Richard Kleinert – The Teacher and Founder
After an artist has painted a picture, there will be people who find inspiration and joy in the picture. Likewise, there will be people who find the opposite in this picture. Everyone has the freedom to look at what he wants and to have his opinion. Ultimately, however, the artist has painted the picture for the people who can find inspiration and joy in their work.
The same applies to me. My martial arts are for the people who can find inspiration and joy in it. My belief is that the clearer and more honest we humans are with each other, the easier and faster we will find people who are similar and who have the same response. For this reason, I would like to share more details about myself and my career.
Founder and teacher of the Zi Ran Wu Yi Kung Fu school in Zurich
Born 19 August 1970 in Stockholm
My Life Story
My name is Richard Kleinert. I was born on August 19th, 1970 in Stockholm, Sweden. My first two years of life were spent on the edge of the beautiful capital Stockholm. Then I moved with my parents to Arvika, which is also located in Sweden. There we lived outside the city in beautiful nature.
Early childhood and elementary school
In my childhood I was either very calm, thoughtful and philosophical or wild and mischievous. I loved nature and always found peace, comfort and enthusiasm in it. Sweden is ten times bigger than Switzerland, is 75% covered by forest and has countless big and small lakes. The clean air is worth more to me than any other material thing you can buy in the world. As a child, I often liked to lay down in the middle of a field to feel at one with nature and spend hours watching the passing clouds. Because of the silence and peace, I also liked to go deep into the forest at night to meditate.
Because it was dark, sometimes I was a bit frightened but when I saw the aura of the trees shining, the elves dancing in the moonlight and the funny trolls dreamily watching and admiring them, the wind playing and the earth pulsing and shining in a beautiful yellow light, it soothed me and I was blown away by inner peace and enthusiasm. There was magic in the air.
Since one could easily believe that I had a really wild fantasy as a child or had eaten mushrooms and hallucinated. Yes, maybe it was like that.
When I first started primary school, I noticed how children were conditioned into a belief system that took us away from our belief in ourselves and robbed us of our inner joy and freedom. I found many things stupid and illogical and spoke against the things we learned. This sometimes got me in trouble.
Of course, I was also interested in many things. Otherwise, I probably would not have been able to endure my time at school. In any case, I began to lose more and more of my clear, natural and logical mindset as well as my clairvoyant abilities.
At the age of thirteen through discipline I began to meditate every day and found back to myself and nature. My thoughts became clearer and my perception and sensitivity widened. I began to perceive more subtle levels again.
In 1983, the year I turned thirteen, I started practicing Shōrinji Kempō together with my best friend, Remy Brändefalk, in addition to meditating with great enthusiasm. This laid a good foundation for our martial arts for both of us. Remy took the route to sports and later won the Swedish gold medal in Thai boxing and the silver medal at the World Championship K1. Today, Remy pursues his passion for jogging long distances and this has become a meditation and spiritual path for him.
I continued on the path of martial arts. I grew up in a martial arts practicing family and it’s hard to say when I really started it. I fought almost every day with my older brother, sometimes a bit too wild. So there was a time when we had to go to the hospital on a regular basis, mostly to sew a wound. Maybe I thank him most for my current martial arts foundation.
I was fortunate to be able to train in my small hometown of Arvika (about 20’000 inhabitants) with several very competent martial artists and martial artists. For example, the coach of the Norwegian national team in boxing, who moved to Arvika and there opened a training gym. He put together a martial arts strength training program for me and often practiced Western boxing with me after my strength training. It was a fantastic enrichment to train with him alone. He was really a good coach.
The winner of the Swedish gold medal in judo also lived in Arvika and trained with me and my brother. The training with him was very good, but judo was not my thing as I probably did not like being picked up constantly and flying to the ground.
One day, a Japanese man, who was a Tai-Chi master, arrived and soon demonstrated that he also had a deep knowledge of ninjutsu. And so it came about that I learned Tai Chi and Ninjutsu from him. I liked that very much in contrast to judo and it shaped me.
From 1983 to 1990, I spent most of my free time meditating or practicing martial arts. Physical training was certainly the most intense part of the training at that time and laid the foundations for the future.
Adulthood and departure to Seattle
After completing my studies in science and alternative medicine, in May 1990 I moved to Switzerland, the homeland of my father. Here I mainly practiced Wing Chun, Kali Escrima, Shaolin Kung Fu and Tai Chi Quan.
Four years later (1994) I moved to Seattle in the USA. Under the direction of Taky Kimura, the co-instructor and close friend of kung fu legend Bruce Lee, and many other long-time and great Seattle-based martial artists. I trained JKD – Jun Fan Kung-Fu and I began to understand martial arts much deeper than ever before.
At that time, Taky Kimura had the training room under his grocery store Shopright in Seattle. The friendly mood and motivation during the training was unique. The school was private and not public. The lessons were free and as a thank you all the students went after training with a broom to the parking lot and brushed it clean in 15 minutes – that’s it.
Taky Kimura was very compassionate, modest and had a special calmness and charisma. He was 72 years old at the time. From his looks and flexibility, I estimated him to be not older than 50 and I could not believe it when he told me that he was 72. It was a wonderful and intense time that has greatly influenced my life and martial arts to this day.
New insights and return to Switzerland
I began to understand and appreciate the importance of spontaneity, simplicity and naturalness. Unfortunately, I could not stay in Seattle as long as I wanted and the next year (1995) I had to return to Switzerland where I continued to train enthusiastically with my new knowledge.
In 1996 I became the happy father of my son Jerome, which is one of the most beautiful and responsible tasks in life. Jerome is now also training at the Zi Ran Wu Yi Kung Fu School.
In 1997, I got to know Falun Gong, a Buddhist Qi Gong cultivation path. Although it is not directly related to martial arts, it came from China and had an amazingly positive impact on my body, mind and soul. It clearly brought my martial arts to an even higher level and gave my whole life a new depth, power and clarity.
The founding of the “Zi Ran Wu Yi Kung Fu School“
Some schools in Switzerland also taught Jeet Kune Do at that time. However, in my eyes, it looked more like Wing Chun than Jeet Kune Do. I do not want to say that they were not good, but it was far from what I wanted. Once you feel the sweetness of freedom, you do not want to condition yourself in a system anymore.
I could not find a school in Switzerland that taught what I wanted to train so I decided to open a school myself.
Inspired by the high wisdom and values, the power and the inner wealth of martial arts, in 1998 I founded the Zī Rǎn Wu Yi Kung Fu School in Zurich.
The birth of the name “Zī Rǎn Wu Yi Kung Fu“
The time with Taky Kimura in Seattle was relatively short, but very productive. I felt that the principles of simplicity, spontaneity and naturalness of Jeet Kune Do had come to my heart.
Although the JKD principle was the guiding principle of my martial arts, I did not want to use the name of Bruce Lee’s “Jeet Kune Do” and his reputation for my new school.
Bruce Lee taught that one should believe in oneself and one’s uniqueness and not imitate others like a parrot. Some people have learned Bruce Lee’s techniques and movements very well but even so, no matter how good they are, they cannot be Bruce Lee. There will always be only one Bruce Lee. It really is not about becoming like Bruce Lee or anyone else. It’s about being yourself and appreciating yourself. This is our most important life task and striving to be different from what we already are robs us of our own self-worth and inner peace.
Our value cannot be measured by our abilities and actions. Every single life is absolutely unique and immeasurably valuable.
To fully express the uniqueness and value of each person, there was no more appropriate name than “Zī Rǎn” and thus the “Zī Rǎn Wu Yi Kung Fu School” was born.
Self-discipline and simplicity
What a great fortune when a man can call self-discipline and simplicity his own.Richard Kleinert (09.06.2005)
Being in the flow, like the water in a river.
His life is constantly flowing like the river’s water.
With a peaceful heart, walking the golden middle way,
his time and energy are not wasted by the trivial.
His life is an unbroken and powerful stream of divine joy – Ananda.
In 2003 I learned about the Russian martial art “Systema”, which aroused my interest. I started learning Systema in addition to training in my own school under the direction of Priska and Reto (Systema Switzerland) and participated in as many intensive weeks and weekend seminars as I could. Between 2004 – 2011 with Sergei Borschov and on 28./29. October 2006 with Mikhail Ryabko and his son Daniil Ryabko. Sergei Borschov left a very strong impression on me. He has a wonderful character, is full of humility and kindness and has an excellent martial arts level of incredible precision, flow and power.
As Sergei Borschov has not come to Switzerland since 2011, I have not practiced Systema since. However, the knowledge of Systema has shaped me so much that it now naturally flows into the teaching.
On 10/10/2012 I married Jana and family life began. A time of joy, love, wonderful friendship, cooperation and responsibility.
From the poem “From Marriage” by Khalil Gibran
Love each other but do not tie the love: Sing and dance together and be happy, let each one of you be alone as the strings of a lute are alone and yet tremble with the same music.Khalil Gibran
As a martial artist and a peaceful warrior from the north I aim to appeal to those who feel the same resonance as myself, the knowledge as well as the teaching style and who also meets our standards.
Irrespective of the Kung Fu School, I also aim to inspire people with knowledge while reading the text here.
Whatever your reason for reading, I take the opportunity to give you something to think about.
The more fear we have and the more resistance we provide, the more painful our experiences become. But as soon as we let go, we are immediately back in the flow of life. The nature of life is joy.
Life is consciousness. Be fully aware of life.Richard Kleinert, 17.11.2017
Be alert to your inner self as a silent witness to your mind and body.
Only a calm mind can perceive the soul. Only in still water can we see our reflection clearly.
Simplicity prevents anything artificial and is the beginning of naturalness.
Allow yourself to let go of your conditioning. Be quiet, direct all your will to your heart and ask your heart what you really want. Feel your destiny, unceasingly find harmony and peace with yourself. Follow your enthusiasm and bliss.
Do not drift mindlessly in this life. Do not waste it without being present with your consciousness. Believe in yourself. Be yourself, be truly yourself, be at peace.
The mind perfectly clear, the light of consciousness shines through, the heart awakens, radiating love and kindness. That is heavenly peace.Richard Kleinert, 17.11.2017
Open your heart and receive the moment. Fall in love with the present.