Mantis Season – Pt-VI / Final day

28 07 2007

We made it! Everyone was fairly out of steam on the last day. It was the hottest day of the week, so that made things a bit more of a challenge. Surprisingly my legs were not as bad as I thought they would be on the last day. Maybe my rest on Thursday helped. I did spend a lot of time taking pictures not as much practicing. I did get some practice in though.

group shotAnyway first off was the group photo as is our tradition. Then some warm-up drills. After that we break into groups. The new first time seminar people have to work on BumBu. Which is the original Praying Mantis form. All the Praying Mantis systems use this form as their foundation. Next the new folks, work on single step drills and the applications. That is pretty much the week for them. The thing about going through the Bumbu form is everyone no matter how long they have been training has to go through this process. It is more than a matter of learning the form it is about seeing how humble one is, and their attitude. When I first attended the seminar I went through it, even through I was already a Sifu and had to learn with people just starting 6 mo before. I did it. There was another teacher from Washington state, would had learned from one of the 8th generation masters. He stayed only for a half day working on Bumbu before saying, I have nothing to learn here got upset and left. The Masters said good BYE! We do not need you. Kind of like that  sitting at the temple gate for a few days.wC application

The second group this year, was from the Walnut Creek, school. Sissok did not want them learning weapons but practicing their applications. So for the week they stayed inside and worked on application & technique drills. They really worked up a sweat!.

spearThe last group, Campbell & Boston we worked outside. Single step drills on Sword & Spear. Then worked on the two person combat form. There were a few close calls, but no blood. A couple of bangs, and pokes, but no blood was shed so it was good.

Finally…the FOOD time!!

foodFood was ordered from a Chinese restaurant locally. A friend of one of the Sihing’s, so the owner said he would take extra care in the preparation. It was great!, Even a lot of good vegetarian food !! Nice!! I was able to pig out. It is not really good to eat that late, that much, but, it is only once in a while and mostly veggie and tofu so it was light. I had a big plate so did not go back for seconds and thirds like some people. Only 1 glass of wine and I was good. The rest of the evening was social after we handed out the certificate of appreciation to the instructors of the week. Then cake…I took my piece home along with some plates of food for Lady Z as she was not up tocake making the trip down to the school. The cake was great! Light not too sweet with pineapple. I should have gotten and extra piece, but I need to watch my sugar so it was just as well, I used restraint.

So ended another memorial training seminar. They seem long while in the beginning of it, but short afterward. Now we plan for next year, as it goes rather quickly with life as full as it is. At some point in the not to far future I will be off to Japan, and unable to attend these events as often. It will be a different world. Perhaps through even sweeter to visit and remember the treasures, even at times of the sad visits, due to the passing of time…these are good times.

sword group







Federation logo

Mantis Season – Pt-V / day 3 evening

26 07 2007

Shin ni so! I’m dying. We all are really and I’m just being dramatic. My legs are pretty sore this evening of the 3rd day. I fared better than I thought I would today. I had a noticeable limp in the morning for a while and had to move slowly.

zen spear

After getting everything warmed up I functioned pretty well. Enough so that by the evening class even Sisook said I looked pretty good. Needless to say I was shocked to hear that. I was holding back for most of the day, pacing myself. There were a couple of times I needed to turn up the chi power, to jump or duck from something coming faster than I had planned. Toward the end of the 4 hr of practice, I could feel myself running out of steam I was glad it ended when it did. Anyway it all worked out. I did not get hurt or hurt anyone. The day out on the boat did not affect me much.. I’ll have to write about that later one the water site. (done)


Sisook said to the class, during warm-up, ok, this is the 3 day, you’re getting sore and tired, now is the time to push yourself! So it was reassuring mentally to know others, even the young ones were feeling it. 🙂 We all pushed on. That is the thing about group training, like group tai chi or group zazen, we feed off each others energy to hang on.

Overall Weds. was just another day of training. Review the old, practice the new, add some more moves.

Day 4-am, I am feeling fairly normal today, being jobless and able to sleep in a bit helped. I do have a bunch of work to do today for Sisook but I do not have to punch a clock on when I start…sweet.

Tonight is the last full night of training. On Friday we start late due to group pictures, filming a record of everything for the schools to have reference copies. Then we review and finish up whatever is missing from the leaders plan, then Eat , drink and be merry !

Mantis Season – Pt-V / day 3

25 07 2007

I am sore 😦

It is morning of day 3, I cannot rest today, that would be nice. I received a call to do a shoot with National Geographic on “Black Men filling their dreams through sailing” I’ll be helping to sail one of the boats. I figure a good contact for later so could not pass it up. We’ll be out all day, then back to Kung Fu for 4 hours in the evening. No resting today.

Three more days of training, my legs are starting to feel it.

Did I mention I’m sore…

Mantis Season – Pt-IV / seminar Swords n Spears

24 07 2007

I will not write about everyday of our week long training seminar(maybe), I do not need to for me and the few readers may get bored. Today is day 1 of the training. We did review of the 6 single step sword drills and a couple of the six spear single step drills.


Then started on the two person sword and spear form ( kata/set). Fun! I’m glad I get to attend this year there are really alot of things I will be going over and learn that can be shown to my intermediate level students, not just things only an advanced student benefit from the training. I will be sure to put the things down on film this year as well as catalog some of the other things I’ve gone through, so I will not lose it. It is too much to practice all the time but I will need it when teaching in Japan so the students can be part of the same curriculum as here. I hope at some point once there and established I can bring a couple select students over for the tournament and banquet and perhaps testing. The training seminar maybe too much as most Japanese do not get a full week off much less and 1.5


When I came to class tonight Sifu pulled me aside and said “I heard you are going back to Japan”. He looked very concerned, I had not said anything to him as yet. I had mentioned it to his wife at the banquet, but had not made an official notice. Anyway he seems relived when I said it will not be until 3-4 yrs. I still have a lot of training to do.  He said ah, ok you still have time as yet and smiled. I was touched.

There are also things I’ll be learning this year that I need to fill in some gaps in my own Tai Chi mantis Training.  I was able to skip around things from the training list because I had learned them but differently or more advance stuff. I am back tracking on a lot of things from the system as I came in from the side door.

Anyway this seminar will be good, covering things I wanted and also help me to get back on a better personal training pattern. Which will make Sisook happy. I’ll start training more with the Walnut Creek school again. As Sisook says 3 yrs is not that long and I have a lot of things to cover.

This year my eldest student of some 14 – 15 years attended the seminar. This is her first. She is not a very strong type, so I am pleased she is making the effort. This will help her training. It will also being her closer to the rest of the other school student, even though they see her every year helping wiht the tournament there is a different bonding from training together. She will be sore at the end of the week, but will feel proud of herself, I will be as well.

Mantis Season – Pt-III / Banquet

23 07 2007

It was a warm evening in Concord as we left for the banquet in Oakland Chinatown. Lady Z who does not do will in heat was hopeful that it was cooler in Oakland, it was.


We arrived close to starting time at the usual resturant and they did start almost on time which was nice, timing this year was better than years past. Maybe because after 17 years of doing this we know how things go .


I took my seat at the veggie table. This year Lady Z sat with the meat eaters. My cousin was to come and did not know anyone so I had them set together was the plan. Lady Z was please as she wanted to try some of the pork and chicken dishes.


We started on time. As is custom we had a ceremony for the late Sigung to start the evening. First his direct students were called up the 8th generation. There were 5 in attendance this year. Next the 9th generation students we called, my group. once we had our places, we were given each a stick of incense, and did the Three Traditional Bows.


Three bows from the 8th and 9th generation on stage

Next up was the overall champions awards from the tournament. Internal, Special Division, and Grand champion.

Afterward a few final announcements then chow time. The veggie dishes were the best we have since coming there. They get better with each year as do the size of vegetarians. What started out as 1 small table is now up to two very full tables.

opening 2

After A LOT of food and some beers there was general social stuff and toasts, then photos & group pictures. As always a pleasant evening. After the standard farwells to those not to be seen again until next year, we went off into the night stuffed!

opeining 3


Little sister


Sisooks , Sifu, Simo, Sihings, Sibaks


table 1 sf

Sihing of S.F.



con bos

Concord & Boston, Plus


sj sf

San Franisco & San Jose, plus



Walnut Creek, plus


Mantis Season – Pt-II / Board meeting

23 07 2007

I doubt if this kind of stuff is of interest to the few reader than pass this way. However since I do this as a journel for me that I allow others to read, it’s ok whatever I write, it’s my world 🙂

meeting 2

Today was day 2 of the week events. I was up fairly early and off to Eng Sifu’s studio for our Federation meeting. This was the first time it was held at his school, it is a bit of a drive about 1 hour. In years pass it was in the WC school only 15 min away nice. Next year who knows???

Anyway got there just before 10:00am I did a little warm up Tai Chi while waiting.  The others showed up shortly before I finished.  We had the 3 main school in attendance. Walnut Creek, Campbell, Boston and Concord which is mine. Although the smallest I am still considered one of the main schools as I am on the board and active in the ways of the operation. After a little ceramony for SiGong, incense and 3 bows, we took our seats. As usual with meeting we went through old stuff. Then new topics. As we have been discussing for the last few years. Testing standards for the upcoming generations who wish to be certified under the Federation.

Hung Sihing presented us with an outline for the novice level student test. Three forms, 10 applications from each of  those forms, Kicks, hands strikes, Falls, power and endurence plus, Tai Chi Mantis basic history.

There have been several Thousand students of the Tai Chi Praying mantis system. We of the USA Federation are setting up a standard format for passing on the teachings of our late Master Chi Chuk Kai. With schools world wide, none havemeeting 1 yet taken on this type of task. Not all agree with it as SiGong taught different ways at different time and places in his life.  However we here of this group just hope to set some type of standard for future generations. Rather than have someone learn one Tai Chi Mantis form and say they are teaching true Tai Chi Mantis or worse setup a school and say they are official a least here in the states. Anyway, we as a group are family, that gives us  support, and help nurture. each other. Things that were taught to Sigung’s direct students, the 8th generation that will be lost unless they have faith to pass it on to the 9th generation and so on. Our Federation standards gives them the faith that some of the masters ideals  and some quality will be upheld from generation to generation. It is not just about techniques and physical training it is also about the Sigung’s, philosophy, traditional values and respect.

FEd logo®

Mantis Season – Pt-I /The tourny

22 07 2007

7th Annual Chuk Kai Tai Chi Praying Mantis Memorial Martial Arts Tournament, was held in Alameda, Ca.

This event kicks off our Annual Federation event. It generally begins with this tournament and we have a banquet that night. This year the Tourny was held on Sat and the Banquet will be held on Sunday. This had a big impact on our turn out, as many schools from out of city, state and country this throws their plans off. It is hard to be able to attend a function on Sunday even then make it to work on Monday. Many do not want to attend just for the tourny and want the full affair. Understandable, I think this had to do with reservations at the restaurant we annually attend. Anyway, our turn out this year was much smaller. School in attendance were Walnut Creek, San Fransisco, Campbell, San Jose, Concord & Boston. None of the Canada , Southern Ca, or East Coast schools attended this year.


As this was out 7th yr, and smaller things went very smooth, even with the new addition of a Q&A session for the students with the Federation vice-President on whatever they wanted. Forms, technique, applications, whatever.


What was different this year was that the only 8th generation Sifu in attendance was Eng Sifu, my teacher. Sisook was with Simo as she has been sick. The other 8th generation Sifu’s could not attend.

So it was up to us the 9th generation to handle things. It has been in the plan anyway for us to handle more and more of the affairs of the Federation.

Zen waiting

They went well it was a good event and the best gym location we have had in a long time. Hopefully we can get it next year as well.

Next up is the board meeting, then Memorial banquet for late Sigung, then a week long training seminar. I was not going to attend this year, do to limited funds. However my students felt I should attend and sponsored me. A surprise treat, I told sisook, he said he was going to do so himself, since he felt I should attend as 9th generation and on the board. He thought it was good my students took the action. Sometimes things just work out. Hopefully my job circumstances will soon also. I do have a feeling something will change soon…

2 of 3

16 07 2007

It was my 2 of 3 gigs I was hired to do for the Unity Center. I do not know what will happen after Aug. , as I was onlysetup asked to play through then. The thing is I would have done it for free in the beginning, and for sure will now. It is pleasant to do. The people are nice and one of the best parts is they really appreciate my playing there. Many come up to me an express that. It is nice. Different from when people do that at a club/bar. Maybe it has to do with the sense of worship that is going on so the expression seems more sincere. Or…maybe it is just I am more sensitive about feeling I have some worthwhile skills, being appreciated after dealing with the “dragon” and the constant sending out of resumes with no results, the feelings of rejection. Maybe sometimes it is good to get a little ego boost Anyway, today was a good day! I played Bass as usual. However I had noticed that one of the songs we were doing had a flute accompaniment on the score sheet. So I took my flute to rehearsal on Thursday and played on that song. The choir leader loved it! She even said, this song will come just before meditation, so could you do some improvisation leading into that. Sure I said. So while I was practicing, at home, lady Z comes out as says, oh I thought you were playing the sitting spotSakuhachi. So I thought hmmmmmmmm. Why not. I practiced a bit I was not that pleased with the results, but I tend to be hard on myself. So I took it with me today for the service. Right after I played metal flute with the song, they went in to the meditation portion. I played very lightly on the Sakuhachi, same tones as they use in Japan with the priests and monks doing Zen. Sitting in zazen position on my amp and cushion I was quite comfortable and felt really “Zenish” They loved it! Many came up to me afterward and said how much they enjoyed the flute with the meditation. I was pleased. It was my 1st public performance with it and it did feel very “zen” I have had this Shakuhachi for many many years but never played it outside of my family in Japan and on my wedding song CD.

I did two services 9:30 and 11:30 in between, I go sit under a tree in the yard and meditate. It is a peaceful church, I enjoy going. It does not have that fire and hell feel of traditional churches. It is a bit strange hearing the same sermon two times but, it ok. Sometimes it is good to hear a message twice, maybe one misses something the 1st time. Having considered myself a Christian/Taoist this church fits in my with Zen practice. It is good and I like the Diversity. galsI guess I need to re-title myself these days. Maybe Zen-Christian is a better label. “Zen” as is a mix of Taoist and Buddhist. On the other hand, I should not care about labels, (people ask, they need it, like what style of music to you play) that goes against the Zen path :-). “The Tao that can be named is not the true Tao”…Lao Tze

I have alway said and felt, the Force will lead me where I need to be. I have been lead here.

Interesting enough one of the people that came up to me today we spoke a bit and she is part of one of the oldest Akido co-ops here in this area. She said, her idea, that if I was interested I could share some of their space for a Tai Chi Class as it would fit in their “Akido-way”. It maybe a chance for me to expand my Tai Chi class, since I do not want to it over at the Condo, I am fearful of attracting to much attention to running a business there. This maybe a very good thing. However looking over their schedule I do not see any free time except during the day and Sunday when I could get in there… We’ll see…

Speaking of Marital Art our Tai Chi Mantis Federation’s memorial tournament and banquet is coming up next weekend. Then the week after that the seminar. This will be the first yr in some seven years I will miss the training seminar. With the lost of my pitiful job, I need to lay low on spending, even though I have a bunch of website and other work for Sisook.

Speaking of Sisook, part of our new plan is for me and Lady Zen to be his agents in Japan. We will be doing the fittings and taking orders for custom made shirts and suits. He has the business here in the states now and does well, with his factory in Hong Kong. In Japan the salary men, they love Hong Kong made clothing, we might as well take advantage of that. We are starting the website now for that his on-line development.

He has also been reminding me to get more practice in on my Yang 24 Tai Chi as well as Chen. He has a plan on developing the Chen we do more here in the states through some organization he belongs to in Hong Kong/Taiwan. He wants my skill level up, so when he bring this high-up person over from the China, I will be able to take advantage of the training and have higher skills when I go to Japan as I will represent not only the Chuk Kai Tai Chi Mantis Federation but this Chen style Federation as well. Crimany, my shoulders are getting heavy from the weight of all this 🙂 I’ll have to がんばってる!

I have been asked to come to the San Bernadino Tai Mantis school to teach a Yang 24 Tai Chi seminar in Aug, that will be helpful for some extra cash and would cover this seminar, but I do not want to spend it before I have it. It would also cover the Zen Retreat in Sept. I would really like to go to that. Maybe we can arrange to attend 1 day out of the three. It is so close to us this year, and I hear every year it is in a different location. Maybe the Force be with me and let it happen.

Chan IV

8 07 2007

chanToday was our fourth Chan (Zen) session. I brought my cousin along to check things out. Things worked out without breaking a certain promise, that I just was able to just invite her along as her youngest son was out of town she was alone, so her and lady Zen could hang out together a bit. As it turns out she was all for the idea of going to meditation with us. She had been wanting to do that for a long time, but did not know how/where to start.

We arrived quite early which turned out to be a good thing, as she was able to get private instructions on what she had missed. Enough so she could join in easily today. So it was perfect that it worked out that way.chakara

We did a couple of new drills to become more focus on the navel chakara still the beginning stages of all the Chakara will we work with over the course of time and did a two part meditation, for a longer period than the standard. We also decided to run the future sessions longer.

Afterward there was the standard Q& A part with a story related to us on the healing of another member. Not a special meeting, but good. As usual the group energy is pleasing to sit with. Similar to doing tai chi in a group, in group meditation the chi flow is much stronger. The same would aplly to going to a church and praying as a group there is something about the group gathering of Chi. That is why there is such an event as the World Tai Chi Day

I was able to get a group shot before completely everyone left. Can you guess which is my cousin?


Cousin and Lady Z were both pleased from the experience. After dropping them off back at cousin’s house to do girl stuff and hangout, I went to Simo’s in Chinatown to do some light work. It was a good day, even with the Merc. Retro. thingy happening…hmmm, maybe cause I just did the meditation thing as suggested…heheh maybe.

Mercury is in retrograde

7 07 2007

Mercury is in retrograde I had heard/seen this several times over the last couple of weeks and had it said to me, via email today. I did not put a lot of thought into it as I am not a follower exactly of western Astrology on a large scale. Not That I do not have my interest in it, and feel from a Zen/Taoist perspective we are part of all that is, so things that affect the world, the universe effect us. Eg: Moon & tide, sun spots. I have found that Chinese astrology to me hits more on the mark. I have done more studies in Chinese astrology than western, in term of energy flow, yin/yang, five elements that sort of stuff. As when I found out this was year of the boar/pig. I knew it would not be a good year for me. So far the worst in several years and started just after the new lunar year…The Boar. Energy wise Boars and Tigers are not the best of companions. So now there is this Retrograde thing whether or not it has to do with all that is going on in my life, I’m not saying 100% but… it is for real not helping…I looked it up, sounds like just what is happening… perhaps just fluke.. perhaps not… we know little of the true workings of the universe…after all we are here and alone, so we think, in this part of the universe, how did that happen…sorry I digress

I find it interesting that Baby Bush has this big scandal happening at the same time. On the day after my independence day. Oh, you do not know about that? you do not follow by land and sea then…tisk tisk tisk, you only get half the story…

I’ll recap in a bit.


The 4th of July here was quiet for the Lady Zen and I. We went to s/v Zen and escaped from reality for a while. Well not reality but from the vibe & heat of the city.

We ate, sleep, read, BBQ’d, floated, hammock swung, and watched fireworks. It was nice. A good beginning for the 1st day of my new independence.


For the last few weeks, I had been feeling heavy heavy vibes as we old hippies use to say. These days I call it the “zen sense”, anyway it has been on full alert. I had been taking each day at work as “Zen Practice” being fully in each moment as possible paying attention to details. Something was off… Last week I was wondering if I had made the wrong choice taking this job, was it worth the stress I was getting from the Female Boss of the team. I had to make the best of it, since I was trapped, I could not quit. I could only ganbatte!( do my best). Monday night I was feeling very uneasy. I was looking forward to having Wed through Friday off. As the shop was going to be closed. Even though I was not getting paid, it was still a relief to be free of there for a few days. Yet, something was off…

Tuesday; I was loaded down with work, do this, do this, is this finished, this is not done yet, it has to go! Yes, yes, yes, Right away, I’m on it. At the end of the day, I get a serious attitude from the Dragon, lets call her. A short while later the brother comes out and says ” I need to talk with you in the office”. In the distance I heard the bell toll!

The rest was not a surprise. “we (as in she, the dragon)dragon

have decided it is not working out with you, we are going in another direction” After he gave me the standard stuff he says. I’ve had to do this other times in my working life, but I am not feeling good about this time. It is mostly to do with you and my sister’s incompatibility. After a bit more chatting he says. I understand just how you are feeling, I am in the same boat. I am so frustrated working with her, I would love to be brought out of this partnership. Her attitude needs to change or I’m finding a way out soon. This can not go on as business as usual. I have seen his frustration with her, and heard how she talks to him as well over the time I’ve been there. Anyway I’m out o there, toast! The I-Ching was correct this was a short lived encounter.

Life’s Yin & Yang…

dragonsThe Yang, I feel good I can leave and been finished with that bad daily energy and go back on unemployment. The Yin, that I do have to go back on unemployment and have not had any replies to my resumes I’ve been sending out at every chance. There was a call for an interview the same day all this went down. So that also help my morale a bit. Although I was not feeling the vibe that it was going to be something that I really going to be into to having. Having the “sense” is a double edge sword.

So what now?… I ask the I-Ching …I’m curious…interesting enough it says the same as the astrology to do for the time being. Chill, organize, clean out, regroup…meditate.

#22 Grace  –> #52 Keeping still

Omoshiroi ne!