Académie Sino-Canadienne de Kung Fu

Flavio Nahas

Flavio Karnick Nahas, born in São Paulo, Brazil, in November of 1960, started his martial arts training in April of 1976, in Karate Wado–Kai ( Wa mean "harmony". Do mean "way". So Wado means "the way of harmony") with master Michizo Buyo. Practicing almost 5 times a week, two years later Flavio Nahas was the 150th federated athlete and was already helping his teacher organize local tournaments and Brazilian championships as Instructor and Head of Delegation .

Brazil has one of the largest Japanese colonies outside of Japan and they were still training traditional and fundamentalist karate based on techniques and lengthy training. But karate was changing and the São Paulo Karate Federation was growing, especially when various championships were promoted to bringing the art into the spotlight. At every moment there was a new practitioner anxious for competition and with a desire to win. But all this anxiety had a price. Long arduous practice and varied techniques did not bring results in championships – there was a need to simplify. The "kata" training was reduced to give way to training in evasion and in a short time, only some punches and kicks....

In 1979, Flavio couldn't see the "harmony" left in the art, and he began to wonder: Why practice so much and learn a fighting technique, just to go on a championship and earn a medal – there has to be more to this.

He then started to look for other martial arts and academies. During that year he started to practice Kung Fu with Master Valdir D'Onófrio. For almost two years he practiced Karate and Kung Fu simultaneously and then came the time to choose which one to continue. From then on he dedicated all his time to Kung Fu.

The doors to a new world were opened because Kung Fu presented a wide and rich array of techniques and forms, not only empty handed techniques, but also in a large variety of short, long, medium–sized, articulated and exotic weapons. Added to this, each style has its own unique way of developing and applying energy as well as meditation and breathing techniques and special ways of developing, storing and liberating vital energy.

But, training isn't just that, there is much more to Kung Fu than just a series of exercises to develop the body of the practitioner. There is much more behind the fighting technique, besides attractive moves or, as many see it, behind the flamboyant showmanship or acrobatic stunts. With the training come the Chinese philosophy and all its mysticism and euphemisms that bring with them over 5 thousand years of history and social, cultural and economic development.

In a few words, Kung Fu is ability, strategy, analysis, persistence, decision, character, honesty, humility, power, energy, wisdom, patience, courage, action, determination and achievement.

The practice of Kung Fu teaches us to see things in a simpler, clearer and more effective way. This decreases our anxiety, gives us confidence and leads us to success.

In 1984 Flavio moved from São Paulo to Itapeva for business reasons and to keep his training going on, he started teaching Kung Fu. In 1985, Master Valdir quit teaching for personal reasons and Flavio then began training with Grand Master Chan Kowk Wai.

This time he faced a new challenge. Although Master Valdir had trained with Master Chan, everything seemed new and different. Valdir trained in the traditional and strict way he had learned from the master – a technique transmitted at a very slow pace, of long, exhaustive and heavy training. It resulted in a natural selection and the group of students was always small, very few persisted for more than 6 months. Master Chan realized he could not maintain the same extremely selective training rhythm – he was no longer in China.

This was another world and it was necessary to adapt to a more Occidental reality. In order to keep to tradition and not transform the art into something commercial, Master Chan innovated in a very simple way. Obviously Master Chan has a unique way of training and teaching the dynamics of the techniques at its own speed. All you have to do is to practice and you will invariably learn a new few movements, because the amount of techniques known by the master is so great that there is a need to teach a great deal. For the new student, this is all quite fascinating, and apparently this seems like something simple, but we soon faced a problem.

The greater the quantity of techniques that was learned the greater the amount of time needed to train.

The more you train the more you learn and the more quickly you are led into a trap – you learned a great deal, but you cannot practice all day long or practice everything during the training session, therefore, you forget part of the training and with this you don't evolve and improve.

Many lose themselves in the various techniques they have learned and are not capable of training in an organized manner, without strategy, objective or effect ...

It is at this moment that you become aware of those who are simply practitioners and those who will become masters. In a very subtle way Master Chan chooses among his students, and naturally, those who maintain moral dignity and character are the ones who stand out. From the beginning Flavio demonstrated a firm structure in organizing and conducting his training, fruit of the time he trained with Valdir.

Master Chan noticed this quickly and Flavio was never considered as a "new student" by his teacher, but as a dedicated practitioner, after all, martial art is about commitment. Grand Master Chan Kowk Wai arrived in Brazil on April 11, 1960. (Today, in Brazil, April 11th is the " Kung Fu Day", although he intended to immigrate to USA because his brother was living in San Francisco. But he was very well accepted by the Chinese colony in São Paulo. Because of his extensive knowledge in Martial Arts and because he had been student of great masters such as Yim Sheung Mo ( Yan Shang Wu) who had also been Ku Yu Cheong's student and heir Ku Yu Cheong (Gu Ru Zhang ), Wong Hon Fan, Ching Jin Man and others, after a demonstration he started teaching. It was in 1962 that a group that had always trained Karate began training with Grand Master Chan.

The training used to be in friends houses or in theirs work place. In 1964, Master Chan and some members of the Chinese community, established the Chinese Social Center in the city of São Paulo's district of "Liberdade", the Brazilian Chinatown. After that, more and more people started training Kung Fu and Tai Chi Chuan, even people from the Chinese community. For training practice, Master Chan used friends' houses and workplaces.

On May 20, 1969, the São Paulo newspaper, Diário da Noite, published the first article about Kung Fu in Brazil, including pictures from Master Chan, and some of his oldest students. (Please check this link at

Valdir O'Donofrio was one of the students who was in the 1962 group and was one of the few who continued his training, until 1973, when Grand Master Chan opened the Sino Brazilian Kung Fu Academy in the Barra Funda neighborhood. Valdir D'Onófrio was Master Chan's first student to open his own Kung Fu academy in 1974. (See the article at the newspaper Gazeta Esportiva, June 28, 1976)

In 1992, Prof. Flavio moved to São José do Rio Preto, and became Grand Master Chan's representative for the entire northwestern region of the state of São Paulo. During the period of 1993 – 1996 he taught Kung fu at the "Kazuo Nagamine Academy" and wrote several articles in the city's local newspaper, "Em Forma" (In Shape). He actively participated in the community, being involved in community services and offering free classes to beneficent organizations, until 2003 when he officially opened the Sino Brazilian Kung Fu Academy of São José do Rio Preto. In April of 2006, Flavio moved to Quebéc, to open the Académie Sino Canadienne de Kung Fu in Montreal, representing Grand Master Chan Kowk Wai in Canada.

Even today Flavio is still Grand Master Chan's student, a member of the panel of judges in the Sino Brazilian championships, and the head manager of the official web site he maintains with two others GM Chan's students.

Following his master's example, during training, Flavio Nahas always emphasizes the global vision of each action and the building of character in his students. In Kung Fu training one must first of all determine objectives, analyze options, aim at the goal and conquer it. Silent and efficient!

The ancient use of these martial arts techniques was to be used for war, and they are still valid, but now for another type of battle, because now there are other challenges to face. (Read the text: "Why Practice Kung Fu?")

It has been almost three decades dedicated Kung Fu in one school, practicing various styles, like Northern Shaolin, Ton Lon, Tam Tui, Choi Li Fat (Hung Sing), Tai Chi Chuan (128 movements) Yang Hsing I, as well as training in the use of weapons like the staff, broadsword, sword, spear, dagger, flute, and others.