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