I have always had odd timing, to say the least. When I learn something, there is the anticipation of using it either immediately or within a relatively short period of time. Not the case here. I seem to learn something, wait months or years if not decades, and then apply it with passion and gusto.
Case in point.
The first time I learned Tai Chi, I was 24 years old and living just outside of Washington, DC. At the time, it was underappreciated given my passion for the more “hard” martial arts. So it was pushed aside, though not forgotten.
At age 30, Tai Chi and Qi Gong were requirements to complete Acupuncture and Oriental Medical school. Much to my surprise, I loved them both. In fact, they got me through a tough time period while living in San Diego. Genuine life-savers.
Upon moving to Florida, they were slowly phased out over time by aikido, kendo, Arnis, and then Systema. Once in a while, I would dust them off but there was never any soul, just empty, memorized movements.
This year, “it” happened . . . . . only I have yet to uncover or discover how the “it” actually came into being. The “it” is a deeply devoted practice of Internal Arts. Never saw this one coming.
There is now a burning passion for these arts, namely Bagua, Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Xing I. Granted, they are still second to my primary passion of Systema but they are only a couple of click behind. Strange. Only took about 30 years for the flames to burn brightly.
How They Came About
There was something missing in my Systema practice and in my life. I love Systema, practice as much as possible, do daily breathing exercises and meditate daily. Still, there existed a sensation that something is incomplete like pieces missing from a puzzle. It bothered me quite a bit and kept me up at nights pondering what the missing piece(s) was.
A friend and mentor was offering a Bagua course. Bagua was something I was wanting to do for years but I was unable to locate a teacher or place to train. Once this was offered, I pounced on it like a lion. Little did I know.
Have you ever noticed that when you find yourself using the phrase, “little did I know,” that something huge, not little, generally follows? Such was the case here.
Results So Far
I have been training with Bagua, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong daily for several months now. My energy, which is normally very high, has increased and became more “stable;” that is, there are less ups and downs. Happiness has become a normal and regular state and it was puzzling to see anything to the contrary. Situations and circumstances which normally troubled me have been reduced by about 80%.
Things and experiences started to manifest the more Bagua (n particular) I did. My teacher is unlike others. I connect to him so much because he lives on the edges of life. As such, when he teaches, it is not just the movements but the symbolism and the spirituality behind the moves that comes to the forefront. I will never Bagua master but by doing this art, in this fashion, I am a better, happier and more complete person. I am not at the mercy of fate but a co-author of it.
I am not at the mercy of fate but a co-author of it.
Not surprisingly, I came across another person who taught a less common form of Tai Chi. Most teach the Yang style. Sifu Ken teaches the Chen style, along with additional forms in Bagua and Xing I and weapons. Jackpot! I just won the Internal arts lottery.
Results: Part 2
Already, my Systema is improving. I can feel the internal energy and sense it with others. Granted I have miles and miles ahead but the distance that has already been covered has been so beneficial.
My health, which was already great, has stepped up. My thoughts are clear and creative. I easily dropped 20 pounds (minus any kind of diet) and train with a passion and energy of an 18-year-old. Actually, I doubt most can handle the workload!
To say that this has been one of the greatest gifts in my life is an incredible understatement. It is quite a strange feeling. Part of me is watching the caterpillar turn into a butterfly and part IS the caterpillar turning into the butterfly.
Where this is going is one of the most exciting journeys I have ever undertaken. Maybe my timing really is perfect, bizzarly perfect.