How Important is Kung Fu to You?

Today I was asked this question and I was at a total loss of how to answer it.

Today was my first appointment at the Glen Sather Sports Medicine Clinic about my knee.  I met with a sports medicine doctor that I have been fondly referring to as the "Gatekeeper".  She has the power to refer me to a surgeon or not.  I did not get my referral today but I did get some homework and a come back in six weeks.  My knee has not healed enough to be ready so patience and more hard work are in order.

Anyways, back to the question...  This was one of the first questions that the doctor asked me after walking into the room.  She had already seen my MRI results and a resident had already tried to turn my knee into a pretzel to see what I could and could not do.  She was working to form a basis of where to take my treatment plan based on this one important question.  I was stuck for an answer.  I think she was looking at this momma in her 40's who has been doing kung fu for about four years and seriously just had to ask the question.

When I first started kung fu it truly was just a way of getting some exercise with a great group of moms while our kids were in school.  Pretty much just like any other exercise class.  Except this is kung fu...  And kung fu has a way of working itself out of being just a class and into something more.  Since joining the I Ho Chuan team, kung fu has literally taken over my life.  The whole point of this year was to set goals and work towards mastery in every area of my life.  Kung fu has successfully invaded every single part of my life.  How do you even begin to explain that to someone who has not lived it.  You don't realize how much of an impact something is having on your life until you have to answer hard questions like this in the context that it is being asked.  This is not just some family member seeking to understand why you live at the kwoon and your children have taken up permanent residence there too.  How I learn to answer this question will impact my entire journey.  I guess need to try find a way to put it all into words...

Karen Bergstreiser

It Was a Good Day

I'll be honest. Earlier this week I went through a complete moment of doubt. I thought there is no way I am ready to walk into that school, in front of my Sifu's and peers and grade. I'm not ready, everything is no where near black belt level and there is no way I am even good enough to walk into the school and pull this off. I have had too much down time and not enough self discipline, this is nothing but blatant disrespect. Then I stopped and thought to myself, "How would you know the answer to any of these questions or if any of those thoughts are true if you don't try? How the heck do you even know what Black Belt level is if you don't show up and do this. How can you possibly advance if you don't put it all on the line and work with what you do have and offer complete exposure? What happened to I'm just going to do this and toss the doubt, your ego is not invited... was that all lip service to your self and others? Your pride will win again and you'll just throw away another abundance of help from others and toss another opportunity of advancement to the wolves out of fear and doubt. Is that how you roll?"  Absolutely not. So I picked all of that up, squashed it into a ball, gave it a few hulk smashes, and off the side of the bridge it went. Where the heck did that come from? Geez!

 I can't really explain in a few words about what transpired yesterday. In some ways it was a complete fog and in other way's it was in HD. The whole time I was at the school, I could feel every move I made, every mistake I made, even when people where talking or moving, I could hear my heart beating, air into and out of my lungs, my feet walking on the mats. I could feel every single person's presence in the room. It was kind of weird really. It's the most in touch I have ever been with my senses, which was cool.  But the coolest part about yesterday was it was probably the happiest I have been in a very long time. I'm still wearing a smile on my dial, and even if I wasn't smiling at times yesterday, and I felt a huge abundance of emotions it all reverted back to happiness. I could be wrong but I never felt my ego coming in at all, I felt balanced, almost in a neutral state. I went through several stages of emotions such as pride, anger, doubt, confidence, determination, humility, success, fails, intimidation and a few times even fear, but in the end nothing could have taken away how I felt when I left the school yesterday. I felt like I picked up a huge weight off my shoulders and smashed it on the ground. I felt like this is all a new beginning. It was one of the greatest day's of my life. I left all my personal stuff at home and didn't carry around my fails. I stored them and moved on and when you can say you had a day like that, you should definitely write it down. So I did.

Now the hardest part is about to come. Keeping the momentum moving and staying on the quest for mastery. Polishing my strong points and elevating my weaknesses. Good thing there is still 10 months left of the year of the sheep. From my stand point at this time I am going to need it, all of it. I have laid out and completely exposed what I have and what I need to throw away. I know have a new arsenal of tools to use and new issues to sort out. I really feel good about things and am going to use and act on the valuable advice I was given yesterday. I have to renovate my pyramid a bit and give a few things a good polish. Overall this is going to be my greatest year if I can stick to the plan and hit up people for help when I need it. That's the tough part. I have trouble asking people for help, I have trouble approaching others and I don't want anything to come easy. What can I say, I'm a bull and I'm stubborn as heck. Something else to work on I guess.

I just wanted to mention I could not have gone into it with a better bunch of fellow students than Sihing Fuhr and Sihing Krebbs. You guy's did awesome and I couldn't be more proud of what I witnessed and what we went through together yesterday. Good job fellas and thanks for being there. See you at the kwoon.

Brian Chervenka

Getting It . . . Finally

This year in particular I'm getting it.  I'm starting to understand what then I Ho Chuan is about.  I won't say that I fully understand the program but this year it resonates with me more than ever before.  
I have concluded that nothing has changed with the program but how I'm approaching the program.  Mentally I have given myself to the program. I have allowed myself to embrace it.  In the past my ego was in the way.  This year, I have parked the ego and am approaching the program with more of a humble attitude. 

The other thing I'm not doing this year that I have in the past is comparing myself to other team mates.  This is tough as we all want to compare against each other.  However I feel by doing this we enable our ego.  This isn't a good thing as when we enable our ego we shut ourselves off and can't fully embrace what we are being taught or the help of others.  Ego to me is very toxic and I battle it all the time.  I have to be mindful of it and work hard to keep it in check.

This team is very special, I don't sense anyone on the team has ego issues.  I feel a very good sense of comraderie and a very positive vibe sans ego.

Finally, I'm getting it.

Ian Repay

Yes I Am Weird

The tightness in the shoulders.   Abs are screaming for a rest. Right knee is not right and may be a sign of bad things to come.  Physically drained. 

The day starts with sit ups and push-ups. On to the Kwoon  for class and after an hour and a half and 350 kicks off to get on the bike and then home to finish off with push ups and sit ups.

It has been most of my life where I knew I was weird and different from other people. It has only been in the last year and a bit being part of I Ho Chuan that I understood this weirdness. Why would some one do this?  Seems like a lot of work.  But what is the alternative?  Mediocrity.

I guess I am embracing my inner weirdness and have found what I have been looking for all my life.  It is this weirdness that helps us throw off the "Terminal Normality" that surrounds every day.

Everyone go out and do something epic tomorrow

Jim Sand