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…