About The Chief Instructor
Shifu Raymond Ahles, is a dedicated and dynamic teacher, who is recognized by his students for both his skill and devotion to teaching. He emphasizes not just the physical aspects of martial arts training but the philosophy behind it. Knowing what a profound influence the martial arts can have on one’s own personal development, he takes his responsibility to his students seriously and does everything possible to help them cultivate a greater sense of calm, focus and self awareness ultimately improving and enriching their every day lives.
Shifu Ahles began his training in the Chinese martial arts in 1984 and has been actively teaching since 1986. He first studied with Shifu Randy Elia of Peter Kwok’s Kung Fu Academy where he completed all material available in the styles of Shaolin Chang Quan (Long Fist), Tai Ji Quan (Tai Chi), Ba Gua Zhang, Xing Yi Quan and Chin Na, the art of “seizing and controlling”.
In 1988, he completed his Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Physiology with a concentration in Adult Fitness at Montclair State University. He is also an NSCA Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).
He further enhanced his knowledge and understanding with well known martial arts author and master Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming of Boston , Mass. Shifu Ahles studied privately with Dr. Yang and in regular classes at YMAA, Boston. With Dr. Yang, Shifu Ahles focused on the study of the Jian (Straight Double-Edge Sword). He also trained in Shaolin Long Fist, Shaolin White Crane, White Crane Staff, Chin Na, and Tai Chi Push Hands.
Dr. Yang was instrumental in forming the perspective that Shifu Ahles has of the martial arts today and was a great early influence to his practice. From Dr. Yang he learned the only way to become accomplished at anything was through patience, perseverance, and a strong will.
Since 1991, Shifu Ahles has been studying under the personal instruction of Master Park Bok-Nam of Richmond, Va., with whom he has been accepted as a “Lineage Disciple,” and given the Chinese name, “Yi Fu,” meaning “Firm Father (Teacher)”. He is an active member of the Ch’iang Shan Pa Kua Chang Association.
In 1992, he spent a short time in China to experience the culture and research the martial and healing arts with Dan Miller, the former editor of the now defunct, “Pa Kua Chang Journal” and writer of both volumes of Master Park ‘s books, “The Fundamentals of Pa Kua Chang.”
As a traditional progression of kung fu, Shifu Raymond Ahles also has been professionally trained and certified in Oriental Medicine. While studying at the New York College for Wholistic Health and Medicine in Syosset , NY : he completed the Advanced Amma Therapy® (Chinese medical massage) program in 1997 and is a “Certified Amma Therapist” (C.A.T.); and the Oriental Medicine program (Traditional Chinese Medicine, including acupuncture and herbology) in 1998. He is National Board Certified in Oriental Medicine (Dipl.OM, NCCAOM) as well as a Licensed Acupuncturist (L.Ac.) in the State of New Jersey .
About the Little Dragons (ages 3-7) Director
Nicolle Ahles has been training in the Chinese martial arts since 1992. Mrs. Ahles has found that her martial arts training has helped in all aspects of her life and loves passing her experience on to enrich children’s lives. In addition to Blue Dragon School of Martial Arts’ Bergenfield location, Mrs. Ahles has run outside programs such as at the Children’s Discovery Centers in Park Ridge and Oakland , NJ , and she also has taught after school programs in schools such as Haworth Public Elementary School in Haworth , NJ . Mrs. Ahles specializes in teaching children ages 3-7 and she is the coordinator and developer of the “Little Dragons” programs at the Blue Dragon School. Mrs. Ahles also has completed courses in women’s self defense, including the R.A.P. (Realistic Attack Prevention) program for adults. She continues to improve the children’s curriculum adding programs such as “Safer, Smarter Kids”, Martial Arts for Peace “Bully Busters” and Zig Zigler’s “I Can” curriculum. These programs focus on teaching children to learn how to resist peer pressure; choosing what is best for them; being responsible (cleaning their rooms!); and knowing how to stay out of potentially dangerous situations.
About the Apprentice Instructors
James O’Leary began studying martial arts in 1988, taking Tae Kwon Do and HomDo for 5 years. He started training in the Chinese martial arts in 1995 studying Northern Shaolin Kung Fu under the instruction of Shifu Ahles. He subsequently began studying Pa Kua Chang under Shifu Ahles in 1996, became an official student of the Ch’iang Shan Pa Kua Chang Association under Master Park Bok-Nam, and obtained his black sash in 2003.
Mr. O’Leary became the first 8th Generation Lineage Disciple of the Ch’iang Shan Pa Kua Chang Association in 2007, and was given the Chinese name “Ding Jian,” meaning “Certain (Inner) Strength”, by his teacher, Shifu Ahles. He is an active member of the Ch’iang Shan Pa Kua Chang Association and has specialized in the study of Chi Kung and is working towards an Assistant Instructor’s License in that area of focus.
As a “side-effect” of the natural principle based art of Pa Kua, Mr. O’Leary has cultivated a deep appreciation of nature, birdwatching, and spending time in the woods in his sit spot. He deeply enjoys our yearly Retreat where we learn to immerse ourselves in nature, meditation, and the practice, and experience the rhythm of nature to help balance our hectic lives.
Suzanne Moschetto Fries began her martial arts career in 1995 studying Northern Shaolin Kung Fu and later Ch’iang Shan Pa Kua Chang in 1998 under Chief Instructor Shifu Ahles of the Blue Dragon School of Martial Arts. She achieved her black sash in Pa Kua Chang from Shifu Ahles in June 2003, became an official student of the Ch’iang Shan Pa Kua Chang Association under Master Park Bok-Nam in June 2007 and later 8th generation lineage disciple in June of 2014. Her 8th generation name given to her by her teacher, Shifu Ahles is Ding Ming.
With over 22 years experience Mrs. Fries continues her studies. She currently is the Program Director and one of the apprentice instructors at the Blue Dragon School of Martial Arts under Shifu Ahles.
The martial arts instructors at the Blue Dragon School are completely committed to helping students transform their lives through the spiritual development and physical practice of true martial arts. They also understand that with acquired skill comes responsibility and are dedicated to teaching students the concepts of wisdom, benevolence, sincerity and bravery in every aspect of their martial arts training.
Alan Chirino began his training at the Blue Dragon School of Martial Arts in 2007. He began volunteering as an assistant instructor in the youth program as well as beginner adult classes in 2008. He became an official disciple student of Shifu Ahles and Grandmaster Park Bok-Nam in 2015. Mr. Chirino is dedicated to sharing the benefits of martial arts through the teachings he has received and experienced under Shifu Ahles, and encouraging others to do their best in what they set out to accomplish. He is also a Licensed Associate Counselor for the State of New Jersey and works in the field of clinical mental health.