Mantis Season 08′ – Training day 3

31 07 2008

Weds, was hotter, still not as bad as it has been in the past. Sisuk was not there, Sibak took it a bit easier on us due to the heat he said.  We still reviewed and drilled. I think I almost have the correct pattern now on Gun luk. He came over and gave me a couple of detail corrections. Nice I asked Sifu about this one and the one from Shaolin. He said at one everyone did the same. Since Jing Wu all the Tai Chi mantis schools do this version we are working on now. I need to cement this one in my brain and make a tape of it. It will be changed with Small Circular fist in my school’s curriculum.

We also added some more of Bumbu. SiBak handed out a list of 10 applications from the form. We went through 7 or 8 of them, I think it was 7. I’ll need to burn those in tonight.

The other thing we worked on was the first side of the two man sparing drill. Unlike the 4 by 4 drill Eng Sifu taught me years ago this one has some steps. It will be fun to do it with a partner. I’ll practice it with my classmates on a Friday session at Sifu’s. I’ll show it to the other students at my school, but they are not as much fun or challenge to work with.

Tonight is the 4th day of 5. I’m not as sire as I thought i would be by this time. I’m not bad really considering. Even though this is much more physically demanding, the Kyudo retreat was harder. Maybe because here I can go home at night and do not have to get up at 5:00am and sleep in my own bed. Also here I am with family.

Tomorrow will be a short session as we have dinner afterwards around 8 or so. It is always a relief, yet sad to finish up for another year. However for now I need to stay in the present and remember the new stuff I’m getting.

Mantis Season 08′ – Training day 2

30 07 2008

I’m sore, but not too bad. I’ve been worst and considering my workout time has fallen off due to dealing with other life issue I’m not too bad. Day 2 was better in some ways and worse in others overall better. I started out before class started with a review for myself on Gun Luk. A couple of younger students from the Campbell school asked if they could practice with me. I said sure. We went through the set 3 or 4 times. I told them, I did not recall the exact order but I did recall all the moves. They thanked me several times later after Sibak made us do the set again. Even just recalling the correct moves was a big help. Sibak had us do it in a different direction than yesterday, so that threw me off, but I could tell when something was out of wack. I setup pattens in my head now to help remember the order. I think I will have it tonight… more or less. I will do it before I leave to go down to the school.

It is much more comfortable this year with cooler weather, we were dying in years gone by with temps in the high 90’s. So even though I had a few moment of, major sweat, it was because of the activity not the overall temp.

We continued with Bumbu another 4 moves. It is funny, when Sibak shows us a few things, then says ok, break, Sisuk takes over and says ok , let do it again… huh, I thought this was a break. 🙂

After several rounds of drills we were shown the application and drilled on that for a good while. This was one of the wises moves I’ve made in some of my training to just review at this seminar. I am picking up many things I did not get from before. Because I was not involved in the opening stages of the seminar I missed out on things the other seniors students already learned. Then when I joined after the first re-learn of Bumbu I jumped to the advance group and missed out on many basics. This has been great and just what I wanted. The other senior students goals are different from mine. Even if they are planning on teaching a couple are, they have no plans to leave the country, they wil have access to one of the others to review or refresh their memories. I will be alone in Japan.

We started on a new set of two person drills last night also. Containing blocks, traps and kicks. Almost like a full two person set, but only about 10 or 20 moves. It is cool. I recall seeing Sifu working with some of his students on it when I have been down on Fridays working on weapons. Also Sibak showed a bit of some grappling, grabbing drill. Nice. I will have plenty to have my students work on this up coming year. I’m glad also one of my students came to the seminar. We work together in the class doing the drills. I help her with corrections and it helps me to have someone that will know this when we are back in class. It will be easier to show the others.

I got a good job from Sisuk at the end of class.

Mantis season 08′ – training day 1

29 07 2008

Today was the start of the seminar. As I had heard the groups were suppose to be split into three groups. One of my classmates from Eng Shifu came to me and said, there is one horse cutter blade left if you want to buy it. I said oh, so that is what we are doing. Hmmm He said, yup , unless you want to do Bum Bu I thought hmmm, I said I thought I heard there was also jian being taught. He followed with you already learned that. I said, review is a good thing. This conversation was carried on a little while later when I saw him outside. He now added , you have been drafted for horse cutter, I laughed and explained to him the virtues of review. He still waisted his breathe trying to convince me to learn the new form, talking about moving forward.

Then is was time to start. We did a small bit of warm ups as we started a little late. The groups split, I told Hung Sihing I was going to be reviewing when he asked if I was going with the horse cutter group. He said , ah good. Then my student walks up to me asking where should she go? I asked Sihing, he said she is your student you decide. I asked Sisuk, he said the same thing. I said it would be best to review Bumbu, it is a complex form with several levels. She followed with, but I learned that last time. There is more to it than you think, I said. It would be good to review. Sisuk agreed. I said I can teach you Jian at the school, for here, review would be good, I’m reviewing. It is too much for you to learn the jian in 4.5 days. It is not simple. She looked sad, but agreed. I said trust me it will be worthwhile.

I went outside with the Jian group. and started to practice. Sisuk came and asked me a few things about what I remembered. I said not much, that is why I want to review. Hmmm he said, Chiang Sibak will not be happy, you should go over there and practice, do not waste you time doing this stuff. referring to the drills I was doing. I went to the side and tried to remember. I had pieces of the form but many gaps. I was not pleased and was preparing myself mentally to be embarrassed.

Shortly I get a call, to come inside, Chiang Sibak is reviewing everyone himself on Gun Luk Kwun. A basic fondation form for most northern Shaolin based systems.  I was glad and nervous at the same time. It had been a couple of years since I had done the form. So could only rember it in general terms. Glup. There were several others who had not learned the form or had learned it a while back, including my student who did not learn it. She had learned another Basic form from the Shaolin family, Small circling fist, before I learned Gun Luk, from the Federation, so never went back to have her learn it. They are somewhat alike, somewhat.

Sibak driled us and drilled us, and drilled us, I was glad. little by little I caught on again to the pattern, while he corrected the fine points. I felt much better when Sisuk was driling us, and he skipped a couple of moves and I somewhat remembered them. I put in some time reviewing the form , even when others were on breaks, Sibak came over and helped me. I think he was glad I was willing to review and practice.

Next we worked on Bumbu. This one I remembered clearly as it is one I review somewhat often with my students. It was still good to review and having it broken it down again. This way I am in harmony with what the standard is for the Federation. One thing about all my Tai Chi Mantis form is I had to relearn all of them over when I became involved with the Federation as I learned them differently in the LA school.

After working on just about 1/3 or less of the form we paired up and worked on application of the moves. NICE! One of my favorite parts. After 3.5 hrs I was started to get a little run down. luckly we were at the end of the night. We did a few power and endurance drills then broke for the night. I was glad I choose to review instead of learning yet another form, I had not time to practice.

DVD release an interview with Shifu Paul Eng

28 07 2008

From the backcover of the DVD:

In May of 2008, Master Paul Eng, gave a rare interview to Plum Publications. A well known but reserved martial artist, Eng Shifu opened up with a session that started quietly and evolved into a warm exchange of ideas, reminiscences and observation on that most misunderstood avocation and passion: the life of the martial artist. Travel with Paul Eng from his life in post-war Hong Kong, through his training in Choy Lai Fut, Hunga, Shaolin, Fu Jow Pai and finally his beloved Tai Mantis. See what it means to follow a path that is itself a life.
Soon to be released to the public via his website in 1 week .

I got to view the DVD today before the full public release as I will be posting it to his website. I found this to be an interesting dvd. It is not about forms or fighting directly, but about the experiences of a Master, his thought and views on Kung Fu, Students, and style he has learned, most of all Tai Chi Praying Mantis. There were a few things I had not know/heard on on the DVD. To some who are not privy to Shifu, this is a great chance to hear some of the things, and in the setting we his students get to be face to face with. As I watched the DVD I felt just like I was there on one of our Friday night, after class sessions were we sit around and chat with the Master.

It is a worthwhile addition to your collection. This is part of a series to be released. This week, while he is in town there will be another interview taking place with Huy Dieu Chiang Sibak who is the Tai Chi Mantis elder to Eng Sifu. Sibak worked and studied with Grand Master Chui Kai for many years while he was in Viet Nam. He is one of the 12 linage holders. He currently teaches in Aton ( Boston) Mass.

Mantis Season – Day 2 – the tourny & Banquet

28 07 2008

This year’s tournament was held again at the Encinel High school in Alameda, Ca. This year’s participating schools came from, Concord, CA Home of the Concord, branch of the GSA, Walnut Creek, CA, Campbell, CA, San Jose, CA, Boston, Mass, Los Angeles, CA. San Francisco, CA.
Missing this year due to economic reasons and other obligations were, Vancouver, Canada, Edmonton Canada, Richmond, VA, San Bernardino, CA

Despite the smaller turnout the spirits were high and the Federation proudly displayed the Ecoflag where all spectators, athletes, and officials could see. GSA brochures, cards and mini flags were made available at the tournament signup registers counter.

The tournament was held in two rings, this year. One ring hosted the Weapons competitors, both from Tai Chi Mantis and Open Categories. The other ring hosted the various hand forms from the Tai Chi Mantis system and open categories as well as Yang Tai Chi , Chiu Tai Chi Palm and Chen Tai Chi, including Tai Chi Sword.

What was different this year beside flying a full size Ecoflag was the addition of school demo’s in the beginning of the tournament and the continuation of a the Q& A section afterwards that was started last year. My job again changed this year, last year I was a judge. This year I held the coordinator position making sure things ran smoothly. I was a bit unsure at first when I as asked to handle it, but after I got going I could see what needed to be done. Everyone was happy.

The tournament ran smoothly and was enjoyed by everyone. As was the memorial banquet afterwards.

The banquet we have down now after so many years. It went very smooth. The food at the Veggie table was good. I had the treat of a former student seat with us even though she and her husband are not vegetarians.

Small thing give me pleasure these days. Times of less joy will do that I guess. I took less pictures this year, there were others doing plenty of that. I am sure at some point I will get some copies to post on the website and/or on Facebook.

It is interesting to me to see the changes in my placement with the group. From having to make a big effort to be accepted, to this year sitting with the 8th generation for my school photos instead of standing behind the elders. Changing times.

Mantis Season 08′ – Day 1 – the meeting

28 07 2008

Friday marked the beginning of what I call “Mantis Season” this is a week of a memorial gathering in honor of the late grand Master of the Northern Shaolin Tai Chi Mantis system, Chiu Chuk Kai. This week the USA CCK Federation will host a Tournament, a Banquet and a week long training seminar. This year we wisely started with a board meeting instead of after the Banquet.

The meeting was held at Eng Shifu’s in Campbell, school this year instead of Ling Sisuk’s in Walnut Creek. Which meant some travel , however it worked out that I got to ride with Sisuk, Sibak, and a couple of Sihings in a van. As it was it worked out perfect as I was able to direct them on a side road and bypass a traffic problem in the freeway which would have made them late.

The meeting follow the usual format of such events. We bowed in with incense to a picture of Sigung to pay respect to his memory, then Old minutes, business, new business etc. One of the subject I raised was the need to spend more time on applications at the seminar, Sibak also raised the point of more ground work, as in take downs and falling. All agreed, and proposed this upcoming seminar would also include some rolling and control falls.

Another item I raised was giving the GSA-EcoFlag the support of the Federation. Beside the ideals of Recycling, Reuse & reduce it would give the Federation a starting point for working as a unit on something other than Martial Arts. To grow we need to show another face to the pubic beside our martial side. After some translating into Chinese it was agreed on by all that the Federation would officially s the GSA-EcoFlag group.

Another item was an impromptu election for next years President, as Huy Dieu Chiang Sibak Sibak is ready to step down. It was all agreed that Ling Sisuk would be the next 9th generation Federation President. Sibak was ready to turn over the reins right away but Sisuk asked for Sibak to carry on one more year.

After a bit of other items such as getting Brian Sihing more involved as he is recovering well from his near death accident. He agreed. He is the son of the Late 9th generation Master David Chang from Hawaii, who lives now in the states

After a bit of other misc chat we all departed as the tournament had a early start time on Sat. During on of the Chatting sessions I was pulled aside by the senior student from Eng Sifu’s school. I had told him I would be unable to attend this year’s seminar, due to some unfortunate events with my work status. He offered to cover my entry fee. I was surprised and grateful for the kindness. It really gave me a sense of family.

vote 08

22 07 2008

Vote for a real change in 08′

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One thing leads to another…

17 07 2008

There was a song called that years ago. I do not recall you made it, maybe the Cars…no matter.

Things are unsettled, to say the least. No work to speak of, Interesting I am now on as a part time sailing instructor at 3 different places, non of which are enough to live on. But I did predict some work by June/July I’m still on Unemployment. Funny thing, not funny haha, but funny pain in the butt weird, is that they pay you 1/3 of your salary after making you wait 2 weeks, but paying you for one, and then when you make some extra money beside that, they take that much away from you. So it is like you are being punished for losing your job and for trying to make enough money to live off besde what they pay you. Weird anyway already I digress because i’m off the topic.

I did that wedding show a couple of weeks ago that was fun. I invited an old student of mine to the show with her husband to be. He is a sound engineer. He asked if I would be interested in writing a sound track for a audio play he was expecting. I said, hmm ok, I’ve not done that before, but… sure I can give it a shot.

Last week we had a read through for the play. It is an interesting piece, totally not what I expected. Myself and another guy, the partner of the husband to be are partnering up to do the sound track. This should be interesting, I love doing studio stuff and a new adventure will be fun. We are even suppose to get paid at some point. wow, how cool is that!

Taste of Nihon in Berkeley

11 07 2008

It has been a while since LZ ( Lady Z) and I have gone out and had some fun or got to visit with friends. This Thursday we did both. The Tokyo Delegation was up own way so we decided to visit meet for dinner at Kirala Restaurant in Berkeley. LZ and I have been there before but it has been awhile. The Delegation had not been there. They had heard how good it is and also the owner is part of a Blasian couple like us. Additionally there is a Robata (Japanese grill ) there, not many here in CA.

LC and I arrived about 7pm , expecting it to be a line as always and no parking. We were surprised to find we got 1 of two street spaces right in front and no line. We thought maybe it was not open yet. I got out to check , it was open and pretty full. I spoke with the owner a bit in Japanese, she remember me once I spoke to her. She had me sign in and I said we were looking for our friends and it would be a few minutes. It would take a while for our table to be ready anyway she said.

I went back to the car for LZ, we hung out for some 10-15 min. The owner came out and got us, saying our table was ready, so we went in to sit. The Delegation we found out later was sitting on the Bay Bridge in traffic, pretty typical coming out of the City. So we ordered a drinks and appetizer whilst waiting. I had Lychee sake and LZ had Nihon no Beeru

Shortly afterward they arrived. Zu-san ordered Shochu. The waitress was not sure if they had it as not many Americans order that. However they did find some, but… served it with to much ice. Not Japanese style, but the second glass he explained how to do it and it was ok.

The food was excellent. We ordered a lot from the grill they were pleased with the deliciousness of the taste, just like Japan! Desho, I said. The owner came over after a while and I made introductions. We were a bit of celebrities as the table speaking Japanese. We chatted with a couple of the waitress one of who knew LZ from before. It was a good evening, we had a sense of being back in Japan.

Finally we finished dinner and most of the people were leaving, we were still chatting. We were the last of 3 tables still there. There was a Japanese fellow who had spoken with us earlier was leaving and he stopped by our table again. After a brief chat, he sits with us, and we have a very interesting conversation about Japan in the 60’s and 70’s. I’m glad he switched to English , because I was only getting about half of what he was saying in Japanese, I still have a long way t go to follow 100%. He told us of hanging out with a lot of GI ‘s, played music some, loved, rock, R&B, did acid ( back in the day) partied a lot. He told us of the Black & White Culture in Japan back in the VietNam era. Meanwhile the staff was putting everything away, counting receipts, etc. We were the only customers left. Sumimasen I said to the Lady owner, while on my way back from the Loo, she said, no problem, you’re enjoying yourselves.

We continued to chat with the guy for about 10 min or so. Now it is close to 11:ppm and he excused himself. We asked if he was the Sushi chief, he said no, I’m the owner.

We were shocked! We all thought that the lady was the sole owner, but then just figured he was a partner. No matter, so we felt less bad about staying late, hanging with an owner, sweet. Yeah Good times!