Saturday, 7 February 2009

Magaly to China

Two more weeks and Magaly, one of teacher Mike's dedicated student, our Kung Fu sister and friend is going to China. Just like Seppe and Kim. One of the question most asked to her is: "What are you going to do in China"? Thought the answer is naturally a personal journey, one which belongs to Magaly, allow me to widen up this text for the Kung Fu blog by asking you the question: "what can you do in China as a Kung Fu student (especially if you have a master like teacher Mike)?"

I ask that question to myself too; China is fun, the people are great and numerous things to see, to learn, to explore, to eat, to feel and to understand. Learning Kung Fu and Mandarin (language) is already a great choice, but other interesting learning I can think of are: calligraphy, cooking, massage, music, history, eastern philosophy,... also getting to learn new friends, see new places and have time for yourself, and the Kung Fu.

Not forgetting to mention the kindness and generosity of the Chinese teachers in Beijing, who have (thanks to teacher Mike's own generosity of friendship) indeed become close friends of the Wu Tan.

I too, have been to far places, one was visiting Japan whilst training at the original dojo of Ueshiba. In the end, it will always be a personal journey, one of inner growth and learning. 

From a Kung Fu learning point of view, it is very logical to wonder why one would go that far if one has teacher Mike as his mentor. Both in China and Taiwan (not to mention the other parts of the world), teacher Mike's martial ability is recognized as an equal if not better amongst the very best of Asia. However, Teacher Mike once told me that the learning curve in Kung Fu can be interpreted as in different stages.  As teacher Mike has gone through many, it is therefor difficult for the student to grasp his movement and inner chi from the very beginning.

One of the first stage for the student is proper structure and mechanics, which teacher Mike has taken good care of showing it to us every training. It is the essence in Kung Fu. It is necessary for the student to practise the basics for many years before being ready to go to the next level.

I believe that going outside Mike's classes to train with other teachers can be very beneficial for this very reason: it allows you to progress through a stage that you can be ready for teacher Mike's real teaching. Can you imagine sending a beginner to Grandmaster Wang? Or put it simple: One time a friend of mine wanted to learn cooking and asked if my uncle (who is a good chef) can give her private lessons, I told her to get a cook book and play with it until she understands differences of boiling, frying and stir frying. I know she doesn't even know how to boil an egg. So should my uncle, a chef with years of training, spend valuable time teaching her how to boil it? I don't think so.

Teacher Mike is like a master chef, but one who is actually is very generous, as he accepts beginners with open arms and teach them how to simply stand and walk.

Going to China and learning from other masters (who are good friends from teacher Mike and who have powerful skills as well), give us the opportunity to take back some info which teacher Mike can adjust and improve. The growth of the student is also more personal and gives them a unique flavor, depending on the master they follow in China.

Finally, the personal mental growth for Magaly, is one we all can admire and support.

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