I am so very lucky.
I have had some really incredible teachers and yes I feel so very grateful to them. But right now I want to talk about my gongfu brothers and friends. Well friends is not a strong enough word, when you have sweat, argued, bled, travelled, fought, won and lost with people the way we have we are definitely family.
A Professor of Chinese Medicine one would think would be a light touch, Tai Chi hippy but let me tell you I have learned more about martial arts from Kevin Wallbridge than I have from most of my official “Teachers”. He is a true Master of Chinese Martial Arts, Thought and Medicine. Yeah I said it, he will hate it but I said it. Without him in my life over these past 15 years I would never have had the progress I have enjoyed. He openly shares with me and my students his decades of experience and deep understanding any time he is near any of us. I often quote him in writing and teaching “The mind leads the Qi is the Warning label on the bottle, not the instructions!”, “To have good healing hands you need good killing hands.” And of course “Qigong corrects flaws in your structure; Neigong corrects flaws in your character.” He is an amazing resource in the Martial Arts world and the World of Chinese Medicine and although he may be known by some of us as the Taoist of Toad Mountain, he is and always will be my brother whom I trust and love deeply.
The power of the mind is often touted in Martial Arts and yet giving it lip service does a real disservice to the actual potential the mind has and its influence, connection and integration with the body. I have been so lucky to have been a part of the training and grand experiences of seeing Piercing Cloud Swordsmanship take shape. Jason Deatherage is a real genius and progenitor of the system of training that takes weapons training not to a higher level but down to its roots, exploring the underlying principles that seem to be most often ignored or taken for granted. “What are weapons created for?”, “Like a wave crashing into the shore let the weight roll forward. Like a wave receding down the beach let the weight recoils and recedes.” I’ve seen him win challenge matches with no gear against other swordsmen, luckily for them it was wooden swords and bruises not amputations were the result. I would dare say he stands among the world’s best swordsmen and I am so glad I have been able to play a part in that skill of his. I am so happy to call him friend, brother and student. I hope his book gets published soon; it is a treatise about the sword that stands among the best I have ever read.
I feel like I have so many people to thank for the progress I may have made thus far but if I write a paragraph about each of them there will be a book of sappy thank yous instead of a short writing. Dominic taught me so much about what hard work really meant, Troy about why to respect your older brothers (sorry for all those fights Troy), Shug of course who I have written about before- my best TaiJi teacher, partner in rebellion against the Taiji establishment and now “Uncle Shug” to the students. I suspect that soon I will meet a new member of my family, Kelly. Friends from across the country for a few years we get to meet and trade this summer, although he has not yet thrown me around I can already attest to Kelly Whelan Enns deep understanding and skill.
As I recently heard “There are no self-made men.” And I agree. We are all results of the teachers and training partners we have. In most cases we spend more time with our training partners refining techniques than we do with our teachers! Take care of your partners remember “If you break your partner you don’t get another one!”
Hey our new website is HERE
redjademartialarts.com is my other website
I wrote BOOKS too it’s crazy how I never shut up