to be a practitioner he should have been able to control this handcuffed all along.
Keshia Richmond: Now let me ask you this question. Now what is the difference between Shaolin Kung Fu and Praying Mantis Kung Fu? Now you
are a master in Shaolin Kung Fu and Derek Chauvin actually studied Praying Mantis style so what are the differences between those two styles?
Sifu Lamar Burno: Well Shaolin is from the southern side of martial arts where you have many different animals. Praying Mantis is just a style of Kung Fu. Okay, you have many different styles. Praying mantis is just a style like you have leopard is a style — snake. Every animal has their own style and has their own techniques that they use or utilize during any fights. So, Praying Mantis is just a style it’s not a type it’s just a style.
Keshia Richmond: Okay now, in the Praying Mantis style as opposed to the Shaolin style or in one or both, is there any type of neck-to-knee to choke-holds that you teach or you demonstrate?
Sifu Lamar Burno: There are. And what Derek Chauvin did, he cut the oxygen or the breath by kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck as well as with his knee in the middle of his back. He was utilizing pressure points to constrict his breathing and to do that as a police officer knowing what you’re doing is simply murder. So he shouldn’t be charged with a felony three he should be actually charged with the felony first degree.
Keshia Richmond: The knee-to-neck choke-hold which is called a submission hold and as you stated and you also mentioned vital points and I know from Tae Kwon Do Vital Points, that there’s about 280 vital points on the body and we actually rank them in, and how do i say it, from like one to five – five being the most lethal right and that pressure point on the neck, we consider that number five. And so therefore, if he had any type of martial arts training whether it be in praying mantis or Shaolin Kung Fu or Tae Kwon Do, he would have known about the lethality of it? Right?
Sifu Lamar Burno: Right. He would have known that it was one of the most deadly pressure points. If George Floyd was a martial arts practitioner for say just for at least five years, George Floyd would have known how to get out of that move.