Monday, 15 June 2009
1ste Memorial for teacher Mike
As I walked into Mike Laoshi's place, I was greeted by many fellow students and friends. Some I train with almost everyday, others I see during Tai Chi classes and still others were students from a while ago. What I saw was a gathering of good friends as well as students from all around the world. Rene from Beijing, Jochen from Germany, Kim from Norway and Andy from UK/Amsterdam, just to name a few. I am always amazed of how many friends and students from all over the world Mike Laoshi had. Before his passing, Kim already decided to stay in Belgium to follow Mike Laoshi. I am glad he is going to stay anyway to help the school grow. He is a real bro.
Special guest were Zhang Laoshi and Yu Laoshi. Both are famous and respected masters in China. Teacher Zhang's Tongbei is described by Mike Laoshi as: "His Tongbei is like my Mantis and my Mantis is like his Tongbei". Teacher Yu, some of us would say: Uncle Yu! is a Shuai Jiao champion and his "Mongolian wrestling skills" are top and fiersome. Teacher Mike thinks highly of Shuai Jiao, because apart from the effectiveness from the applications, it makes many of the Kung Fu moves complete by adding additional meaning to it. Mike Laoshi respected these masters like brothers, Hence why, both teachers are very good friends from teacher Mike. They expressed that they feel have lost a little brother, that is why it was important for them to come over and see him. It is beyond conventional respect.
The neighbor and other friends helped out with the food and drinks. On the table in the living room were several albums with photographs from teacher Mike. After talking with the others I sat down and had a look in them. Amongst the albums, you find a younger Mike Laoshi in his teenage years doing Taekwondo. I first hand experienced his lightning fast yet powerful kicking and I am happy to have felt that. It is one thing to read Adam Hsu's writing on Kung Fu kicks and another when shown by teacher Mike. It has changed the way I think about kicks. Another album shows photos of teacher Mike as a young disciple of his earlier teacher. Other photos shows many stands and postures. It is incredible how beautiful his postures were. Very few people can do it if you add agility, strength and mobility to it. Then there were many photos of teacher Mike with Grandmaster Wang. They both enjoyed almost like little kids when doing the push hands drills together. You can really tell that teacher Mike really loved his teacher. It is not just respect. As much as many of us have found a father in Mike Laoshi, he too have gone through that path and found his teacher.
Later on there were songs and performance done for teacher Mike, a piano piece, a self-written song, an opera duet with body performance were shown for Mike Laoshi. I saw people with tears and other smiling when remembering one of the many funny anecdotes from Mike Laoshi. Everyone knows a funny story about teacher Mike. Because he had a great sense of humor and even now, I believe wherever he is, he would make those around him laugh (and train)
We ended as group at a Chinese restaurant, as we know teacher Mike loved Chinese food. In Beijing, he would copy the locals and shout for the waiter. Then he would laugh about the funny side of it and give a big and friendly smile to the waiter, who, surprised being called at by a non-local acting like a local, would laugh too.
The food was great, and we toasted to Laoshi. That day and evening, we all came together for a dear friend, a father, a mentor and one of the greatest Martial Artist ever lived on earth. His death can be compared with burning down a famous library with the lost of unlimited knowledge and the craftmenship of ancient books made by monks.
To finish the day, the lads went for a beer and more stories on teacher Mike.
Posted by Mike Martello's students at 00:28