I Ho Chuan

A Good Week

Happy sunday to everyone. and a happy fathers day to the dads out there. You know, trying to write this blog with need for speed blaring in the background is really kind of tough. But all its all good. My oldest hasn't left my side all day thus far. Friday I was mowing the lawn and the youngest was following me a round pushing his big dump truck.  It sure is a nice feeling. This last week has been really good, man I tell you what. T-ball wrapped up on Thursday night, and it was a real good time. I am pretty lucky to have had the opportunity to work with those kidos. We decided to have a kid versus parents game and that was awesome. The kids were fired up play their folks. I remember those games a s a kid and it was a lot of fun to play dad at hockey. Nice to be on the other side of things. It was sweet how it worked out. Each parent tried to hit it to their child so their kid could throw in the out at first. Really neat how that worked out. I know my boy was pumped to get me out at first. Because of this experience, I threw my name in the hat as a coach for next year. I mean, why not? This year the league asked if I could because no one else could. Absolutely I said. I had no idea of what I was walking into. Next year, I hope to take away worry of there being enough coaches. Not a huge time commitment, but it is a huge personal commitment. Trying to improvise so all kids get to try all positions, but trying to keep others engaged in the practice.  Everything worked out beautifully. Good times for everyone.

Kung fu was awesome again this week. Lots of great numbers this week. It is always exciting when adding up numbers and some hit 1100 range. Right now, life is firing on all cylinders. Everything is working great. Lots of balance, and therefore time is so much easier to divvy up. I have another rough draft of what my day is supposed to look like, but, I don't know what life has in store for me, so it is a rough draft. I am finding that, slowly I am getting faster at adapting to the change in my life, and therefore my numbers, are staying much more consistent. And I have been working hard these last few weeks, that's the meat and potatoes of it there. Working to make time for what matters.

On Friday night, I picked up the broadsword for boot camp. I get home and started to play with the sword. I did a few moves from stick form, and then I did the entire stick form but with sword. There were a few places I need to change a movement or two. But overall, the weapon change was very smooth. Man alive I love building and practicing forms. It blew me away at how viable the stick truly is. Yesterday sifu again told me that the stick is the father of all weapons. I have heard this I do not know how many times, but until I experienced it, I could not understand it. Awesome. Now, I want to continue on my stick form, but also build a sword form. Here, is where I need to realise something. That too much of a good thing can be bad as well. If I overwhelm myself by making up expectations that do not exist, I will push myself away from what I love. You see, I should just practice moderation and stick to the stick form, and simply play with the sword instead of outing all this un-needed stress in my mind. Then at the end of the year I would probably be standing there confused as to what to do with myself, and disappointed in the choices I made. So, moderation wins again.

Yesterday, I got help with a combination I have had sketched down for some time now. That was nice to have that combination pounded out. The thing I like about combos so much is if I change my feet just a little bit, my hands change that much as well, and a different strike might work better. As our harmonies say movements to be, they truly are. When we absolutely let go and let the kung fu take over, it is amazing at just how our bodies flow. I am no guru of kung fu or any thing like that, but I feel I do have a good understanding of spiritualism. The sense I believe, tell me that if I continue to let go and practice the principles to the best of my abilities, each and every day, great things will happen. Great opportunities will continue to present themselves. Just one catch. I need to work very hard for these good things in life. Otherwise I will not even know opportunities just passed me by.  Good stuff, man, good stuff.

I am looking forward to boot camp. This will be my first go at it. I am pumped. Again I have no idea as to what I am getting myself into again, but I am positive its going to be wickedly intense. Broadsword forms, and wing chun and self defense theory and then I have been told something like a black belt test. Holy man, I am probably going to puke. But it will be worth it. hahaha! This going to be lots of fun. I can not wait to see just how well I will do, as to how I may think I will do. Well, that's not really true. I carry the thought process today that I will succeed. Whether I actually win something or learn a lesson in defeat, I am always trying to better myself. As a result, I succeed at what I set out to do, one way or another. Fantastic! Kind of cocky I know, but what do you do, when being confident in something. I have done some reading as to what "champions" and "winners" do. You know the people you see who are just successful. And yes it is very true that they work hard, but the also think highly of themselves. They have a self-confidence of themselves that just stands out. With a lot of these kinds of people, they don't need to talk about how great they are, they are just great. Their awesomeness just seeps out of their pores. But it all started in the mind. Ali said one day he would became the champ, because he always knew, if he worked hard now, that later he was going to be the champ. He became the champ because he believed in himself. Now, I don't desire to be number one in the kung fu world, but, I do desire to be the best that I can be in the kung fu world. And that, I do not know what all is entailed of that, except for lots and lots of hard work and a positive, I will prevail mind set. I see this kind of confidence in a bunch of the people I get to train and work with. Awesome stuff!

Well, I am going to eat mini donuts at the farmers market today, so I will catch you on the flip side people. Have a nice day and thanks for your time.

Will Duncan

Hulk to the Back Shelf

I have come to realize that control is a real game changer. It is everything.  How we perceive a situation, how our body responds physiologically, and how we react in our actions defines how well Kung Fu will serve us when we need it most.

This past week I was placed in a situation where I drew on my Kung Fu and did not even realize it.  It didn’t require perfect alignment in my fist, or a well chambered kick.  It didn’t require the perfect horse stance or centering. It didn’t require anything that most bystanders would attribute to martial arts.  It rather required confidence.  A confidence that in turn resulted in a slow heartrate, a clear focus, and a calm controlled reaction.

We train in Kung Fu with pure intent. Hope in that we will not require the physical side of our training. Situations like this past week may only be experienced once or twice in our life time.  Recognizing that engagements of this nature are fortunately very rare, I took the time to sit down and take note of how my body responded, and how my actions followed.  I was alarmed that I was so calm during the entire time because I know from experience this is not a normal feeling, not a typical response to something like this.  This kind of reaction was very, very foreign to me.

Looking at my life day to day I have a long way to go, but things like this past week really put into perspective that I have made progress.  There are reactions I have had in my life I am not proud of.  This week however gave me a real hope that I have come a long way, and just goes to prove that just because a change is slow, it doesn’t make it insignificant.

Vince Krebs

Closing a Door . . .

Closing a Door....

Why hello there! What are you doing today? I hope its enjoying your life in whichever way you see fit! What an awesome day today. That parade was really cool, man. I had a good time. Seeing everyone with a singular goal coming together. Sure it is just a parade and it seemed easy to accomplish the parade, but still, we had to work to get the parade done. It was really cool to watch both Sihings jump ahead and do their weapons form and then the crowd starts cheering, and ohhing. Awesome! I do enjoy watching everyone succeed. The happiness everyone feels from scaring children with the lions. Awesome! I become filled with inspiration and joy seeing people winning. I got to step back for a quick note. As noted before I came from the loosing side of things. Always loosing, always getting beat down by life and people. Yes, in the last few years since facing life on life's terms I have had success. But, since joining I Ho Chaun and really trying to commit to what I.H.C. stands for in life, have I found real success. There is a difference. A huge difference. When sobering up and all you have is not getting wasted, that is a huge accomplishment. Almost four years later and I still feel a huge sense of awesomeness when I wake up and remember the day before. Waking up without guilt or remorse. Today, I am beyond those goals. Don't get me wrong sobriety is still, number one in my life, hands down with out question. Beyond that goal you might ask. Well, yeah, to an extent. I do not have to completely put every ounce of energy into not getting wasted. Obviously, I have time to do other things, like kung-fu. Kung fu helps very much with re-iterating the fact that I do not have to get wasted. That i can be amazing if i choose to be. There just is not time for anything else but kung fu and my family. And its not just kung fu, it is a way of life. It is more than a year long commitment to mastery of kung fu. I am very happy Sifu Brinker reminded us of that yesterday. Thank you for that. I forgot the main purpose of I.H.C., to be brutally honest. Yes I re-affirmed myself last weekend. But, with sifu's words and the actions of others yesterday, I really feel good about I.H.C. again. Hahaha, that's an understatement. Yeah I am really into "it" today. Just absolutely jacked to be alive. And just blown away that I have the privilege to do some awesome kung fu today. At my leisure!!! 

Okay, so I want to get real honest with everyone here today. Now, yesterday, I had a moment during the parade, that just blew me out of the water. I near came to a complete stop and just stared. Yes this blog has a lot of the past in it, and for good cause. That is where I have been on and of since half way through the parade. This is something I very honestly was not going to talk about here on the internet, or with any of you people, but, if I want to be apart of the silent river kung fu family, then I believe I need to come clean about this topic. I hate secrets and I hate holding them when I know that they are going to impair me. Again, this said individual has been on my mind a lot in the last few weeks. Yesterday, I am walking, like everyone else, in the parade. We are about 20 minutes into the walking down the street thing. And out of the corner of my eye, there is this girl with beautiful long golden blonde hair. She has these amazingly huge eyes, and the look on her face as the lion comes her way is one of absolute joy. Jumping and laughing. I was stunned. I had to take a second, a third, and a fourth look and was like "holy happy horse poo, that's my little girl" I wanted to run back and re-introduce myself and, I wanted to take her by the hand and have her walk up front the pack with me. I wanted to sing her the lullabies I have never been able to sing I wanted to hold her like I have never been allowed to. I wanted to put her on my shoulders and shout at the crowd "This is my baby girl. Look to see how beautiful she is!!" The last time I held her in my arms, she was one and a half years old. The last time I saw her, that wasn't rushed to be finished quickly, she was almost three. She is now ten years old. So yeah, I had a flushing of all sorts of emotions in the system. I tell you what though. Yesterday was not the day to be imposing my will on her or her grandmother. I lost that ability years ago. I was asked to leave her life, and I did. When I say I was a degenerate in the past, with a legacy of violence hatred and booze, I meant it. Leaving was not an easy decision to make. I was not daddy material and where I was, I did not want to be. Cowardly.... I know. I lived with that demon for years. Honestly, I would have caused so much more damage if I stayed. The best thing I ever did for her was walking away. That may cause some hatred or anger in some people, and that is fine, feel how you feel, I don't really care when it comes to this topic. You where not there. That was all I had to offer was a terrible attitude and a mean right hook. I do not have the words to properly explain where I was, especially on the internet. I will face to face if you so desire. You see, I know in my heart and soul that my baby girl will want to learn what her father is all about. And when that day comes, I know I will be able to properly give the answers she desires. There are no explanations that can justify myself for how I used to be. But, I hope her grandmother and her can see the changes that have happened and continue to happen. I pray that one day,  the work I have put into changing my life will be recognized. I will not ever ask for forgiveness, but I do desire a second chance. One day, one day I will prove to her and everyone else from my past that people can and will change. I hope she can see, that I needed to loose myself to find out who I really am. I am just happy that I sobered up when I did. I would not be here today if I sobered up at a different date. This is how my journey is laid out.  Life is the way it is supposed to be. Just dandy. I now have an alterative motive, to use kung fu, The Program, and life lessons to really excel as a man. I want to show everyone that life is amazing and so are you. Now go do some push ups!! 

I desire to use mastery as my elevator to the top of my spiritual being. Mastery, to me right now, is recognizing the extra-ordinariness of our beings, and we all are extra-ordinary, now we build from there. Anything we do, everything we say, must now be top notch. Its okay to make mistakes as long as we can be gracious enough to accept our mistakes and grow from there. For me, I have to continue being awesome in my words. To continue to choose the proper thing to say, no matter what I feel I should say. To say that one thing to that one person that will build them as a person. To construct relationships out of love and respect, not fear and pain. Strip away the fear, and its all the same love. I cant change loving all of you, you all are too important to me. Even if I barely remember your name. I remember, that love is patient, love is kind, and that we all need some loving, in this beautiful thing we call life. 

Now as for kung-fu, I crushed my goals of one thousand push up and sit ups. Awareness, was kept very high this week and A.O.K.'s flourished again. Keeping a daily journal of what I do and what I eat has been exceptionally helpful. For instance, when we started this journey, I drank one maybe two glasses of water. Today, I feel sick if I only drink one or two glasses of water. Being visually aware of what goes into our bodies, is huge start to living better, as I have read, numerous times, I now understand. Being nice to people is certainly much easier as time goes on. Especially, when i have to be accountable to everyone else, not just me.  Today, I am much more likely to stop and help or compliment someone, just because I should "Hey there guy" I shouted across the parking lot Friday afternoon, "Nice truck man, boy that is a nice truck!" "Thank you" he shouts back. That was neat. In fact I feel bad if I do not compliment someone when opportunity arises. Weird, I know. Another thing I never thought would happen to me. There are new emotions that, I have never felt before. Some days it is too much and I want to just hide. But, I can not, nor will I stop progress. No more. That would be retarded. Especially after the taste of the good life, that I have had. And if I look at things from my favorite spiritual side. If I get in the way of progress, than, I am saying that I am greater than you and my higher power. I am saying I know what is best for me and you. That is fuelling the ego again. That damn ego will kill us. One way or another.

Man, I just can not get over the gratitude I feel, from hanging with the fellow I Ho Chauners. Every time I am training with a black belt or higher ranking belt. I still say to myself, "I can not believe I am training with these other people. Wow. How did this happen?" Maybe it is the lessons I try to take away, from each and every meeting. With each and every blog I read. With every conversation that is had. So much gratitude and even more humbleness. I am so thankful for I Ho Chaun. Even more thankfulness for Silent River even being here in stony plain. Fantastic! What a blessing I have been handed. "Here man, try this" my higher power says. I am like "well, you know best, so thank you G-man, thanks for you thought of little me!"

Finally, after reading Sihings blog, I too am going to start using you black belts a lot more. His blog made a lot of sense to me, and I too am going to commit to building those circular patterns that kung fu works on. So, Next time we are in class, I am going to be picking a lot of brains. Time to get out of mine and into yours. Bwhahaha. This is going to be epic! 

Oh stay strong and stay cool Sifu Beckett. I am sending all the energy I can your way. I hope you get better soon. And I hope to see you even sooner!!

Well Thanks for your time.
Have a great day everyone
Humbly yours

Will Duncan

A Good Couple Weeks

Attending classes regularly has been a lot of fun. I'm excited to learn my new forms and the rest of the green belt curriculum. Seems like I'm the only one who doesn't know Kempo 2 yet, even most of the orange belts know it. I sure missed out on a lot. I'm going to have to catch up. I think I can do it.

We had the Farmer's Day parade yesterday. It's always different seeing everyone outside the kwoon and getting to know everyone on a different level. I got to learn a bit more of Lao Gar from Sihing Chervenka in the field while we were waiting. I'm struggling with this form, but that's to be expected when you're doing a form that's meant for a higher level with stances you've never done. The left footed thrust kick seems to be messing me up the most. I've never been able to learn forms quickly. I can only grasp 2 or 3 things at most, anymore than that and you've lost me. 

I also got to drum a bit. That was a fun and intimidating surprise, there were people around, that could hear me...sorry about your ears. :) I guess if you're a drummer, you have to get used to other people listening to you mess up and be able to continue. I really want to drum, it's my favourite part of lion dance, so obviously I have to learn lion dancing so I'll be able to empathize with what's going on with the lion and drum accordingly. I did some lion dance last year but haven't done any this year so far, I have to start doing that again to get caught up. 

All in all it was a good day with good people. All things kung fu are going a lot better and I'm pretty happy about that.

Lindsay Gibbons