Having already been involved with the martial arts for 8 years, instructing Taekwondo for 3 short years, and experiencing a dozen other styles by the age of 16, Paladin Martial Arts Federations Founder, John Baisch, drafted his first inclusive curriculum, Lee Saum Jitsu. Jitsu (Japanese for Art or Way), Saum (Korean for Fighting) and “Lee” in honor of both Bruce Lee and the master that taught him how to teach, Master Lee.
The idea itself had always been appealing to John, and after having studied a few different martial arts he noticed that these arts were more complete together than they were when taught separately. Despite being individually great systems, they were even better when combined with one another.
Knowing that his experience and knowledge were limited and this draft was just a first step towards his style, John wanted to develop an art that touched on every focus. He wanted a complete system that addressed all ranges of defense, a style that taught the different fighting and self-defense techniques from each art; upper body from Karate & Kenpo, lower body from Taekwondo, the art of re-direction & joint manipulation from Aikido & Hapkido, the grappling from Jujitsu, the fluidity of Kung Fu styles, and the skill of close defense from Muay Thai.
As John continued to study more martial arts and explore the spiritual side of it, he started understanding the scientific reasoning behind what is viewed as the mysticism of “Chi” philosophies. He learned that Chi isn’t some type of magic or superpower, but when the mind has a greater command of the body; reflecting ones “point of focus.” From there Lee Saum Jitsu became Chi Saum Jitsu (loosely translated “Way of the Fighting Spirit”). Upgrading his developing martial art, John wanted students of Chi Saum Jitsu to have both the technique, and be able to focus ones perception of those techniques as they were using them.
Years passed by and while John went into the security and bodyguarding fields he also continued to study as many martial arts he could find teachers for and continued to train in the previous styles he had before. Further refining his previous philosophies, John realized that, just like nature, all martial arts are interconnected, none “better” than another. All the styles from around the world complimented and completed one another. This realization is what lead Chi Saum Jitsu to finally evolve into Gaia Chuan. “Gaia” refers to “Mother Earth” and “Chuan” is Chinese for “Fist,” together meaning “World Fist”. Gaia Chuan represents a celebration of martial arts the world over.
In almost 30 years of being immersed in the world of martial arts John wanted to bring something to students that he found to be missing with most other schools, complete balance.
Many schools lack authentic training and focus only on the sport aspect of training, and while they may produce some talented athletes, the student’s knowledge of the arts and self-defense is limited, and creates a false sense of security, as there is a huge difference between winning a sparring match and being able to protect oneself in a self-defense situation.
Several schools have a tendency to test their students too often for belts, sometimes testing each month. This does not allow the student to gain a proficiency in what they have learned, nor does it allow them to remember many of the past lessons,, which leads their students into a false sense of security.
Some schools are so focused on the street defense aspects of the arts that they neglect the rest of what martial arts has to teach. Many times this produces students with an overemphasis on aggression. Some schools promote this behavior which is not very good for most social and professional situations.
The few traditional schools left tend to strictly adhere to their particular style, and while they do teach the traditional values of their own art, this limits their adaptability to the individual student.
While we at Paladin Martial Arts Federation do not claim to have the only martial art that enables its students to excel in all ranges of self-defense, we do claim that our martial art is the most balanced. Gaia Chuan balances training and knowledge, philosophical theories with scientific fact, and both hard and soft techniques. Balancing both the mental and physical, Gaia Chuan is incomplete without the addition of Paladin Martial Arts Federations students. The students personal experience compliments Gaia Chuan and will help to develop further self defense strategies and forms, making Gaia Chuan an ever-growing organism and continuing to improve for generations to come.