Sifu’s Birthday

9 01 2007

Eng SifuI was so jazzed about getting my MacBook yesterday however I did not get a chance to play with it. In fact I did not even open the box once I got home.

I had cancelled my class for the evening in order to go to Sifu’s (Sensei) birthday party. The school is a little over 1 hour drive from my place. I was not sure what time they were going to start, so I guessed around 7 or so. I took care of a few things at home, not opening the computer…:-) and hit the road.

I got there fairly quick as I was just behind the rush hour traffic. There was class going on so I could have come later, oh well. Sifu was giving some combat drills to a couple of students the others were doing forms. I watched and listen to him covering some things about cutting inside of a punch and angles, always interesting. Once he told the student, ok, I’m going to do something , you be sure to move back. He was explaining, touch and respond, and this fist just flashed at the guys face. Lucky he was ready and moved. Surprising how fast he is even at 67 or something.

He continued with some of the other students. As we had time before the dinner started, I grabbed a sword and went to practice with a couple of the students, even though I was not dressed for it, I could still do some reviews. It was good to brush up on a few things, then just some tai chi practice on my own.

After a while the food showed up, the BBQ grill was fired up . I was told not to worry there was plenty of veggie stuff prepared for me and another couple of veggieheads in the house. Sifu broke out some really good smooth conagic and I joined him in the office for a few shots and chatting whilst dinner was being prepared. We all gave him a toast then some went back to practice, cooking and we just chilled.

One of the fun and interesting things about Sifu is he knows a lot of traditional Chinese history and generally has something to relate about Taoist tradition and now practices.
Sometimes about Sigung (the grandmaster) or some kung fu history.

After a bit it was chow time, we ate, sang happy birthday and had some delicious cake.
It was a good evening, I got to practice some, review, learned something, had fellowship with my schoolmates & Sifu.

One of the things I admire about Sifu’s school and Sisooks school is how their students give him such depth of respect and have a sense of brotherhood. Yet both are very humble, though COMPLETELY different personalities. Sifu is very low key an quiet, Sisook is very out going lets say 🙂
I wonder if it is the type or quality of the students or the men, most likely both. a matching of styles. Sifu’s students I could not see them studying for long with Si-Sook and visa versa . There is though something about the students, their mind set. I had a student, Chinese who was like that about, our school and me, she still calls me Sifu but no longer trains, I miss her. She still comes to our Federation functions though and we have contact. I have a current student another female from South America who is close to that same sense of student/teacher/school respectfullness energy. Hard to put in words. If she continues to study will most likely be my first black belt, out of some 20 yrs teaching. My other couple of students, Americans, one guy is somewhat there, but not there, but shows at times the light of it in his ideas. The other student, she is there in way as far as supporting the school and system, but not another. Perhaps it is a hard balance. Many times Sifu and Sisook have remarked on the difficulty in finding dedicated students. It takes a long time to find such students. Lady Zen feels that most people who study martial arts for a long time are a bit “henjing” (strange) but not in a bad way just different from your everyday type of person. So perhaps the few who are with it long term are from some former life reborn again into this let’s say non-American philosophy life style. Therefore they subconsciously understand the “family” traditional respect involved. I’m not sure what I want to put my finger on here. Other than it is hard to find and a blessing to have good students who are studying more than just some thing to do or something cool to stay in shape and treat their studies and school as more than just a place they pay money to go to to learn how to do self defense.

The next party gathering is Chinese New Year in Feb. It is on a Sat so maybe the Lady Zen will come. I hope there is not conflict of schedules with the Walnut Creek school. Though I am connected to both, I have to go to Sifu’s…well because he’s my Sifu, I would lose much face. Even though technically he is my step-Sifu, I am adpoted. Huh, what is he talking about ??? Ok, I’ll explain. In Chinese tradition you can have only one Sifu per system. The word Sifu or Shrfu mean not only teacher but “father” and in keeping with that tradition we address same generations as Sihing ( brother) or teachers same generation as Sisook or Sibak ( younger or older Uncles). Eng Sifu is not my first Sifu I came to study with him after I was certified with another Sifu (see Las Vegas post). This other Sifu is not only his classmate, but they are related by blood. Anyway, after I left my first sifu to start teaching on my own. I moved to another part of the country. Later I moved again to Northern Cal. I asked permission to join Eng Sifu’s school to continue my training. Which I did on and off for several years. Later in time my original Sifu retired from teaching Kung fu and went on to other things. Around this time the Federation was born and to attend the special training your Sifu had to be attending as well, so all the training would be standardized. Since my original Sifu was retired from teaching and no longer cared about martial art matters. I was sponsored by Eng Sifu since I had been training with him and we had a relationship. Basically it meant that even though I was a certified Sifu, I for the most part needed to start at the bottom with the beginners. A test of more than just physical skills, but ego levels as well, some have failed. After working my way up past the stepchild from the “hollywood” school stigma,  with help from Eng Sifu and Wong Sisook, I am on the board of directors of said Federation.

Hmmm, I should drop a hint at the Walnut Creek school about Sifu’s New Years plan so there is no conflit…

I got home at 12:30 am

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One response

11 01 2007
f r a n k i e

Hello, I would be grateful if you could help me find out about the blind young Japanese man I met in Auckland back in 1996. How can I go about it? See entry 23 of Liyaninthesouthpacific. Best regards, frankie

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