Weird Tai Chi Stories from the Daughter of a Great Grandmaster…

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After one of my readers opened up the Weirdness of Tai Chi, my mind has been so pleasantly flooded with the weird stories I’ve been a part of and have asked of myself throughout the years.  So I thought, why not share some of them!

Did you start practicing when you were born?

This was the actual question the person had asked me, LITERALLY.  They thought I had basically been able to birth myself from my mother’s womb, walking out dong Tai Chi.  I wish I had a video tape of the actual conversation, cause it took me a while to understand that the person was literally asking me what he wanted to know, word for word.  He even asked if I had memories from in the womb of my dad teaching me Tai Chi with “His Energy” through my mother’s stomach.  I even pause, shaking my head at the memory of this question and I have been asked this more than once.

Does your father fly around at home?

While I will fully admit sending both my parents into orbit at times, sorry to disappoint, but dad is just a normal human like the rest of us.  The only thing that might seem abnormal is his ability to remain calm under any circumstances and to really mind his own business.  He is also abnormally honest and doesn’t have a negative bone or bad thought in his while entire being.  I have never met anyone so pure of heart in my 40 years, well, maybe one other person, but dad is the Gold Standard even for the Standard of Gold.

How many people has your father killed without touching them?

My father has never killed anybody.  He killed chickens for his teacher when it came to meal time, but that was just dad, being a dutiful and respectful disciple.  At times my father must have wanted to kill me, but he never even let that show.  The times I have driven him to his extreme was a pain he expressed from a depth of love I, even in that moment(s) of intense emotion, I felt so lucky to have the experience of love that real in my life.  Oh and when dad killed the chickens for The Professor, he used his hands.  The Professor couldn’t kill anything because he was buddhist, but it didn’t stop from eating anything he had killed for him.

Did you learn how to walk because your father taught you Tai Chi from the instant you were born?

I didn’t start learning Tai Chi until I was 14.  I am the same as any other child who learns how to crawl, walk and then run.  Oh, mom did drop me when I was an infant, so I also use that as a defense against my sometimes un-agreeable behavior, it’s not that I didn’t keep my hands up enough when I was actively fighting, mom dropped me.  Sometimes I still feel like I’m figuring out that walking thing by the way.  I am the clumsiest person on two legs if I am not performing in a sport I have trained in.  Put me on ice skates, I’m good.  Put me in a boxing ring, I’m good.  Put me on the Lei Tai, I’m good.  Put me on my own two feet… it depends.

Now a funny story…

I was at an even that dad couldn’t make it to.  I think he was getting an award somewhere else and then this event came up after he made that commitment, so I had to go.  The whole thing was outdoors.  It was very much like how the weather has been now, colder than what is normal for the time of year.  I was shivering a bit and a guy comes up to me to tell me that the only reason I am cold is about my terrible “chi flow”.  I’m kind of use to people wanting to teach me something all of the time and appreciate their generosity, even though I sense it comes from a place of self celebrated worth.  I just thank him for his observation and then he starts to tell me about how is a Tai Chi Master from some lineage which was very impressive to him and that he would like to take me on as his pupil, because I look as though I have incredible potential to be someone someday.  I thank him again, but decline his offer because my schedule is already filled, actually over flowing.  Like clock work, the announcer says:

“Now accepting for her father William CC Chen, Tiffany Chen”

I excuse myself and in that instant he realizes everything he’s been saying and he turns ghost white.  It was the best way to get someone with diarrhea of the mouth to finally leave me alone and it’s the lesson he had yet to learn from his impressive Tai Chi Lineage, which is, stay humble, I think I helped him learn that, that day.

Is your Energy is Sick? In this generation’s unideal, ideals, the Toxic Energy of others might be making you feel physically ill. Before you diagnose yourself with an illness or disorder, maybe you should make sure you aren’t surround by those who are Energetically Toxic or what I like identify as Energy Influenzas.

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Tai Chi Chuan, Yoga, Pilates and all the other Internal Arts are about Internal Cleansing, Healing, Refueling and Understanding Yourself better than you did yesterday, so that you can always achieve your own personal best everyday.

Fitness is an Inside Job and as much as the Fitness industry puts the focus on the Outside Appeal, you are never gonna feel good enough about yourself until you actually work on yourself.  You are only actively working on yourself if you really do good feel about yourself day to day and if you keep the focus on what it is you are doing to improve the quality of your life, by improving the quality of who you are, daily.

Your life is your own inside job.  It is not about how you constantly compare yourself with others, it’s about how you, compare with you, on a day to day basis.  It’s about how you mind your own business and about how you respectfully DO NOT constantly mind the business of others.  Its about that third eye which is your mind’s eye and the phrase “Mind your own Business”, that’s talking to those of you who haven’t opened your third eye and are instead pulling yourself away from you and into the desire of, trying and taking as much as you can from others.

In Modern Society we have so many people who suffer from the Energy Influenza, a sickness of your Energy, because of the Energy you receive from others.  In this modern society which has become a breeding ground for the Narcissist, Sociopath, Liar and Grown Child Syndrome where everything is about what others can manipulate from others, there has become an overdevelopment of the Mind Game which requires the necessity of the Mind Gym.

When your Energy is Healthy, the Mind is clear and you Feel Good.

When your Energy is Unhealthy, the Mind is foggy and you Don’t Feel Good.

Health is an inside job, but People have become Viruses too.

When you aren’t feeling good, it’s not really about the weather or anything else having to do with your physical environment,  cause when you are feeling really good, can much of anything bring you down, let alone an uncontrollable factor like the weather? You might have an Energy Influenza and the best way to cure an Energy Influenza is to get your energy back to its Healthy Flow.

Question: “I’m not looking for another martial art for self-defense but there are moments when I can’t figure out how Tai Chi fits into all that. You always seemed like someone who’s always open to questions, and you were a full contact fighter, so I thought you might have some insight into where Tai Chi fits into everything.”

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Where does Tai Chi fit into everything?

Tai Chi is in everything and this isn’t something I even realized until I returned to teaching a few years ago.

Tai Chi happens in stages, it grows with you and you grow with it, it is the most powerful symbiotic relationship that exists.  You can practice it at any age, there are no limits with what you are able to learn, see and feel through supplementing your life with Tai Chi Chuan.

Tai Chi Chuan is a Martial Art.

It is the most sophisticated of all Martial Arts Systems, because it is Fighting Art as much as it is a tool for Self Growth and Understanding, not just of ourselves, but it enhances our ability to see, feel, learn and grow.  It has the fascinating ability to help you look inwards and with time, this inward gaze, which is hard to understand at first, is what ends up becoming a life long introspective study.  To understand life and individuality, you must always have an honest understanding of who you are, which means being truthful of your shortcomings, appreciative of your good qualities and understanding most of all, that you are unique, in the same way everyone else is and this should always keep you humble, hardworking and respectful.  Having said this, you also have to understand that not everyone will be humble, hardworking and respectful in the manner which you practice and this is always a lesson to learn from.  I have found that you either learn how to be better, or you learn how to just stay away from things and/or people who disrupt the good flow of your energy.

Tai Chi Chuan as Self Defense is the most simple, yet sophisticated art forms I am still learning.  Simplicity always yields a very special, honest kind of sophistication and what ends up being so sublimely sophisticated is when you discover the simplicity of actual sophistication.  To make what can end up becoming an outrageously overly verbose explanation, especially from me, I will try and keep it simple by just saying, Tai Chi Chuan makes you better friends with yourself.  It trains you always understand yourself and reinforces this throughout your years of practice.  If you don’t get yourself, you won’t get Tai Chi Chuan, but if you want to learn about yourself, Tai Chi Chuan is the ultimate learning tool for constant self-improvement, enlightenment, kindness and happiness.

Most pugilistic crafts focus on the outward appeal of creating bumps, bruises, sweat and tears to others.  What people don’t realize is that the bumps, bruises, sweat and tears will be mostly of your own, especially when you don’t have a better enough understanding of you and your own abilities.  Tai Chi is strategic in this way, we start from the inside-out approach.  Learn yourself through the language of feeling.  It is only through understanding yourself that you will be able to respond and response is a balanced interaction to elements outside of your control.  Tai Chi Chuan is about always being in control of yourself, so that you can not only adapt to your environment, but in some cases, get your environment to adapt to you.  Life is a game of constantly balancing sensitivities, the key is to be able to constantly sense without becoming overly sensitive.  Don’t make personal what is just another person’s personality, but do have the sense to know when certain personalities are toxic and stay away.

Through the language of feeling we then learn the dialect of coordination.  Without coordination, you have ZERO skills and coordination goes much deeper than just throwing accurate punches and kicks.  Accuracy and coordination is also about having the ability to listen to the environment you are in and timing, through feeling your arsenal of skills best suited for the situation.  Coordination is about physical ability, combined with mental maturity and sensible response which is all gained through practical experience and diligent training.

The slow movements of Tai Chi Chuan are meant to channel your internal energy flow, or more simply put, accessing your own understanding, awareness and ability to feel.  We all feel differently, so this is what is your superpower, understanding you.  We all have a unique sense for our own particulars which you can’t understand about somebody else, you can only learn to understand your own and you are your own life study.

Tai Chi Chuan is not about physically moving slowly.  Tai Chi Chuan is not a physically external art, it is an internal art.  You can not judge an internal art by what the eyes can only interpret, however, the deeper you learn to feel, the deeper you can see and this doesn’t just go for how you see yourself, this is something which will help you see deeper into the intent of others, in the pugilistic ring and the life ring.

What appears to be the physically slow elements is your body responding to how it is feeling in the environment you are surrounded in.  The constant physical environment we are responding to is gravity, as we “float” through the air that surrounds us.  What is happening internally is your energy flowing.  Energy Flowing is something immeasurable and physically unique, it is feeling and Tai Chi is the mechanism for feelings that flow, it unlocks blocks and opens reservoirs, creating an endlessly internal learning environment. When we train in anything, the skills we acquire are drilled until we accomplish the right feeling and once we learn the right feeling we always want to learn the better feeling from now having acquiring the right feeling.  You always know what is right by how it feels, the same way you know when something is wrong with a situation.  This is also called instinct and your instinct is designed to keep you safe, healthy and balanced.

Tai Chi establishes and re-establishes internal balance from the sensitivity of feeling all of the time, the feeling of the right feeling from within, so you are able to understand what is around you.  Without knowing yourself, you cannot understand how to respond. Response is and always will be your superpower.

Tai Chi trains Response and there is no fight in the world that has ever been won without the Power of Response.  Response is about your inner strength prevailing over the recognized weakness and/or shortcomings of others.  Reacting is you giving up your Power to the weaknesses and/or shortcomings of others.  There can be no other superhero in your life other than you, never allow the shortcomings of others who choose to get in that ring with you cause a Reaction over your Power to Respond.  This is the Power of Tai Chi Chuan.

Question: “Why are so many people in Tai Chi so weird?”

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I get a lot of questions in and occasionally I like to answer them in my blog entries, because I find some questions to be fun for all of us to read the answer to.

“Why are Tai Chi people so weird?”

This is not an isolated question, it is something I have asked both my parents throughout the years and it is a comment I often make with a great deal of love behind it.  Guess what, I am about as weird as they come and dad is even weirder.  Don’t believe me, just ask mom.

We are all weird, the more “normal” someone appears, is usually a mask.

In the modern world, now saturated with Social Media we have become obsessed with surface appeal.  Surface appeal, where so many try to be “different” for  the sake of getting attention in the same ways they feel they have observed others getting the attention they want.  Please note, I deliberate used the word attention, not respect.  So many are shouting to have a voice, looking for anything to get loud about.  So many are looking for ways to speak up, but instead, speak over.  So many are competitive, so anything that happens to someone else, automatically becomes something that has happened to them too.  Everyone is in this fight to gain attention, but in the same kind of shallow ways, instead of learning to search deeper within themselves.  People want status, but have ZERO character.  People want respect, but behave disrespectfully.  People want, but they look to others who they feel they can get to give to them.  People manipulate others instead of honestly work on themselves and when you refuse to play their game, they gas-light.  This is the generation of the degenerative.

Tai Chi people are weird and you know what? I absolutely love weird.  Now, I love weird, not creepy.  There is a hue difference between the two and I have experienced both from the more subtle to the craziest, most far reaching ends of the spectrum too.

What it all boils down to, is what is weird to you?

There are a lot of kinds of weird, even within the Tai Chi kind of weird.  I have also lived an incredibly diverse life where I have seen the classic “Tai Chi” Weird in the fashion scene, art scene, NYC night scene and the hollywood scene.  Weird isn’t only a Tai Chi thing, weird is an originality thing and I find that “Tai Chi” weird has more to do with an incredible amount of self acceptance of your own individuality and desire to work on your own self, free of the worry of judgment of others and sometimes, totally spaced out in the limitlessness of our incredible minds. Weird is also a matter of perspective and sometimes when you find something to be weird or someone to be weird I believe it to be life teaching you understanding, acceptance, tolerance and most of all the lesson that maybe it’s you who is the odd one in the crowd.  Weird is a unique kind of beauty, but its not always a language we understand, so I also feel that weird is also a lesson about tolerance and respect, the more you can learn to understand the more well rounded you become.

Weird, to me is a lesson life has presented me with.  I can choose to engage to learn about what I do not have enough knowledge to comprehensively make sense of, or I can stay a stranger and close myself off from acquiring the knowledge necessary to making the weird, un-weird.  It is totally ok to decide to leave certain kinds of weird alone, not all of life’s lessons are meant for us to engage in.  Sometimes the lessons are about knowing what your limits are and where you need to set boundaries.

Tai Chi weird does seem to sometimes over shadow Tai Chi Chuan at times and I have been one of those who has commented on this throughout my life to both mom and dad.  Mom regularly says that dad and I are both the same kind weird.  Dad and I have the ability to speak this same language that people do not always understand, oddly enough, I am the translator for what he often times says, in english, but in a way far too advanced and sometimes just too weird for some people to comprehend.  I’m like his cliff notes, I make what he says less weird, or perhaps, I just simplify.  What is unique about dad and myself, is that we seem to have the ability to speak to peoples general understanding of feeling and we have absolutely zero bashfulness in the manner in which we communicate, while we do pay close attention to being respectful at all times (I haven’t always been so good at this part, but I am forever learning).

Tai Chi practitioners and their sometimes weird manner I feel has to do more with their ability to accept who they are without any concern for having to mask who they are.

They aren’t afraid of their own individuality and this causes them to sometimes lack what society would observe to be as decorum.  The ability to accept who you are, instead of hide who you are requires a kind of strength of character, while some can go overboard when they become seduced by the attention they feel it brings them, it also alienates others too.  Tai Chi Weird is also about constantly learning and self discovery and there is no state more open to learning and absorbing than the childlike state.  No matter what kind of bodies we grow into, some of us are stuck in a childlike state that hasn’t yet matured.  There is a very big difference between childlike curiosity and staying stuck as a child, this where I find a lot of Tai Chi Weird comes from.  It’s a lack of a kind of development which causes an incongruent kind of “feeling” or “energy”, which is actually what I have also observed to be odd state of the Millennial Generation, including my own Generation of the Man-Child/Woman-Child.  40 year olds who lack a kind of development where they are stuck in the mind of a child, while being in the body of an adult, behaving entitled and demanding.  Although they are stuck in the mind of a child, they have the life experience of an adult and use the combination to play games and gossip, feigning friendships for the soul purpose of self gain and throwing tantrums when you don’t fall into their traps.  All the time keeping a relatively deceptive, front, but if you listen and observe closely, you will eventually see the truth in their game.  At least the Tai Chi people come in raw and real, no matter how weird they may seem.

Be careful of the “normal” ones, they are usually the ones with the most to hide, they will camouflage their intent with repeated insults done with a smile and always throw you into bad lighting while complimenting you on how great you look, the worse they can manage to get you to look.

To the person who asked this in part of their question, I’m also wondering, what is about Tai Chi people that comes across weird to you specifically.  I’m curious to know, because I can only answer from my perspective, I need a little bit more insight into how you interpret “weird”, cause as I’ve been answering your question, from my perspective, I’ve been stopping, laughing and shaking my head about how incredibly weird I know myself to be and thinking how you couldn’t have asked a weirder person than myself about Tai Chi weird.

I really do adore you for asking this, xoxo

We are designed to Absorb everything from the environment around us, this is how our bodies Nourish themselves. This is how Nature created us. Absorption is what helps us access our Present State. Our Present State is what allows us to Adapt. Adaptation is strength and is only possible when we are well Nourished and therefore, Balanced. What are you Absorbing and how Nourished are you? Ultimately, Organic is about your Naturally Balanced State, not just the Labeling of your Foods.

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We need to eat Organic, because we are Organic.  It’s just that simple.

Organic is more than just what we choose to put in our mouths, it’s also about the kind of people we surround ourselves with, what we choose to put on our skin, it’s about how well rounded we keep ourselves, it’s about our balanced state.

Organic is about maintaining Balance and Balance is achieved through the elimination of toxins, ALL TOXINS.

Let’s start with the basics we all think about when it comes to Nourishing Ourselves, Organically.

Fats, Carbs, Calories are what make-up Organic Foods.  Avoiding any of these is what causes health problems.  Avoiding any of these is what causes OBESITY. If you eat foods that DO NOT require labels, you DO NOT need to read labels.  It’s that simple.  Labels are placed on items created for human consumption that are PROCESSED.  Processed foods, even if they are packaged to look like health foods are not the healthiest foods.  The healthiest foods you can eat come out of your kitchen.  The only way to DETOX is to eat Real Foods.  Detoxes that cause the body to “freak-out” by extreme measures cause more harm than health benefits and stressing your body out with extreme cleanses can also cause extreme mood swings.  The next time you are experiencing emotional issues you might want to take a look at how you are eating and if you are trying to loose weight by tricking your body’s need for nutrition by eating foods labeled low-calorie or fat-free, you should take a look at the chemicals and sugars making up what you are consuming and understand that Foods naturally come with the necessary balance of Calories/Fat/Carbs, because this is what all Organic Food is a combination of.  The more ingredients on the label, the Less Organic and Less Natural your food is.  When was the last time you saw labeling on an Apple?  Remember, Organic also means that any processing should only happen in your own kitchen.

Absorption.  Out bodies are designed to Absorb everything, because in an Organic Environment, everything your body is exposed to is Nutritional Information.  The sun, temperature, sounds and smells are all things your body is constantly “listening” to, so that you can comfortably Adapt to your environment.  The energy of the people around you, everything that touches your skin, the smells and sounds are all absorbed.  So, maintaining your Organic intake is about much more than what you just put in your mouth.

Our bodies Naturally and Organically take in everything as nutrition and then speak to us in the dialect of feelings.  This is why when something doesn’t “FEEL” right, you need to listen.  I’ve made the mistake many a time where I didn’t listen to my “FEELS” in the right way and allowed the noise of not just my mind, but the elements outside of myself to influence the truth I’ve felt, but until you learn the lesson your body is trying to make you listen to, you will never stop having that uncomfortable kind of feeling.

Tai Chi Chuan as well as other forms of traditional arts aren’t meant for physical fitness, it is about Internal Fitness.  Internal Fitness is well rounded Fitness, because health begins and ends with what is happening inside.  It is the Western Ideal of Manufacturing Outward Appeal which has glorified the Externalization of Character, rendering most Character-less.  Without Content, which is all, ALWAYS, Internal, you have no Character.

It’s a strange thing to have to define fitness as more than just an external thing, because fitness can’t truly be achieved without the essence of depth.  Depth can only be developed from within and while so many of us are so concerned with just the labeling of “Organic” on our foods, we need to be aware of those who are also by their own nature, have created themselves to be “Inorganic” or what might be better referenced as “Conventional” today.  Anybody who is trying to cause a reaction from you is Inorganic.  Those of an Organic nature will always flow with you, even where the will be differences.

Stay Fit. Stay Healthy. Stay Focused.  Keep it Organic.  This is how you stay Balanced.

Eliminate all Toxins and this includes the Human Kinds too.

No matter how slowly you are physically moving, you are rushing if your movement doesn’t flow from the dialect of coordination, as a result to the response of the environment around you. Tai Chi Chuan isn’t about moving slowly, it’s about slowing down so that you can listen, in order to respond. Instead of reacting with slow movement to look like you are responding to the environment around you.

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Its all about being in sync, this is what Tai Chi Chuan is really about.

Response is power and it cannot happen without the ability to slow things down so that you can become in-tune within the environment of your own physical body and then respond to the elements of the physical environment which surrounds you.

Moving slowly and slowing down are two entirely separate things.

Moving slowly is not about responsively adapting to the environment around you, in fact, it is the opposite.  It is about defiantly ignoring the environment around you and imposing your own desired pace, your own imposing energy, your own agenda without consideration for anything else around you.  It has more to do with how unaware you are making yourself,  with the purpose of just imposing, not flowing.  Instead of embodying you are inflicting.  Instead of listening, you are telling.  Instead of listening to what you hear, you are speaking to make it appear as though you are in a listening state.  Moving slowly is more of a contradiction of what the idea of slowing down actually is.

Slowing down is about calming the Mind.  It’s about Presence and Presence is all about existing in a Listening State.  Your ability to access your Listening State is what establishes your Silent, Internal State.  This creates Responsive Energy.  Responsive Energy Flows and follows the healthy condition of Your Natural Breath.

Your Natural Breath is the key to how your feelings flow.  You cannot intentionally hold your breath to breathe more slowly than what your body needs to feel balanced and you cannot intentionally push and pull your breath in and out to breathe faster to balance the feeling of your body.  Your body breathes to balance its healthy condition and it is our Natural Breath which lubricates the fluidity of flow which we can then translate into the movements of our Tai Chi form.

Moving Slowly is the anti-flow.

Slowing down is the synthesis by which we create a responsive environment within ourselves to created our own unique Internal Energy Flow.

Upon reflecting on my childhood, which in many ways seems to still carry me into today, I have to admit… I feel a bit, like an asshole, well more than just a bit, but I do have some good qualities too.

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Having read Amy Chua’s book, which I couldn’t put down until I was finished, a first for me ever.  I can’t help but reflect on what I must have been like to raise.  I only know from my perspective and that perspective was definitely molded by what seemed to feel like my mother’s non-stop criticism, don’t get me wrong she also used positive reinforcement, but it’s always the negative that seems to stand out and this is how we get sympathy too, to cry over how mistreated we have been, this is also how kids are, the American way.  American kids point blame and cry over almost everything.

I’m not gonna lie, as much as I love both my parents, my mother was the bad cop to my father’s good cop persona.  As much as they played their roles of his yin to her yang, they were one and the most unified couple I have ever seen in my life.  They are a team and growing up they looked like the same person to me.  I do not see my father without the presence of my mother and my mother is not whole without the presence of my father.  They are a unique match in an American world where parents often times come off as battling siblings, in front of the siblings they are raising.  Perhaps this is where I am often times put off by American families, but my Chinese upbringing has made me too polite to ever say this out loud, so I write this instead.

There’s something about the American way which is about allowing everyone the same type of freedoms and rights which seems to nurture a sense of entitlement, rather than responsibility.  Shouldn’t having Freedom and Rights be treated with Respectful Responsibility?

I have a tendency to gravitate towards people who come from generations before me, a time where people operated from the basis of Integrity, Dignity and Respect.  I don’t have to wonder about the agendas of these friends, they have already worked hard and accomplished a lifetime of genuine living which they share with me and keep me educated in a manner far more valuable than what I tend to get when I try to engage with people my age or younger.  I do have a few very close friends, maybe 3, at most, younger than me and my age, but they are the souls of generations far beyond my years, containing innate wisdom which I can only contribute to strong DNA and actual core values.

As much as I love being an American Girl, when I encounter the genuinely, disingenuous of this generation I am also disgusted by the way the American Way has made it ok to always point a finger of blame and constantly manipulate for self gain.  People of all ages disrespecting elders and blaming their parents for not doing enough.  I even have to shamefully admit that I would catch waves of this syndrome until the sour energy spawned by this toxicity causes me to literally have an allergic reaction to myself and I automatically go into hibernation mode to reflect, detox and cleanse.

This brings me to a much needed Confessional.

I have at times been such an ASSHOLE to my parents, but the person I really have been reflecting on is my Angelic Father William CC Chen.

Anybody who really knows me, knows how much I adore my parents.  Anybody who really knows me also knows that I have NEVER spoken an ill word on my father, but I don’t think anybody could, which also makes me feel like that much more of an asshole.  Sorry, Mom, I have bitched and moaned about you, but you also made that easy by doing the same of me.  While you totally deserved the right to vent about me, what can I say, you raised an American kid in a lot of ways and some of my American ways were kinda shitty and the more I see how American Children behave, the more I can embarrassingly reflect on my moments behaved and spoken like a spoiled little brat.  In retrospect, sometimes I do think you should have spanked me more, but I think seeing what I don’t like in myself reflected in some of those I thought to be friends is a good enough pay back and the kind of lesson I need to learn from.  Sometimes you need to be shown your ugliest reflection in others to learn how to face yourself to be better.

My Confessional today is about how much I took my father and his devotion to my fighting for granted.  I shake my head as I write this and I’ve been shaking my head at myself for the past couple of years when I think about this.  Although dad did at times suffocated me, it was all from a love nobody cold ever find anywhere ever and being a stupid American kid I would run away from him and say the all too American phrase “I need some space”.  God I’m so disgusted with my younger self.  Thank goodness I get to become 40 to understand how much I have to be so grateful for, with time to try to make-up for what an ungrateful asshole I have been, not just to dad, but to mom too.

Let me just vent about what has been replaying in my mind as I watch people from all over the world travel to listen to every single word my father has to share.

While people travel from all over the world to pay my father respect I used to try to escape having to listen to him at all costs.  It’s so stupid.  Dad didn’t get so involved with my life until I started fighting, so maybe I was also used to being a bit ignored by him for a long time while my mother never seemed to get off my back.  The funny thing here is that mom now would intervene and tell dad to leave me alone.  My parents are both such passionate people and I see why I am such a nut case and tireless when I truly love something and someone.  When I am engrossed with anything or someone I love, I don’t seem to need sleep, air to breath or food to eat, well, this is how it seems until I get a miserable headache or feel like I’m about to faint, or just find myself waking up because I needed to just rest my eyes for 30 seconds.  I love to love, because I love to feel driven and there is no greater driving force than to be loved and loving something or someone so completely. LOVE, this is something I have inherited from both my parents, so I am crazy, squared.

I find myself reflecting on my years of actively fighting and I laugh, smile and feel bad about literally running away from my dad when he wanted to drill my punches.  What felt like punishment was the deepest love I’ve ever experienced from another human being and I ran from it.  How stupid?!?!  I know some of you will read this and laugh, some will agree with what a spoiled American Brat I had become, maybe some of you would sympathize and I also know some of you may just understand all the of the stupidity but still have rooms in your heart to empathize with me.  Regardless, I feel so guilty for my early years of stupidity, but I can at least give us all a laugh, well, maybe not all, but I know some of you will.

When I started full contact fighting, which came about 10 years after I was competing in Push-Hands and dominating that scene to boredom.  It wasn’t even interesting to compete in Push-Hands for me anymore and I think people on the martial arts circuit felt the same too. So I moved on and decided to tackle the full contact world.

My father literally did laugh at me when I said I was going to start full contact, but not in that way where I found him to be funny. I did feel disrespected, but the way I was raised was to just earn the respect I wanted, so this was a good challenge and I love to be challenged.  Well, longer story short, I’ll save that for another blog, I literally blew my dad away the first time he saw me gloved up and it had NOTHING to do with my slick technique, I had ZERO.  I couldn’t even figure out how to get my hands to throw the punches I drilled while I was getting beaten up, but MY TALENT, which I attribute to my mother spanking quite regularly, is my incredible ability to take a full on beating and never back down.  My talent is that I am really hard to kill and no matter how hard you come at me I do not know how to back down, I keep coming in and there was some really bizarre satisfaction I got out of the ability to take endless shots without even having the desire to land much of anything of my own.  This is where I definitely know I am my father’s daughter, the endless stories he has about loving the ability he has to take shots and watching him take crazy blows when I was growing up as part of the classes he was teaching always were calming for me to watch, I would become hypnotized and inside I think I knew I was that indestructible too and I couldn’t wait to develop that kind of  elegant toughness, it was so beautiful to me and it was the kind of beauty I wanted to be.  Dad and I share the same kind of crazy and the more I can see our insane similarities, the more I adore him and love being some much like him.  Dad was literally completely inlove with my ability to take shots he talked about it endlessly and would look in a daze as he would sit at the dinner table, inwardly replaying my sparring, which, at the beginning was all about my ability to take a beating and keep on coming.  What he was actually marveling at was the fact that I didn’t get emotional when I got hit, I remember him saying, it doesn’t even bother you, you have no fear.  Of course, at the time, this never registered as meaning much, because my goal was to have my dad marvel at my knock-outs and beatings I was so eager to learn how to give, not in a malicious way, but in a respectfully loving way, as a test of skill in the ring.  I did love that I was finally so adored by my father, even though all I could do was take a beating at the moment.

Fast forward to when I started competing. Training was everyday and it was more than just once a day.  You have to do as much roadwork as you do ring work, if not more.  I’m a hard worker, but when I started to come home and my life at this time was on such a strict schedule, my dad would conveniently place himself at his computer in the living room.  I can sense intention the way animals sense fear and dad was not working at his computer, he was using his work station as a prop, waiting for me to come home like an eager puppy.  His external calm couldn’t hide his internal frenzied excitement of wanting to work on his new ideas and techniques with his daughter.  What did I do?  I would run and hide, but usually I was so hungry and needed to replenish my nutrition, I couldn’t hide and would get bombarded with ideas from dad.  I look back now and even feel like I was such an ungrateful shit, but I also do have a very crisp memory of how dad seemed like the insanely enthusiastic child and I was the exhausted parent in a way.

But you know what, The Art of Mastery is the byproduct of that ability to exist in our childlike state and I was young and stupid and dad has always been the Greatest Grandmaster of them all.

 

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