Friday Fu w/Shifu…Feb 2011

27 02 2011

This post was going to be ” Friday Kyudo /Kung Fu”…However, @ 4:30 am when I was going to work it was some 40 degrees, heavy rain and wind gust at 25 mph. I did not bring my Yumi out of the house so no Kyudo. While watching the buckets of rain thrown rain I was contemplating not driving an hour to practice that evening to Kung Fu if this kept up.

Later the rain stopped, the winds as well, however it did stay COLD!

I went to Kung Fu even though I did not feel like it. It is some kind of mental test every time to get my self in gear and go. Mind training part one I guess. Anyway, it was only about 6 of us there at Shifu’s that night.

On the way down to the school I was thinking about getting someone to go through a few two man drills with me. I needed to practice. When I arrived, that is just what was going on two man sets. Fong Sisuk was not there so those that were, were practicing one of the two man drills I wanted to do. Perfect. I watched for a while then joined in. It was good to refresh the mind.

Next I hit up Arthur SiHing on going through the two man Hsing-I form. That was interesting not at all what I thought it would be like.  Somewhat simple so far. We did not finish it, but I got a good start on it.

Next we went through some knife defense of various kinds. Shifu reminded us that we did not have to have a knife to practice. We should just work with each other and get a feel for the arm control we needed to do the technique. Once that “feel” was in place the rest would be easier.

Another senior Sihing showed up late. His father was one the elder students of Sigung and ran a school in Hawaii until he passed. His son Brian, who was there tonight studied from a young age. This Sihing went through the same two man set and did the same basic set, however his footwork was more active. Much more monkey style, which is what Art Sihing was saying it should be. The Praying Mantis system uses “Mantis” hands and Monkey footwork. So watching him added a different flair to the set, more body work. Shifu commented, that it was about a personal style, you could do more “tiger” if you wanted, more “Monkey” if you wanted. Up to the person.

Earlier Art sihing and another sihing from his class did the same two man drill “Tai Chi” style. Much softer and stayed in contact with the other person, rather than releasing to attack. They had did that in response to my partner saying how I had switched from doing it the way we learned to staying more in touch like Tai Chi. I had not planned it, it just happened that way because of the way I needed to deal with his attack and just felt right for me . With this new info in mind it increases the depth of this drill for me…very cool.

Another worthwhile night with Shifu.

Kung Fu beyond combat-the series: Spiritual Warriors Pt 1

15 02 2011

This is the first interview in the series with three Zen Priest/Martial artist. I will be getting their view on Martial Art and Zen. How they relate to each other for them and their practice. As well as what advice they have for students and other seekers. This is the first attempt at this so the recording and final is a bit rough, the next one should be better 🙂

Anyway the message is there, I hope you enjoy. _/|\_

My first Interview is with Rev. Sifu G. LaBlanc. He runs the Turning Point Healing Center in Oakland where he does Traditional Chinese Medicine. He also runs the LaBlanc Wing Chun school and is a Priest with the Mountain Gate Zen Center.

I first met the Rev Sifu LaBlanc when he was 13, when he joined my then Shifu’s school in Torrance, CA. at the Tai Mantis Kung Fu Assoc., under Dr Kam Yuen, who was the Kung Fu director of the late Kung Fu show with David Carridine.

Sifu LaBanc started his study of Martial Art at the age of 6 with Shotokan Karate, then studied Northern Shaolin Tai Chi Praying Mantis. From there he studied, Wudang Kung Fu and later Aikido with Steven Seagal and Arnis/Kali, Jujitsu, and finally Wing Chun under the Linage of Yip Man.

His Zen practice started in the LA Zen center as a live-in student, until his school load of Traditional Chinese Medicine limited that practice full time. He later returned to his Zen studies under a Korean linage of which he is now ordained.

The interview was held in Oakland, CA during his lunch break. We went to a local shop and had a short talk. There was a lunch crowd there so there is quite a bit of background chatter, but the answers to my questions can be heard, not me so much 🙂

My questions were:

What is your Martial Art background?

What is Your Zen Background?

Why did you choose Wing Chun as your main Art?

On a personal level how does your Zen practice relate your Kung Fu ?

What advice would you give to others seeking Martial Art and/or Zen training?

My next interview will be in March with Rev. Sifu S. Baugh of the Lohan school of Shaolin in Las Vegas.

He is another classmate from the former Torrance Tai Mantis Kung Fu school. He is a Chan Buddhist Priest.

Blackness in Flux in Okinawa:

14 02 2011

And now for something completely different. The post here usually have to do with me directly, this one indirectly…

This is Black History month, so I thought this would be a good post. I went to a presentation the other day given by my friend who runs the blog Grits and Sushi. She and other Blasian woman gave this talk at UC Berkeley. Both of the women are from a Nubian father and a Okinawan mother. My friend was born here in the states and the other woman was born in Okinawa in Black Town. They have different perspective on life as a Blasian both here and Okinawa.

It was interesting listening to the angles of life in Okinawa. In a way it is said Okinawans are the Blacks of Japan. The Okinawans both looked down on people of color ( Blacks & Browns),  there and yet held them in high regard, do to their kindness to the Okinawan and the sameness of their suffering as second class people. The Okinawan women who had mixed children often had very hard lives and were considered trash by some.

Another guy who was also of mixed background had some very sad tales to tell of Okinawa during the occupations times. It is so sad people can be so heartless to others.

There will be a continuation of this presentation next month, this time there will be an added speaker, another friend of mine, who runs the blog Black Tokyo who spent time in Okinawa in the Marines. He will give his perspective on mixed relations there in Okinawa. Check out their blog for more info on this topic. It is a sad, educational and interesting topic.

Gong Xi Fa Cha – the Metal Rabbit

13 02 2011

I’m a bit late wishing my few readers who follow the Chinese path Happy New Year.

As usual I attended two celebration gatherings. The first was with my Chan family group. We met at a member’s home and had a nice Shabu shabu type dinner. This year there were more of us. I was a bit surprised to see everyone. It was a light fun gathering.

Next up was my Kung Fu family. I was a bit disappointed only two students from my school came. Even after more had said they would, it was not a whole-hearted commitment so it was disappointing , but not a surprise.

There were three of us from my school, plus 4 other schools in attendance. Again larger than last year and much more food. Much more great food. I had three trips of food. Sugoi oishkatta! It is always nice to visit with this group. There were many I did not know, but good to see the ones I have known for many years.

Now the “Hare” year is hopping along fully. Not really much has changed, but plans are in motion and some are underway. I finished my 1st Sailing training on the CAT, and LZ has started her basic sailing…Yosh!

There is a Tai Hai for the Northern CA Kyudo group this Sunday, but I am not going I have an offer to work. I need the money more than I need the pictures.

I had the first interview with one of the three Zen priest/Martial Artist, the one who teaches Korean Style Zen and Wing Chun it was a nice visit with an old friend from the old Kung Fu school. As soon as I can transcribe the tape, make a video and post them it will be up, perhaps sometime next week. At least sometime soon for those who are interested.

I also have to start preparing our taxes that will not be pleasant. 😦     Oh well not everything in life is, all we can do is ganbaru, like with my job…yosh!