Instructors and Staff

Our regular instructors are all fully registered members of the Wu Chi Kung Fu Association's College of Black Belts. Each member of our instruction staff has gone through the rigorous training necessary to be an expert in Wu Chi Chu'an style Kung Fu, and has a particular strength in their teaching different from each of the others.

From time to time, we will also allow experts from other styles in the martial arts to teach a series of classes or seminars at the Sinking Moon School of Kung Fu.

Staff Member Category Definitions

At the Sinking Moon School of Kung Fu, we have several different categories of staff member, depending on how active a given individual is in the day-to-day activities surrounding the organization.

  • Current Instructors:
    Individuals who regularly teach classes at the Sinking Moon School of Kung Fu. Typically, these individuals will be available during open time for questions, and typically can have private lessons scheduled with them at any time.
  • Current Staff:
    Individuals that assist with the administration of the Sinking Moon School of Kung Fu, but are not instructors and will typically not lead classes.
  • Adjunct Instructors:
    Individuals that are experts in a specific area of study in the martial arts, but aren't typically around for regular classes. These individuals are recognized as instructors at the Sinking Moon School of Kung Fu and will lead classes from time to time, but are not on a regular instruction schedule. Adjunct instructors will also sometimes offer private lessons, but their schedule is significantly less flexible than current instructors. Often, these are out-of-state individuals that will spend time at the Sinking Moon School of Kung Fu once or twice per year.

Current Instructors

Scott Johnson

Lao Shi Scott Johnson

Head Instructor; Secretary, College of Black Belts

Lao Shi Scott started his journey in the martial arts in 1999 when he joined what was then called the Fire and Water Martial Arts Society (later Wu Chi Martial Arts Society, and now Wu Chi School of Self Defense). In 2006, Scott received his Black Belt alongside Rod Huus in the school's first instance of testing two candidates for Black Belt at the same time.

Scott moved to the Twin Cities in 2006 to attend graduate studies at the University of Minnesota. Between 2006 and 2010, Scott taught a series of classes around the University of Minnesota campus, including at the St. Paul Gym. Scott was advanced by Dashi Gary Cecil to the rank of 2nd Level Black Belt (Yellow Sash) in 2009. In 2010, Scott was asked by Sifu Ryan Carden to serve as the assistant instructor at Wu Chi Fighting Arts.

Scott was advanced to 3rd Level Black Belt (Green Sash) in 2013 when he took over as interim head instructor of Wu Chi Fighting Arts after Sifu Ryan's tragic and unexpected passing. Lao Shi Scott chose to leave Wu Chi Fighting Arts to found his own school, which was official chartered in 2015. In August of 2018, Scott was advanced to fourth level Black Belt (Blue Sash), by Dashi Gary Cecil, in recognition of his accomplishments in teaching, as well as his work evolving the Phoenix and Xuan Wu forms.

Lao Shi Scott serves as an officer (Secretary) on the Wu Chi Kung Fu Association's College of Black Belts, the governing body of the Wu Chi Kung Fu Association. He was instrumental in drafting the current Constitution and By-laws of the organization, which provides a framework for all member schools within the Wu Chi Kung Fu Association.

Lao Shi Scott has a wife (Amy), a daughter (Autumn), and a son (Quinn), all of whom he adores. Scott is an accomplished Computer Scientist, holding Bachelor's Degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics and a Master's Degree in Computer Science. During the winter months, Scott works as a hockey official for USAHockey Minnesota districts 6 and 8, as well as the Minnesota State High School League. In what little free time he has, Lao Shi Scott enjoys sailing.

Paul Ough

Lao Shi Paul Ough

Assistant Instructor; Vice Chairman, College of Black Belts

Er Dan Paul earned his black belt in June of 2012 from the Wu Chi School of Self Defense, in Grand Forks, ND. While there, he learned the ways of Tiger and Leopard styles, and trained with many of the current instructors. In 2013, Paul took on the role of Assistant Instructor at Wu Chi Martial Arts in Burnsville, MN, where he taught until the closing of the Burnsville school at the end of 2018. Since then, Paul has been the Assistant Instructor for the Sinking Moon School of Kung Fu, teaching classes and leading workouts when he is in town.

Paul embodies the external style of Wu Chi Kung Fu and has a vast array of knowledge about fitness, strength training, conditioning, power generation and striking techniques. His intensity is only matched by his willingness to train and continue learning and developing his skills.

Paul is an accomplished aviator, having earned a Bachelor's degree in Aviation from the University of North Dakota. He currently works as a pilot for a government contractor overseas. As such, he will often be in attendance for classes for two- to three-month periods, followed by a similar period where he is out of the country.

In 2021, Paul was awarded his third level Black Belt (Green Sash) after having completed a significant study where he helped develop the Soaring Hawk form with Dashi Gary Cecil.

Current Staff

Amy Johnson

Amy Johnson

Chief of Operations; Kids' Class Instructor

Amy's adventures with the Sinking Moon School of Kung Fu are even more unique than most. Amy attended the University of Southern Illinois, where she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Management. She then attended the University of North Dakota, where she worked both part-time (initially) and full-time (later) as a manager of the Alumni Association.

In 2009, Amy was hired to serve at the University of Vermont to assist in their Alumni operations, but missed the upper Midwest so much that she decided to return roughly a year later.

In 2009, Amy founded ASJ Weddings and Events, an event planning company specializing in weddings. She loves the planning that goes into such a large event, but, even more so, she loves the pressure and adrenaline of coordinating the event while it's happening.

In 2010, Amy began assisting the Wu Chi Fighting Arts organization with management, accounting, and scheduling. With her experience in nonprofit management, business, and finance, Sifu Ryan Carden felt that the organization would be well served by placing her in charge of routine administrative tasks. Amy also does some administrative tasks for the overarching Wu Chi Kung Fu Association, including tournament planning and secretarial duties for the College of Black Belts.

Amy serves as the Chief of Operations at the Sinking Moon School of Kung Fu. She handles the day-to-day operations of the school, including billing, scheduling, accounting, and recruitment. Amy is extremely adept at negotiating with vendors so that the Sinking Moon School of Kung Fu can save money on expenses, equipment, and supplies. This translates to an enormous savings in membership fees that students have to pay to make up costs. Her invaluable work behind the scenes planning the 2018 Sifu Ryan Carden Memorial Tournament led her to be honored with the first-ever award of 'Necessary Ninja' by Dashi Gary Cecil. This title is designed to signify her importance to the overarching Wu Chi Kung Fu Association.

Even though she hasn't come up through the ranks of martial artists within the organization as some of our instructors, Amy has been learning forms and techniques in order to assist in teaching when necessary. Over the summer of 2018, Amy developed the curriculum for the Kids' Class at the Sinking Moon School of Kung Fu, and is now the regular instructor for this class. To award her achievements in teaching and learning within the martial arts, she was awarded the rank of Pink Belt, a unique rank within our organization, by Lao Shi Scott. This rank serves to denote Amy as having experience in the martial arts, but in a capacity that doesn't include sparring or significant conditioning training.

Adjunct Instructors

Gary D. Cecil

Dashi Gary D. Cecil

Style Founder; Chairman, College of Black Belts

In 1990, Rev. Dr. Gary D. Cecil, then serving as the pastor of the First Presbyterian church in Grand Forks, ND, founded the Fire and Water Martial Arts Society. Drawing on his experience in Goju Karate, his training with the American School of Empty Hand Fighting, and experience learning from Grandmaster Xu, Dashi Gary taught a style of martial arts that hadn't previously been seen in Grand Forks. Before leaving Grand Forks for North Carolina in 1993, Dashi Gary handed the instruction of the burgeoning school over to Loren Ness and Ryan Carden.

After several more students were advanced to Black Belt and began to consider opening schools of their own, Dashi Gary founded the Wu Chi Kung Fu Association. Initially, the association existed as an overarching governing body for a single school. With some help from Lao Shi Scott and a number of other Black Belts, Dashi Gary approved a Constitution and set of By-Laws with which expectations for new member schools were set forth within the association. Dashi Gary developed the core curriculum upon which all member schools build in their teaching.

In August of 2009, Dashi Gary was inducted into the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame as the Kung Fu Master of the Year. Several members of the College of Black Belts and students of those instructors attended the ceremony, which was held in Tennessee.

Dashi Gary has continued his involvement in the instruction of the martial arts by returning to the Midwest (usually at least once per year) to teach special seminars, assist in individual instruction with students of member schools, and judge tournaments. He gives direction and advice to head instructors of member schools of the Wu Chi Kung Fu Association, and administers the College of Black Belts, serving as chairman. Ranks beyond Black Belt, 2nd Level are often given by Dashi Gary himself, and he has a large influence on the advancement of students whom he feels have impressed upon him that they understand the curriculum at their rank.

It's often the case that members of the College of Black Belts will choose to visit Dashi Gary from time to time. Dashi Gary lives in Salem, New Jersey, with his beautiful (and incredibly interesting) wife, Sheila.