I Ho Chuan

My Internal AOK Debate

Volunteer Services within my organization has dedicated this week to Random Act’s of Kindness week – where all employees between the dates of February 14th – 19th can purchase a carnation for another employee, and have it delivered at any point during this week.  I both applaud yet struggle with this concept.

I applaud it because I think it is a wonderful way to bring the spirit of appreciation, giving, and goodwill to others.  Sometimes the smallest word, smile or gesture can make the biggest difference in another’s day.

I struggle with the concept of the initiative because of the time frame attached to it.

I know it seems like everything these days has a “Day” title attached to it.. .today it’s “International Bacon Day” and on Tuesday, April 12th it will be “National Grilled Cheese Day”.  Don’t get me wrong.. I like grilled cheese as much as the next person, I just wish that being kind to one another wasn’t another something that we had to remind each other to do by giving it an associated day or time frame.

We sometimes become so wrapped up in our own thoughts, that the projection of our internal wars are received and perceived by others incorrectly.  I may be having a bad day because I received terrible news and project that onto the cashier at Tim Hortons that morning as I order coffee.  That person having just dealt with a rude customer turns to their colleague and projects that negativity outward.. and so on…and so forth.

Are we a culture that is slowly becoming desensitized to one another’s feelings?  So busy with the day to day workload of living life that we need to schedule in being kind, considerate and compassionate to one another?

Does that then lead us to become less forgiving of ourselves?  I often wonder when listening to my own self doubts and discouraging voice in my head why I am not kinder to myself too.  Is it ok to AOK yourself?

Here is a video that I strongly recommend you watch, created by a hospital in Cleveland, this video focuses on empathy.  This video is based on being able to see peoples thoughts, and it had quite an impact on me.

Empathy: Exploring Human Connection (Video)

Nicole Tomie


Another great week! School is out for the summer. Yay! If you weren't able to make it out to Rotary park on Canada day we all had an awesome time. There were lion dances and a couple of demos performed by members of the I Ho Chaun team. Sifu Brinker brought his giant 10 foot beach ball to play around with. Try crab soccer with a 10 foot ball. Fun and games! Best of all was the participation and energy of everyone involved and the support of all the Kung Fu students/families that came to watch the demos.

Another very special opportunity came our way this week also. Tony McKee is the program facilitator with the Remuda Horsemanship Program and he had offered the I Ho Chaun team a chance to participate in his program. Eight team members including myself joined Tony at his ranch on Saturday morning to learn about horses. After being paired up with a horse we spent some time getting to know the animal and allowing the horse to get comfortable with us. The morning progressed with different exercises working with our horse and learning how to communicate and give them direction. And if the horse didn't follow direction we had to go back and figure out where we went wrong and how to effectively communicate the commands to the horse.

 We had talked about energy and intention when working with the horses before we went into the ring. I really believe that Tony's energy and intention right from the start set the tone for the day. Tony has a lot of experience, knowledge and patience and was a fantastic teacher. We also had a great group of people participating. While reflecting on the day afterwards I realized that the entire time I was there that I was totally in the moment and that the atmosphere was calm and relaxed. We had talked about energy and intention and also staying calm and in control. We also discussed being assertive vs aggressive and what that means. With aggression there is anger and loss of control. I think that there is a fine line between the two and that assertiveness can easily become aggression when we loss our calmness and control. Everything we talked about and learned when working with the horses can be transferred to our Kung Fu and our everyday lives.

Thank you again, Tony for the amazing experience and knowledge that you shared with us. I am feeling truly blessed this week.

Michele Ward

History's Greatest

An ad on the radio came on today that caught my attention. The ad mentioned that in a survey, the majority of people believe that our society is in a current state of decline.  So naturally I began to reflect on the generations that I had any real experience with.  These would include my grandparents, parents, my generation and the newly budding generation of my kids.

My parent’s generation was good.  My grandparent’s generation was exceptional, and based on that current trend I would speculate that my great grandparent’s generation was phenomenal.  Generations that were problem solvers, inventors, hard workers, resilient, thrifty, neighbourly, just to mention a few admirable qualities.  Generations that have seen both oil lamp lit homes, landing on the moon, and worldly connectivity and information over computers and cell phones.  That is true adaptability. 

If we can just sit down and listen for a moment, to those people that have made us who we are, who inspired us to be as good as we can be.  Between my wife and I we have one remaining grandparent.  She is 96.  Too often we don’t take the time to sit down and enjoy people, and truly listen to what made them exceptional.

Society has certainly taken many leaps forward in terms of human rights, racial acceptance, environmental awareness, and in many circumstances has taken giant steps back.  Regardless of that, there are still great people in this day.  People that still have a solid work ethic, care for the community, and a want for change. People that are willing to take on projects, be leaders in the community, and teach the next generation what it means to be great

Vince Krebs

Horses and Kung Fu

Yesterday I took part in a Horsemanship seminar. I never felt too comfortable with horses (or any animal other than dogs for that matter). While we were standing near the horses and Tony was pairing a horse to each of us, I noticed that one of the horses is different. Bigger, black, stronger looking. I was thinking to myself, I hope I get one of the smaller looking horses. Well, you probably guessed it, I got that horse. Jim is a 34 years old horse. Big and strong. I was humbled to stand next to him. Tony explained to us how to earn the trust of the horse and then also how to earn the respect of the horse. It wasn't easy but I was able to lead Jim and even trot with him a bit (Tony warned me that he might not trot at all as he is too old).

During the session Tony was talking about our communication with the horses and so many times I was doing the connections with my training, with the classes I teach. You see, there is no much difference between gaining the trust of a horse and the trust of a student (or a co-worker for that matter). Horses (and for some degree people) can feel your energy, can feel your emotions. You need to be able to relax and control your emotions and to be able to be assertive, believe in what you do and show your energy.

It was a fun morning and I'm glad to say that I feel better with horse but I also have some thinking to do on how I behave at the kwoon and at work.

Yitzik Csillag