World Tai Chi Day: Ensenada, Mexico

27 04 2013
2013  World Tai Chi Day
April 27 is World Tai Chi Day. Around the world on this day , people come together to spread healing and positive Chi into the world as a group. In years past I have not attended any gatherings, but have done my own chi addition in the park or someplace. This year there was another event held in Ensenada, Mexico. I had been in touch with the Ensenada Qi Gong Tai Chi group about visiting their practice class. However with no transportation to their sea side location it was difficult. As host for this event in the past they held it again this year. I was invited. As it turns out it the location was only a few blocks away from our marina. Also lucky because on Monday we are leaving from there/here. 
 
 
LZ and I got up and out on Sat morning to attend the Tai Chi event. I introduced myself to the Master and we spoke briefly in my limited Spanish. A short time later his wife who spoke some English also came, introduced herself and welcomed us. She explained the program in more detail. There was to be a Kung Fu demo from a school in Tijuana, then a group Qi Gong session, then followed by Tai Chi from their school. 
 
 
We hung out for a while, until the demos started. Lion dancing, and the master from another school I had visited preformed a short multi-animal set. A short while into the demo the Master from the host school came with an English-speaking student to invite me to join them for the Qi Gong Session on stage. I agreed. When the time came I joined them. They are a Taoist school so their Chi Gong was different from those I had learned. Not hard to follow, just different. I stood in the back row so I could see, follow and not be seen 🙂
 
Afterward there were some Tai Chi Sword demos and fan form from the local WuShu, Kung Fu, Yang Tai Chi school. Again the same I had visited in town. Not very welcoming, but civil. I did not try to speak with the Shifu, I bowed to him when we finished the Qi gong, but he seemed distance. I know he remembered me, not like they get people who look like me visiting and leave their card. No matter. Maybe he was distant because he spoke no English, not because he is seeming aloft. 
 
Anyway a short while later I am approached by the Qi Gong Master again and asked to join the Tai Chi demo from his school if I wanted, and he would be very honored.  Said ok, however I did not know their form so l would follow again from the back. He was honored he said. A short while later it was time I went on to the stage with the group this time I was surprised to be introduced as a visiting master. I was asked if I wanted to say something. I did a small thank you and how great it was to be part of this important event. I did a part in Spanish and then in English. The person with me repeated in better Spanish! I bowed and went an joined the line.
 
 
 
 Again it was Taoist Tai Chi, so I watched and followed along on the Tai Chi 28 form. It was interesting. 
 
 
After it as over the Master who was wearing a removable leg cast when I first met him started to badly limp off the stage. I came to his aid and helped him off. He looked in pain. I do not usually do the healing practice I learned the basics of from my Shifu Kam Yuen, I do not feel like I am good at it, but thought I would try. I did just a few minutes of treatment on the master and he was very grateful. He said it helped. I hope so even a bit. 
 
 
 
I noticed instead of sitting in the chair that was brought to him he stood and spoke with others. So perhaps it did ease the pain some. He gave me a big hug afterwards for my act of compassion. He is a nice man, he unlike the other Shifu has very humble vibes. I notice people had a lot of respect for him.
 
 
Once finished I was approached by a student (?) of his and asked , was I using the Yuen method. I was quite surprised! She wanted to learn and to have a treatment. As said I am not a good user so I was hesitate to offer service, and we were only in town still for a short while. I told her I could help her with an on-line connection, and to send me an email. Perhaps al short treatment session could be arranged. She thanked me and LZ and I said our goodbyes to the master and we took our leave. 
 
 
It was a good morning and a nice way to end the event for me to not only be part of the event, but to actually be of help, maybe 🙂
Shaolin spreading the love.
 
_/|\_
Advertisements




Update

23 11 2012

Yeah, still here!

For now…it has been all about the move as of late. There has been a few diversions though. I have gotten a couple of kyudo session in since the last. A few visits with the Kungfu family and the Chan fam.

A few weeks ago a sailor from Japan (one of three) showed up. He had done Kyudo in high school some 49 years ago. He wanted to go to class with me. He remembered things well enough to help a newbie understand how to do basics. His form for shooting was great! Impressive for not touching a bow for 40 yrs.

IMG_0149

My Kyudo equipment is now packed and ready to ship. All except a set of equipment which will travel on the boat with us. I will seek out place to shoot from time to time. That way I will not be too far out of practice when we get to Japan.

Fairwell toast

My senior Kung Fu student has agreed to take over the Tai Chi and Kung Fu classes. This is good for her and the students. I did not want to feel I had abandoned this group.  I feel out of the years I have been teaching this last group from the Tai Chi group is the best and my favorite.
They took me out to dinner… Twice. That is not why they are my favorite, but their attitude. One of the students is even interested in Chan practice.

Speaking of which I am having lunch with three of my Chan sisters. The ones from the Berkeley class. It will be good to see them once more.

Another surprise out of this, is the group I worked with at the marina, threw me a lunch gathering/going away party. I was shocked.

20121122-185059.jpg

Lots of weather delays before cast off. It is good in a way, I needed the time to mentally prepare as well. This takes mental training to a another level.

I’m glad a have a spare Kyudo set with me, looks like we will be spending a little time in LA. I will get to shoot.





Waning moon…

11 08 2012

I have been doing this blog now for some five years now. Time is slipping away. Hard to believe in 2-3 months we are leaving for Japan. Goodbye America, Mata ne!

It dawned on me this blog will be finished soon also. I have a few more posts to do. The final Kyudo seminar, the final two kung fu beyond combat posts, then that may wrap it up. At least for here. The Zenseaki2 by sea will continue. This blog will be reborn as “Zensekai Japan ”

I had a break through at Kyudo practice on Monday, at least I think so. If I can repeat what I learned when shooting on test day I’ll be ok. One is I need more Nobei, other wise even if I am on target the arrow has no power. 2, We did a exercise at the Chan retreat called one finger Zen. I found when doing this with the target my shots/hits are better . Also with expanding along the arrow, so told by Jyo Zen Sensei, made my shot stronger. I have four practice sessions to get this down. Finally changed my right Tenouchi just enough to relax the hand more and have the release smoother

Speaking of Kyudo, I have gotten my head around this ranking thing in Kyudo. Until one gets to Yondan basically you are a colored belt. Eg: yellow, green, purple. Sandan is really just a Brown belt in equal Karate ranking. The True Black belt , where you start getting respect as Kyudoka comes at Yondan. This is where training get serious. You get invited to banquets, get an extra day of training at seminars, and you can wear cool clothes.

I have been asked to design the Taikai Award certificate this year. The certificates are not coming from some standard award template. These are my original design. After my shaky start 3 years ago with the Renmei it gives me an certain internal ego boast to be asked to do this. The job turned into something more complex than I planned and took me a couple of days and running around to finish. Printing to paper differs some from the Web. Also the “artist” would not let me do a halfhearted quickie job. That would be like shooting with no Nobiai.

Most people dislike Mondays, I do not. It is one of my favorites right now. Tuesdays’ now that is a different creature. Mondays I go to work early ( the sucky part) then I go to Kyudo practice, then the rest of the day I am free to do whatever, until my night Tai Chi class.

Speaking of my class, my Monday Tai Chi class threw me a Potluck going away /end of class eat-in. That was thoughtful of them. The classes at the rec-center have turned out to be the best of my career overall. Well at least as far as Tai Chi goes. The Kung Fu Class did pretty well for a while at the Martinez school. Also those from the Weds night class took me out to sushi. Nice students… _/|\_  !

This series of classes has given me a good format, I think, to work from in Japan. No matter what movement art is being used. Anyway I already know that Taikyuku (Tai Chi) is somewhat popular in Japan it will be a matter of just finding my spot. I believe the three level Tai Chi forms will be a good platform. Yang 24, Taiji Palm, Chen 24 with the added power form Hsing Yi this will a good Internal training path. The External will be Shaolin/Mantis, and Kali. Both have the Chan and Qi Gong. I am feeling the Internal Path will be more popular in Japan, given that I do not teach a kids class and the older age population is drawn to the “lower” key of Tai Chi.

It is getting real. I believe I have things set as far a mover for our things to Japan. However I need to reduce our shipment to fall within the parameters of the company’s minimum shipment. Our financial life is near to re-set, actually, our life is near re-set…kind of like going into Zanshin.





Time…

20 07 2012

Back in the day, there was a hit song by the Chambers Brothers by this name. I wonder how many who read this blog remember that…it has nothing to do with this post, at least directly…I just recall that song when ever I hear just TIME…

“time waits for no one”…the Rolling Stones

The action marked a milestone in my life timeline. It gave me a moment of weirdness in my inner space…seriously. It however passed quickly as I filled for Social Security benefits. Wow, how many years had I thought of this, and seemed sooo far off. Now, those thoughts seem like yesterday…but this is now. Although not as dream filled, starry eyed, naive,  other than a few minor aches I feel the same as I did way back when this moment was a distance dream. Even then, it was never about moving to Japan and starting a new life at this stage.

In this life you never know what the tide will bring…

We have basically about 3-4 months to pull everything together to leave. If this is truly suppose to be my path the Universe will pull it together because I do not see how by my power it will happen. I do see if everything worked out, we could barely slide by… However how many things ever workout just as one plans…one has to adapt… to succeed… to survive. Move like water.

Things are little by little falling into place even with the set backs things still are coming together. I will need to cut down on attachments ( ie: things that will need to be shipped) to make the shipping more reasonable. I have already emotionally dealt with that reality. Now I need to deal with it physically.

Getting the Kyudo seminar behind me successfully will be a big relief and free up time to prep for the passage. This is a constant thought riding in the back of my mind, getting past this Kyudo seminar, and it is purely just a personal challenge/goal.

Things are very different now from when I had all this planned five years ago. When I had a good paying job, owner of property ( well the bank and I did), nice car, retirement money… Ahh so different now. Life is like that change, want it, like it or not it is in your face. One has to adapt… to succeed… to survive.

There are three things, three events I need/want to do before we leave. My last stateside personal events. The 21st annual memorial banquet and tournament for my Kung Fu Federation. At the tournament this year I have four students competing this is a record for my school. Nice that it is for my last stateside school.

The next thing is a Chan retreat. It has been several years since I have attended a retreat even many months since I’ve attended a local meeting. This retreat is to be special due to the speaker, Juemiao Miaoming (Mark Troxell). I have personal reason for wanting to connect with him. He comes from a martial art background in his pursuit of Chan. Unlike many people I have met, most coming from a meditation, relaxing, background he is like me. The Shifu has made him a disciple so it will be interesting to speak with him. Too bad there is not enough time to interview him for my Kung Fu beyond combat series. However maybe there will be , maybe this what I am supposed to do. Either way it should be interesting to talk with him about Cha’n and the marital arts. Also to say goodbye to my friends and family there with both organizations which are separate but related.

Lastly the Kyudo seminar the grand finale. I am in most nervous about this. I will just do my best. My confidence goes up and down like ocean surges.

I have put in the request for the week off from work to attend this seminar. I am off from all jobs for that week and it will be a live-in seminar. However a completely different vibe from the Sonoma Zen Center Kyudo Seminar I attended my first year of Kyudo. I will be off work and away from home for this event. It is only 90 min from home but still it is a several nights stay away. On a side note. I really want to attend the Zen Kyudo Retreat (s) in Hawaii. I will plan on that, next year maybe too soon, but at least 2014.

A bit of a disappointment there are several people in my KYUDO dojo who are testing for Sho-Dan. However there is one young woman, a Nidan, who has tested with me from the first, when we started in Japan. She will not be testing this time she will be in Japan. Another Nidan from my dojo is pregnant, so there goes her testing …poof! I will stand alone this year for SanDan…Yoooosh!!

I hope I get a good spot this time, not Omae or last! Omae is nice because you do not kiza as long but … You are right there on front street for the judges.

I just found out the other day even if I am living in Japan I have to go through the Renmei group here on the states to test in Japan. What is the deal with that?!!? I will check into this more or at least I will have Sensei check into this. I wonder since I’ll be joining a local school if this still true. I thought once I left the states I would be done with the Stateside Renmei. On another note I have been asked to design prize vouchers for the seminar tourney. First official recognition I exist…

On a note close to that, when I was trying to join a school a couple of years ago, there was one dojo where I was told basically I was not welcome there because I was interested in Zen. This “Zen” Kyudo thing, I was told is not the real way of Kyudo. This school was the real Marital way. Now I see all over this person’s website references to Zen Kyudo as a real art.

My birthday is the weekend before the seminar. I have a sail planned, perhaps I’ll treat myself to go see “Brave” as well, for some fantasy inspiration. Jyo Zen Sensei is having Kyudo gathering that weekend. I would love to go, but…it would be too much.

After the Kyudo seminar it is full steam ahead to set sail for Nihon, with only two month to pack and go. Kind of scary when really thinking about it. So I use thought control… Or denial.

There is a bit of a side track for a job for Yoh Sensei and the ZenBoat. I will be flying to the East Coast for a week to the boat show, helping with marketing the Zen24. Then back to put hopefully the final wraps on leaving a couple of weeks following.

At this time i’m kind of like leaving Daisan going to Kai right now.





Japan to China

14 09 2011

Okkkk, I am behind on posting, if anyone cares, sorry, I have a life…

What a difference a day makes. On Friday evening I was the fresh new lowly Kyudo Nidan, on Sat I was in the role of the Kung Fu “master”. Friday was the end of the Kyudo seminar, Sat was the start of the Kung Fu sessions our 20 th yr. anniversary.

Once again the Chuk Kai memorial Kung Fu tournament and banquet was being held in the Bay Area. We have the largest concentration of schools in the country. There are schools in Walnut Creek, Alameda, San Jose , Campbell and San Francisco.

Overall with the shrinking of the economy the turn out becomes smaller. Yet we still have a turn out from the Bay Area schools , plus LA, Boston and Washington state school. Not huge attendance but enough to keep us going and feel the love.

As with the last few years I was once again called upon to do the event coordination.   This usually keeps me busy setting up what event runs next and which need to be combined due to lack of enrollment.

This year we were down to two rings instead of three.  One ring is for internal forms (kata) the other is for external forms and weapons. After all these years we have gotten things running smoothly and with less people we are able to wrap things up by late afternoon. This gives everyone a chance to get a bit of a rest before the evening banquet which is held in Oakland’s Chinatown.

In the years past we have had the tournament for only Tai Chi Praying Mantis schools. After the board of directors meeting on the Sunday following the banquet it was decided to open the tournament to outside schools. Tai Chi schools will be invited next year and follow that the following year with other external schools.

Next year will be my final year attending as a resident. It is my hope to return in 2014/15 with a couple of students from Japan. We’ll see, if nothing else it will be just me.

The banquet this year still managed to have a good turnout, however in the past couple of years there were two vegetarian tables, this  year only one and only three of us at it. A small benefit of that was we had as much food as we wanted, and even took a bunch home. It was also the best food section for us veggiesheads.

Even so it would be nice to have the economy improve enough to have more people next year. Still even with the collapse of the economy it is good we are still able to maintain this tradition in honor of the late grandmaster, Chi Chuk Kai for 20 years. That in itself is an accomplishment, with none of the disharmony that has gone down with other Organizations.

On another note but similar I have decided to do some minor study in the art of Aikido. My Kyudo Sensei teaches Aikido also and the class is just before the Kyudo class so it seems like the perfect setup since I will need to be there for Kyudo. A couple of the ladies from the Kyudo class take both. My interest in studying is not about belts or ranking as I will do no testing. I found from watching Aikido classes that a lot of the techniques are the same we use in Tai Chi Mantis with only a slight variation . So I am thinking the practice of Aikido will give me a chance to practice with a partner. My Kung Fu students have not reached the level of training that we can practice together on that aspect of martial study. So I am looking to enhance the principles of “ChinNa” and get some two person practice in.

The next big thing I want to finish here is the beyond combat series. I have the final interview in , I just need to edit it down. The last interview is with Jyozen Sensei a Zen monk and instructor for the LA Kyudo Kai who does Tai Chi Chuan.





Friday Fu, w/Kyudo thoughts – June

29 06 2011

I was on the way to Friday class with Sifu and Fong Sisuk It came to me whilst preparing mentally for the class it is the similar mind set as when doing Kyudo. That lead me to think, really it was more like preparing for Tai Chi Chuan (notice I am using the full name) and how doing Kyudo is not just like doing Tai Chi Chuan but rather doing Tai Chi Sword. Because with Tai Chi Sword not only must have that oneness on connection with your stances ( Ashibumi) , hips, spine, limbs, breath, eyes, (Dozukuri) connecting the flow of those with the sword.  It’s position, grip, tip, (Yugamae), a further extension of that blending of oneness, in your movements but use the sword (Yumi). Achieving the San mai itai. The real difference is in those moments of stillness that one has doing Kyudo (yet as in sitting meditation there is still movement within stillness).  At least when you are doing it as a group, the Kiza, the waiting time. Realizing of course that doing the Kyudo “set”, Kata it starts when you enter the Dojo floor, not just when you are shooting. I have heard it said by Jyozen-san that the shot, (the kata) starts when you pick up the Yumi/Ya. The Tai Hai is the Kyudo Kata…Hmmm, maybe I’m thinking to much about the seminar (-_-)

These are my thoughts whilst driving to Campbell for my monthly class session. The mind set of doing Kyudo is the same as Tai Chi Sword, different movements to the Kata but the same mind, the same connection to the weapon being held. The same extending of spirit and Chi. Got it!  Just more that Zen/Chan stuff.
The release if the arrow is the Tai Chi Fajing ( power strike) of Kyudo.

Once there at the school I joined in the conversation about dealing with a much larger opponent. Sisuk empazided the importance of making the person fight your fight. Part of the higher levels of training is “sizing” up your opponent. Understanding his weak point and his strong points and using those weak points against him/ her. We, he said are Mantis a little small insect. We have to use our mind to fight, to control our adversary. Part of that control not only comes from physical control but mental control as well. Praying Mantis is a complex art , Tai Chi Mantis is even a higher complexity.
Another point covered was the use of the elbow and forearms . The Mantis is a multi jointed insect do not restrict your thoughts, actions to just use of hands.

The rest of the time was spent on some technical aspects of some movement and some comparisons with Aikido on controlling. Sisuk again stressed that the higher level of our art was about control and the compassion of control to end a conflict over pounding someone to death or submission. Training is about controlling ourselves first, then the other person. There is a saying from the Tao Ching  something like.  Mastering others takes wisdom, Mastering ourselves takes Strength.

At one point while we were eating or almost there Sifu said “to be good with Kung Fu, you have to learn it, then forget it”. I have heard this “meaning” before but the first time in this context, this setting, so it clicked into several things all at once, Music, Kyudo, Ceramics, Sailing…

All is Chan, Chan is all.

 





Steps

2 06 2011

It is raining as I write this from work. This iPod is great, I have been able to do a lot of my blogging here while bored at work. I like the rain and this quiet morning is nice. Even though this is not a great job it does have its points. Like this, the quiet of the parking lot at dawn.

Another step toward moving came about yesterday I got the final approval on the office / storage space we need for our stuff once we move onto the boat. I even got half a month free rent. … Very nice!

When thinking about it seriously it is kind of scary this big move. I will miss our apt even though it is expensive it is nice and comfortable. I was watching the sunset yesterday thinking what a blessing it has been to view them these last two years.

Now burning each one into my soul as they are growing fewer from this place. Sometimes they are soft, sometimes passionate! We have three months to draw, appreciate every final moment of beauty from here. The view, the fireplace, the convenience of all the facilities in one place. The of course there will be those times of beauty on the boat. Yet different. It will also be nice to accumulate  some funds in the bank. This last year in this Apt has been really for LZ because I wanted to move before but she works hard and needed it for her spirit this year. It was also good to have her mother  visit us in this place and share the beauty.

Kyudo

I have stepped up my training routine to include daily KIZA (危座) practice so I can lessen the discomfort or at lest deal with it better for longer periods. I think that is one of the more difficult and painful aspects of Kyudo. Staying in Kiza while waiting for your turn to shoot. Then doing the form with grace, power, spirit or with as it is said “Shin Zen Bi”.

My details for the trip are ready. The big disappointment is after sending in my application form within a week of them being issued along with deposit money for a single room. Then having to resubmit new forms, then later finding out I still needed to summit yet another form to request a single room after already doing so from the beginning as stated. Did I mention these other forms I did not find out about until after the single rooms had been already issued. Sigh, very disheartening. It is not that it is big of a deal to share a room, I have done that on other retreats but I was looking forward to being able to do Zazen, read, perhaps play an instrument, talk on Skype, get up early without intruding on another or them on me. Like a mini vacation after the extra effort of getting the financial part done early. Oh well adapting is part of training. (Note to self bring sleepwear.) These type of things are always a challenge for a private type of person. There is a saying it is more beneficial to meditate in chaos than in the quiet. I will survive and enjoy, the venue looks nice. ” It is easy to be happy when you are happy, the test of Zen is to be happy when you are not” also on the bright side I save 50.00

Thinking of adapting to discomfort I wonder if there will be any consideration for vegetarians as far as meal. Better to ask (additional: note to self bring food) There is usually something I can eat then fill in from town later. It is more of that adapting thing. When you are a veggie-head it comes with the turf in order to survive. Hmmm so that 50.00 savings will come in handy.
*update the menu is vegetarian friendly yay!*

I have a training trip planned to LA in the works for July. I want to visit Jyozen Sensei for some Kyudo counsel and also see the Dark Knight of Kyudo, Darth the hated, to pick up a second and stronger Yumi. Additionally we will visit some Kung Fu connections he has, and I, a couple of my Fu Family.

…and speaking of Kung Fu (nice Segway ne)

Right after I return from the Kyudo seminar starts my annual Tai Chi Mantis events and I do mean right after. I return on Friday night and Sat morning the tournament starts. The good thing is I only need to do support, I am not competing, Saturday night there is our banquet, Sunday is our board meeting. Following that is our three day seminar, that I’ll plan on attending. Only because this time we will work on applications and technique not learn another form, that I will not have time to practice and then forget . It is far better to fully understand the basics , the foundations from many angles, than to learn something part way.

All the while moving out of apt by Sept 1.
With a little birthday treat for LZ and I with a day trip to Calistoga for a room with a Jacuzzi and dinner. This to wrap up our stay at the apt, celebrate our birthdays and my ( hopefully) Nidan promotion .