Kung Fu Resume

In the early morning as I hear my grandchildren stir on the mattress on the floor beside my bed, I wake with an instant thought in mind. Kung fu. That ends my nights sleep, but laying there pondering leads to a small bit of clarity.  A demo of my Kung fu strengths.  An impossible task without knowing what my strengths really are.

I got thinking about my recent resume I did for employment, and if I had to write one for my kung fu, what would it say.  My weaknesses in my kung fu have never been hidden.  I know its in my applications.  When I was a 2nd degree brown belt, I spent most of my classes at the fitness studio teaching classes there.  Therefore my knowledge in the area of 2nd degree brown curriculum is somewhat lacking.  I believe this is where my feelings of inadequacy as a black belt derives from.  But thinking about it now, I just realized that it is also how I have gained 2 of my strengths;  my fitness and love of teaching.

On the last page of my employment resume, I listed my interests.  I listed those things that touch me, and really move me to want more.  I made a list of the things that I am truly passionate about, and they are family, kung fu, everything outdoors, birds watching, history, teaching, photography.  When I am doing these things, the rest of the world disappears and all I know is that very moment.

Next thing is how do I do a kung fu demo, and incorporate all, or at least some, of these things? How do I put bird watching and teaching kids into a demo?  How do I put my kung fu strengths and life's passions together for others to see? Then suddenly an idea or 2, or 3, came to me. To put these ideas together at least 3 things are going to be needed; dedication, lots of work and a talent of creativity.  Well, 2 out of 3 isn't bad.  I will have to do a lot of digging, very deep digging, to find a talent within myself that does not really shine bright. A talent of creativity.  

I got to thinking about one more thing, and that was the purpose in all of this.  The I ho chuan.  I knew right from the very start when I first noticed the posting on the board at the school that I needed and wanted to do this.  The reason has nothing to do with gaining a new stripe on my belt.  That was the farthest thing from my mind.  All I could think of was personal growth.  It was like this huge neon sign flashing bright red.  It said, "this is it".  I want to move forward in this area of my life.  I want to become a more focused, positive, healthy person who lives a wholesome life and appreciates every moment of it.  Never taking those moments for granted.

I asked myself, what are the things in my I ho chuan that I have done to help myself move in the right direction?  What has made the biggest impact?  That was an easy thing to answer.  My meditation.  Somehow this needs to be a part of my demo....but how?  I have gained a very strong testimony of how amazing meditation is, and the power within it.  There is great power there that brings amazing results without even putting in a lot of effort.  Sit quiet for 10 minutes or more every day, and watch your life change. I had no idea how much.  Going hand in hand with that is definitely my engagement with the program.  If I wasn't willing and disciplined enough to keep up with what is required of me by my team, my instructor, and mostly by myself, then how can I possibly expect to succeed.  I wanted to succeed, very much so, and therefore I put in the effort. As a result, I have been on a journey of a lifetime, and am becoming a much more positive and appreciative person, just like I wanted to.  I have learned so much in the previous months, and am excited for what is yet to come.  I owe so much to my kung fu, to Sifu Brinker, to my family, and to Dean.  All those that have supported me, taught me, and continue to do those things for me.

Anyways, I do have sooooo much more yet to do, but at least I have a start.  Everything good and wonderful has to have a start.  I want to do a demo that leaves people in awe.  One that leaves them knowing exactly who I am and what I can do.  One that "leaves them wanting more".  I want to do a demo that forces me to push myself physically, to think outside the box and one that gives me a real solid appreciation for who I am.

Brenda Stoddart

Short and Sweet

Today I am unfortunately unable to write a big blog. I'm currently trying to figure out how childhood cultural artifacts influence our adulthood. I managed to find some time to type up a sneak peak into the life of me.
I started university this week and it is absolutely bonkers. I was definitely expecting a heavy course load but let me just say that I have no idea what I would have done if I was in engineering. Back to the subject at hand, when my prof had told us to write about this I couldn't help but think about how Kung Fu had played such a big role in my childhood. I thought that rather than having a cultural artifact present with me at the time, I realized that an artifact that I had influenced me to strive for was an artifact that I would hope to acquire in the future: my black belt.
This is why I love Kung Fu so much because the life lessons and beliefs come up in the most unforeseen circumstances.

Sarah Vanderham

Chicken or Egg?

Did the lack of energy come first or the lack of training? Frequently when you hear the reasons why someone has not been training, lack of energy is up there on the list. They believe that they do not have the energy to do any training of any kind and that is that. What is the cause of this lack of energy? Did you change how long you are awake in the day? Did you add more commitments that use more mental reserves? Or is it because you chose to lessen your training first?

The past several weeks have lead me to believe I have found the answer to this "chicken or egg" conundrum. I admit, my training as of late has not been to the level and consistency that it usually is. I chose to slow it down to accommodate more time for my short term EMR studies, the idea was to save more energy and brain power.

Funny thing, the exact opposite occurred. Not only did I have less energy, but I found it more difficult to focus for any amount of time. Sitting at a desk studying for hours on end with few breaks to get the blood flowing has been counterproductive to my ability to retain any knowledge. Energy levels go down and I find myself staring blankly at the screen or book. I can say I spent x amount of time studying, but what was the quality of the studying? How effectively was the time used?

This past week I started to recognize this pattern and decided that something needed to be done promptly. Whenever I find myself losing focus, I get up and do a set of pushups or situps, a form or two, techniques, anything to wake my brain up and get me focused again. When I am tired, I sleep, simple as that. I used to stay up to all hours of the night, just to get more studying done, but what is the value in that? I am exhausted the day after and end up forgetting what I read anyway.

I found since applying these simple interventions, I am beginning to feel more energetic again and more focused, not quite where I was, but on the right track. When you feel a lack of energy, that is the best time to train. Training doesn't always draw energy away from you, if you do it right it can draw energy toward you. I feel this is one way to make your kung fu serve you.

Daniel Sollinger