La Vida en Mexico

3 03 2013

It has been a while since my last post so a little update I think is good. For those who are not following the sea blog and do not know, now you know, currently we are in Ensenada Mexico. Almost 1 month now, less a day or so. It took some adjustment, but things are fairly good, other than the water which is bad. There is a work around that, which cost, but it is not too bad. The price for drinking water is reasonable.

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Weather has been improving so that for me is always good, I hate the cold.

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We have done a couple of small tourist things, visiting a natural cheese farm. They had cows which are only used to milk for cheese. Happy cows! Then they showed us the process and lastly gave everyone some samples with a glass of wine and bread. OMG good! We took some home. The cheese not the cows.

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Another place we went is called the blow hole. ( bofadora) a place were the rock forms a place were the ocean shoot up in a spray. It was ok, but not worth the camera I broke trying to take a picture and tripping over a rock. Sigh. Something else to replace with no spare money.

Photo Feb 25, 11 29 47 AM

I have been out-n-about and found more martial arts school than I thought this small place would have. Several Karate schools of course, there is also a Kung Fu school , which I have visited a couple of times. However have yet to speak to the Shifu. He has not been there, and whoever is teaching is busy with the class so will not stop to speak with me, understandable. They teach several arts, Wu Shu, Hung Gar, Tai Chi, and some Chi Gong. They train fairly well from what I see.

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With getting settled now, I have started my own practice again, early mornings, but I need to make even earlier as not to have the misc onlookers. I like the solitude and not feeling like the entertainment . I have found a place by the marina on the water front. There are usually a lot of people out and about, starting early since it is a nice location. So I need to get before they start.

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Morning solo practice , after morning Zazen. There is Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Hsing Yi. then a bit more Zazen. I wish there was someplace to do Kyudo, but alas I will have to make do with just some misc parts. even a small part is better than none, even if sometime it is just mental. The mind is the controlling factor anyway…ne!

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Kyudo break

25 01 2013
We have been in Long Beach for the last two weeks. It is sort of like coming home to me having lived in LA for a number of years, like 20 or something.
We have been given use of a slip for our stay by the kind efforts of the Seal Beach Yacht club.
It has been over six weeks plus since I got to do anything physical other than sail. Last weekend since I had transportation I wanted to go to Kyudo since I could visit with one of my favorite Kyudo instructors Jyozen Sensei. There wer classes both on Sat night and Sunday morning. We started out for class on Sat, however since we were running late and the traffic was going to make us later. It was decided to turn around and not go. I always think it is on the rude side to show up late for class. More so really late as we were to be.
Sunday was another day.
Sunday we got it together to make it to the early morning class in the park. This was a better class for me, since I had sent my knee pads off to Japan. We do not do the full TaiHai in the park. We do however do a meditation before shooting, as is done on the Sat class. I was asked to lead the meditation. This is my second time at this so was no big deal. I had heard some comments before starting about just starting, since Jyozen Sensei was not there. However since I was ready to do the meditation we had at it. I kept in mind that some wanted to get at shooting, since our time was limited and just did a short meditation.
We do standing shooting rounds with four arrows in the park sessions. This gives one a chance of a short warm up but still goes pretty fast as it is somewhat free shooting. I struggled with my shots. Feeling awkward from not shooting. However my main problem was not the lack of shooting, but having a Kake, that was too small. Surprising how wired that felt. I still was able to pull off some fair shots, but man o man I felt awkward .
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After I finished, Jyozen Sensei was there and came over saying , they told you to shoot bigger lat time right. I said yes, I thought so he said. I saw you struggling. Your base was good, but you kept going back and forth with you mind for base to hands, and did not really make your draw bigger. He then gave me some tips on understanding the push with the left to open the right and pull with the right to open the left principal. Also using the push of the left and the weight of the Yumi to raise and open my left arm in daisan.
It helped, even with the small yukake I was able to shot better. However the small glove really really was a struggle. I thought when I was trying it on before buying this used glove it fit better. I was so wrong. I dropped a couple of arrows and my fingers felt like they had no control. Still I adapted and made a couple of fair shots.
It was a good morning of shooting. I like shooting with this group.
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Next I need to get some TaiChi practice in. I have been getting stagnate on the boat. We will be in Mexico soon, and I can get a routine back, maybe I will be able to find a place to practice my Fu, and Kyudo.
I am still keeping up with my Chan sitting, I need no room for that. I also got to visit with my senior Chan brother and sit with the group. That was nice, even though I ended up being the , surprise to me, guest speaker for the evening .Oh well I take these things in stride it is the Chan way.  Yosh!     _/|\_




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.

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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.

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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.





Blu Pel Ryu Do

3 03 2012

Blu Pel Ryu Do sounds like a Japanese martial art or lunch.

“The world is our Dojo”… Kyudo saying

I was sore last night and parts are still today. I discovered some new aches and pains yesterday while teaching / warming up for Kung Fu. Some leg soreness and upper body. This was after a particularly active day at the Pelican.

Moving sails out of the loft, sorting, moving next door, up stairs, restocking the left overs on a shelf. Yeah, it was work. So I noticed some soreness, legs are ok from stance training, upperbody soreness more noticeable.

Not a big deal however this did in turn get me to thinking.

“Everything is Kung Fu training”… Kung Fu saying

This is a Kung Fu philosophy, I flashed on this and got to thinking with the depth of training I am receiving at the Blue Pelican I am learning more than just stocking and operations, it is a form of Kung Fu a “way” A Tao or ” Do” as they say in Japan. This is both a mental and a physical training. I’m sure with a little thought I can see the spiritual aspect of this ” training path” the Blu Pel Ryu Do. I should call the owner Sensei. His knowledge on boats and retail operation is pretty vast, for sure “master” level. Lifting, climbing, walking, the physical training.

I used to watch a lot of old Kung Fu movies. This how they trained, just regular hard work, washing dishes, plowing fields, chopping wood, that sort of thing. Depending on what the family did training varied. A cook would develop by chopping wood for the fire, storing some soup or something, washing dishes. A carpenter would learn from sawing, hammering, wood turning, and so on. So here is me the Kung Fu sailing Padawan, lifting sails for weight training, climbing stairs with the sail for legs, climbing ladders for balance…Everything is Kung Fu training.

Oh so the mental. Besides learning about what goes where, what this and that part, I am getting training from the Master on selling, customer philosophy, display arrangement. Not just putting items on a shelf, but giving thought to what is going where. Attention to detail, are the coat hangers all the same color and facing the same way. As when doing a tea ceremony or walking meditation, or Kyudo. Mindfulness of the moment, details. Training in humility, from dusting the shelves, waiting on the customers. Weapons training from the dust mop handles, Coiling lines, math from counting change…

`Spiritual training comes from watching how the Sensei (owner) and his wife deal fairly and ethical with their staff and customers. I read once that if one’s employees are unhappy the bottom line will be effected positively. Everyone has value, everyone gets respect at the Blu Pel. It is the customers and staff that keep the store running. The spiritual value on the Ecological philosophy of recycling ( my thoughts). In a way this is a bigger deal than arrangement operations or displays. The spiritual values go beyond a job description. Like the principals of the Shaolin philosophy Cha’n (Zen), go beyond it’s combat training, (wushu)

So there it is a full “Do” system, physical , mental, spiritual training.

Blue Pelican KungFu aka: Blu Pel Fu…or Blu Pel Ryu Do. Not just a job, not just a great place to save money on boating supplies, not just a place to practice environmental compassion by recycling,  but a path of training in life, a “Do”. Or…

It could just be me tripping, I have been known to be weird at times.





Blessing on this National Day of Mourning for Native peoples

25 11 2011

Since the moving to the boat most of my time has been spent adjusting and settling in to life at WaterWorld.

 


There has not been much time for anything else. I have attended one session with Shifu on our Friday practice and one Kyudo session with Sensei.

 

However nothing regular for practice. There was a potluck Thankgiving dinner at Sifu’s school this past Sat. There were lots of good veggie foods. I am noticing more veggie dishes are turning up at these events. Nice for me. Yummmm.

I did make a discovery the other day. While setting up a place for the Yumi to live on the boat, I found that I could string and un-string a Yumi in the gallery there is plenty of room for that. Well maybe not plenty but enough.

In the process of making  home for weapons of art, I learned the sailor’s way of String Art and made several hanging ties for misc pieces.

I believe  I am the only cruising yacht that is set up to hold a Yumi, Ya’s, Kali sticks,

Chinese sword, sakuhachi, shamisen,

 

bass guitar, keyboard, flute plus the regular traveling stuff. I am ready for making music or battle. 🙂





This n That , That n This…

27 05 2011

Bit by bit I am gearing up for the testing in Aug. My mother-n-law brought me a Gomu-yumi from Japan on her visit here. This will help me work on my draw and Tai Hai in the apt. Great!

I was able to get in a few shot of real practice at RSD the other day. I feel pretty on target for my basic level with my form. I am sure I still need still adjustments and fine tuning but overall I think I am doing well being on my own for the most part . This week I will go see Sensei at the Dojo and also at the shooting range on Friday afternoon before I go do Kung Fu training with Shifu. I be making some weekly commitment to practice at least once or twice a week here on even as busy as I am. I do not want to waste my test money. Like the 63.00 I had to pay for 4,000 yin since they will not take cash at the test site. (o_O)

I sold my motorcycle 😦 which will pay for my plane fare to MN . I was lucky to find a deal on a ticket with the gas prices as they are. I needed to sell the bike anyway, I can not take it to Japan.

I am hoping to buy a Harley once there from some leaving military person. The sale of my late brother’s guitar will also go to the testing trip as well as buying myself a Bass Shakuhachi. His spirit can rest with that knowing something musical was involved with the sale of his Guitar. His other two Basses I am taking to Japan to hook with or start a band. I am looking forward to playing again. I am taking several instruments on the ocean passage there, along with a computer maybe I’ll come up with some interesting songs on the voyage.

Speaking of playing I was pleasantly surprised to find out my mother in law is a jazz fan. She is not big on Japanese music but like jazz. One night I turned on our local Jazz station while she was here visiting and she really enjoyed it. Then last night we were out to dinner and there was s small Jazz trio playing in the hotel lobby she wanted to stop and listen.

LZ told her later she should find a boyfriend in Japan and go out to here some Jazz and have a glass of wine. She has just discovered she likes wine. She is having some adventures now even at her age. She spent most of her younger years caring for family. Now it is her time. Getting to travel America, and Viet Nam on her on. Sailing,

dining at yacht clubs, wine tasting, listening to live Jazz,learning some basic computer skills. We can not bring back our youth but should enjoy the time we have when we can, ne! I will have to tell her how to get a jazz station on her new computer when she picks one up in Japan. I showed her how to work an iPad she likes it. Her use is mostly for Skype

but I can tell her how to use iTunes for streaming Jazz.

On another note, Monday was my final Tai Chi class for this session with the city of Alameda.

One student brought in some fruit another brought in some wine n cheese for after class. That was thoughtful of them. The classes here have had the most thoughtful group orientated mind set since I been teaching ever. Maybe some will even come to the banquet this year and give the school some face. It will be interesting to see how my students in Japan compare.

Weds was the final Shaolin/Tai Chi mix class also for the Park and Rec dept.

One of the students who comes on both Mon and Wed this time brought in some snacks for afterward. This maybe the start of a new tradition for the school. I think it is a nice touch and helps bring the group together and raises class spirit.





Kung Fu beyond Combat – The Series: intro

15 01 2011

Let me begin this by saying KUNG FU does not only mean a style(s) of fighting or a hard, external style of fighting. Tai Chi Chuan is Kung Fu as well. A good carpenter, potter, dancer, healer has good Kung Fu. A good Archer has good Kung Fu, a good sailor has good sailing Kung Fu. Kung Fu in the true sense means a skill attained through work, time and patience. Limiting Kung Fu to just fighting is like limiting Zen to just a religion, God to only Christians, Jews, or Muslims, Catholics, Healing to just medical pills and surgery. They are all bigger than that!

I have a conference in Las Vegas, it is by the American Sailing Association. I am an instructor via this group. I really do not care for LV and really the only reason I am going is to listen to a Zen Master discuss Zen and teaching sailing. This is close to home and he is a friend. I can learn something not only from the perspective of teaching sailing but teaching my Shaolin Kung Fu. In the world of Zen “everything is connected”.

While in LV I decided I would pay a visit to a Kung Fu classmate who runs a school there in Sin City. The Lohan School of Shaolin and teaches Northern Shaolin, Tai Chi , Praying Mantis, and southern Five Animals Kung Fu. My classmate is also a Chan Buddhist Priest. This got me to thinking about his tie-in to teaching Chan and Kung Fu, we have not spoke of this before. With him being in Las Vegas I have only seen him twice in the years we left the school, which was back in the early eighties. On his website spiritual Kung Fu is listed as part of the training. I thought it would be interesting to speak with him on this.

As my own interest in Zen came about in order to be a better Kung Fu teacher and being in Vegas due to teaching and Zen, even in another format I saw a tie in. As I said in Zen we say all things are connected. This was very much so.

From that the idea grew. I have another Kung Fu classmate who is also a Zen priest from the Korean lineage, which I found out just recently. He teaches Wing Chun Kung Fu. He is also an acupuncturist and has studied Aikido, besides Shaolin Tai Chi Mantis.

Added to this thought another Zen Priest came to mind. He does not teach Kung Fu but he studies Tai Chi Chuan from the same Shaolin lineage as myself and the others. Though he does not teach Kung Fu he does teach Kyudo and is one of my favorite coaches. He is from the Japanese lineage of Soto Zen.

The four of share a commonality not only with our martial training but also our Chan philosophy even though from different branches of the same tree. I thought it would be interesting to see how each relates Zen to their teaching/training in “Kung Fu”.

Over the months of Feb, March and April I will be connecting with these men for a short interview and post the thoughts and opinions on this blog under this topic of Kung Fu beyond Combat.

Questions:

What is your martial background?

How do you see the future path of Kung Fu, as far as direction and quality having been taught by old school instructors? Less or more quality?

What is your Zen/Chan background?

What lead you to Chan?

How do you relate your Zen/Chan practice to your Study of Kung Fu?

Do you bring Chan to your students in a formal form?

In what way?

Do you feel your Chan study has helped you be a better instructor?

In what way?

Are there any Chan practices, drills that you do with your Martial Students?

Do you consider Kung Fu Zen?

Any advise you would give to people seeking a martial arts and or a spiritual path?

Stay tuned coming in Feb part I

* If there is a question you would like presented to these Sifu’s please leave it in the comment section.

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