Posts Tagged ‘practice’


Jedi Thursday

May 4, 2017

I was done teaching.  It was time for some extra practice.  Only one thing would be appropriate for tonight…

How could I not?

Happy Star Wars day!  May the Fourth be with you.


Winter Fu

January 26, 2017

There’s only one thing I don’t like about practicing in the cooler months:  when I begin to sweat.

Not because of the sweat per se, rather, it’s that, given the cool temperatures, my body hasn’t sweat all day.

So when I warm up enough that I need to begin to sweat, every pore on my body opens at once…

… and it feels like a million cockroaches are crawling all over me.

A whole body tingly itching sensation.  That comes on nearly instantaneously.  While I’m doing some drill or exercise.


It is a great test of my mindfulness and ability to be with things!  Still not comfortable at all though.


It’s all about the shoulders…

November 6, 2016

When I started kung fu training 16 years ago (exactly 16 years, woo!), one of the first things my instructors told me to do was:  “Relax your shoulders!”

Nowadays I even tell my students, when they start training with me,  “Expect to hear that phrase about 368,422 times over the first year.  It’s just something we all apparently do.”

And so I dutifully tell them, every time I see it, “Relax your shoulders!”

This week, while training, I discovered that on a number of moves, I need to relax my shoulders more.


I love it.  Even after all these years, I’m still learning and still developing more and more depth of understanding (and feeling it in the body) in even the most basic of corrections.  Something to work on and focus on, until the next thing.  And then the next, and the next.

I’m smiling already just thinking about it.




July 18, 2016

The park where we practice on Sundays is generally quiet, with a few people wandering by or sitting on the nearby benches to take in the sun.

Today, the foot traffic was up by about 800%!

No word on what they were catching…


It’d be easy…

July 14, 2016

…and it is all to easy at times like this to throw up my hands and say “Aw screw it.  Everything’s a mess.  You are all jerks and other unkind words.  I’m going to hate and denigrate and smear you, and everyone who looks/talks/smells/reminds me of/is vaguely like you.”

“Oh, and for good measure, I’m going to think violence towards you.”

I am saddened right now.  It is, by contrast, never easy, these moments.  Never easy when I find out, when in the midst of an otherwise, completely ordinary, mundane, day, one filled with work and tasks and moments of joy, to be smacked in the face with something horrible, heinous, tragic.  When things go silent with a thud.  What am I supposed to feel?  To think?  To do?  What to make of it?

How can I live in possibility when… THIS?

In those moments, I know that I need to choose what I’m going to make of it.

Otherwise that easy option may sneak in there and cement itself.  And that’s not who I want to be.

Because I know that it is limited and reductive and one-sided.

Because I know that it ignores the broad context and history.

Because I know that I am not omniscient.

Because I know that ultimately it will not work to create what I want.

I sit there, and I watch, and I read, and I try to process what happened.  And I feel conflicted.  And my feelings ping pong all over.  And I want, oh so desperately want, to find that one, single thing, that one certainty that will fix it all.

But I know there’s no one thing.  And I know that there’s no solace in righteous fire — there’s only fire, and more fire, there.  Indiscriminate, spreading, ever consuming, fire.

And so I sit and gaze and breathe and open up empathy and open up the channels for complexity and I know that there’s history there that I can only scratch the surface of and I remind myself that bogeymen don’t just jump out of the closet with knives for no reason.   That there’s work to do.

And that even then there are few bogeymen, and nearly most people are friendly and welcoming and neighborly.

And that fundamentally, we are all the same.  We all want to be happy, secure, fulfilled, loved, loving, making a difference, and living large.  We really just want to dance together.

With that, I can walk back out into the world.


Philosophy Tuesday

June 14, 2016

This is a philosophical statement.  It is intended to spark thinking and examining.


“At the bottom of things,most people want to be understood and appreciated.”

  – Gautama Buddha

It can be hard to come together.

It can be hard to turn on our empathy.

It can be hard to understand the other.

It’s so easy to create an “other”.

It’s so easy to create a “them”.

And yet,

At the same time,

We are humans, infused with capacities beyond measure.

We have it in us.

We were all born loving.

True, we can get hurt by loving.

Just as we can get hurt by falling down the stairs.

But we still take the stairs.

It really can be just as equally easy to listen.

It really can be just as equally easy to be with another.

We can come together.

We can engage with empathy.

We can be ready to look deep,

To recognize that everything is part of a chain.

That bogeymen don’t really jump out of closets.

We can engage.

We can listen and work to understand,

To be with one another as human beings.

Sharing all our foibles,

And follies,

Our divergent views,

And ideas,

Our common needs,

And desires,

Our loves,

And our passions.

The more we work to understand each other,

The more exceptional each one of us will be.

Paths can be changed.


I am published!

November 18, 2015

If I may engage in a bit of shameless self promotion for a moment… my book is out! After a number of years of hard work, I hold in my hands Volume 1 of the Northern Shaolin Kung Fu series that I am co-writing with my Sifu.


Exhibit A: My Hands

I may be a bit biased*, but this is a Kung Fu book you want to add to your collection, whether you are a practitioner of Northern Shaolin or not. There is a tonne of great information within, including core principles and concepts of body structure and efficiency, the fundamentals of the art, a discussion on the three fundamental skills of any martial art (and for most physical arts), the seasons of training, the mindset of practice, illustrations of the two introductory hand forms, and exploration of the four basic weapons, from their history and lore to their use. It’s chock full of good stuff!

You can order your own copy here:

You can also supplement this with Sifu’s other great books on Hung Gar, Ha Say Fu Hung Gar, and Iron Palm

I am giddy and nervous and excited all at the same time that the book is now out. It’s a labour of love, and I’ve released it into the wild. I hope it illuminates and teaches, and I hope that my passion for the art and for sharing the art comes through its pages.

Onward to writing Volume 2!

* – Ok, natch, I’m very biased, given I’m the author…