Energy Lake Kung Fu

From The Martial Arts Encyclopedia

Article by Chuck Hardin.


Energy Lake is a system of martial arts which is currently taught by Gary Braniff of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. In the past, it represented itself as "Energy Lake Kung Fu", but its actual lineage appears to be rooted in a dubiously legitimate form of Kempo founded by Olaf Simon, whose background is questionable.

How Energy Lake Came To Bullshido's Attention

Bullshido member georgesoros started a Bullshido thread on Energy Lake on June 8, 2007:

OK....we all enjoy talking about lets hear the comments for this school. Now these guys act like a cult, and they are pretty expensive, around $1000/year , and this was in 1993.....I'm not sure how much it is right now, but they charge by the year.

They do a lot of forms, and some light sparring using animal forms.....
oh and they call it system of martial arts because kung fu is a name......and they are not bound by any name.
Check out the videos, and comment.
I call it bullshido, but would like to see some differing opinions

Bullshido members were critical of the martial arts skill displayed in their videos. For example, member It is Fake remarked that the school's sparring "leaves a lot to be desired" and that many of their techniques were "just ripe for takedowns, sweeps, throws etc etc".. However, several members, including It is Fake, were skeptical of the claim that the school was a cult or unreasonably expensive, and these claims were never substantiated by anyone.

However, one thing did trouble It is Fake: "The blurb about learning for three years at Energy Martial Arts then opening Energy Martial arts is confounding." This would be a very short time to train before starting an independent school as its chief instructor.

He decided to investigate further.

The Real Lineage of Energy Lake Kung Fu

Braniff originally studied the Energy Lake system under Brian Leishman. Bullshido member andrewa revealed that Leishman was the corporate head of this school starting in 1988. Leishman futher verified to It is Fake that Braniff studied the Energy Lake system under him, but not Leishman's later White Lotus system. Furthermore, Leishman stated that the Energy Lake system was strictly based on his training under one "P. McAndrews."

This is the same "P. McAndrews" who appears in a lineage tree of Moh Kempo. Note that McAndrews' instructor was Margie Hilbig, who is known to have invented this martial art in collusion with Olaf Simon based on their reading of a single karate book. Olaf Simon's checkered history is detailed in an article on the Zen Shack website.

Thus, the art passed on to Gary Braniff after only three years of training was apparently based on a style of Kempo invented from whole cloth by a con artist.


The Energy Lake martial arts system does not appear to have any connection to any traditional Chinese martial art. Its lineage traces to a dubious form of Kempo.