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Self-defense Prerequisite

Wow, it’s been a long time since I wrote. Life and training have been moving forward at quite a pace of late, which gives me plenty to write about but less time to digest the material and get it down in words. I was home in the US this winter, in Maryland for December and January, in New York City February and March. I missed more training than I would have liked, but I was busily trying to lay some groundwork for my more permanent return home in September of this year, so I needed a little more time. I

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Expectations and Uncertainty

Hoping to be able to post more often again, as it seems things are calming down a little. I’ve spent much of this month running back and forth to Beijing filming TV segments, but that might be over now. We advanced through two rounds of 我要上春晚 (I want to perform New Years Eve) and filmed a third, but we did not advance through the third and final round. My immediate reaction was disappointment, followed by optimism. “Hey!” I thought, “at least I will get to go home for Christmas!” However, that silver lining remains in question, even doubtful. As I

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Exciting Goings On

I’ve fallen out of my rhythm with my blog for the last month or more, on account of all the exciting goings-on here in Wudang. The biggest holiday of the year in China and many other Asian countries it the Spring Festival, the new years celebration of the traditional lunar calendar. Much like watching the ball drop in New York City for Americans, Chinese television features one big gala TV event on the eve of Spring Festival. It is a sort of variety show, with different acts over the course of the evening, celebrity MCs, and lots of pageantry. But

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Usefully Useless

Years ago, Shifu sat my class down for a lecture on Daoism and culture, and in the true Daoist tradition of illuminating paradoxes, began by writing these words on the blackboard:  有用无用 无用有用 Which means, “Useful is useless and useless is useful.” He explained thus. Imagine a can of paint. It is useful because you can paint a wall with it, but just sitting there in the can it’s not really serving any purpose, so it’s useless. Take the paint out of the can and spread it on a wall, it is now useful because it is serving its role

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X-men: Paradigms of Perfect Health

Any description of life for me and my class would be incomplete without some small mention of hypothetical X-men questions. If you aren’t familiar with the X-men, I’ll refer you to the movies that have come out over the last few years portraying these superhero mutants from Marvel comic books, each with distinctive super-human abilities. If you are familiar with the X-men, you may have played this game yourself with some friends. You ask, “Would you rather have Storm’s powers or Rogue’s?” Or “Would you rather be able to teleport or be able to fly?” The question on my mind

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