How long do you have to train, and how often until I get a black belt/sash? 🥋
Will Kung-Fu make my eyebrows grow? 😳
Belt ranking systems are very recent in martial arts history, first instituted just over a century ago by Judo founder Jigoro Kano to help students learn with a structured curriculum, originally just with white belt ‘Kyu’ grades and black belt ‘dan’ grades; karate schools in Okinawa and Japan adopted Judo’s belt ranking system in the 1920’s and soon proliferated to other martial arts, and added a rainbow of colored belts afterwards. 🌈
While a few Chinese martial arts have very recently adopted belt ranking systems, most still don’t, where ranking has historically been structured around familial hierarchies.
In the last 50 years, the mystique of “black belts” has been widely blown out of proportion in popular culture — what was originally intended to be a measure of learned skills over years of grueling practice — has in some instances become the delusional projection of a few teachers’ inflated egos and exploitive marketing gimmicks. 🤑
The key is to realize actual Mastery is a path — not a destination, belt color or certificate.
Nor does Kung-Fu require 6 inch eyebrows.
Once you take a step down the path, you realize Kung-Fu is a lifestyle, a prerogative of living artfully — progressively learning, growing and polishing yourself to discover how your art is reflected in all aspects of your life.
When do you start?
How often should you practice?
Start with carving out a few minutes every day to build a constructive habit — eventually up to a few hours a day — but the real goal is to practice “24-7”.
Every minute of every day.
“How is that possible?!?” you ask?
The “secret” Key to Mastery, and Kung Fu, is to creatively find ways to practice your art in every living moment.
“24-7” requires a prerogative shift to realize that every moment is an opportunity to cultivate your art and polish yourself.
This not only improves your skill and health, it also inspires you to enhance the quality of your entire life!
“But, I don’t have the time for ______ …
I have to wait until _____ to start… I need to ______ first… I can’t do that anymore because _______ … I won’t be any good unless I can practice _____ hours a day…”
Pay attention to when your plans and goals become excuses to avoid living your life to the fullest. Small actionable steps are better than over-planning, so that you are making gradual progress to achieving your goals.
Get out of your own way!
Mastery and Kung-Fu is about living your life artfully, being totally present and mindful, being in a State of Grace.
Remember, there is literally no other time than the present — the past is only a memory and the future is only a dream.
If you work a desk job, “Ti Ding Bai Hui” (“hoist and penetrate upwards with the crown of your head”), open armpits, stretch open the joints of your body to cultivate liveliness and respiration that breaks up tedium to inspiration!
If you’re driving, you can practice deep breathing to calm your mind, and “Ting Jin” (“listening”, extending your senses to feel all around you) to center yourself and enhance your awareness of other drivers and road conditions.
When you’re eating a meal, appreciate the feeling of nutrients re-energizing your body and mind.
If you are in a waiting room before an appointment, imagine a “Mini-Me” version of yourself in your center of gravity, your Xia Dantian, practicing your forms and self-defense applications.
The possibilities are as limitless as your own creativity and potential!
Listen to your body and intuition as you train and develop yourself.
Test your limits, push to the edge of your capacity, that you may always keep learning and growing.
Listen to your own desires, passions, cravings and needs, to set your own boundaries, and chart your own path in life.
Kung-Fu (功夫 Gōngfū) literally means the effort and time devoted to the development of artistic skills that translate into enhancing your quality of life on all levels.
Kung-Fu is not only some physical exercise, or self-defense training — it is how to dig deep into who you are, working through the pain, trauma, guilt, shame and sense of worth.
To work through all of these obstacles, challenges and opportunities to discover your potential, what heals and inspires you, so that you can develop your own personal talents, gifts and purpose.
To chase your dreams.
It requires dedication and perseverance to realize there is no final level or limitation.
You must face your fears and your pains and let go of all that you love and fear to lose.
In every thing you do.
Lastly, while practicing, remember: follow your passions and listen to your own discernment, “Never take criticism from someone you wouldn’t go to for advice.”
Likewise, “Don’t let anyone who hasn’t walked in your shoes tell you how to tie your laces.”
Bagua Zhang Massage 🐉👐🏼🌀💫
I’ve been practicing Bagua Zhang during my massage sessions with my clients…
“Wait – What? You beat up your clients?”
Well, not literally! 😜
As an example of my own Kung Fu path, I’ve been discovering how integrating Bagua Zhang principles with the various modalities of massage therapy I’ve learned thus far is continually enhancing and refining both my massage therapy practice, and my martial arts practice simultaneously, and surprisingly how much it benefits both my clients and myself, reciprocally. ☯️♾
The dynamics of continuous flow, concentric coils and spirals, increased awareness and sensitivity apply just as effectively and efficiently to massage therapy as they do to self defense.
The same principles of structure and spiraling movement enhance circulation and relaxation of excess tension to melt away pain. 💆🏻♂️🌀
Transferring Massage Practice to Everett 💆🏻♂️🌀
Since moving from Shoreline, WA to Everett, WA in November, I have recently also transferred my massage practice from the Massage Envy in Shoreline to the Massage Envy in Everett.
To schedule an appointment for a massage with me, please call or text the Everett Massage Envy at +1 (425) 353-5000.
Grand Reopening Lunar New Year — Year of the Tiger 🐅
Since moving in November from Shoreline to Everett, WA, it’s taking longer than expected to unpack, we’re still clearing stuff out before we can paint and set up mats and equipment in the garage to turn it into our new WuGuan.
While I originally hoped to reopen in January — and although we’ve made a lot of progress, we’ve had to reassess and postpone.
At this point we’re planning our Grand Reopening at the new WuGuan on/around Lunar New Year, February 5th, 2022, Year of the Tiger! 🐅 🧧
Take care and stay tuned for updates!
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.