I Am Published – Again!

Yes!  After much intense writing and wrangling, Volume 2 of the Northern Shaolin Kung Fu series that I co-wrote with my Sifu is now available for all!

As before, I might be a bit biased*, but this book is a fabulous addition to your Kung Fu library, whether you practice Northern Shaolin or not.  There is so much great insight and wisdom from my Sifu that has been distilled into this tome, covering Northern Shaolin’s advanced concepts, the generation of internal power (and what that even means), the principles of application and fighting, the exploration of all ten of the core Northern Shaolin hand forms, a multitude of advanced weapons, and even more.  Coming in at 50% larger than the first volume, this thing is packed with great stuff!

You can order your own copy (and check out Sifu Lam’s other great books as well) here:

Northern Shaolin Book Vol 2 by Sifu Wing Lam

And as a bonus, I’ll be hosting a live streamed Q&A session on August 22nd (at 430p EDT/130p PDT).  If you order the book before August 12th 2020 we’ll send you an invite to the livestream!

I am thrilled (tempered with the trepidation with something so personal being released for all to see) to have the book released to the world.  After nearly 20 years of practice I still love the art, and this book is stuffed with everything I could think of from all that I’ve learned from Sifu and from what I’ve gleaned through all that diligent practice.  I worked closely with Sifu to gather the material for the book and get it captured for posterity before he passed.  This is most definitively part of his legacy, and I am humbled to be able to be a part of it.  I hope it illuminates and teaches, and I hope that our passion for the art and – even more so – for sharing the art comes through its many pages.

 

* And as before, natch, I am very biased since I wrote it…

Architecture Monday

This is cool.  In a mountain village well known for its tofu, a new commercial kitchen that allows for the local families to not only hone their craft, but do so in a food-grade-certificate environment.

Gently stepping down to follow both the landscape and the adjacent river, this is no typical industrial-food ‘factory’.  With its assemblage of sawtooth roofs and windows all around, it’s the very definition of light-filled and keeps the cooks connected to the community.  And vice-versa, opening up this region’s traditions for all to see, whether local or a new tourist clientele.  Like a series of terraces, the stepping nature of the building and site also allows for gardens and greenery all the way down, leading to a tofu-tastic tasting room.

Count me as a fan of this.  Great use of the the program, matching the process of tofu making to with a long and linear building that is further enhanced by using the natural topography of the site.  Add in a great use of elegant wood construction with plenty of glass and the rich tones of the stone floor that’s nicely mirrored in the kitchen’s counters.  Great stuff.

Tofu Factory by DnA

Wonder Wednesday, Zoids Edition

“Sure, it’s been over a decade since we managed to acquire this Zoid,” stated Kannik, head of this particular Zoids stable, “but fortunately, like wine, Zoids only improve with aging.  It may have taken a long time to get around to it, but we are beyond excited to have our newest member finally join the team.”

One of the most foundational of Zoids, Command Wolves are some of the most versatile and well varied models.  While not large in stature, the Command Wolf (Irvine Custom) is one capable machine, with its large turreted cannon being the prime draw.  “That sucker packs a wallop, with good range and accuracy to boot.  And while Command Wolves are no feline, it’s agile enough to keep up with the rest of the pride.  It expecially makes a great compliment to the shorter-ranged focus of the Blade Liger.”

“And it’s a good looker!” continued Kannik.  With its rich tones of deep green with some red flair, and the hyper detail that comes from the Highend Model Master line, most in the crowd seemed to agree.

With 11 Zoids now operating within the team, is there more to come?  “Oh my yes.  I’ve got three more that have been aging on the shelf, and I may, er, just have purchased our first flying Zoid.  It’s currently stuck in a quarantine hold, but it’ll be on its way over soon enough.”

It will only be a matter of finding time enough to get them all up and running.

Philosophy Tuesday

Sometimes we have to deal with what’s in front of us… the elephant in the room, and all that.  And so, to that end…

I assert there’s a growing weirdness developing towards the notion and idea of “freedom.”

As in, an incredibly reductive view that leans heavily towards the 5-year-old mentality of freedom: “You can’t tell me what to do!”  (stomps foot)  “You’re not the boss of me!”

Which, in actuality, is not freedom.  Amusingly, quite the opposite.  For if we automatically rail against a suggestion, a request, a recommendation, an order, a rule, or a perceived limit – whether imposed by someone specific or in general – in a “I will never do what my they tell me,” kind of way, then we’ve eliminated much of our actual freedom because we are now hemmed in to only do things that are the opposite of what they tell us – or even what we think they would tell us.  We’ve killed choice.  We’ve killed our agency.  And we’ve killed our ability to take on that which betters ourselves and our community.

We do nothing but become impetuous (and, often, petulant as well).

I could take this to level of caricature, in a “Hey, don’t stab yourself in the eye with a pencil.” / “Don’t tell me how to live my life” -stab- kind of way.  But I needn’t (though I guess I just did).  Instead, I only want to push ourselves to recognize what it is we are truly resisting, and what impact that resistance is having on us and on the many communities we profess to be a part of.

That is it.  An invitation to put on our adult pants, look at ourselves, find perspective, be present, and aim towards true freedom:  the freedom to be, to adapt, to consider, to choose, to build things forward, and to enjoy peace of mind, no matter the circumstances.

Architecture Monday

Restaurang Tusen is a restaurant in a pretty remarkable location… nestled in a mountain valley at the base of a few ski slopes.  But rather than copy the typical chalet or plunk down a generic box, the design team got to work and used what was on hand:  birch trees.

As the only tree that grows at that high altitude, the resulting building is literally ringed with them, creating a conical form that is not only beautiful and iconic but also stands well to the windy snow-blown conditions on the mountain.  By taking a small pie slice out of one side, it also creates a sheltered entry area to doff your skis before going in.  The inside space lofts upward following the cone, bits of birch poking through along the edges showcasing the building’s wood frame.

Sweet little building, built with sustainability in mind and blending with the landscape with whimsy.  Nicely done.

Restaurang Tusen by Murman Arkitekter

Gaming Thursday: Aurora Results

Alright!  With a gaggle of sessions under our proverbial belts, our Star Wars game and my new ruleset that powers it have been going great.  Thus far, things have run very smoothly and has already fueled a lot of great moments.  There’s still some rules gaps and wrangling to do, but the base document is pretty much complete (if written completely in point form language).  I’m not quite ready to share it yet, but I will try to get back to writing its big gestures and intents.  Until then, here several cool things that have emerged thus far, specifically around core Aurora Engine elements: Continue reading

Wonder Wednesday

An amazing video of the sun that spans a decade!  Every frame encompasses about an hour, capturing our local star and all of its changing glory.

The video description has some links to some really cool moments, including the transits of Venus and Mercury, sunspot clusters, as well as some very prominent flares.  Mesmerizing.