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The Wudang Swimming Hole

It’s almost summertime weather here. Blessedly, we’re not there yet. In July and August it can get pretty unbearable – intense, humid heat that doesn’t even abate at night when you lie sweating under your mosquito net, the warm sluggish air from your fan the only thing moving, and moving more like flowing honey than wind at that. We adjust our training schedule so that we rest more in the middle of the day and train early in the morning and late after the sun goes down, but the weather is a real trial to the spirit nonetheless. But summer

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Permutations of Kungfu

It is a pretty common occurrence here at the kungfu school, and at martial arts schools everywhere as far as I can tell. A teacher corrects a movement or explains a certain technique, and the student objects that the teacher is directly contradicting what the student was taught by another previous teacher. Or a student looks at two teachers demonstrating the same technique or form, and sees that they are very different. “So which on is right?” the student wants to know. The answer is usually both. Or neither – that is, both versions may be equally valid, though they

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Junk Food

I have spent most of the last seven years missing the foods available in America, so when I got to spend some time in New York this past visit home, I was in heaven. There is more variety and quality of food experiences in New York than anywhere I have ever been. But my time in Wudang has changed my relationship with food, and I couldn’t indulge in all that wonderful cuisine without thinking a little bit. I have come to think of my relationship with food as having two parts: the nutrition side and the emotional side. As I

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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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