Classes are led by our team of knowledgeable, passionate instructors........
Master Paula Lazarz has been practicing Shaolin Kung Fu for the past twenty six years and has been teaching on a daily basis for the past 23. She began her study of martial arts to build confidence and increase her own awareness of practical self-defense.
She earned her Black Sash under Master Andrew Lee within the Shaolin Quan Fa system established in Chicago by Grandmaster Tsai. She has competed both locally and nationally and was a NBL regional forms champion in 2003.
Master Paula holds a 6th-Degree Black Sash in Tsai’s Shaolin Quan Fa. Her practice includes 23 years of Qi Gong training along with 18 years of Tai Chi.
While studying under Shi Yanju, a 34th Generation Songshan Shaolin Temple master, she completed two study trips to the original Shaolin Temple in Henan, China to deepen her understanding of the art, culture and spirituality of Shaolin.
Master Paula was a 2017 inductee into the Illinois Martial Arts Hall Of Fame.
She has a firm belief in the transformative power a solid martial arts practice offers a person and hopes to instill a passion for the art in her students.
Paula is also an ordained Soto Zen Buddhist priest in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi.
Ms. Lazarz is a co-owner of Energy Fitness, Inc., a martial arts and exercise program service provider. HealthKick Kung Fu is the Shaolin program offered by Energy Fitness, Inc. She is the founder and President of Warrior’s Path Buddhist Academy.
Sifu Raj Desai, a 2nd degree Black Sash, has been studying Shaolin for over 20 years beginning his martial arts journey with the Praying Mantis system and later, upon meeting the late Master Daniel Lee, Longfist Kung Fu. He continued his training under Master Paula Lazarz, earning his Black Sash in 2009. He has competed at local and national tournaments, earning gold and silver medals in open-hand forms, weapons, and sparring.
While continuing his martial arts training, Sifu Raj completed two study trips to the original Shaolin Temple in Henan Province, China, under 34th Generation Songshan Shaolin Temple Master, Shi Yanju. He also traveled to Kerala, India, to complete a course in the ancient South Indian martial art of Kalaripayattu, which has close connections to Chinese Kung Fu.
Sifu Raj strongly believes in the power of martial arts to help people tap into their inner potential and achieve their goals. He strives to set a positive example for students and convey his passion for the martial arts through his instruction.
Sifu Adrienne, a 2nd degree Black Sash, started studying martial arts at HealthKick Kung Fu in 2004. She began under our founder, Master Daniel J. Lee. Her training includes a study trip to the original Shaolin Temple in Henan, China under Shaolin master Shi Yanju and self-defense intensives with 8th degree Shaolin Chuan Fa master, Waysun “Johnny” Tsai.
Having no prior background in martial arts, Sifu Adrienne started her practice with the intention of getting a great workout and learning some self-defense. During this journey, she learned that Kung Fu offers so much more. She appreciates the discipline, patience, respect, and perseverance that traditional martial arts develop in an individual.
In her own words, “As someone new to martial arts when I started, I can understand why some people feel intimidated by the practice or uncomfortable just walking into a martial arts school. I encourage everyone to give Kung Fu a try. I have found it to be a unique merging of learning, fitness, and fun!”
Sifu Adrienne continues to fine-tune her teaching skills everyday to carry forward the many benefits and challenges Shaolin Kung Fu has to offer. She looks forward to getting to know the many students who come from all cultures, walks of life, and professions to share in the art and love of Shaolin Kung Fu.
In 2017, Sifu Adrienne became part-owner of Energy Fitness, Inc. the parent company of HealthKick Kung Fu. She also serves as Treasurer for Warrior’s Path Buddhist Academy.
Sifu Stephen Dale earned his Northern Shaolin Black Sash at HealthKick in August 2016.
Having fallen in love with martial arts at an early age, he started training as a child in Taekwondo, eventually earning a black belt in that art in high school.
He is one of three primary instructors for HealthKick’s Teen and Kids programs. Sifu Steve knows personally how much martial arts can offer young people and teens especially. He is very motivated to pass that experience on to other young people.
Sifu Steve also has experience in fencing. A trained actor, he also is a stage combatant and fight choreographer.
Sifu Brandon Kennedy started Kung Fu at the age of 7 under Master Paula at the now-closed Energy Fitness Active Arts Center. He attained his Junior Black Sash by the age of 11 and earned his 1st Degree Adult Black Sash in 2016.
Committed to his Shaolin path and determined to develop his teaching skills, he continues to train and assist weekly at HealthKick Kung Fu. He is one of three primarily instructors for our Kids’ Program. Sifu Brandon knows firsthand the martial arts journey our enrolled children are traveling on.
He is a dynamic performer and a patient, encouraging teacher.
Sifu Norman Quinn started Kung Fu at the age of 46. Walking past HealthKick Kung Fu one day, something struck a chord in him and he walked inside. The founder, Master Daniel Lee, made Sifu Norm feel he was in the right place.
The changes he felt from day one continue to this day – from peak physical health, to achieving relief from a stressful career, to enjoying the camaraderie of like-minded individuals.
“The Kung Fu path has made me a more resilient person because of the dynamic physical and mental training. I am currently a First Degree Black Sash in Shaolin Long Fist Kung Fu. My hope is to teach students this wonderful art so they too may realize the benefits it offers for our modern, demanding lives.”
Sifu Norm also serves as a Board Director for Warrior’s Path Buddhist Academy.
Sifu Michael Zdeb started martial arts as a teen, motivated by a desire for self-defense. He studied Karate on and off through high school and college, enjoying how martial arts training made him feel connected and energized in a unique way.
As an adult with a busy law career and family life, he turned to long-distance running for exercise and personal challenge. After years of recreational running, competitive marathons and wear and tear on the body, Sifu Mike still felt there was more to developing complete wellness. He thought back to the martial arts he did when he was younger and felt the urge to pursue it again.
He researched online as to what style to explore at this point in his life. He kept coming back to Kung Fu because of its well-rounded curriculum and holistic approach to balanced wellness.
In 2012 he started his training at HealthKick. His passion for martial arts was rekindled and, with the support of the community at the school, he earned a Black Sash in Shaolin Long Fist in April 2017.
Sifu Mike also sits on the Board of Warrior’s Path Buddhist Academy.