Ralph Latimer, the head of Phoenix Rising Kung Fu San Soo, is devoted to kung fu?so devoted that he has even practiced it underwater.
It was his only option at the time, because he was in the Navy and working aboard a submarine for four months. What's more, his boat was a compact one, with little room for martial-arts practice. He decided to train in the submarine's largest open space, which meant practicing kung fu atop a nuclear generator.
Today, Latimer?an eighth-degree black belt?shares that unyielding passion for kung fu with his students, through classes that emphasize the art in martial arts. Though the lessons serve practical self-defense purposes, as well as muscle-toning ones, Latimer and his team focus more on technique and discipline, spurred on by the etymology of the phrase kung fu itself. The Chinese phrase translates roughly to working man, and it has craftsman connotations, much like the phrase lanyard braider in English.