Chair of Lion Dance Department
Shifu Ferreira began studying martial arts when he was five years old, in New York City, under the guidance of his father in the art of Judo. By the age of six, his family moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he continued his studies. By the time he was ten, he wanted to try other arts. Over a period of seven years he studied many traditional disciplines including Jiu Jitsu, Karate, Aikido, Kendo, Tae Kwon Do and Muay Thai among others. In 1984, his mother (a Taijiquan Instructor and Acupuncturist) introduced him to Dr. Wu Chao-hsiang (武朝相 - Wǔ Cháoxiāng) and he started his lifelong study of Bei Shaolinquan (Northern Shaolin Style), Kuoshu and Chinese culture. Shifu Ferreira received from his Master, Dr. Wu, the disciple name of Niú Shèng (牛勝) in 1987. Nelson moved back to the US where he competed in both Lei Tai (擂台 - Full Contact Fighting) and Taolu (套路 - Forms) competitions in the early 90's. In 1995 he founded the Zhong Yi Kung Fu Association (忠義國術館) in Madison, WI where he has dedicated himself to preserve his Master's teachings and promote Kuoshu (traditional Chinese martial arts) and Lion Dance (舞獅) in the area. He has furthered his studies of Northern Shaolin with teachers such as Master Steve Kleppe a direct disciple of Grandmaster Wing Lam, Master Rick Wing who studied directly with the legendary Grandmaster Wong Jack Man, and, his elder Kung Fu brother, Mr. Stan Henning. Shifu Ferreira has also been accepted as a 4th generation disciple of the Sar Ping style of Lion Dance (沙坪呂派獅藝) under Grandmaster Chan Siew Kee, the 3rd Generation Inheritor and Leader of the Sar Ping Family worldwide.
For over 10 years Shifu Ferreira led the ZYKFA Competition Team to be a Top 3 US National Kuoshu Team in both forms and fighting. Shifu Ferreira also led 4 ZYKFA Lion Dance teams at the International Colorado Lion Dance Championships held in 2015, with one team taking Second and another Third Place.
Shifu Ferreira was the Coach for the U.S. Kuoshu Team at the 1st Pan-American Kuoshu Championship held in Brazil (April, 2001) where 14 of his students were part of the US Team, he was also selected as a Coach for the US Team at the World Kuoshu Championships held in Brazil (November, 2003) where four of his students represented the US Team. In 2006 he was selected to coach the US Team, again, at the World Kuoshu Championships held in Singapore, with five of his students being selected as part of the US Team. He has led the US Team to a Third Place finish at the 2001 Pan-American Kuoshu Championships and a First Place finish at the World Kuoshu Tournament (2006). The ZYKFA Lion Dance Team, under Shifu Ferreira's leadership, received the "2nd Runner-Up" and "Bronze" awards in the 2018 and 2019 MGM International Lion Dance Championships, the first time a US team has been in the TOP 3 positions in such a prestigious interenational event.
Currently Shifu Ferreira is the North Region Director (third term), member of the Executive Committee (second term) and member of the Hall of Fame Committee for the United States Kuoshu Federation (USKSF), he is is also a certified judge (national) through the USKSF and organizes the USKSF North Region Tournament. Shifu Ferreira also teaches seminars on Bei Shaolinquan (北少林拳), Kuoshu (國術) and Lion Dance (舞獅) on a national and international level to different schools and organizations.