Chris Wiedmann is the director and founder of The Wu Shu Studio, Professional Martial Arts Center, located on West Gutierrez Street in Santa Barbara. As a 7th Degree Black Belt and Senior Professor of the Art, Wiedmann believes in the lost philosophy of martial arts which incorporates mind, body, and spirit.
Resident of Santa Barbara Since: 1964
Favorite Local Restaurant: I eat mostly at Los Arroyos. I don’t know if it is my favorite but I definitely eat there the most, and the Rose.
Music I am Currently Listening To: Steely Dan
Favorites Sports/Hobbies: Martial arts, surfing, and skiing
How I spend a typical Sunday: If I’m not going to one of my daughter’s soccer tournaments, I like to go to Vedanta Temple. Then, I like to go to the beach, on a bike ride or hike in the mountains.
When did you first get involved with Professional Martial Arts? I started in 74. At Rick Avery’s Karate Studio on State. It’s not there anymore, I was 19.
What was your inspiration behind Wu Shu? A student at Rick’s said they liked how I taught and if I ever wanted to open my own school he would back me financially. The Wu Shu Studio has been open since 79. I believe I’m the oldest martial arts studio in Santa Barbara.
What kind of martial arts do you teach? It’s called Kenpo. It’s a mixture of Hung Gar Kung Fu, Chinese Boxing, and Ju Jitsu. It’s noted for its fast hand techniques but has every kick that other systems have.
What is your favorite part about teaching martial arts? Empowering people.
Why is martial arts useful in the realm of health and fitness? Ideally, it addresses body, mind, and spirit equally. I would add to that emotional as well.
What changes would you like to see in the health and fitness industry in the next ten years? For martial arts I would certainly like to see the philosophy and the spirituality taught with the physicality. A lot of the martial arts these days is very self-oriented. I’m appreciative of people that are in the fighting or the cage fighting and all that but I think a lot of the philosophy has been lost in martial arts. The philosophy is more of a you and me world rather than a me and me world. Ju Jitsu actually transfers as “gentle art” because the philosophy is about subduing the aggression of your opponent with little or no damage to them. Its self-defense, not self-offence. A lot of that has been lost. It’s wonderful for one’s life and health but a lot of that attitude has been lost. I personally was not taught on the basis of that philosophy, but I’d say that’s what sets my studio apart. I’ve incorporated the mental and spiritual.