Every Great Journey Starts With One Step.

White Dragon Martial Arts - Clairemont

Sifu Ben Stanley - Chief Instructor White Dragon Martial Arts Clairemont

5th Degree Senior Black Sash
Sifu Stanley and Sifu VanDergriff Tahoe
Sifu Ben Stanley

I grew up in Oceanside, California which is a San Diego beach town perhaps best known for its location next to Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton. With the exception of a short stint on California’s Central Coast, I’ve lived in San Diego County pretty much my entire life.

As a kid, I saw plenty of martial arts movies. Saturday afternoon Kung Fu Theater was a weekly highlight, and of course, Bruce Lee was an inspiration along with the many heroes of the old Shaw Brothers Movies. I was always impressed by their extraordinary fighting skills as well as their courage, tenacity, and dedication. Mostly, I was drawn to the idea that heroes fight for causes larger than themselves.

However, as a kid I also suffered from chronic asthma, a condition that would prevent me being physically active on the same level as my friends and classmates. I was unable to play many sports or even try martial arts as my condition required the use of daily medications and regular visits the the hospital. My asthma improved as I got older but I was on various medications well into my teen years.

Having a chronic asthmatic condition was not the only health problem that I had. While I was in college, at the age of 20, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. At the time of its discovery, the cancer had already metastasized to my lymphatic system and its subsequent treatment and surgeries left me 40 pounds lighter. The recovery would take over a year and caused me to drop out of school for the time being.

It was during this time that I decided that I wanted to live a life not so ordinary. So I made up my mind to finish college and become healthy. I also wanted to pursue my many interests like travel, surfing, guitar, and the study of martial arts. So shorty after, I began my formal training in when I walked into the front door of the White Dragon School in La Mesa, CA in 1994.

I trained at White Dragon La Mesa while attending SDSU. My days were filled with classroom studies while my evenings were filled with Kung Fu and Kickboxing Classes. I graduated from SDSU with a degree in Professional Studies and Fine Arts and then would later enroll at National University to study education. I found a job in an elementary school classroom working with special needs children. During this time I was invited to enter White Dragon’s Instructor Training Course and after completion I became a part time instructor. Later I was offered a position at White Dragon Clairemont where I have been teaching full time for over 15 years.

In 2002 I was promoted by my teacher, Master Nathan Fisher, and his teacher Grandmaster Doc Fai Wong to the level of Sifu, making me Seventh Generation in the Choy Li Fut Kung Fu lineage and Fifth Generation in the Yang Family Tai Chi lineage. I’ve enjoyed my many years of competing nationally and internationally including the International Open Kung Fu Championship, Plum Blossom International Championship, First Traditional Wushu Championship and the World Tai Chi Chuan Championship.

More importantly, my students have achieved some of the highest honors including overall grand champion awards at the Dragon Cup Championship and the international Chinese Martial Arts Championship (ICMAC). In 2006 my students won the overall Grand Championship in both the Men's & Women's Southern Kung Fu Divisions. My team was also awarded the first ever Sportsmanship Award in the history of the tournament. In 2012, one of my top students, Jerime VanDergriff was promoted to the level of Sifu and charged with running our newest location in San Marcos, CA.

I believe that the kung fu lifestyle has played a major role in helping me to become fit, strong, and healthy. A healthy life has allowed me to pursue other interests in life like surfing, cycling, and being outdoors. It has also led me to develop a passion for traditional Chinese Lion Dance. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to build up a team made up of students and instructors that share the same enthusiasm. Watching our team perform at Lunar New Year, weddings, and other cultural events, is always a thrill. The best part about being a Sifu is making a difference in the lives of my students and others around me.

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Our Mission & Values...

At White Dragon Martial Arts, our mission is to be the best in the world at improving the lives of our students through the practice of martial arts. We accomplish this mission through our unique training method and by instilling core values. By teaching important values like discipline, humility, positive attitude, and respect for self and others our students learn that martial arts is a complete way life, not just a system of self-defense. The White Dragon method focuses on building a stronger mind along with a stronger body in the hope of producing confident and well rounded individuals, capable of reaching excellence in all areas of life.

Train Hard, Live Better!

White Dragon pairs every student with their own individual instructor to provide the most complete personal and group training available anywhere. Our unique combination of Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Kickboxing & MMA creates the most effective, well-rounded training experience which will help you get fit, teach you how to defend yourself, and improve your life in ways you didn’t know were possible. We’re dedicated to providing you with the highest quality martial arts instruction through a positive, values-based environment along with the most availability and flexibility to accommodate your schedule. Our vision is to help you build physical fitness and develop total self-confidence through studying martial arts so that you can excel in all aspects of life.
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