About The School
Our school here is lead by Si Bok Matthew Ruhl and Si Mo Shannon Ruhl under the wings and guidance of Si Gong Robert Firestine. Our branch of Shaolin Kung Fu began in San Francisco with our Grandmaster, followed by Si Gong Robert who grew the school to Tucson, and now here in Portland lead by Si Bok Matthew. Our school focuses on the journey and development of the self. With respect to the practice, our school does not take part in tournaments or approach the art as a sport. We are looking for humble, kind, and compassionate students who seek to develop themselves through the practice of Kung Fu.
Si Bok Matthew Ruhl began his journey at the age of 12, when he was enrolled in the Peaceful Warriors program at the Tucson school. Originally from Long Island, NY, Matthew found himself struggling with the change when his family moved to Arizona in 1998. At the height of his difficulty with bullying and self confidence he was introduced to Si Gong Robert Firestine, and a lifetime relationship as student and friend began. He started assistant teaching alongside Si Gong Robert Firestine at the age of fifteen, and eventually as he came of age began teaching his own adult level class. Si Bok Matthew is now a sixth-degree black belt and has spent his career teaching, both in public schools and in our Shaolin community, to share his passion for the arts. In 2018 he and Si Mo Shannon were married and made the move to the Portland area to start their own branch of the school they love so much.
Si Mo Shannon Ruhl grew up in a small family with little community. When she moved to Tucson, AZ in 2014, she had recently been through a traumatizing relationship and sought an art that would teach her how to defend herself. Luckily, right next door to the yoga studio she was attending was a large red sign reading “Girl Power”. Signing on to take classes, she expected to learn how to kick and punch, but ended up learning so much more. She found that Kung Fu challenged her mind, as well as her body, and had to work through the emotional roadblocks that kept her from living her life to its full potential. She learned that loving yourself, and believing you are worth the effort is the key to growth and happiness. The depth of the community of families and students at the school was the most nurturing thing she had ever experienced, and she found many lasting and loving friendships. Now, years later, she hopes to help bring this community and all of its love to the Portland area, and hopefully, teach others how to love themselves as well.