I will tell you, I have gained a lot of inspiration for my Kung Fu from this blog. Mainly from the people I interviewed. I learned about a Master you taught for 10 bucks a month in the 90's even though he was an excellent Karate teacher and had a business and didn't need the money. A lot of people think that if you charge too little you aren't respected. But If you know that you respect yourself and your art and that you are good, you don't have to worry about that.
So I started teaching for $20 a month but you pay for three months. My point is that I was inspired when I heard that a great Master taught for low costs for the love of the art. Some people think this devalues the martial art. But Kung Fu is not like oil. The more Kung Fu you teach, it's not like you run out of Kung Fu, you always have more. Just because you teach a $20 a month class does not mean that you cannot also teach a $1,000.00 an hour class. In fact the people who will appreciate the higher level of Kung Fu are the ones who already know your basics. Because if they only know someone else's basics, their going to be lost.
Also, talking to Sifu Donald Wong, State Rep from Saugus I learned that he teaches a lot of Qi Gong seminars fro free, because it helps people and also they will pay a fee to whatever organization he is helping, whether it is for Veterans or for youth. I thought, "What a great idea. I don't have a lot of money, but I could do something like that." Now I don't go and do exactly the same thing he is doing. Mostly this has manifested itself in my work in Chinatown and in JP. But looking at what he did does give me inspiration.
I was also surprised how he readily believed in certain aspects of Chi Gung, that at our school, we believed in them but we didn't talk about them not so much because they were secret, but because we thought people would think we were crazy. For instance if someone happened to feel chi through through a healing process we would simply leave it at that for us to know that we had reached that level. We thought that Americans would think that this Chinese way of thinking was backward or superstitious.
But actually maybe it's that China went through a cultural revolution and that's why in our school's culture's mind, we are afraid to talk about that thing. Donald is third generation American. Not only that, his grandfather managed to adapt right into the American way of doing things it seems. So Chinese Culture and American culture are probably more intertwined in his experience. He finds no conflict between a traditional ritual and the modern American philosophy, and neither do his students.
Come to think of it, it is a lot of young Chinese who came through the door with some sort of chip on their shoulder that had this attitude.
Focusing on this esoteric idea of Qi Gong has sometimes made my morning practices more fun. It's not something I had abandoned, but seeing other people do it reinvigorates my focus on that side of the art. Just like watching a documentary about boxing might reinvigorate the martial spirit of my practice.
My life and thought process isn't linear. Like the Eightfold path, I don't work on Speech first and only speech and then move on to action. You sort of work them all at the same time.
I'm not saying I am going around copying all the Sifu's I come in contact with. But I do feel like learning about each Sifu helps me to better understand what kind of Sifu I want to be. So far there are ways in which I am pretty different from my own Sifu and yet there are other ways in which we are very much alike. And you could say that about all the Sifus. There are ways that they are all different individuals with a different outlook on life. But in another way there is a common thread going through all of their philosphies.
I guess a lot of the interviews, in addition to making good posts, are helping me find my niche.