Author: Dennis

New Beginners Bagua Zhang Kung Fu Class Starting in August!

New Beginners Bagua Zhang Kung Fu class starting in August! 

We have a few spots available if you would like to start training Remote online with our Beginners Bagua Zhang Kung Fu class, starting this Saturday, August 1st, at 11:30 am to 12:30 pm PST! 

With all the uncertainty of the tumultuous times we are all living in, Bagua Zhang is an excellent practice to help you improve your health, increase your vitality and awareness, and develop self defense skills to meet the challenges we are facing with focus and confidence. 

Once you get some of the basics down, you are welcome to join in our other regular group classes on Thursdays 7-8pm PST, and Sundays 11am-12:30pm PST.

The Remote Membership will give you the ability to continue training by following along with our regular group classes, and see us go through exercises, forms, applications and partner drills live. Since we are training Remotely via Zoom, you can join us from anywhere in the world, as long as you have a good internet connection. I will be available to answer questions after class from students via the discussion board on our members-only Mace Martial Arts private chat group

The Remote Membership is only $50 per month, half the price of the in-person monthly Membership, but will still give you the ability to keep training with us live via Zoom and access to student resources at Mace Martial Arts. Also, we are in the process of creating instructional videos and workbooks to help you learn and grow with your practice!
If you are interested in joining for the first time, or it’s been awhile since you’ve attended our classes, please respond to this message so we can get you started with our Bagua Zhang Martial Arts classes

At Mace Martial Arts, we value the sanctity of all life, celebrate diversity, cultivate peace and justice, and accept students who are interested in learning how to improve and protect themselves. We have a zero-tolerance policy for bigotry and will reject any potential or current student who bullies or discriminates against others based on ethnicity, religious beliefs, or gender/orientation. 

Bullying and Oppression; Return to Class on Father’s Day!

What’s going on? 

As we celebrate Emancipation Day/Juneteenth here at Mace Martial Arts, we also recognize bullying and oppression have been on the rise in recent years. All over the world we continually see examples of it, especially in current events that painfully expose America’s unresolved legacy of bullying and oppression, in “the land of the free, and home of the brave.”  

I’ve had to deal with a couple bullies in the last 3 years, while teaching martial arts classes at a local park. The first incident, a man approached and asked what martial art we were practicing, but his demeanor was off, and his stilted questions shifted to provocations; I redirected him, encouraged him to give it a try, but he backed down and watched for a while before wandering away. 

The second time, a few months later, another man walking his dogs approached our class, inquiring about what we were practicing.  I was cordial, despite feeling his skewed intentions. His questions became increasingly rude, then he veered off topic and asked my students and me “who’d you vote for?” He then escalated to making inane, disgusting racial slurs to my diverse students and accused us of witchcraft, proclaiming how “Trump is going to make America great again!” and would send us all back where we belong. I got between him with his dogs and my students, telling him I’d be happy to show him how it works.  As much as I hoped he’d back up his hate speech with action, he backed down, and grumbled as he wandered off. 

My own experiences of bullying and oppression

On a personal note, among the reasons I started learning martial arts when I was young was to protect myself, not only from any bullies at school, but also from my own father, who had a slow burning explosive temper, that sometimes led to abuse. While my father tried to shelter me from the gang life he grew up in, the threat of brutality lingered throughout my childhood. 

This also encouraged me to keep my martial arts training practical, as much as it was a way to channel my emotions constructively towards personal development, and taught me to deescalate confrontations. 

I also grew up around a lot of racism being expressed from my father and extended family and his friends. Strangely enough, I have always been revolted by racism, even when I was very young.  Some of my earliest memories were being deeply confused and offended by the vitriol and callousness of the condescending slurs I would hear. Even though it was my own family vomiting this hatred, nothing else made me feel more alienated from them. Though I’ve always respected my elders, I couldn’t tolerate their blind hatred, and frequently confronted my father and members of my family in defense of my diverse friends and interests, even if it meant refusing to eat holiday meals with them, or getting another beating. 

To this day, I’m continually amazed and disgusted by the systemic hatred exposed by past and recent events that continues to divide and threaten us.  I wonder why so many people are so blind to see that we are all connected brethren, spinning together on this tiny jeweled planet, circling a star, on the fringes of a galaxy swirling among countless others in a vast cosmos. But I digress… 

The Bully within: where do bullies come from? 

Bullies come in many forms, from the domestic violence of threatening partners and family members, cruel classmates and demeaning coworkers, to abusive superiors, oppressive government officials, and brutalizing police officers. 

Bullies feel superior to and are intimidated by someone who is different; in response, they seek to dominate and attack. Bullies are predators incapable of having empathy for their prey, and lack any appreciation of diversity. The more bullies feel threatened, the more they escalate and lash out, either individually or collectively. 

They may dominate and attack individuals or entire communities. The Bully/predator may threaten, demean, humiliate or attack their victims verbally, emotionally, physically or sexually, by direct or indirect means. 

Racism, misogyny, homophobia and religious suppression are all forms of bullying, extremes on the spectrum of predatory behavior; the condescending supremacy is rooted in fear and control. 

While bullying and oppression is nothing new, bigots of all kinds have been emboldened to crawl out from under their rocks by the recent torrent of hateful rhetoric flowing from a divisive US government administration helmed by a bully who openly gaslights and encourages hostility to such an extreme degree that it has become a sickening “new normal.” 

As these toxic behaviors increase, the predators who participate in this cult of personality try to normalize their oppressive power as they worship their supreme leader. Thankfully, these bullies are being exposed on a larger scale as most people have video cameras and social media to share these incidents on a wide scale, increasing awareness and activism. 

Where we stand today

At Mace Martial Arts, we support the massive protests represented in the Black Lives Matter movement demanding a long-overdue end to systemic racism and police brutality.  We also acknowledge that there’s a vicious backlash as police and white supremacists retaliate by escalating attacks on minorities, protesters and innocent bystanders. I have deep respect for good police officers that put their lives on the line to protect and serve the people every day, just as I am revolted by any bigots in cop-clothing who try to hide behind their badges while continually terrorizing their communities — these corrupt officers serve injustice and must be rooted out. 

My hope is extreme measures are swiftly enacted to put an end to the existential threat of systemic bigotry. But in the meantime, as a martial arts instructor, it’s become necessary that I teach my family and students self-defense to survive attacks from white supremacists, as well as confrontations with anyone else who represents a threat on some level, including those police officers that may abuse their authority. Sadly, as we’ve seen over the generations, and especially recently, sometimes the police are the white supremacist terrorists. 

The problem with self-defense for civilians against police brutality and unlawful arrest, is that for legal reasons, the police currently hold legal authority in most states to use excessive force without restraint under the guise of “resisting arrest.” Which is why abusive cops are often heard repeatedly shouting  “stop resisting” while they butcher their victims, so that body cameras can correspond with the bogus reports they cook up, and why so many bad cops get preferential treatment in the courts after their abuses of power. 

I know the majority of police officers are good, respectful people, but the code of silence of the “thin blue line” that keeps protecting these racist terrorists in their ranks is reprehensible and unacceptable. Respect is earned through responsibility, and for law enforcement to gain trust and respect, the entire law enforcement community needs to step up, hold each other accountable, and be systematically overhauled. 

We at Mace Martial Arts support all civilians, officials and officers who encourage these reforms that take a stand for social justice, and reject those in favor of maintaining the warped and evil status quo. 

So what do we do about it? 

There are 4 ways of dealing with a bully (an individual predator, or group of oppressive predators): 

·       Cave in to their demands and attacks in hope that they stop; the problem here is that you give the predator all the power, enabling and teaching them they can get whatever they want from you, or others. 

·       Ignore or avoid them, and hope they stop or go away; this might diffuse the predator’s threat if they decide to walk away, but it won’t stop them from attacking you or someone else later, and it will not stop a physical attack. 

·       Deescalate, distract or reason with them, to diffuse the conflict; if the bully is self-aware, they might learn to stop their aggression; realistically, this is rarely ever the case. 

·       Confront them, call them out, or take them to task; they may cower, but if they escalate, defend yourself to eliminate the threat, by whatever means appropriate and necessary. Bullies must be held accountable for their actions for them to stop attacking others and be forced to take responsibility for their actions. 

Confronting bullies requires courage, but it is the only way that you stand up for your own rights and life, and the rights and lives of others the bully/predator may target. 

To stop bullies, we must learn to say “no!” to them, draw a line to end their attacks and hold them accountable. 

At Mace Martial Arts, we value the sanctity of all life, celebrate diversity, cultivate peace and justice, and accept students who are interested in learning how to improve and protect themselves. We have a zero-tolerance policy for bigotry and will reject any potential or current student who bullies or discriminates against others based on ethnicity, religious beliefs, or gender/orientation. 

Return to Class on Father’s Day! 

As King County received approval today from the Washington State Secretary of Health to enter into Phase 2 of the Safe Start program, we will be returning to in-person classes this Sunday, June 21st on Father’s Day! 

We are ramping up on sanitation protocols and will require face masks in class for the instructor and students. This includes private lessons and small group classes of up to 5 students. 

Remote Membership Option: I will continue to broadcast the group classes live remotely on Zoom, so that students that are unable to come to class, are too far away, or don’t feel comfortable yet to attend in person, can still follow along online. 


This Remote Membership will give you the ability to continue training by following along with our regular group classes, and see us go through exercises, forms, applications and partner drills live. Since I’ll be focused on teaching students that attend classes in person, instead of monitoring Zoom, I will be available to answer questions after class from both in-person and remote students via the discussion board on our members-only Mace Martial Arts private chat group

The Remote Membership will be half the price of the in-person monthly Membership, but will still give you the ability to keep training with us and access to student resources at Mace Martial Arts.   

Memorial Day 2020, Phase 2 & Remote Memberships

Training self-defense at Mace Martial Arts

I wish you a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day weekend with your family, as we honor those who have served our country and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, especially now in light of the unprecedented and unpredictable changes we are all facing this year. 


The next step in gradually lifting social distancing restrictions for the pandemic may come in early June — When Phase 2 rolls out, we will resume in-person classes at Mace Martial Arts, as Washington Governor Inslee indicated that martial arts is part of the activities allowed for small gatherings. This will include private lessons as well as small group classes of up to five people. 


I will confirm when in-person classes will resume when Governor Inslee gives the order to move into Phase 2 of the gradual lifting of the Pandemic quarantine measures. 


But wait, there’s more: I will continue to broadcast the group classes live remotely on Zoom, so that students that are unable to come to class, are too far away, or don’t feel comfortable yet to attend in person, can still follow along online. 


This Remote Membership will give you the ability to continue training by following along with our regular group classes, and see us go through exercises, forms, applications and partner drills live. Since I’ll be focused on teaching students that attend classes in person, instead of monitoring Zoom, I will be available to answer questions after class from both in-person and remote students via via the discussion board on our members-only Mace Martial Arts private chat group

The Remote Membership will be half the price of the in-person monthly Membership, but will still give you the ability to keep training with us and access to student resources at Mace Martial Arts.    

Weeknight classes starting December! 🐉

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to them their own.” – Benjamin Disraeli 


The martial art that we practice at Mace Martial Arts, Bagua Zhang, is fundamentally based upon transformation — not only in the dynamics of a chaotic situation to a harmonious resolution, but also in the evolution of the practitioner. 


At early stages, the Bagua Zhang student is taught basic structural principles and strategies, that through progressive training, evolves into a creative, raw and intuitive expression at advanced stages of practice. 


This is one of my favorite aspects of this art, tapping into that creative flow, feeling the state of grace, and helping students discover their hidden potential and creativity. 

Weeknight classes starting December! 🐉

Starting December 12th, we are adding Thursday evening classes, from 7-8pm! 


Please advise if you plan to attend Thursday 7-8pm, and/or Sunday 11am-12:30pm classes. 


Invite friends and family – receive  a $20 discount from your next month for the referral, and they get $20 off their first month as well! 


Reminder: no class held this coming Sunday, November 17th, so we’ll be making up for the time when we resume class on Sunday, November 24th. 

Update – Mace Martial Arts Dojo/Guan: 

We’ve been here in Shoreline for a year so far, and the training hall is coming together nicely. Come join us in class and check it out! We are holding Bagua Zhang classes on Sundays, 11am to 12:30pm, with a new weeknight class on Thursdays, 7pm-8pm, starting December 12th!

I’m teaching private lessons in the same space. It would be great to have you join in! 

 

 

Kung Fu Theater Open Dojo & New Weeknight Classes!

Kung Fu Theater Open Dojo & New Weeknight Classes at Mace Martial Arts! 

Join us for the open house celebration of my new Guan (Dojo) in Shoreline, & I’m eager to add a weeknight class starting in September!

Kung Fu Theater Open Guan (Dojo) Double Feature! 

Have you been wanting to check out our new training hall in Shoreline, or just have a fun, relaxing evening with the rest of us at Mace Martial Arts? 

Join us for the open house celebration of my new Guan (Dojo) in Shoreline on my birthday, Saturday, August 17th, 2019, from 6pm-10pm! 

I’m setting up the projection TV in the training hall, to play a Kung Fu Theater Double Feature: 

Big Trouble in Little China, and Kung Fu Hustle!  

All current, previous and new students are invited to the party — Please RSVP to this event here or to this email as space is limited!!

New Weeknight Classes: 

For the last couple years, we’ve only had one weekly class on Sunday. I’m eager to expand availability in our new space to add a weeknight class, based on your demand, starting in September! 

Are you interested? If you are, please let me know which day and time you prefer to attend: 

either Wednesday or Thursday, from either 6-7pm, or 7-8pm. 

Based on your feedback, I will confirm later this month with a follow up email which evening and class time we will start training on weeknights next month! 

Update – Mace Martial Arts Dojo/Guan: 

Since moving to Shoreline in November, we’ve transformed the 2-car garage into our new training hall. We have finished painting, have all the mats, some of the training equipment already, and planning to get training mirrors next! 

We are holding Bagua Zhang classes in the new space on Sundays, 11am to 12:30pm, with a new weeknight class coming soon!

I’m teaching private lessons in the same space. It would be great to have you join in! 

Vajra Visions Newsletter

Magical Thinking in Meditation & Martial Arts

Vajra Visions Newsletter
Vajra Visions

Magical Thinking in Qigong & Martial Arts
In my previous post, I referred to Magical Thinking in regards to self-image, and choosing to (re)start an enjoyable form of exercise. Now I’d like to share this concept to transform your approach to training, and being, especially in meditation and martial arts practice.  Most people interpret Magical Thinking as being unrealistic, immature, flaky or just plain weird. What I’m suggesting, instead, is to open your perception to realize the wonderful and miraculous in everything around us and inside of us, that most of us take for granted. 


The Bridge Between Science and Magic  

Life, by its own existence is miraculous. If we consider the prevailing theory for the creation of the Cosmos, the myriads of particles, molecules, atoms, space and energy that manifest in our Universe, to the evolution of life and ourselves, is incomprehensibly vast and magnificent. 
We are stardust manifest into conscious, living beings. Consider the incredible diversity of life on this planet Earth, to the boggling complexity of our bodily systems, all the processes that happen within us to create the living, breathing symbiotic beings that we are, to live in synchronicity with our world. 


If we bring this deeper awareness of ourselves in connection to our world, we arrive to a profound appreciation for not only our lives, but of the living Cosmos as well, and the ways in which we are all connected. And if we bring that awareness, appreciation and inspiration to our Qigong and Martial Arts practice, it transforms us from the inside out. 


The Magic of Qigong 

Consider the amazing energy and space harnessed in each oxygen molecule, the profound mechanisms in the process of our cardiovascular system as it cycles the oxygen and carbon dioxide in and out of our entire body, a process we most often don’t think about or feel, because it is a basic autonomous process that keeps us alive.  In Qigong, or “Breath/Energy Work”, we are consciously gathering the essence and energy of the air we breathe to refine and heal ourselves, from an internal, vibrational and cellular level, from the inside out; microcosm to macrocosm. We are consciously harnessing and refining this Essential Energy to increase our awareness and empower us, to tap into the hidden potential we all have. 


The main point is to have a paradigm shift in your perception of life, to being completely present to the miraculous, magical potential we all hold within us. In each and every moment. To go from rushing around in life, worrying and spinning to exhaustion from all the distractions, stuck in our heads, lost in our fears and self-doubts, longing to escape from the monotony of the daily grind — to becoming fully aware of your being, here and now, in the amazing universe we’re all a part of. Embrace the magical, wonderful power of it all. Spark your imagination to tap into your vast potential. 


It all starts with our own daily meditation and martial arts practice. Instead of being stuck in your head, rushing through reps of exercises and forms, watching the clock as you cram training time by forcing yourself to change from the shame of some aspect you despise into a projection of perfection — focus on being here, now, centered, feeling who you are, where you are at, what you are doing in the moment. Let go of who you think you are, and feel what you truly are. This is the first step in reclaiming your power and feeling the magic within you and all around you. 
In meditation and mindful martial arts practice, this is the way to let go of our fears, break through barriers of self-limitation, to tap into the limitless potential of what we can become. 


Update – Mace Martial Arts Dojo/Guan: 

Since moving to Shoreline in November, we’ve been transforming our 2-car garage into our new training hall. We have finished painting, have most of the mats already, and plan to get the rest of the mats and training equipment soon. While still a work in progress, we are holding Bagua Zhang classes in the new space on Sundays, 11am to 12:30pm. 

I’m teaching private lessons in the same space. It would be great to have you join in!

Guan, West, February 25, 2019
Guan, NW, Feb 25, 2019
Guan, NE, Feb 25, 2019
Guan, SE, Feb 25, 2019
Guan, SW, Feb 25, 2019

Happy New Year — with Magical Thinking & a New Location!

Welcome to our new Dojo, renovations underway!
Welcome to our new Dojo, renovations underway!

Happy New Year! A lot has changed over the last couple years since I’ve sent a message, and I’m excited to share new developments in the works!

(Re-)Starting an exercise regimen 

As many of us are setting intentions and resolutions for better self care, diets and exercise regimens with the New Year, I encourage making a fresh start with some helpful advice. 


Magical Thinking 

Most of us interpret “Magical Thinking” as being unrealistic and naive. I invite you to re-interpret “Magical Thinking” as seeing the miraculous in the most mundane things. To be completely present to experiencing the moment. Having the wonder of a child at the simplest things sparks the imagination, lighting the fire of genius we all have, and is the first step to Mastery. Specifically, use “Magical Thinking” to cause a paradigm shift in how you see yourself, how you perceive your exercise and training, and it will change your whole life, from the inside out. 

Instead of comparing yourself to others, convincing yourself that you’re somehow less than (complaining that you are too tall, too short, too skinny, too fat, etc) — start with self-compassion, be patient with yourself, accept yourself for who you are, where you’ve been, where you are now, learn from your failures, and appreciate the unique miracle that you are. This is the first step to real, continual healing and growth. 

Many of us struggle with feelings of inadequacy, doubt, failure and self-loathing. Those impulses of self-disdain motivate most of us to start an exercise program — to change us from what we hate about ourselves into something else that we are not. These struggles with self-image lead many of us to force ourselves through exercise routines we don’t like, widening the rift between our mind, body, heart and soul — we check out, and the disconnect can lead to injuries, more downtime and “dis-ease.” Your mindset, perspective and intention can either sabotage your health goals, or be your most powerful first step and motivator. So instead of starting from self-hatred, embrace the unique miracle that you are, so that you can appreciate all that you could become as your best self. 


Your Path to Joy 

As you find your way, choose an activity you love to do, or have always wanted to try, so it isn’t a chore, self-punishment or obligation. The key is to choose something that you would enjoy doing daily, with enthusiasm! Training that feels more like play to you, that has a purpose and recharges your spirit and nourishes your soul, is the best way to grow and heal day by day. Some people enjoy dancing, yoga, or a sport. 

Defaulting to a quick path for change, like a random gym or infomercial machine, and forcing yourself to mindlessly grind through self-imposed torture is often the kind of mind-body disconnect that leads to injuries, and short lived solutions that rarely yield long term results. It’s always healthier and more effective to choose a purpose-driven activity that brings you joy, that builds long-term healthy habits because it inspires you be totally present in mind, body, heart and soul, so you can loose yourself to experiencing the moment.  


I love Martial Arts as a path because it is progressively challenging, multifaceted practice for developing the whole person; it has aspects of artistic expression, scientific exploration, athletic achievement and spiritual cultivation rooted in meditative yogic forms of exercise, as well as teaching life protection skills. Martial Arts is the most mindful, purpose driven and wholistic path for health, fitness and personal growth. The martial art that I practice, Bagua Zhang, is to me the purest integration of all these multifaceted life cultivation practices. 


Set Goals and Practice!

Set a goal, create a routine that will move you to that goal, and do the practice. Every day. Self care starts with appreciating yourself for who you are. “Magical Thinking” means being totally present with the wonder of the moment, and discovering the hidden potential that lies dormant within you. Find a path, a system that you love so that you enjoy doing it everyday. So much so, that when life happens and derails your plans, you will make other time in your day to treat and take care of yourself, so you continue to heal and grow, even when you can’t see the changes that continue happening from within you. Appreciate yourself enough to do what you love to do, to create the best version of yourself to share with the world! 

New Dojo Location 

We have a new Dojo location! Since moving to Shoreline in November, we’ve been cleaning out the garage and have started transforming it into our new training hall. We have started painting, have some of the mats coming in the next few days, and have specific plans for getting more training equipment soon. While still a work in progress, we are holding Bagua Zhang classes in the new space on Sundays, 11am to 12:30pm. 

It would be great to have you join in!

Please spread the good news, and advise if you plan to attend. ⛩