Earth Hour 08′

30 03 2008

earth hourWhat did you do last night?????

Here in the house of Zen we did our symbolic part for earth hour. We have all energy saving bulbs in our home anyway. Lady Z enjoyed doing the by candle evening. She says it should be done once a month.  Once a year is nothing. She would be even up for everyday lights off by 9:00 or 10:00 pm. With her it was not so much the energy saving but she just likes the feel of it. We ended up with the lights off for about 2.5 hours not just the one. She got to talk, I got to listen , and listen and listen… 🙂

here are a few things about global warming:

Sidney alone – everyone turning the lights off for one hour was equivelent to taking all the cars off the road for a year.

1.Human activities are changing the composition of Earth’s atmosphere. Increasing levels of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere since pre-industrial times are well-documented and understood.
2.The atmospheric buildup of CO2 and other greenhouse gases is largely the result of human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels.
3.An “unequivocal” warming trend of about 1.0 to 1.7°F occurred from 1906-2005. Warming occurred in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, and over the oceans (IPCC, 2007).
4.The major greenhouse gases emitted by human activities remain in the atmosphere for periods ranging from decades to centuries. It is therefore virtually certain that atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases will continue to rise over the next few decades.
5.Increasing greenhouse gas concentrations tend to warm the planet.



30 03 2008

PatioI feel pretty out of it today. Maybe too much sleep. I got up early @ 6:30 did some Zazen then went back to bed until 12:00. or maybe I am hung over, but I only had a small glass of TQ & OJ. More likely I’m just brunt out from the week.

Big trouble over the use of San, Chan, just the name or no name. Who knew outside of Japan it would would be such a big deal! Very Complex and too much to write about. Let’s just say I learned something the hard way, which will not be forgotten. Hard lessons are like that. Now I’ll just pull the nails out of my hands and continue. wiser…

I’m pretty disappointed today. There is a Kyudo demo in the city, I did not go. A couple of weeks ago I wrote to the instructor about an upcoming Seminar asking about the cost, so I could maybe put aside some money to attend. I did not go to the one last year at the S. Mtn Zen Center, as I was not working and no job. This year is a repeat (werid, eh) but I really wanted to attend. I had a small bit of money I would make the effort and have faith in the Tao. I received no reply. Early this week or late last week I got a mass email about needing people for the demo and info concerning the seminar would go out later in a few days. I replied I could help with the demo. I received no reply! My disappointment is not for not going, a bit that, but I received no answers, I felt blown off. I made up a couple of excuses for the reason for that, but still…maybe It’s me.

a messI have been doing my taxes all this past week for 06′. Sitting on the floor surrounded by papers and two computers a mess! Since I have no office space, it can not be helped. Yup I’m late but I knew I was owed some money so I did not sweat it. I got a notice from the State of CA, saying “Yo Zen dude, whats up we did not get a file from you, get on it by 4/2” They did not say it like that but it translated to the same. Anywho I finished it, they owe me more than I thought, SWEET! I’ll send it off on Monday. Next week it is 2007 work, I’ll get that out of the way. Another refund will be nice, however it will be no where nice as 06′ from the Feds. It will help though.

I will be flying down to LA in 2 weeks to meet our Ch’an Shifu, he is making a rare visit to the States. My cousin gave me her airline flight credit so I can fly down. Nice! I had been waiting for this since around Thanksgiving, there were changes, then more changes. Finally I let it go it would happen. However now it is.

Tonight is Earth Hour, we will be doing our bit here, I hope you will/did as well!

There is a new blog site starting on Life in America from two Japanese ladies who live here who are in Blasian relationships. If you read Japanese you can check it out here:

The Ch’an weekend retreat is upcoming in May. I’m still really torn about going or not going. $600.00 for the two of us including room and board. Not really a bad , but when one is not working, serious thought is needed.

We received a blessing on my unemployment check payments. Since I was not working much last year I did not have much in the fund. I thought we were toast. The condo would need to be put up for sale or, go into forecloser from us not paying. However I just made it under the line for the cut off time from my good job last year and my payment will make the mortgage. So we can get by although tightly for the next 6-mo to a year or I get a new job, which ever comes first. The I-Ching says I should meditate and clear my mind to see the path ahead. My plan years ago was to have the Boat not only to sail, enjoy and travel , but if worse came to worse, with work or the government, I would have a place to live and not be homeless…it was a good plan.

Friday Fu – March

29 03 2008

It seems like awhile since I’ve posted here, not really put sort of, During quiet time here I’m generally in Boat mode.

Last night, Friday hence the name was practice night with Shifu

It rained I was not expecting much of a turn out. However I was wrong, it was larger than last month. By more than double triple. The rain had let up for a while so I was able to go outside and practice. That is were we generally practice weapons not just for the room but for safety.

group practice

While most of the group was inside practicing and disecting a two man sparing set I work on my Jhian ( gim) out in the parking lot. Shixong spotted me and watch fo ra bit then came out to help me finish the set. Wahhooo. I was much closer to the end than I thought. After about 10 fairly simple moves I was done. Another completed Mantis Sword set. This one was the Tai Chi Mantis Tai Chi Palm Sword. Now I need to refine it and film it. From here I am done with new sets weapons training. Well I should not say that because I know they, the elders will have us do more at the seminars. However as far picking it up outside of them, I’m done.

weapons 2

My focus now will be reviewing all those I have done. I was able to go through part of the Mantis Staff set. However Shixong’s version was a bit different from the one I learned so I did not even try to practice that with him after seeing it. We did do the two man Fire/Water staff from the Northern Shaolin system. I had just finished teaching that to my students so I was pretty fresh with that one.

Meanwhile the group was working on joint locks with Shifu. After Shixong finished with me he went back inside with them. Generally that is what the main focus of Friday nights are, break down of the techniques and applications. The form review/practice is only the smallest part.

Afterward it was pizza time. There was a little other food, rice some pot-stickers Shifu made and some other things. This was the first they ordered pizza with a Veggie one for me, with no Mushrooms, yea!

The talk of the evening, was old moves and Kung Fu TV. As well as some of the guys from the old days, Chuck Norris, Bill Wallace, Jim Kelly and others. We also discussed weapons and the usefulness of some vs others. As the Double Gim is pretty much a show and flowery form, where as single Gim is to watch for deadliness. Double Saber is more about footwork, were single Sable is about not so much the sword but the empty hand. Because of this is it considered more superior to double saber. Shifu and I went into how this was also true with Kali and Arnis the Philippine arts

There were some discussions about as always about Philosophy and our training. Shifu told us about a poem, in Chinsese, that Shigung (grandmaster) had written at the end of one of us books. It was about Ta Mo and the wordless enlightenment of Ch’an. How the Master could only point the way for the student to get enlightenment and not by alot of words it had to be experienced. The same was true for the Physical training side of Ch’an, Kung Fu the student had to realize and experience his enlightenment. Not via the words of the Shifu but from his own experience.

In a simple way of putting it, The Shifu is but the finger pointing to the moon.

Earth Hour 2008

22 03 2008

The Training Path – Spirit Self

3 03 2008

Lotus ChanAmazing it is Sunday already. Shifu was just saying how times flies these days. Today was the last day of the White Elephant sale. I planned on going. I had a couple of small things I hoped for and nothing else in mind.

The place where the sale is being held is just a few blocks from my cousin. In fact I go by it every time I go to pick her up for “Zen practice” . That was in fact the big plan for today was to go to Zen session. I had not been in awhile. I guess the formal name is my Shanga, ( hmmmaybe that is not right, whatever ). Lady Z was sick last time so I stayed with her. It is more important for me to be consistent daily at home, more than if I go to Shanga. Also for now I will be cutting it down to once a month with the change of working status coming.  Anyway moving on…

I dropped by the White Elephant sale, there were not as many people as years before, so I thought. There where however a lot still coming in as I was leaving. So maybe they, the masses start later or grow over time on the last day. I walked right through the lines as they started to break down the ropes for the opening of the day. It was my smoothest entry yet. Sweet.

I make my planned rounds , only to find nothing I was looking for was left or there. I was very tempted to buy a wetsuit, but figured I could wait until I was sure of the size.  It was 25.00 bucks, if it was 10.00 I would have goen for it. It seemed a bit too small to risk the chance today. Even if I was not overdress for the weather which I was, the weather was great. Still I would not have been able to try it on to test the size. I had this feeling of fighting the force by buying it, so I passed. The only place I did not pass up on a purchase was the book dept. Books go for 4.00 a bag full on the last day. You buy a bag, pay $4.00 and fill it up with whatever you like. Sweet Deal! As a book lover I can not pass up such a deal. I got a few sailing books, for me. Some Japanese novels & Zen Philosophy for lady Z, plus some others fir me, about 25 books for $4.00 nice! After reading the disposable ones will go to a used book store and purchased or recycled. ( reuse, recycle , reduce) Nice desho?!

Next stop is over to get my Cuz, then we drive down to the Zen meeting in Fremont. We were attending the advance session this time. With the change of days and times, this was our best choice. The advance classes are longer. Longer sitting time, one legs and spirit must be up for challenge. The knees are really the only hard part about doing it, 30 min , 40 min. Getting into a comfortable spot and being able to be relaxed yet focus, Body, Chakras, Spirit in alignment, like Kyudo, like doing Tai Chi  or Yoga.

We arrived in prefect time. The beginner session is just finished.

Today they had a movie done by the Shifu in Taiwan, part of his lecture series. Today was about sitting, and being centered. Also about not doing Spirit harmimg practices like letting yourself be possessed by negative force or spirit to gain power. Channeling spirits. This we were told is done in Taiwan by some to who seek enlightenment via some unknown being the key word spirit. Shifu said, we do not need to go to any outside source for spiritual power or enlightenment, or open ourselves up to he chance of Negative power. We have it , enlightenment, spiritual power already with in us. We just need to tap into it.

One can put it another way, God is within us all. All we need to do is turn to that living part of us. God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Buddha, Allah, the Great Spirit there is true power.

This in turn after the 30 min. meditation lead to another discussion about, Chi, Spiritual energy, positive and negative. How we take on energy whenever we are out and exposed to other people. The good and the bad chi. How even not doing anything, just living a life of compassion adds good chi to the environment . However like the dust that gathers on us during the day, we need to wash off our spirit by meditation daily, to help rid us of negative chi. Meditation is a shower for our spirit. I have heard that before…

The interesting thing about Meditation is it can be many things. Prayer, worship, celebration, centering, relinking. Depends on where your heart and mind are… I feel like I’ve been to church today. hmmmmm
I doubt if me Mum would see it that way, but that’s another story.

The Training Path – Physical Self

2 03 2008

I was thinking of heading down to s/v Zen today, which is Sat. as I start this post. I wanted to pickup a few things and maybe do a little work. As the morning turned to afternoon quickly from our late start. Also as even as this current time rapidly is going the way of yesterdays gas price, I came up with an alternate plan. This involved staying at home with the Lady Z on her day off , hanging out, home chores and saving a trip and gas until tomorrow. I had no deadline for doing stuff down at the marina and soon I would have plenty of time to get things down. I am planning of week of just working on the boat one work stops in two weeks.

I took the trash down to the lot and picked up the mail it occurred me that I needed to practice the Tai Chi Palm Sword so I would not forget what we went over yesterday. At the same time I took in what a great day it was. The tide had me land-bound today so I could not sail, I was staying home… I should practice. The clubhouse was empty, I could also have the choice of by the pool on the deck. I went in for my sword.

sword n yard

After I changed clothes and got my sword I decided outside was nice, but it was on the chilly side, I could not concentrate so I went inside. It was prefect. With all the glass windows facing the pool or the garden it was quiet and peaceful for a early afternoon practice.
I did Chen Style to warm-up. Slower than usual I went through things seperatly, like doing chakra activation in Ch’an meditation. Section by section then connecting them. Working on understanding each piece better and my body position, not the movements in between but the grounding. Staying grounded, a bamboo in the storm. using the waist, the spine, the legs. The weight here, mind here, sink, tuck…The arms attached, but they are not the leaders, right before left, lots of details. This is why it takes so long to understand, let alone master Tai Chi. This is also why it helps all else one does. Shisuk said many times, Tai Chi helps your Mantis, also your Shaolin. Practice your Tai Chi, remember the rest. I received a flash of understanding about doing Tai Chi on a boat. But that is another story.

Jian (sword) time, I was glad I decided to practice . There were a couple of parts I would have forgotten otherwise…maybe. Anyway it was good to practice with feel of nature around instead of walls, the glass gave a nice illusion of being in outside…without the chill. I had not been using this Sword for a while. I was surprise how quickly I adapted to it again. It must be my sword. Here I could not put the same kind of internal focus on the set. Here I had to remember the external before I could go internal. I am still learning this set. It may take another 3 moths if finish it. Then I need review on my others ones, and record them so I can keep them separated. Some moves are the same in all three forms ( sets).


Before I leave I practice a little Mantis. I do pieces of the last form worked on with Shifu, Lan Ji. I think it is my favorite from the Tai Chi Mantis System. The parts I remember are ok, however there are holes. Sigh, I have a lot of practice to do and notes to make. Fortunately I will not need all the forms I have learned over the years. Shisuk says I should concentrate on just a few things now. Which makes sense, however I need to review everything and make sure I have some filmed backup or notes. Generally we (teachers) work with a several forms repeatedly and have notes to remember the rest. Which is why it is nice to have some advanced students. One has to dig up those advanced sets and combo techniques. It is more fun then also to teach, rather than the masses of students that come, stay a week or a month then leave. The mass are like doing your daily Zazen . So one gets mostly in a loop teaching the same basic level. One flip side of that, one gets to really understand the basics, which is a very good thing. The better the roots, the stronger the tree.

The Training Path – Shifu

2 03 2008

Friday Fu with Shifu.

long weaponsIt had been 3 months since I had been down to Shifu’s. I missed all the Holiday gatherings from both schools because of work or travel or family. Now I am re-programing my life pattern again so time to get back into the cycle. I did not remember if I had told anyone I was coming tonight. It did not matter though.

I got off early from work so I had a bit of time to relax before making the 1 hour min. drive. Traffic turned out to be pretty good, although I did leave on the somewhat late side, about 6:45pm. I arrived@ the Campbell studio around 8:00pm. I came in paid my respects and greetings to all, and started to warm up. I was expected. I was told vegetarian fair was added. One of the things we do on the Friday night practice is eat afterwards. The class/ workout is very loose format. We work-on practice whatever we want and ask any questions on anything. We exchange ideas, clear up questions on application.

I first went through my Tai Chi Palm, after some stretching and horse stance practice. Next went into Yang 24 Tai Chi. I had a couple of question on application of a move in Tai Chi palm so I asked, Art Shixong . He was there as usual practicing. He runs a group in S.F. and is a classmate of Shifu’s in Wong Jac Man Shigong’s Shaolin Linage, as well as being senior student to Fong Shibak ( elder uncle) another of the 8th generation Chuk Kai Tai Chi Mantis Linage. We went through a couple of things, and also with the added input from Shifu , my questions where covered. With Shifu’s added comment after a discussion grew from this being; “this is why it is important to explain what the movement is doing, not just how to do the move. This is how the student understands.”

It is interesting seeing the differences in teaching styles with Shifu and Shisuk they are completely different personalities and styles. Shifu taught compact skills to the Rangers in Viet Nam. Shisuk grew up in Hong Kong and Shanghai not from a wealth family. They are like Yin and Yang, Fire and water. Both can kill or be helpful.

rackMy next practice section is with Tai Chi sword. I had been working with Art Shixong on this, however I have not been practicing and needed review badly. That is what we did for the next 30 min, review. The main parts I remembered but there were connections I was missing in the form. It was good to repeat. I declined going further until I was better with what I had.

Around this time dinner was ready. Part of the Friday night gathering is we have food afterward. Either BBQ done there at the school or people bring stuff. It the bonding time, food, beer, Cognac. We talk or do not talk, depends. Shifu tells about some history or we just speak about misc stuff, chat.

Generally afterward it is usually late and I take off. Tonight I stayed later. I got one of my brothers to show me a grappling drill I had missed from the seminar, but had seen them practice. We went through it a bunch. He told me Shifu’s explanations from how it is done in the real world and how it is done in class and flow is maintained. This is something I have been wanting to give my students to work on. Since I do not have any new students, I can give my group more advance things to work on now. The group that I have now, will be the ones who will carry my line when I go to Nihon.