Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Chasing Dreams To China Successor by Robert Jay Arnold

Hello there friends, I hope you are all doing well. I have been under the gun with projects recently so excuse my momentary absence. Don't worry when I get used to my new rhythm I will start squeezing in more post for you.

In the meantime I recommend that you pick up my new book, that just hit shelves this month. The title is called Chasing Dreams To China, Successor.  

It's a story that follows my whole life growing up and training with my brothers. It begins from my struggle in a racist environment and follows me through every step of my mental and martial arts environment. It's got a lot of action, comedy, drama, and training tips. It's a total of 524 pages containing most of the significant events in my life until about 2 years ago. At the bottom is the link for the paper back or the hard back. It's sure to give you some inspiration for whatever you are going through.



Saturday, October 19, 2013

Stealth Tigers and Hidden Dragons

On October 5th, I woke up early in the morning to meet with my master Wu Guo Zheng for a demonstration taking place in Miao Li, Taiwan.The name of the event was called "臥虎藏龍之夜 Night of the Stealth Tigers and Hidden Dragons." You may have heard the term Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, which in my opinion is a bad translation. A tiger is usually crouching because he is sneaking up on his prey. The term is a Chinese idiom that indicates hidden or unseen power.
This would be the second time I participated in this event which invites masters from all over Asia to be representatives of their styles. It is like a martial arts master fiesta and I'm always honored to be invited.

But the truth is that on this particular morning I am feeling the continuing pressure of what has been a difficult, but blessed year. I have been bounced around on the job market since my wedding took place last summer. I have been screen play writing, acting, editing and working on my second novel. All of these jobs have taken a lot of energy, sweat and grit, but I have nothing financial to show for all of my effort. I know that this is only a season that will prove to bring a harvest in the near future. Of course it doesn't make it any easier to get through the day to day concerns.

"You need to just buckle down and give up all of this dream stuff." I hear so often from people who would attempt to be friends. "You can't live in a fantasy your whole life." They say when I mention the different ideas that are in my heart. The only person that could understand a Stealth tiger is a Hidden Dragon and vise versa.

These voices echo louder and louder in the mornings when you realize that you are down to your last dime. I have been hunting for "stable" jobs all year and still the ground never seems to come beneath my feet. Being unemployed when my wife is 9 months pregnant is as real as it gets.
 But in the morning when I feel those fears seeping into my brain, I fight back with God's promise.

"You have plans to promote me, not harm me." I say to myself as I arrive at my masters house. 

When I meet with my master he hands me a cup of Ethiopian coffee that really jump starts my braincells. Master Wu Guo Zheng often uses his martial arts to see deeper into many crafts, cuisines and hobbies. Most recently he has been brewing different coffees from all over the world and every time I see him, I get a cup of jo from a different country. Diligence is a lifestyle that will eventually creep from your kung fu into your everything else.

"Thanks master." I said smiling as I put my uniform into the back of the trunk.

"Me and Tailong have a very interesting relationship." The master explained to my two kung fu brothers. "Sometimes we are master and student and others we are more like father and son. But I think most times, we are just close friends." He finished while patting me on the back and letting me in the car. It's amazing how a few words can really change the rhythm of the day. As I sipped my coffee my stealth concerns and hidden worries were forgotten altogether. 

"You and the master are performing the two person combat today right?" One of my kung fu brothers asked as I was taking a big swig of my coffee. "How could you not be nervous?"

"Tailong doesn't get nervous for demonstrations." The master said before I could answer. "He knows that kung fu is kung fu. It's not going to be any better or worse because people are watching. It's just practice on a stage." The master said elegantly as I nodded my head in agreement. "If anything, he is nervous that his baby will be born while he is away doing a demonstration." He finished jokingly.

"That's for sure." I agreed. The truth is my son was due to be born on the 23rd of this month, but I had a feeling that he could be hear any minute.

The master was also right about me not being nervous about the demonstration. I have always felt that people's opinion of my martial arts has very little to do with me. I know what I need to work on and all my little flaws and imperfections. I have learned a lot, but I have so much more to learn. At these particular events with the masters, I was sure to have an opportunity to learn much more.
Two years ago, I was really impressed with all of the different styles from different genres. I saw masters that trained the military, exotic weapons, secret styles, the whole nine. Although they call me one of the masters at these events, it's pretty easy to feel out of place. When we arrived The coffee kicked in and my eyes lit up to see the many different masters and groups sitting together in a nice restaurant.

I always closely watched their different gestures and habits. If you saw these guys in the street you wouldn't know they were dangerous because of their goofy Yoda-like grins. But if you watch their motions carefully, it was easy to see it was all tigers and dragons. After you have practice footwork, spacing and timing for decades it leaves a stain on all of your movements. Just watching how they poor the tea can tell you a lot about their style. 

"Master Yo Yo please sign here" One of the staff said to me while handing me a small envelope.

"What's this?" I asked confused. He just smiled as if I was joking and the others took me to our table. I was shocked to find that my envelop had cash in it. Seeing a demonstration with so many masters was my version of the Superbowl, I didn't need any payment...but I do have a baby on the way so I wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Our Xin Zhu Bagua Association group was a lot smaller than the other groups, meaning we had to eat twice as much as the other groups. Also because one of my kung fu brothers didn't eat sushi and the other was allergic to shrimp, the master continued to pile the delicious food on my plate by the bowl full. I was already stuffed after the first 3 courses of a 9 course meal. This food cost way more than anything than I could afford, so I had to shovel in bite after delicious bite until I felt I was about to pop. I looked over to see all of the tables were having the same difficulty getting all of the food down.

"Should we eat this much before a demonstration?" One of the elderly masters asked as he came to the table to talk with my master. It's customary for the guests to go table to table greeting each other in Chinese culture with a drink. Usually it's an alcoholic drink, but of course this event is an exception. The elderly man smiled as my master stood to shake his hand.

"You used to teach the spear in an area next to my house." My master said. "How long did you teach there?"

"I taught the spear for 18 years before I moved on to teaching snapping kick techniques. Here is a book on my recent teachings." He said while smiling and handing the book to my kung fu brother. As he left I smiled and sighed with both admiration and intrigue. Just hearing the conversations motivated me even more to pass on the information I had been given. I can't wait till have been teaching Bagua for 40 years...teaching is where true learning takes place. They may have called me master, but it was obvious that my journey had just begun.

The demonstration wouldn't take place until the evening so after the large lunch we all gathered in a small room just large enough for the 30 of us. At this point it was only masters in the room and the staff was left outside to attend to preparations for the performance. I had seen a few of these masters many times over the years, but there were also many others that I hadn't seen before. Just as last year, the masters began discussing the future of martial arts and plans on how to handle many of the difficult changes. All of my projects I had been working on were directly related to these conversations I had heard over the last decade, but I just kept my mouth shut and pulled out my note book. In these conversations with the masters behind closed doors, I usually just do my best to be invisible.

"These events are our opportunity to separate the martial arts from the circus and sports." One of the masters who was about 90 years old began to speak." Sports and entertainment is great, but if you don't know the depth of a style, then you will never know the depth of a human being. Look at this black guy here." He said while all of the masters looked in my direction smiling momentarily. "This is an example of a warrior who is not interested in BS. Look at the way he scans room, the way he walks and breaths...." The master then continued in Taiwanese leaving me out of the conversation for the next few minutes. When he finished everyone applauded and some even in my direction. If I wasn't black you might have seen my blushing. Then the next master spoke.

"We are glad to have Yo Yo here who has been doing a lot of great work for martial arts. He just returned from Beijing and I'm sure he will make even more great things happen for the next generation of martial artists. I expect to hear great things over the next year from him in the media." He said while giving me a thumbs up. "Speaking of which, it doesn't matter how many events and classes we hold unless we are able to have a place we call our own. Something that will be maintained regardless of the change in the number of students from season to season..."

I was touched that over the years the masters not only knew me, but knew what I was doing in my life. I hadn't seen them for at least two years...how did they know what I was up to? 

Another master stood up who looked like a science nerd with clothing twice the size of his limbs. "I am one of the younger masters here...I've been teaching for twenty years. I'm humbled to be at a demonstration with both my master and my grandmaster. I feel that our unity with each other is the only way to have a future for the next generation. We must utilize more methods to present martial arts without turning it into a bad fantasy or some kind of Olympic sports event. We must use our lives to preserve the arts."

"I started when I was four years old." Another master began. "When I was young I really disliked it because my father often hit me to make me practice more often. I had many endeavors in my life regarding business and other opportunities. Slowly martial arts became the most important thing as everything else began to lose it's significance. I am grateful for my father's tough love that took my whole life to fully appreciate."

The masters went on in more details of their personal life as I scribbled in my notebook frantically to keep up. One of the master's was Jackie Chan's snake fist instructor, who was still obviously in great shape. Another master made mention that his master had 10,000 students before passing. One of the masters built like a brick was an ex super cop and discussed the true beauty of breaking bones and how the "flowery" martial arts on TV is not only less effective, but also less beautiful.

"The sun, electricity, a storm, a tornado...all of these things are extremely deadly and yet all of these things are truly beautiful. True art is beautiful and powerful. There is no storm that only pretends to be a storm." The super cop said while sitting down. "So just a reminder that as we expand to those who have a respect for this power, we must avoid the knuckle heads. It is better to remain hidden dragons that die with secrets, than to create poisonous dragons." He finished.

I felt at ease hearing all of the masters expressing the same feelings and difficulties as myself. It was like looking in many mirrors of different shapes and ages that clearly reflected the pros and cons of being a lifetime martial artists. The continual shaping and strengthening of self that seems to put more distance between us and society everyday. I began to sense that it wasn't that dragons remained invisible, but that society has become blinded to values that can not be counted in dollars.

When the performance began me and my master were in the first group to perform. I watched from the side as the sword master began the show. There was such precision and grace in his movements, but I could hear his sword slice with a faint and almost humming sound. It sounded like he was holding a vibrating sword or some kind of special technology, but when he was finished, I could see clearly it was just a regular straight sword. The only magic was in his technique.

The drunken master then attacked in all directions while stumbling and tumbling around the stage. He looked one direction while attacking the other. His eyes were glossed over as he fell to the ground and kipped back up into another attack. His unpredictable movements made every limb a possible attack. I had used this tactic many times while working in the club. Their is nothing more effective than giving your opponent too much confidence.

When it was time for me and the master to trade hands, I suddenly realized it had been at least two years since we had practiced this technique together. But I just relaxed as I took my stance and the crowd faded away completely.  As the master attacked I parried and countered and we separated for another attack. Before when my master used to shove me I felt like paper as I tried to keep up with him. This time I only felt relaxed as his energy passed right through me and I returned it back to him. I had finally grabbed the understanding of moving like water and stopping like a mountain, that allowed me to more effectively divert power. As we finished, I bowed out and suddenly the crowd reappeared around me with a loud and gracious applause.

After my performance I could finally focus on all of the other martial artists on stage with a clear mind. I watched as the stage was then taken by three sword practitioners. There were two very beautiful women and one guy who was pretty much invisible..because he was mixed in with the two women. I took mental notes that I would use later to fix my own sword problems as they moved like a human poem.

The master in the loose clothing then began to perform the rope dart. As the rope dart swung back and forth wrapping and unwrapping around the body, it almost seems to hypnotize the crowd. It always seemed to surprise the mind as it whipped out like a bullet in the direction of choice. I heard that the rope dart was one of the most difficult weapons to master. As he moved across the stage it became easy to see that it was as difficult as it was dangerous. The weapon would first stick into one opponent in a vulnerable artery and then drag him into another soldier. As the opponent stumbled to his knees another opponent was attacked from over head. It was like sewing the battle field in your favor.

I smiled as I saw the monkey master hit the stage because of the effective and almost humorous attacks. It seems like the requirement for becoming a monkey master was you had to be a little bit..."bonkers". He made cutesy facial expressions as he launched attacks from below and above. The deception acted as a shield or a curtain for every attack. Yet every attack was for the throat, eyes, nuts, groin..in fact there wasn't a single attack that wasn't lethal. I guess naturally monkey style fighters would tend to be smaller, and the smaller you are the more vitals you need to go for.

I then saw a familiar face, the master I call the sword collector. He taught to the special forces and has invited me and the master to his house several times to play on his training park. He is a great guy with terrifying sword skills. He uses a Japanese blade but jumps and swirls like Yoda. He leaped high while aiming for the knee caps, wrist and limbs that would be exposed easily through his movements. He used rolls like Hapkido and spins and thrusts that made his blade snap with even more power.

All of the masters hit the stage and lit it on fire with their ages of practice. I saw a master suddenly spit in the air...a substance that was shocking and distracting from all of his hidden attacks. The 90 year old turned out to be faster than me as he snapped loose his techniques of a style I wasn't even sure the name. I smiled as I realized that I was witnessing over a thousand years of martial arts experience on the stage. As usual when the performance was done we all shook hands and took pictures. We exchanged some personal information and I was able to take a few more techniques and store them in my bag of fox tricks.

"Every time we see you Yo Yo you are much better. You indeed will be a master that leads the next generation in the right direction of the arts." The 90-year old master said to me. I could only smile and ponder on his words. It was hard to believe that such great masters continued to see greatness in me. It's my life's honor to be part of something so meaningful and fulfilling.

The ride home always gives me plenty of time to digest not only the event, but also the meaning of the event in how it pertains to the martial arts and my life. Even though now I am in a season that has been a little rough, I have been doing all of the things that I want to do. There were countless times that I could have quit my dream to find a "stable" job. But I would have never learned Chinese or Bagua or anything that makes me who I am today. People often say we must sacrifice in order to make gains, but they usually sacrifice the wrong part of their life to make false gains.

 I began to ponder on a news report I saw the morning before. A very famous artist who sold paintings at an average of about 10,000 apiece decided to sell his work on the street. He put up his paintings just like the rest of the street artist and sold them at the low price of 60 dollars. Many people saw his paintings but didn't recognize he was a famous artist in disguise. He only sold about 3 paintings after sitting there in the hot sun all day. When people found out who he was they all kicked themselves for not getting to buy his paintings at such a cheap price.

You may have also heard about the famous violinist who decided to play in the subway. His concerts were always sold out and the tickets averaged up to about 1000 dollars for each event. Yet when he played in the subway, no one even gave him a second look. Only a few "looneys" took the time to even listen to the music.

In our society there are many stealth tigers and hidden dragons. They are people who decide to water the seeds that have been planted in their heart and follow the pathway that grows before them. In general people are unable to see or hear anything of value unless it has been presented to them on TV or by the media. How sad that so many can not see something beautiful on their own. How depressing that people have become too busy to recognize the sound of beautiful music. At times it may be hard for us to pursue the dreams planted in our heart, especially when no one sees us and even our progress is invisible. However all things will be revealed in time and you do not need to worry or conform your dream in a manner that the world will understand. Many times it's more important for something to be written than for it to be read.

After I got home, the next day my wife went into labor. As I witnessed the miracle of life I realized that you can not be wealthy if you are unable to recognize wealth. The gift of life, family, health and passion far out-weigh anything we can measure in human numbers. You must trust the seed that Christ has placed in your heart, and let your self grow into something more magical than society can understand. Stealth Tigers and Hidden Dragons of all forms may not always be seen by society, but we are the ones who they will tell stories about.

Stop looking for permission or approval to be you. People aren't even paying attention to what they want, how can they tell you what you want? No matter what road you chose hard times are certain to come. Isn't it better to suffer through a harder road that leads to your dream? At least you will be happier with the destination.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013


In life we have all been given a quest that will help us find the hero within. Challenges are presented through every form in order to test the fabric of our character to its very core. It can be extremely difficult to even find one's quest and even harder to hold to it once we are on the path. Cause more than likely, we will have to walk that path alone.

My path has had me in Taiwan for the last decade, away from what I used to call home. I don't really miss America, but I miss all the people in it. In fact my journeys home have been short but very sweet because of the rare individuals hungry for Bagua. Good students are just as hard to find as good teachers. Yet my path has pulled me back to Asia because there are so many possibilities for the future that sometimes it gives me goosebumps. But making possibilities into realities is probably the hardest kung fu there is. Yet it's also the only kung fu worth doing.

My master Wu Guo Zheng has passed 26 different styles to me over the last 8 years, not including Bagua itself. Of course they are all part of the Bagua network, but they are also their own entity. The Stealth Tiger saber has a very different personality than the Weird Spear. They all have the same footwork, shen fa and fajin, but they are clearly different animals. Everyday I have to make sure I am attentive to all of the animals in my collection otherwise one of them may get malnourished or even run away. It feels like I am running a farm at times as I scramble through the week trying to give each style the techniques and vitamins it deserves. But with a system of so much, the only thing I can do is be patient on my path. I train at least 3 hours a day which means I won't be good for another 10 years at least...

Even the days that I feel frustrated about my ability, training is such a blessing. Just yesterday on the most ordinary day, in the most ordinary parking lot, I was able to have an extraordinary work out. But the training is only a step in my journey. What I do with my art is the beginning of my mission. Even trickier is how do I pass so much martial arts material to the next generation? How many people now days want some extra hard work?

The good news is that all of the time I spend with these different animals gives me different options on how my martial arts can be used. I am a  translator, novelist, editor, actor, screen play writer, English teacher, dance teacher, martial arts teacher,  aerobics instructor, Chinese teacher, security guard, rapper and so on. All of the martial arts animals have communicated to me different ways that I can use their energy for study or work. Therefore just as long as I keep asking questions while training, I can keep learning different occupations. Of course I'm not doing all of these jobs at the same time, but I can use it like a tool box and get the necessary tool for the time being. These tools give me the freedom to move about the planet a little easier, but it still doesn't help me answer directly how to pass on the style of Bagua.

My different occupations give me a chance to meet many different types of people. Whether they are extras on the set or coworkers in the office I am able to learn something important from every single human being I have ever met. Each person I meet helps me get closer to cracking the code of how Bagua needs to be downloaded into new brains of every type. In addition to translating the names of all the martial arts movements from Chinese to English, I have to translate what it actually means to have martial arts in your life. It isn't easy to convince people after work to do more work. Especially when they think martial arts is mostly for punching people into a pulp..like on TV.

I also need to humbly suggest to masters in Taiwan and China how to "update" their methods of advertising. Many of the masters are so used to being secretive that even when they want students to find them, they use the most obscure methods. Still I am only half their age and I have to be patient enough for them to trust me with more than just the martial arts. I'm actually asking them to trust me with their livelyhood. Not a very easy job for a tall, black hip hop cat.

The year of the snake has been extremely challenging for me, not to mention my wife is 8 months pregnant. In all of the challenges this year there have been many blessings, followed by more challenges....and of course more blessings. I may be smiling when you see me in the street, but on the inside I am counting all of my martial arts animals while I reach into my tool box to put a little more food on the table for my lovely wife. 

In the midst of this chaos called my life, I decided to see what was going on in some of the martial arts forums. After all who would be able to relate more to my problems than fellow martial artists? Maybe they have found some way to make some Bagua pies and sneak them in kids lunch boxes or something. I don't usually like to go into these forums because I have often been of the belief that a lot of times people talking about training all the time, aren't usually training...all the time. There can be a lot of egos and ethnocentrism depending on the group or the topic. Still why should I feel uneasy around my own people?

When I peeked into the forum for a quick moment I was shocked to see Bagua cannibalism from all sides. There was an all out attack on the differences of how it was used, done applied or whatever. People bragged about who they trained with and how they knew what was real or combat effective. It was amazing that all of these people who were part of the same group were so separated in mind. So I tried to make some suggestions of how we should "perceive" some of the information and videos. Shortly after I was bashed, threatened and then someone just straight out called me, my master and my whole life fake....(sigh)

Like I said attacks come in many forms and in this case it was in the form of a forum. The whole situation didn't bother me, in fact it became rather humorous at first...then it became a little sad. People are actually arguing over the little differences of Bagua, the styles and applications or systems when in reality 99 percent of the people in the world don't even know what Bagua is. Most people don't even know what kung fu is not to mention the small circle of people who have even heard the term Bagua. I imagine the percentage of people who know Bagua is probably about .00006% of the entire planet. Most people think martial arts takes place in a cage with gloves surrounded by hundreds of people. Those people can't even say the word Bagua and if they saw it, they would laugh for a week.

Yet instead of encouraging each other and helping spread it to the new generation we are arguing and debating over nonsense. Yes we want to be able to bring people to the "truth" so they can have real power and understanding of the art, but I think that in most cases it's not about right or wrong. It's about living a life that matters. Does martial arts even matter?

But I have actually written this blog not as a form of critique, but as an invitation. Inside this crazy brain of mine I finally was able to pull all of the loud animals, tools and trinkets into something that can be manifested and enjoyed by the whole world. A plot that is so uncanny that I can't even talk about talking about it until the time is right. If Micheal Jackson, Willy Wonka and Disney had a baby and spliced its DNA with Marvel it wouldn't even come close to how cool this idea is.

Before I even get close to that conversation I want to know how many heroes are really out there. How many people are trying to find their path and are sick of BS conversations over nothing? Does anyone out there still believe that we can only get stronger if we unite? We are separated in every possible way of life from music, culture, race and even Bagua. I am talking ONLY to the people who are wiling to separate our separation. I am talking about working together in a "No Ego only progress" environment.

If you want to be a part of something more than just words, please let me know. Add me on your facebook and stay tuned for something that dope. Let's give haters something they can really hate. Let's show the world the power of unity.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013







  上帝創造真個宇宙和全部的東西在宇宙裡面。上帝很愛全部他創造的人,和動物。上帝也愛那些討厭我的小孩,因為上帝愛我們他也給我們自由,要我們有自由的思想和概念。有很多的人很討厭上帝就像那些小孩討厭我一樣。這是  因為他們是自由可以選擇喜歡還是不喜歡任何的人。很多人覺得因為他們不信上帝,上帝就不存在。所以這個世界有非常多的人,而且大部分的人覺得不需要上帝。所以才會有那麼多人不快樂,了解嗎?


  不過惡魔也會功夫。惡魔也很愛灌輸人類很多事情。其實很多的人不知道有惡魔這個存在所以他們會禱告給惡魔。惡魔有非常非常多的,而且他們可以裝天使的樣子。他們想要人類崇拜他們,接著主導人的希望和夢想。有時候惡魔承諾要給我們錢或利益成功,但是他們目的只是想要欺騙我們,渴求奢望金錢才是生命的重點,使我們更盲崇的落在壓力的旋渦裡。惡魔一直要說服人,讓人覺得不需上帝也可以很開心。惡魔喜歡洗腦人們,偷偷放他們的概念在電影,宗教,科學裡,包含這世上的一切事物。 因為當我們覺得自己不需上帝的幫忙拯救,我們才容易被惡控制,所以我們怎麼分天使和惡魔呢?


  而上帝只來為了我們有生命而且更豐富的生命。上帝說在聖經裡不用怕365次。這意思是每天我們不要怕因為有耶穌的力量在我們裡面。如果你感覺害怕,緊張,擔心,猶豫,沒有安全感這都是惡魔。因為上帝只要你有快樂,力量,和愛在你心裡。所以上帝給我們他的兒子主耶穌。因為我們自己沒有辦法自己打敗這麼多的惡魔。耶穌2000年前已經打敗了魔鬼。他也是給我們力量做我們全部的夢想的目標。而且他不會讓你一個人在這個世界。他永遠是你最好的朋友,老師,和父親。但是因為上帝尊重我們,他不會逼我們接受耶穌。上帝要你自己說你要他的幫忙。只要說 “主耶穌我相信你是為了我死。請原諒我的罪,我要你當我的主,我接受你在我的生活中''。之後聖靈會一直帶你到你要的方向,你會領受到上帝的智慧,不再迷路,因為上帝不住在時間裡,所以他已經看到你全部所要的,只要相信他,安歇在他的力量,你會發現你全部想要做的事都被上帝祝福。你不用怕你的老闆或擔心別人不喜歡你,因為創造宇宙的上帝,要你有全部好的事。


Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Art of Dreaming Without Dreaming

In my lineage of Gao Style Bagua there are literally thousands of movements, but they can be broken into three simple parts: Pre heaven, Post heaven and spacing.

The Preheaven, or the development of explosive power, the understanding of energy and Qi development. Post Heaven is the application of combat and how to effectively move in a way to capture or control your opponent. Both of these are necessary and familiar to most Bagua practitioners and martial artist in general. You have to know how to build power and then you have to understand when and how it's used against living breathing opponent. One of these practices can only be done by yourself, while the other should be done against resistance.

The third part in our Xin Zhu Bagua Association  that I have found to be significant is the 25 different footwork steps or methods to engage the opponent. In addition to the power development and applications of technique there must be an understanding of how to close the distance between us and our opponent. The most skilled fighter in the world is at a loss if he is unable to put his hands on you.

In my experience most fighters can be overly aggressive and distracted by there offensive attacks. Other fighters are too defensive and continually evade and dodge themselves into a corner where they are left without any options. What is more important than offense and defense are the "non-movements" or movements that are neither offensive or defensive. This is the frequency that the true battle takes place on. It is a mathematical system that can often be understood as "footwork" but is actually more related to conquering the space and territory of the opponent. This takes place in both the physical and mental realm. We see it often when a striker is taken down to the ground or out of his element. But it's the same if you are able to outwit and counter attack every time your opponent approaches, he will feel trapped in his mind and will eventually give in to your strategy.

Have you ever played chess against someone levels beyond your understanding? His initial movements don't seem to threaten you or even make sense until you find there are no moves left for you except defeat.

Well you don't have to do martial arts or play chess to feel the power of "non-movement". You feel it when politicians change laws that we are not fully aware of or when teachers go on strike. The introduction of terrorists has put the world in a position that is on higher alert. Everything is changing before us so quickly from music to gun laws and none of it seems to be affecting us directly. In fact most people don't believe that we are actually in a fight.

Life a reflection of martial arts and martial arts is the art of surviving. The truth is we were all born in a war whether you choose to acknowledge it or not. It doesn't always come crashing down our front door like it does in some countries. But do you actually believe what happens in another country doesn't affect you? Just like playing against a Chess master it's hard to determine what is dangerous until it's too late. In fact we have already become a society that makes excuses for evil and criticizes the efforts of good. When someone does a good deed to feed the homeless and puts it online people say, "They just want to get famous". Yet there are millions of useless online videos that promote violence, lust, greed or whatever...and everyone says, "That's creative. that's business or that's life"

If you don't believe we are in a war, go out and do something good for people. Whether you are a lunch lady who decides to give the left overs to the homeless instead of throwing it in the garbage, or you are a teacher who wants to implement a program that makes the youth like learning you will be confronted. Every idea that you can come up with for the benefit of mankind will be attacked, criticized and eventually and rejected. Those who are willing to fight for good may suffer for it, but those who are unwilling to fight for good, will continue to suffer.

In the end we only have two choices. We can do the right thing or pretend not to notice what's going on.

This brings me back to my initial point of Pre Heaven, Post Heaven and Footwork.

Pre Heaven refers to strengthening yourself, knowing yourself and understanding what it means to be you. Pre Heaven must be practiced alone and away from distraction. By walking the circle for a couple of hours a day you will first feel pain and discomfort. After your body adjusts and the ligaments become more flexible this isolation will become enjoyable. You will eventually enjoy feeling your power stir within you. Then once your power has become solidified you can practice where people can see you cause you won't be affected by petty words or opinions. You know you have gained something far more than those who have chosen not to improve.

Your Pre Heaven is what God designed you for. Whatever it is you have wanted, you simply need to go through the discomfort of the initial isolation and development. If you are an artist, never let a day go by without drawing. No matter how busy you are, your Pre heaven must be the same as eating. If you are too busy to eat..you it will affect your body. If you are to busy for your dream, it will affect your soul.

The isolation process refers to separating yourself from the ideas of others long enough to know what you truly want to do. TV will continue to tell you who you are and laugh at your original ideas. Your friends probably won't understand and your family may even reject it. But continue to walk the circle. People will eventually see  that it is not you who is lost, but themselves. Once you have gained enough power you will be able to bless them with your learnings...if they so choose.

Post heaven refers to the application of your technique and power. After all having a good idea is meaningless if you don't follow through. Just as practicing with an opponent you must first set up the outline of the technique. Don't rush!!! First let his fist come at you slowly and apply the technique in the appropriate fashion. Then let him begin speeding up the attack, alternating sides, low attacks and high attacks, multiple opponents etc. Eventually this one application will grow into something that can be used for many situations. In fact I truly believe one technique can be used for anything if you really understand that technique.

In life this compares to how you use the skills that you have attained. Starting slowly may be frustrating because you may have to take on volunteer work or do things that seem beneath your dream. Yet you will gain essential experience for the later levels of what you wish to do. If you were an artist you could give pictures to local stores, friends or even complete strangers. We become so caught up in our ideas sometimes that we forget many of the things we don't value would can be the highlight of someone's day. You are actually utilizing your skills and following your dream for the good of the world...not just yourself. But anything that let's you interact with the world will train you how to be effective for all situations in your art. Then when your opportunity comes, you will be well prepared. So force yourself into a situation that people will continually see your art.

It's important that you again do not become distracted by the ideas of others. Only you and God understand your dream completely. If it doesn't feel right to you after while, then it isn't right. But also don't be afraid to try to face new and unusual attacks. Sometimes we learn an attack not for the purpose of using it, but to prevent getting hit by it.

Lastly, we have to understand the "Non-Movement" or footwork and positioning. Unfortunately the world now will tell you that the best way to get from A to B is through money. It's not that money isn't important, but in many ways it is a deadly distraction from your goal. Your goal no matter what will eventually make money because other people will love what your skill has developed into. If you do anything for over 10,000 hours you will become one of the best in the world. Then quite naturally you will be able to accumulate finance and have the lifestyle you want. Where as if you seek money first, then it can pull you away from all of your initial good intentions because money has no master. It holds no loyalty and it is designed to make you reliant on it.

King Solomon was approached by God in a dream. When God asked what it is he desired, he said he wanted more wisdom. Because he sought Wisdom he was healthy, rich and the wise. If you calculate how much money Solomon had today it would come up to 200,000,000,000 dollars US.

If he asked God for Wisdom, why did he have so much money? Today many people will hear Bill Gates make a speech and say he is a wise man, but they are only saying this because of his financial success. Many people who are rich were only lucky, corrupt, or born in the right family. Some of them even lack the most common of sense and they have become our world leaders. The truth is that wisdom only comes from God. It is God. When you seek wisdom you seek the best answer for your situation. Most times we believe we have a money problem, an education problem or a health problem. But there is only a wisdom problem.

Once you have taken the time to understand your "footwork" or Wisdom you will always be prepared to attack or defend as necessary. By waking and asking His will to be done as you train, as you draw and as your learn, you will truly see to the root of your desires. Then and only then will you be able to move freely into the doorway of your dream.

Stayed blessed, keep training...don't be afraid to fight for what is already yours.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Okie-Doke (Zimmerman)

In our training of whatever style, we must be very cautious not to make assumptions. If we make assumptions of our ability, our technique, our opponent or other styles, we can easily deceive ourselves and be lead into danger.

That being said I would like to share with you a family secret technique that my father taught us when we were very young. He said he learned it from his friend "Fats" who accompanied him in many fights in the streets before he gained his knowledge of martial arts and wisdom. Yet even after his martial arts training he continued to use this technique to stun, knock out opponents or hide other attacks.

The movement became something that me and my brothers used as a back up or in emergency situations. I favored it  for times when I had to fight more than one opponent while my brothers favored it when they found themselves faced with a weapon or whatever. This move is so effective that even after I have learned it, my father can still hit me with it to this day.

Martial arts is like a life time financial investment into your spirit while fighting is much more like gambling against another person. Therefore a great martial artist can still lose a fight to an average fighter if the fighter understands human weakness.

"This movement is called the okie-doke" My father explained while me and my brothers stood around him in a circle waiting for our chance to attack. We had heard this phrase before and we knew when he announced it, someone was about to get hit. I attempted to attack with a low kick from the back hoping that he didn't notice. He turned and looked at me with piercing eyes, freezing me in my tracks. Just then his other leg reached over and kicked my brother in the stomach.

The okie-doke has nothing to do with martial arts really. It is completely based on eyes and facial expressions. Before you attack you look away from your target for just a moment. As the opponent tries to adjust you quickly attack while his mind is distracted.

"That's just a sucker punch." My brother said while getting up and wiping the dirt from his chest.

"More like a sucker kick." My dad joked. "A good  opponent will read your eyes. So if you lie with your eyes, you can buy an attack. Unlike a sucker punch you can use it in the middle of a fight..." My father finished while jumping over my other brother's  low spinning-sweep that cut through the dandelions, just missing my fathers ankle.

From that time many years went by and we saw the okie-doke over a dozen times. It saved my bacon so many times, I began to do it when I wasn't even aware.

"Hey nigger, did you take my lunch" I heard as closed my locker. I turned around to see a massive boy with an assuming and angry expression on his face. He was so large that I wasn't sure whether it was muscle or fat. I knew I had seen him scoping me around the halls and he had been waiting to get my by myself...I think cause my brother had beaten up his racist brother. Instead of getting upset, I just smiled as I put my bag on my shoulder. As I smiled I looked at my watch while pivoting my lead foot. I twisted my hips and came through with a straight kick off the hind leg that buried into his sternum. I knew that when I was watching my watch he wasn't watching my feet and that is the secret of the okie-doke.

There are two reasons that I am teaching ghetto tactics on my Bagua site. Number one is that I love you and I want to make sure you have all the advantages you can in this continually increasing crazy society. Bagua and the okie-doke go together like mash potatoes and gravy.

The second reason I am bringing this up is actually because of Zimmerman. From my story you can see that I have been dealing with racial issues in the states since I was born. My uncle was shot and put in a wheel chair for entering his own car. Every minority has heard these sad tales while growing up, but they are always in the background. It's usually local news...if there is any news at all. So why is there this huge focus on this one incident? 

My reason for sharing is because I am certain that this news is nothing but the okie-doke. It is supposed to make you upset, unclear, uncertain and overall jittery. It's got everyone looking in the wrong direction. It's only a matter of time before the attack follows.

I love Americans and I love America. I have fought with many people from the Klan and skin heads or whatever, but still most of my closest friends are white. People are people and you will always have good ones and bad ones. The people in your area aren't as dangerous as the people who put thoughts and feelings in your mind.

To my brothers and sisters who feel that there patience has been pushed to the boiling point...I understand you too. Inequality is not only in the news, it's in job applications, main stream media, etc. I can name 20 recent movies that destroy the image of black people in one form or another. These things used to make me so upset that I couldn't sit still. I was pulled over 40 times within 5 years and I never made a traffic infraction. The worst part about it, is when I told most of my friends, they dismissed it like it wasn't even real.

Racism is very real and it is very prevalent in many areas. But after I started to take a good long look at it, I found that it was only a distraction. I wanted to live a life that had more meaning than just another angry black man. For me the answer was to dig into the great gifts that God had given me, which lead me to Asia. It may not be the right choice for everyone, but man can help get the chip off your shoulder. When you leave your country it's like you leave yourself long enough to decide who you really are. Of course you deal with issues wherever you go, but at least I won't worry about my son getting shot.

Yes America has many problems and I have to say that Zimmerman doesn't even make it to the top 50 of what's really going on. There are hundreds of thousands of missing children yearly, they don't even talk about the people living in tent cities anymore, the debt is unreal, drones are in the sky, millions of women are raped and we need to drug kids to make them "fit" into our education system. Looking at it from a kung fu perspective..America is only one move away from checkmate.

This is not the time for us to be fighting amongst ourselves. This is the time for us to be united like we never have before. Do not be upset just because the TV says it's time to be upset. Stay focused. Hold your stance. Don't get caught by the okie-doke.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Online Tip Training

The videos made for online students will come with a set of instructions that will clarify and help focus student training on this site.


This site is also open for question on the training videos so please feel free to let me know what you need.

Sunday, June 23, 2013


After the warring period ended in China all of the martial arts were forced to take a dramatic change of direction. With new forms of war already being adopted, the use martial arts in terms of combat began to take a back seat. Being that kung fu was always of a secret nature it continued to pass through the hands of smaller circles, but the masses for the most part, were left in the dark of what martial arts is.

On the other hand, the Beijing Opera, novels and eventually film continued to use the martial arts as a form of entertainment. Initially Chinese opera was used to tell stories of heroic individuals and their amazing feats on the battlefield. These actors and entertainers had to be extremely skillful in the martial arts in order to perform many of their dramatic events. They began their training as children and would endure many hardships that most martial artist wouldn't even have to face on the battle field. An example of an exceptional individual who emerged from this training would be Jackie Chan.

As cruel as the training was and as impressive as the movements are these entertainers were never training martial arts in order fight. Yet for the most part, all of the movements that they adopted into their repertoire were taken from techniques used for actual combat. So when you watch a kung fu movie many times you are seeing real attacks and defenses in an artificial scenario. When the human mind sees the artificial orchestration our subconscious rejects the ideas as reality.

Over the years in addition to film, martial arts styles themselves have also adopted a need to be more "beautiful" for an audience. Acrobats, gymnastics and dance have all been incorporated to give people the most magnificent show. Many martial artists who practice for the sake of entertainment have very little idea of when or how the movements are used. In my mind these films, novels and incorrect depictions are no longer a form of entertainment, but a road block for the viewers true understanding of martial arts and beauty.

In the world of consumerism "what seems good" has been labeled more valuable than truth. A modern day choreographer would say, "What works in a fight, doesn't look good on film". Being that most choreographers have never even been in a fight, what do they know about what works and what doesn't? Their ideas were based on the ideas of their teachers and predecessors who were all only training for fiction. I know that many of you fellow martial artists agree with me when I say that true beauty is in the effectiveness of the movement. We have all seen many movements that are for combat that have left us with a deep sense of awe. The audience would be left with the same feeling because their subconscious would understand this is something that they could do too.The truth will also be more powerful and more beautiful than what seems good. But sadly the truth is harder to reproduce for it can not be acted out in a film, but must be displayed by a true hero.

Martial arts is only a mirror of life and as it goes through this transition of truth to fantasy so will all things. Just as music used to be something that was designed to inspire people to become more. All forms of music used to be lead by heroes of many creeds and none of them sounded alike. Whether it was the blues, hip hop, rock, heavy metal and so on, these songs were written by individuals who believed in what they were singing. It was odd for them to sing or perform a song written by someone else. Now we watch shows with singers because they have "the voice".

Education has grown from showing people how to learn and think on their own to testing and more testing. Politics has become more interested in getting more votes than actually trying to make the country better. Our food is so loaded with preservatives that many of us don't even know what the original flavor tastes like anymore.The rate of unemployment is actual counted by the amount of people who collect unemployment checks. Once someone is no longer eligible to collect unemployment checks for whatever reason, on paper they are considered employed, thus making the employment rate tolerable on paper. If a boxer wins dozens of fights against opponents that are not threatening to his career, he is a "paper champion". Just as the reality we live in could be called a "paper reality."

Yes I know there is a reason and "need" for many of the changes happening in our society. But there is a serious danger that lies in the continual acceptance of this paper reality. In terms of martial arts, people actually believe that sport fighting is actual fighting and the most lethal form of martial arts is make-believe. What was once used by assassins and body guards is being overwhelmed with poor entertainment and misinformation. Do you believe that sport fighting is what's gonna save a little girl from an adult man? Martial arts was actually intended for the weaker people to protect themselves from the strong, not for muscle men to prove how many hits they can take. The more hits you take, the slower your wit becomes which is essential in terms of actual survival.

If people don't become aware of the truth in time, martial arts along with our reality, will go the way of the dinosaur.

What do you think will happen to music if people care more about the image than the sound? Love, which is sacrifice, is slowly being replaced with momentary passion. Honor and respect has rapidly been replaced with business achievements. Beauty is being replaced with name brands and cosmetics. In fact happiness all together is being replaced with some form of financial success. Science uses evolution which is an Egyptian religion. Data has been replaced with media and internet. Your very thinking has been replaced with mainstream news and network commercials.

Since it has become more important to be entertained than to be involved, our lives have become a mere series of infinite distractions. We need to wake up with coffee, drink alcohol to dance, wear make up to be attractive and watch sports games to be excited.

With all of these illusions that we hide behind, you would think that we all hate the reality of our lives. Do we? Is coming home and having a conversation with your family really so miserable? Have we actually grown to hate the person on the other side of the mirror? Are you continually overlooked and underestimated because of the way you walk and talk?

Well maybe I am the only person to tell you this today, but I will say it again and again until it finally sinks in through your brain and into the depth of your soul. You are a masterpiece. You are a master piece designed by the Master of masters who knows every hair on your head and every thought in your heart. Yes you are different from others just as a hippo is different from a giraffe. You may not have the same desires as your friends or a figure that is popular, but damn it you are the perfect you. You have been given dominion over all things on the planet. You have a specific quest for your life that no one will understand but you.

Just as the real martial arts is far more powerful and beautiful than the fantasy martial arts, you are more powerful and beautiful than the entertainers and commercials that tell you how to live. You just have to define yourself from the paper self that is continually being created and decorated in your subconscious. We pretend that we like some things for so long that we actually believe we like them, while at the same time rejecting the the little things that make the real us. The paper you may fit in well in a paper society, but it's only a matter of time before reality comes in and cuts you to shreds with the blades of a bad relationship  or you get burned up with stress.

How do we distinguish ourselves from the paper? Well it's the same as understanding the difference of martial arts entertainment and martial arts. Remember that the movements themselves are real. Just as the things that you desire in your life whether it be a house, a job or a spouse are very real things. The only true difference is the system or method in which each technique is used. How you obtain what you desire will define your character.

In a martial arts movie they will often use big and extravagant movements in order to create the idea of power. Just as we believe we need the fancy cars and large wardrobes in order to have true comfort. But real martial arts isn't about fancy movements or even about how many people you can defeat. Its about spending enough time with yourself that you can accept who you truly are in the most honest fashion.

When you practice your techniques daily you will first have lots of doubts in your mind. Is my movement correct? Was that punch fast enough? Is my weight in the right place? After enough time passes you stop hearing the questions and begin to become your technique. The seasons change around you and you may become more aware of your progress. But even when progress is not evident you come into an understanding of what your doing. The things that used to be so important have suddenly thinned into something of a superficial substance. On every good day or bad day you are still practicing the same techniques as you enter into a reality that only you understand. Something substantial but invisible to the eye and unexplainable to your even your closest friends.

Your desires are nothing different in bringing them to reality. You must first remove any goal that is related to a physical gain because they mostly tend to be distractions. It's the same as doing martial arts only to get a black belt. Once you get your belt...you will surely quit.  Don't focus on weight loss, more money or anything that would appear to have an artificial ending. Your soul is eternal because you are the breath of God and these paper goals will only act as excuses or obstacles for the next step in your journey. Whatever your desire is, you must allow yourself time to fall in love with the process.

It may be something that you have no talent for. It may be something that makes no financial sense. It can likely be something that few to no people have done. But it is something that continues to whisper quietly to you when you are calm. Why don't you draw? Don't you want to learn a language? Maybe I should just do things differently.

Don't worry about the direction of these ideas. Jesus said don't worry about tomorrow. You won't know what step two is until you begin step one. These true dreams will surprise you just as much as everyone else when you get going. This single desire may spawn into many, and the many back into one. Explore all of the options that you are called to and let them sculpt you into your true image.

This is the very point of your existence so you honestly have nothing to lose. You will either suffer your whole life for chasing your dream or suffer your whole life for not chasing your dream. But your dream is the only reality that matters for it is the compass that God has given you for your joy. Don't focus on what you will obtain, but on who you will become. And you will become a magnet for the material things that you specifically need. If you seek companionship don't go to the club, go to your path and find the one that counts.

Let go of all the artificial necessities long enough to grip your own identity. It's fine to dress up and party...in fact I recommend a good dose of regular fun and relaxation. The first miracle of Jesus was to turn water into wine. Does this sound like a man who doesn't want to get the party started? But you shouldn't be afraid to be with yourself in a quiet room. You shouldn't be embarrassed to look in the mirror without makeup. You shouldn't be bored cause there is nothing on TV. Don't be scared to stand up just because everyone is sitting down. Don't listen to the paper opinions of the confused people around you. The truth may be unusual, but it will certainly set you free.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Online Students, Peers, Kung fu Brothers and Sisters

In an attempt to further my ability to show Bagua to those who are unable to find teachers in their area I have been making a series of online videos. The videos are an attempt to teach to those who will dedicate themselves to really reaching out for the art. However a video alone is a very one sided classroom. Any class without the ability to ask questions  for clarification will have a hard time meeting the students needs.

Especially if the classroom is as wide as the globe, with all different ages, countries and creeds participating. So what I hope to encourage is that you continually ask me questions about movements in the video or anything at all. Even when learning Bagua face to face, it is impossible to explain what is happening in only a 2 hour session. There are a lot of things happening all at the same time. I encourage you to contact me often in regards to your training. Even if you don't purchase a video but have questions that I may be able to answer, I am happy to. Yes I am busy...but helping people become superheroes is always a priority.

Hit me up on warriorfox@gmail.com...or under my facebook Robert Jay Arnold.

Whether you learn from me in a class, seminar or on a video, it is very important that you are really grasping the concepts. There are no stupid questions and every student relationship is personal...so it is not a hassle. Thank you. Keep training.

P.S.  I have also had many students send me videos of their training. This is the best way for me to see what problems you are facing. Thanks.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Online Video 2 Power Training and Circle walking

This video for online learners teaches the full Ba Da Gang for Gao Style. This means you will have twelve movements to practice from the circle that will act as an energy and power enhancement to everything else you do. You could think of it as weight training for your internal energy. This training will revitalize your health as well as make you more combat effective.

This video is 73 minutes. Even though there is more information in this video, the price is the same as the last. 30 US dollars.

It is not necessary to have the first video in order to purchase this one. It stands alone as great for both health and learning beginning combat just as the first video. But the first video of the Heaven Sections first 8 movements plus this video will give you a more complete understanding of where your training is going. Hope you enjoy.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Rules of Creation

In my early days of training my father often reminded me that one of the best ways to make efficient progress was to practice the movements in my mind. As a child it seemed strange that somehow thinking of a movement would increase my physical ability, but as time passed I came to find that my thoughts and ideas not only assisted my movements, they also came to shape the core of my being.

These mental mechanics can escape us so easily as we are a society that tends to want to see "proof" of everything. But everything that is physical, at one point was only a thought. God first saw the world in his mind, then he spoke and then it existed. This is a three step process that we must all undergo in order to create anything. In fact if a teacher uses only grades as proof of his student's progress, then the teacher will fail to have a true relationship with the student, which of course is "faith" in that individual.

If you wish to design a car it must start as an idea. It then grows from an idea into drawings, diagrams and eventually a full fledged physical automobile. All of the functions of the car have to have been thought out carefully in order for it to "appear" in the physical world. The process of making something into a reality from an idea state is faith. If a car company begins to develop a car but loses faith in the idea, then the funding is cut and the project is scrapped and it ceases to become a reality.

In terms of training it is important to first truly identify the technique. For training is a form of creation or recreation of your existing mental process. When you first practice a movement your mind registers the discomfort in the body as "pain". As we practice daily it is evident what is hidden inside of the pain of the new techniques is progress of strength, reactions and dexterity. The brain being a muscle is directly affected by the progress of the body. In time what the mind considered to be "pain" has now become a form of power. The brain then replaces the form of pain or discomfort, with pleasure and comfort.

The recreation of self through practice is standard for any form of exercise. However in terms of kung fu, many people often forget that the individual is just as important as the style. No style can exist without a practitioner who preserves the movements. This means that two systems will attempt to become one. Both the martial arts system and the mental processing system of the practitioner must find a balanced and honest blend.

If you have been following my blog then you will know that the way my mind identifies martial arts is combat. I'm not interested in any movements that i can't apply directly to my life. Without the intent of combat behind the movement, I am just not interested. However after 30 years my definition of combat has seeped more deeply into my brain and my understanding of self defense has expanded from physical movements to everything in the universe.

I feel that life is all a form of combat for your own identity in some sense. If someone tells you, "You should wear these types of clothes" or "grow your hair longer." They have made an offensive movement toward your character. Bigger offensive movements may sound like, "You shouldn't study that subject" or "skinny is pretty."

The suggestions themselves won't do any damage, but just as fighting, it is how you react to the movement that determines the outcome. If you are continually pummeled with offensive movements, then it is only a matter of time before you are cornered. Evasive action is needed to keep you from taking damage to your true dreams and identity. But if you don't know who you are, how can you take evasive action? Some offensive movements or suggestions made by an opponent  might be just what you need to put yourself in a place of power, while others can corner you and force you into a lifestyle that is without joy.

So both while you are training and going through your daily routine you must be able to identity power. In the internal styles the first step to finding power is standing still. Standing still for a long period of time is the only thing that an animal can not do. Yet as we stand still we begin to learn to quiet the mind. Giving us a mirror of clarity that allows us to plant the seeds of our dreams. In life we must not be afraid to be still and find ourselves. When you sit still long enough, the ideas you had as a kid begin to resurface. These ideas can never leave you because they are the pattern sketched on your soul. The first step to understanding happiness and combat is to identify yourself. What is your art and what is your dream?

The next step is even trickier because we need to understand how the movement or technique is done. This reflects on our own lives as a sense of purpose. When a movement comes at me, I need to know how to move in a favorable position. Therefore I must use all of the advantages in the system of my art. If he attacks with the right hand, I can intercept, block, trap or parry depending on my positioning and the velocity of the strike. In all of the styles there are many choices of attack, but you yourself have your own choices which may or may not agree with the style. If ever you and your style have a disagreement it can cause you to hesitate or freeze. If you lack understanding of the options of your style, you will also likewise use panic as your reaction.

Have you seen those videos online wear someone claims to be using a style like Bagua or Wingchun or whatever...but when the fight takes place it looks like kickboxing? Some folks can only hold on to their style until they take the first hit...then the system goes out of the window.

This occurrence of course is quite natural. It means that your survival instincts have taken over your thinking, making you react in the most natural fashion. Yet the entire goal of the training is to make my style become my reactions. So if you can't hold your style after the fight takes place, you need to either train more, train better or find a new style that your mind wants to work with.

However do not give up on a movement or idea because it seems difficult. As Bruce Lee said, The goal is natural unnaturalness or unnatural naturalness." In order to find the blend of yourself and your style you are going to have to research both. In terms of movements you need to take it up a notch. Practice the technique while someone is punching at you from multiple angles. Practice against two or three individuals using the same technique. Practice on a surface that weakness the effectiveness of the technique and force it be effective. Practice the same technique with a weapon, with a projectile. If you take a hit in training, stick to the technique. The mind will eventually identify the technique as the most natural response and it will act as a reactionary enhancement that you will no longer need to think about.

In terms of how this training reflects in your life you must be willing to hold onto your dream at all times. If you have a job that is discouraging spend time on your dream before work or after. Even time just thinking about it will continue to give you the strength to pursue. Be assured you are going to take hits. People are going to tell you every reason why you can't be you. "It's too hard", "it cost too much", "you aren't good enough".  Take the hits (forgive), stay in your stance(pray), Look for an attack (practice)

The first step of creation is to identify, the second is the method and the last is the reason. Why do you train this style? Why are you alive?

This is may sound like a deep philosophical question but the answer is really quite simple. I mentioned the seeds of your thoughts can bring things into a reality through faith. I also mentioned that those seeds are the pattern sketched on your soul. Well perhaps it's more clear when you realize that you yourself are a seed. Even the smallest seed is already completed with what it was designed for. It simply needs water.

I feel this is the most important and yet most dangerous factor when it comes to being true to your dream or your art. I could explain to you all the benefits of being a martial artist as it regards to health, strength and discipline.I'm sure you guys are all well familiar with the advantages of learning martial arts. Still I think it's important for you to realize that you don't need to justify your reason to train everyday. You don't need to have a reason to do Bagua or a reason to do the job you've always dreamed of. If something is in your heart, it's in your heart. Once you understand why you are fighting, you become much more effective in terms of how you fight.

We are all seeds with a specific design to do what we were planted for. If you plant an apple tree it's not going to grow pears. No matter how much you try to ignore the great ideas that call at you from within, you SHOULD become what your heart desires most. Because an apple tree never had the option of becoming a pear tree. The only options any tree has is to bear its own fruit...or to not bear fruit.

Of course there are weeds, predators, countless dangerous and mass confusion that is suffocating the world's hopes. They've tricked all the hummingbirds into believing that they can one day become a giraffe through hard work and a lot of money. Meaning that most of us will live unfruitful lives by confusion alone.

Someone who has always wanted to teach may refuse the job because it doesn't pay enough money. This leaves the classroom of students with a teacher who may be qualified but doesn't enjoy the job as she finds the easiest way to get through the day. Even if this teacher wanted to do a good job it would be impossible because the testing system that has already been proven ineffective is the cheapest and the easiest to use. The students end up spending a lot of money on a poor education system in a miserable classroom. Of course none of that matters cause the school is downsizing their staff because they are losing money.

No matter what kind of seed you are or where you live if you are able to identify the truth you will see that we were born in a war. At every corner there could be a legion of bad ideas that are just waiting to cut you and your dream to shreds. If you fight this battle alone you may at times feel that you are still surviving. Yet the point is not just to survive. Your destiny is to flourish your every idea across the land. You should take your new ideas and concept boldly before all you care to show.

The only way to flourish is to understand that true power is not in the illusion of our lives, but in the truth. People have been duped into believing that because there are so many belief systems that we are free to believe what we want. Yet what we believe will NEVER change the reality.

Do you believe that if you choose not to believe in Math, that it will cease to exist? If someone chooses not to believe in Science, will he be able to escape it's laws? The truth is if you want your seeds to grow, in the chaos of our society, you must receive living water through Christ. It's not a religion, it's not a belief, it's just a fact like Math and Science. Choosing not to believe in any of these realities will only make you more confused of your own identity. The Designer only wants you to do what you've always dreamed of. The truth is the only thing real in this lifetime is your dream.

Friday, May 17, 2013

My Kung Fu Hustle

Allow me a moment to self reflect on many of the concerns I have with spreading Bagua to the next generation. Feel free to follow along as I make a track to record the changes I've undergone through the years of training. Sometimes I write post for you guys and others I write them for myself. 

Before my father enlisted into the military, he was the golden gloves boxing champion of Cincinnati. Although my father was a great boxer, he was an even better hustler. In fact, boxing was one of his many hustling strategies and tools. At that time a man who couldn't fight, couldn't be free to hustle. Hustle basically means, street survival through any skill or tact that you can add to your arsenal. Whether you use pool, cards, fighting, words or even music, the more skills you have, the more free you become. 

My father's friend, Lee, who he met in the military was into Taekwondo. He once witnessed Lee defeat multiple people at the same time, a feat that proved often too difficult for boxing. It was this event that triggered my dad's interest for the martial arts. Being able to protect yourself in multiple dangerous scenarios gives you the confidence to live a freer life.

Years before we were even born, it was already fated, that me and my two brothers would have to learn both martial arts and how to hustle.

When I was four my martial arts training officially began. My father's training regiment was borderline abusive, but effective.

"Today you and your brother don't leave this room until you do a thousand kicks." He said to me and Aaron as our eyes widened.

" A thousand?!" We both said in disbelief. He gazed at us seriously for a half of second before my brother and I answered quicklly.

"Yes Sir." 

 Training was never optional, but it felt like the most fun of all the daily chores. Still being a kid, I didn't like being forced to concentrate. In addition my two brothers seemed to be far better because they were older in age. Though I practiced every day, I didn't like martial arts.

I got in my first fight when I was five against an eight year old. I was finding out that growing up in a town that supported the rights of the KKK, martial arts was going to have to be a day to day necessity for a black kid. The Klan had there "peaceful" marches that were often displayed on TV. But their kids went to school with us, where they fully expressed their true feelings.

The first three times I got called nigger, were the first three fights of my life. As my martial arts skill continued to increase, so did the people I had to fight at once. If I beat one, they would come back with two and then more. This would all  usually go down before 6th period. So for the sake of peace or rest, some days when I got called "nigger", I pretended not to hear it.

As I got older the frays only got more serious. In every situation I was able to use basic Taekwondo as a means of survival. I could see the obvious power of martial arts from an early age. Even though we were continually in a dangerous environment, practicing thousands of kicks a day had made us more dangerous than our environment.

I was surprised that when I came into a Taekwondo school, they weren't truly preparing for combat. They had amazing techniques and all were very applicable to combat. But it seemed that the mind of the students never left the dojang. So me and my brothers used the Taekwondo school much as a library and our real studying began at home. In short we beat each other up, so that outsiders never could.

My two older brothers were also my kung fu brothers. We helped each other prepare for possible problems that we could run into.

"If you don't snap that leg back after you kick, someone is gonna keep it." Ed reminded me while training.

"If you sweep someone on gravel, they have no traction." Aaron suggested while showing me how to sweep. As he crouched and swept with the rear leg, his shoe left a perfect black and gray rainbow on the concrete.

Though we had gotten into many fights at school, it wasn't the fighting that was really making us better. It was the practice time we utilized between fighting. Our mind was always geared toward being able to completely utilize the effectiveness of the technique. The first step was learning how to do the technique and the next step is when. However a more important question would come to me farther down the road. Why?

One day at school I turned and saw a few kids standing a few lockers down smirking at me. The look of disgust told me all I needed to know about their feelings. I didn't have to guess what they would say, "Nigger."

As they said it I put my bag down and prepared to square off. Out of no where my brother Aaron flew down the hall with a flying side kick hitting the boy in the chest. The kid slammed against the locker reaching for his breath as the other kid ran off.

"One kick and the boy never got back up." I said at the dinner table bragging to my parents about Aaron's achievement.

"Well that's what the kick was made for." My father explained. "It's hard to connect with in the ring, but easy to use over a bush."

You could say that the core of my martial arts philosophy was seeded with concepts of survival and reality. My reality taught me that I had to use the best movement for each battle, not the prettiest. But there were times when I would get in a fight and I stepped outside of myself and just watched it take place. I could see my self slip a punch just before delivering a kick to the stomach. Then turn just in time to kick the bully behind me in the heart. I finished the two off with a two-punch combination to one side and a three-punch to the other. As I ran off I would re-enter myself. I didn't fight pretty, but he end result was beautiful.

"If you chew on cinnamon gum and spit it in the eyes it's like mace." Aaron told me at the table.

"If you act scared, you delay their reaction time and get the first shot." Ed told me.

"Don't use any technique that you haven't practiced at least a thousand times." My dad confirmed. 

In high school we all began doing different styles.  I started teaching a self defense class at the nearby university with my brother Eddie. At this time I was also practicing various other styles from Chinese, Filipino Korean and Japanese. I felt an instant connection with ninjitsu because of its focus on survival and awareness. We moved to a much better town where fighting was no longer a common occurrence. But no matter what I was training, it was impossible to pull my mind out of survival mode.

As I walked around I counted exits, possible weapons, possible dangers, people's emotions etc.
To my surprise I was able to transfer over martial arts into my day to day activities.

"Your paper was really good Rob." My English Teacher told me. "You don't have any formal teaching?"

"Actually kind of." I began to explain. "The objective in the paper in my mind is just a form of attack or offense. My defense would be using the correct structure you taught me so I don't stray too far from the target. Every sentence is a combination of attacks that need to be fast and too the point. All combinations must come together to make a connecting strategy." I finished while noticing the confused look on his face.

"I don't know what you are doing about, but keep doing it." He smiled.

What I was finding out was that I had to keep doing it. I was clearly already addicted to martial arts. Still now that I wasn't fighting, I didn't know what I was training for. 

Every Friday night there was a fight competition at the university between various martial artists. We went there often to clean up our styles and better prepare ourselves. It was basically like an MMA club, before MMA was invented. It was fun to fight against different styles and use the strategies that I had been working on.

I watched from the side and stretched as my brother was fighting with grappler who was built like a brick. Ed used a bit of foot work as he stepped back and belted him across the jaw with a roundhouse kick. The grappler stumbled to one knee and looked up asking, "Did you just kick my face?"

It turned out that most people weren't used to seeing our style of fighting.  I beat up some individuals so quickly that they told me it was choreographed.

'That only works in movies." Someone from the side said. I never minded those kinds of comments...actually it was a great compliment.

Later I won a few big competitions and even became a champion. During this process I noticed I had to continually "nerf" my movements so that they could be competition friendly.

Well I knew that "competition friendly" had nothing to do with combat. It wasn't the rules as much as the situation that was completely unrealistic. What are the chances I'm gong to find an enemy in a padded room, no weapons, one on one in front of a crowd of people?

A real fight only happens when they think they have the advantage. If you are a bigger guy like myself, no one is going to find you alone or without a weapon of some sort.

I also felt that my martial arts was a gift I was given for protection and as a means of seeing more deeply into myself. It was a precious gem that God used to open many blessings in my life. It had more value than my ego or the curiosity of an audience. It had changed my life and therefore I would use it to change lives. Nothing felt more righteous than striking a man in defense of my life. Yet nothing felt more empty than striking a man for a prize.

"Fighting to show people how strong you are is vanity." I said to my brothers.

"Most people only use martial arts for military, performance and sport fighting. Even a bank robber has more purpose." Eddie joked.

As God would have it my pastor was also a serious  martial artist in his time. In fact he himself fled the martial arts because he had seen too much of the darker arts while he was in China training.

"Those things they do are of an evil nature. Feats that can only be done through rituals." He said to me one Sunday.

I couldn't deny what he was saying because I had already heard stories from other masters and witnessed a spiritual connection. I knew that dragons symbolized the fallen angels in the scriptures and that the culture of martial arts or war itself was surrounded by dragons. In fact many of the styles I studied came to a halt because they were doing things no longer related to the training of the art, but some form of "ritual".

Still even then I knew all good things come from Heaven. What martial arts had already done in my life, was certainly good. Therefore I would accept the goodness God delivered to me and continued even deeper into my training.

When I was about 20 years old my training had reached a place that my progress became difficult to gauge. Though I continued to train and teach daily, I had this unquenchable desire to know more. I learned Chinese because I felt I may never reach a full understanding of the martial arts if all the information I collected was second hand.

Luckily I found that learning language was almost identical to learning martial arts. It was going to take a long time, so I might as well do as much as I can in one day. This type of attitude can burn you out on most projects, but I was blessed with such an amazing interest in Chinese, that 6 hours of study went by like a minute.

I would write thousands of Chinese characters while watching Chinese movies back to back in the library. My friends and  the Tianwudao  always knew where to find me in the library. As I watched a scene of two Chinese martial artists running across the water I sighed. I wondered if martial arts was inherently going to lead me to a place of dark rituals and demonic traditions.

Then it suddenly hit me that Jesus walked on the water in the midst of a storm. When they first saw him they were afraid. But Jesus spoke to them and said, "Be of good cheer for I have come."
Peter's response to this was, "If it is you my lord, command me to walk on the water to meet you."

"Come" Jesus responded.

Peter walked on the water to meet Jesus. Then he saw the wind was boisterous and he was afraid and began to sink. Jesus immediately reached out his hand, "Oh Ye of little faith, why do you  doubt?"

As I analyzed this story in my mind I realized that they saw Jesus on the water and were afraid because he was doing the impossible.

After Peter recognized him, he basically says  "If you are Jesus, you can make me do the impossible too."

The key being to first recognize Jesus in the situation and have faith that he can do all things for you. 

Next came the key point to this conversation for me. Jesus doesn't hesitate when we ask if we can do the impossible. He says immediately, "Come."

As Peter walked on the water, he looked away from Jesus and at the wind. How many people can actually see wind? It didn't say that Peter felt wind, or experienced being blown around and started to sink. He saw wind. He saw a problem that was not even truly there. Though he was already walking on water and doing the impossible he began to look into the problems that Jesus would never allow to touch him.

After all the blunders and problems me and my family were delivered from, it was obvious we had already been walking on water. So I made up my mind to ignore the wind and fears that would never come my way and keep doing the impossible.

In Asia I began to understand all the idles that were talked about in the bible. Yes, they were all built in an older period of time, but what could have spawned such creations.

"This one here can hear every thing you say. And that big blue one can see everything you do. People make offers so that they have their protection." An older Chinese woman happily explained the massive statues in front of me. I am very open minded, but it looked identical to how....demons look. 

 In fact many of the rituals that should be done to "protect" yourself involved the worship and offerings of many strange creatures.

I didn't let any of that bother me though, I just enjoyed my training and made sure my focus was always in the right place. When I was about 23 I met my Master Wu Guo Zheng. I was overjoyed as I was completely smothered in all of the kung fu secrets I had been looking for. There were so many ways to power up and manipulate the body, that many would think it was witchcraft, but it was all science. By putting the body in the correct position you would be able to generate more power than what seemed to be "humanly possible".

It was so precise that it expanded my mind in the way I saw all things. I realized that hip hop, film, dance, writing and other skills continually improved along with this expansion of my mind. I read over 100 novels in Chinese and the more I asked God for, the more He exceeded my expectations.

When I asked him what he was training me for, He asked me where does martial arts come from?

I started researching heavily the writings and diagrams that my master had given me about the history of the style. I also became an unofficial translator for 20 different martial arts masters, giving me a chance to peer deeper into my understanding of what martial arts is.

All of the stories of the origin of the style seemed to always have a magical or strange introduction. It's true that Chinese history is filled with legends and tall tales that mix with the history completely leaving it unable to decipher truth. Yet what I had been learning myself in the martial arts, was so frighteningly effective, that no one could have just "come up with it".

I also discovered many of the martial arts were derived or involved in war and massive killings.  Looking at all the rituals, historical killings and large stone idols, it was apparent this information was given to us through fallen angels. Another one of the many poisonous gifts given to us for our destruction.

Unable or unwilling to answer God at the time, I found myself training in the underground subway in Taipei. After 4 years of Bagua I was pleased that I was getting better, but was no where near where I wanted to be. Just then a strange-looking fellow came by,

"What are you training? Looks like Bagua." He said.

"It is." I said waiting for him to follow up on his question. He spoke English just fine, but it felt very....serpenty? He just seemed to slither around when he walked and he kept calling me master.

"I can show you real power." When he said this something in my spirit went off and I looked into his eyes. It was almost as his eyes were merely dark windows pretending to be human.

"I already have real power in Christ." I told him. As he heard the name he turned his head, but still came by from time to time when I was training.

"Master! I know some new secrets that will help you control more than just your body." He said again as I wiped the sweat from my brow.

"If it's something that God wants me to have, then He will show it to me." I said more adamant than our first encounter. He left me with some strange writings in Chinese. I approached both my master and my kung fu doctor with the information. My kung fu doctor has seen every type of kung fu that there is. If he hasn't seen it, he researches it within the minute. To my surprise he answered,

"Never seen it. This isn't kung fu related."

The third time he met me I wasn't training. I was in a cafe with Ronin talking Tianwudao business. He came to me again even more pushy than before.

"Look, I live my life for Jesus. I don't need anything else." I said quite loudly.

"Come on you can't let Jesus control your life." He tried to say calming me.

"Yes I can. And I will." I said sharply, killing any hope he had left of tempting me. That was the last time I saw him.

"Who was that dude?" Ronin asked.

"Im not sure." I responded. "But I think he was trying to tempt me into eating the forbidden fruit."

Something about the way I said forbidden fruit that continued to ring in my ears on the way home that night. Even after I finished watching TV, the world just kept rolling around. Then I pondered on how the snake tempted Eve to eat the fruit. Yet he didn't create it. In fact the devil only borrows things that God makes and copies then perverts it. I suddenly answered aloud,

"You made martial arts Father. You made all things."

In this confession I felt a rest come over me, just as a father had given his son permission to go out and play.

"What are you training me for?" I asked God again before closing my eyes.

"Everything that you want" He whispered as I dozed off.

Though we may eat freely the fruit from any tree, there are always two sides to ever coin. When you give credit to the rightful owner of your gifts they will multiply. 

Martial Arts can be used for all things, just as money can be used to purchase nearly everything. Competition helped me understand fighting spirit and performance helped me learn confidence and precision. Yet there are millions of ways martial arts can be used not only practiced. In my eyes it is as if the world is using a computer like a calculator. If martial arts doesn't meet with more outlets in 10 years the very spirit of the art may pass away.

The spirit of combat goes far beyond just entertaining others or fighting a war. The spirit of combat is what gives you the nerve to talk to the girl you have a crush on. It gives you the wit to finish projects early. It is the ability to defend yourself from every type of harm.

The key being SELF- defense. If  you learn martial arts to defend yourSELF. Then you must have an understanding of SELF. Who are you? What is it that you need to protect? Many martial artist have become like a gigantic safe or vault. They are completely defended and protected, but they are still unaware of the contents inside the vault. If you have built a safe that is strong enough to protect your dream, then it is your obligation to go out and follow that dream. Don't let anyone confuse you or trick you into losing sight of your goal. Train to be strong enough, to be yourself.

I fight so that I can protect the right to be ME. If I want to dance, I'll dance, sing I'll sing, make a movie, I'll make a movie. I fight so that I won't be intimidated by the winds that continually try to scare me off the path to achieve the impossible. If I don't get hired by a company, it's their loss, if I run out of money, I'll find more. I use martial arts to find the weaknesses in business and the strategy of politics. By the grace of God martial arts is my tool to hustle. And as for my next step in how I will pass on Bagua....expect the impossible.