Martial Arts for Climate Change?

On a scale of 1-10 what is your level of interest or concern regarding climate change? We’ve been talking about it for a long time haven't we? My awareness has grown but my action-level has not increased. Just by the nature of my lifestyle I think I can say my carbon footprint is lower than average. I may not be a vegan, but my consumption-level of meat is pretty low. Where am I going with this?

Only a few months ago I was invited to attend a formal gathering for Project Drawdown in the San Francisco area. I really didn't know what to expect. Drawdown refers to the point at which greenhouse gases stop increasing, and begin to decline on a year-to-year basis. Spearheaded by known author Paul Hawken, Project Drawdown is a book, digital platform, and basis for curricula that identifies the 100 most important and achievable solutions to the climate crisis (Orion Magazine). In an interview he says, "We’ve shied away from general terms like “organic farming” and “renewable energy,” because you cannot measure generalities... We have known about climate change for decades, but, until now, no one has compiled a list of the fifty, seventy-five, or one hundred most substantive, extant solutions to the problem." Climate change was the hot button issue at Project Drawdown. While attending the gathering, I began to reflect. How could I contribute? Let me begin by sharing some key points that resonated with me.

1. Rising Temperature. As the greenhouse gases rise, the temperature of the planet also rises, forcing many species to migrate. Evicted from their homes, a given species no longer has its main source of shelter, food, and water. It's quite sad what we are doing to these animals. For a list of some animals affected click here.
2. Throwing in the Towel. From 2003 to 2010, 140 foundations funneled $558 million to almost 100 climate denial organizations (Scientific American). People and organizations, touted as tree huggers, whom were counted on for activism and building awareness, began to give up and throw in the towel.
3. Awareness and connection. We don't really take an action of remedy until we reach a crisis point. At that point, it's a fight for survival. This occurs on all levels from the individual to the global scale. We fail to recognize our irrefutable connection to nature and one another, which does not build a framework for sustainable living.

I began to spin my wheels and wonder how others might become actively involved in such pressing matters. I realized, it is very similar to encouraging someone to take up a fitness regimen for health maintenance. In my experience, people are generally not concerned with the idea of maintaining. In terms of health and wellness, they often think, “if it's not broke, why fix it.” Only until they experience severe malfunction, do they rush to the doctor saying, "fix me as fast as you can so I can get back to my life." If it takes a crisis for people to take responsibility for their own well being, how can we expect them to build healthy habits for the planet's well being?

What came to mind was our mission at the Retreat Center, which is to preserve Chinese Martial Arts. I concluded that the goal to preserve a dying art was similar to the goal of sustaining a dying planet. The root of the problem comes from disconnection. The arts die when we forget that we are connected to one another, and the planet dies when we forget our connection to nature.

We have reached a crisis point due to these disconnections. The symptoms of a dying planet can no longer be ignored or dismissed, and the fact that the planet is sick is a direct reflection of our own sickness. How many of us know where our food comes from and by which process? How many of us know the taste of water which comes from the earth? How many of us can sense when the air we breathe is toxic? Not appreciating our air has caused a lost reverence for the trees, abandoning our connections and relationships to them. We should not treat our bodies like our cars, handing over responsibility to doctors. Likewise, we can't take earth into the shop to get an oil change.

Individually we need to assess the choices we make, moment to moment, and ask if we treat our bodies with similar lost-reverence. Do we pollute the air of our bodies? Do we dump garbage into the rivers and streams of the body? Do we deplete our own energy reserves? Do we just pay lip service to concepts like sustainable living, healthy choices, natural food, and clean energy?

In the wellness industry there is huge emphasis on habits, personal responsibility, and self-discipline. Those of us who take responsibility for health, understand that no one is going to do the work for us. That is a crucial self-connection we need to make as individuals. It requires awareness and effort to take wellness into your hands, if you want to prevent illness and disease. Likewise, it takes a feeling of connection to the earth to take responsibility for its resources.

I came to live in direct contact with nature at the YMAA Retreat Center and I began to change. Located in the Redwood Forest of northern California, I began to rebuild my own connections. Nature is the best teacher. I found that I enjoy growing veggies and flowers. My latest is wheatgrass. Being actively involved in a process of creation I realized that one must be careful, meticulous and committed. The idea that something could live or die by my hands, engaged more self reflection. The actions may seem simple: to sow, nourish, protect, and harvest. However, the commitment and maintenance require work. The entire process builds profound connections. Witnessing a successful bloom encouraged me to apply the same meticulous process to my own growth and development. I learned systems of self cultivation and self preservation. While planting seeds for the next harvest I was also planting seeds for sustainable living. Self awareness, a connection to nature, and a respect for our resources was cultivated.

Reflecting upon the Martial Arts community, I saw correlations. In gong fu, the day to day grind provides a framework of self-maintenance, discipline, and commitment. A practitioner builds interpersonal connections and a sense of community. Unfortunately most people reduce martial arts to just fighting and sometimes practitioners get pulled into this mentality. As a result we have reached a crisis point where the arts are dying. Students and teachers alike judge, criticize and condemn other dying martial arts, fracturing the community and creating disconnections. I realized that the opportunity to address sustainable living is not restricted to the global scale. We can directly influence climate change, where we live, work, travel, eat and breath.

It’s time to build the framework of sustainability with connection and communication. Many groups, communities and organizations would rather stay propped on their pedestals of elitism, as if we haven't reached a crisis point. Our planet is gravely ill. Animals are becoming extinct. Environmental advocates have lost hope, and support, as a result of climate-change denial and dismissal.

I want to identify myself as part of a system, a link in the chain, a piece of the puzzle, a community member and a citizen of the planet. This is why I asked what your level of interest was. As you can see when we talk about changing the climate, the scope is vast, yet there exists many opportunities to help. But I shouldn't ask about your level of interest. Instead I should ask if you have reached your crisis point. If not, will you just sit and wait until our planet has stage-four cancer?

The earth can be cleaned and we can see it bloom, so long as we can commit to careful, meticulous work. To live sustainably, we need to connect, communicate and harmonize.

Transformers and Shedding Skin

So I want to let everybody know what the Retreat Center means to me.
This summer I was forced to come to terms with the function of the mountain along my path.

I want to begin with arms extended and thank all of the seminar participants for all of the memories this summer. It was eventful, transformative, and unlike the years prior. It is amazing how that span of 5 weeks is gaining momentum, not only in notoriety and demand, but in power of transformation.

We are working hard and doing great things. We have many returning guests and the bonds are growing stronger as we become more comfortable and trusting in one-another. Consequently, a sense of purpose has emerged which supports an environment for learning and training. In fact, I feel like I have my own team of elders and guides to count on. I look forward to next year's fresh, summer air.

Sometimes it takes the act of one person to stand up and speak with conviction to jolt us out of our old-skin. When a person speaks with assertive-passion it strikes a cord. This is what happened when Thora stood before us and said, "Everyone has their own story to tell. From your different backgrounds, the scars you have are just a memory of who you USED to be and the fact that you are HERE, NOW - this particular moment, this particular time - is enough. You don't need any special skill or talent, just YOU."

She told me afterwards that it didn't quite come out the way she planned, but I had received a great message as a result of her speaking-up.

I agree with Thora and I want to add to what she said. It goes along with what the Retreat Center means to me. Thora said that being HERE, NOW is enough. When "HERE" is the Retreat Center, then forces are combined in such a way that can only lead to ascension.

You see, this mountain is a catalyst for what I like to call "shedding skin." What is shedding skin? It is emergence. It is breaking through. It is a rising-above and out-of as a result of dumping, getting rid of, and letting go of an old version of oneself.

Dumping one's old concepts or ideals, ridding oneself of old attachments or habits, letting go of the past, learning to forgive oneself and others - all of this sheds uneeded, unwanted aspects of the old-self, to be reborn in new skin. Like this, we really put the word "heal" back in Health.

I have seen a lot of people come up and down this mountain. What I have concluded is that the mountain engages you in such a way that you must shed some skin. What is the mountain to me? It is a place where great internal work is done, if one chooses to submit to this formula of transformation.

Sure, you can call us transformers. I'm kidding. But seriously, there are so many aspects of myself that have changed for the better and I STILL wonder how deep the rabbit hole goes.

If you are considering coming to the mountain then you are thinking that you need to address some issues in your life, or maybe restore a sense of purpose. If you are in fact coming to the mountain then you are consciously make the choice to be engaged, step through "the door," and shed some skin. It will be the first of many cross-roads where it comes down to choice.

Speaking of choices, if Dr. Yang presents you with a choice, take the red pill.

Again, I want to say thank you guys for all those moments, gifts, hugs, encouragement, kind thoughts, kind words and simply just being there and being you.

Don't forget to exhale, and wherever you may roam...


Light Bulb.

Light bulb, and the path emerges.

Five years is a long time, but then again it's not. Someone recently asked me, "When did you finally feel your body get used to the training?" After a moment's pause I replied, "I think just recently - this year." They were quite surprised. Frankly, I still feel like I'm getting used to it.

I recall Dr. Yang saying that the first year (Body Conditioning) would be the hardest. The second year was also tough because the training changed a bit. It was still physical, and training lasted all day, but the body was being used differently than the previous year. I Sometimes caught myself wondering why it wasn't feeling any easier.

What got me throughout those formative years was my stubborness. There was a mission to prove - prove to myself, prove to the master, and prove to anyone else who may have doubted.

About two years ago, something happened. While learning and practicing massage, I noticed a deeper sense of feeling in my hands. There was a sensitivity, a subtlety; and with this there was connection and communication. I began to listen intently. I stayed relaxed, and just tried flow.

Consequently, I caught myself approaching a pushing hands match like a massage session - listening, staying relaxed, trying to flow. The goal was not to defeat an opponent, but to explore the exchange between two energies. This was revolutionary for me.

Curiously, I noticed that the same techniques that were practiced martially were being used for healing in my massage studies. For example, Chinna (joint locking) is used to control the limbs of an opponent - even break them, however when applied for massage, it is a great method to stretch the tissues and increase blood flow.

So there was this "ahaa" moment when I realized that the techniques I was learning could be applied for healing and not just killing.

This made me analyze each training exercise from the qigong-massage point of view. I would ask myself, "What does this exercise do for my energy, or to my energy? What is the effect on my body? Does it facilitate flow and relaxation? Does it cause stagnation and build tension?"

More questions emerged. "What are you training for? What is the goal? Well it's martial arts right? It's fighting isn't it?"

The truth was that my stubbornness, along with a lack of inexperience and knowledge, created a cloud which kept me from seeing that my training was misdirected and highly inefficient. It was unbalanced, lacking rest and recovery methods - healing. In those formative years, I wasn't able to see how the training could be used for building the body, while I was tearing it down on a daily basis.

I have learned that in order to achieve the best results there must be a balance of pressure and release - release meaning relaxation. In other words, too much stimulation (pressure) creates tension, which results in stagnation, and stagnation hinders movement and growth.

In massage, the right amount of pressure with the hands is paramount. What about the daily training? This lense forced me to reevaluate my training regimen. I was able to balance pressure with relaxation when I massaged others, but was I so balanced when it came to my own body?

Light bulb. What I realize is this: Each time one moves, one creates the opportunity to massage one's body. The template through which I was approaching my training was rooted in "life-taking" instead of "life-giving". I was draining my life force and energy, when rather I should be nourishing it.

Skype Me and Train! ...or Facetime

BOGO Poster copy

Buy One Get One Free. Yes we are in-between semesters but that doesn't mean you can't train with us!!
Right now until January 1st 2015 you get an hour free when you purchase 1 skype session with me! Yay! We can also facetime!
If you want to get some corrections on your taiiquan or saber form, get yourself a holiday qigong program, do some taijiball or kettle bell drills; I'm here to work. You? Email me and let's do some meditation or qigong!

In other news that's not so "other"...

I would like to introduce you to a program that I have devised. It combines Pushing Hands training with Qigong Massage training. It's designed to build sensitivity and relaxed awareness. Feel free to give me some feedback. I give you...

Tuishou massage

Supplemental Training
"The actions of the sword are considered a reflection of one's mind." Ancient swords-men of Japan discovered that supplementing their study with the art of calligraphy improved their over-all skill. If you have never tried a brush stroke you might not grasp the relevance of subtlety.

Tuishou Massage combines qigong massage and pushing hands in just this way. When you take this course you will grasp the subtly of listening jing in harmony with the hands and the mind.
By training these programs together we build new connections in our brain which deepens our understanding of the theory. Further, this understanding is reinforced and manifested in real-time.

Teachers benefit
Even if one is versed in Taijiquan theory, expresses jing effectively, and balances substantial with insubstantial movement; one may still benefit from this program by learning a new way of teaching the concepts which build the fabric for internal training.
Just as ancient sword masters supplemented their training with the art of calligraphy, the push hand players of the future will be supplementing their training with qigong massage. You can be a part of this movement by booking a workshop with Javier.

Often when training pushing hands, it's difficult for people to see the benefit of a relaxed-mind and soft-hand approach. In addition, to effectively apply Taijiquan jing theory one must keep one's own center regulated. Only when this is achieved can one begin to place one's hands on another, whether it's for massage or push hands. This is where the importance of meditation enters, so one can see how a regular meditation practice can be crucial.
By training massage with pushing hands technique, one is forced to use a soft and tactful approach that does not disrupt the experience for the patient. This induces a state of relaxed awareness which begins to build a foundation for safe, effective martial training.

A pushing hands match can be chaotic and the mind tends to go into flight or fight mode. This makes the mind chaotic and raises the energy out of the persons root. As the root becomes compromised the body seizes, and fills with tension, which is the apposite of soft and relaxed. With the mind not centered, the energy not in control, and the body locked up; the practitioner is unable to respond effectively.
By training pushing drills with massage mentality, we bypass the mind and body's initial response to fight and tense-up. In this way we take a back door-approach, in the mind, to circumvent the tendency to fight and push back.

Life Skills
We must always look to apply our training into our lives. As we take this approach to learning, we facilitate an environment of awareness and observation. We train ourselves to relax and to respond gracefully to all situations that life presents. When we train this way we provide a service to ourselves and to the the world.

So there you have it. I am going to start teaching within this framework. Whether it's taiji ball, hard/soft white crane, even meditation; it gives context to all of the things that we train on a daily basis.

That's it for now. Skype me! Let's train.

Semi Sleep Paralysis

I have to write this down (like... asap) before I forget the details. Technically I already forgot the event once, but more about that later.

There really is no way of "warming you up" so I'm just going to dive right in. First I pose the questions: Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night to find that you cannot move your body? Upon waking have you ever literally had no control of your arms, legs, face? Have you ever heard of Sleep Paralysis? It's quite frightening.

So we are sitting in the sauna, the evening of Thanksgiving; and one of the current guests, at the time, casually mentions my meditation article... found on "></a> ...shameless plug.

This article is lengthy and, to me, convoluted. I am currently devising a program of logical progressions for meditation, but more on that another day.

I mention to this guest that, in my opinion the trick to our meditation system is the semi-sleep state. As soon as I said that a flood of memories came racing back from the night before in which I experienced an episode of Sleep Paralysis.

As these visions were entering back into my mind, I was kicking myself in my head for forgetting all about this profound experience that I am about to tell you about.

Here's the thing. This isn't the first time this has happened to me. I can still remember waking up in the cabin one night - this was about 3 or 4 years ago - and when I become conscious I try to roll over. However this terrible fear comes over me as I realize that I have no control over by body.

In this state the only thing that you can do is scream at the top of your lungs - which I did - and hope someone comes and helps you wake up.

This is how I awoke in the middle of the night, prior to this sauna session. However, the ways in which this experience differed from the past continues rattle my shell.

This is how it went down. I woke up in my tent and, again, it is Sleep Paralysis. I tried to move. I tried to throw a punch (why? I dunno probably cuz that's what I do all day) and I just couldn't move my arm. This is when the awareness the paralysis enters, but this time I'm conscious enough to tell myself not to panic.

I say to myself, "Ok, why don't I just stay in this space and observe it for as long as I can."

How can I explain this feeling? If I was presumed dead and woke up to find myself 6 feet underground this is how it would feel. Does that make sense?

As I said before, this has happened to me before and this time I was aware and quite curious. I observed the feeling of this space between my body and... I guess my center of consciousness; like being in a cocoon.

Here's where it gets crazy. The next thing I notice is that I can hear voices from outside of my tent, and here is how my thought processing went - still in sleep paralysis, mind you:

"Holy crap, who is outside of my tent at this hour? I am in the woods, away from the house, so why would there be anyone out here making such a ruckus? Don't they know I am here trying to sleep? Wait... everyone else is asleep too! So what are these whispers outside my tent?

I know what I will do! I will creep to my tent door, open the zipper really fast, and scare them all away! Wait... I can't move my body! I have no control over my body!

Enter a profound feeling of vulnerability and fear. I was now somewhere I have never been before, and the same terrifying feeling of that first episode of Sleep Paralysis takes over. I am completely helpless and I cannot defend myself.

I thinking, "I have to protect my space! If I cannot protect myself in the physical plane, I must protect my energy space. I need to create some kind of barrier so that they know they are not aloud within this space. It became apparent that they were from the spirit-realm. It was like the movie insidious.

So I in my mind, I sink my weight and start circling. I put my hands up to guard and I start spinning as fast as I can. I even throw some punches and kicks and I think to myself, "I'm doing Kung Fu? I'm doing Kung Fu ...and I'm in the spirit realm!"

Sensory Deprivation

"I just felt like I had slept for a couple of days," a woman said. Another person said, "Oh, I make sure to float once a week." Finally, one person complained, "It smelled when I went. It's over-rated," while my friend exclaimed, "No way, I don't want to be alone with my mind for so long."

Alright, so here's all about my first "floating" experience. I realize now that I went in expecting too much, so after the session I felt a bit disappointed. Truthfully, I went looking for the "psychedelic trip" because of how Joe Rogan described the float tank. Watch the vid to see what he has to say.

So you can see how I might have high expectations. Yes I was a bit disappointed, however, it has been more than a week since, and I DO notice that there is something different now in my meditation. What's different? I feel a little more lightness, my energy body wants to expand more, and I have a better sense of my aura or consciousness (not quite sure yet) in terms of expansion. I'll explain why.

It was also in Torrence and Venice beach that I inquired about floating, but those places were booked at least a month in advance. I "floated" for one hour at for $45. It's in Marysville just outside of Sacramento, located in a small old-historic building. Yet it's been renovated and looks like a modern-day spa.

It's called sensory deprivation. So I'm there laying in 2 feet-deep water mixed with 1300 pounds of Epsom salt, and I can't see or hear anything.

You have to be able to release as much tension as you can, laying there in the water. I knew, prior, that this would be key so I immediately used my breath to go into a deep, relaxed state. Right off the bat I took note the feeling of zero-gravity, and the feeling of being suspended. In my mind this equated to having no root (martial arts lingo). Other circles say, "Not being grounded." This concerned me because, keep in mind, I was expecting a psychedelic experience. I knew that my mind would have to stay highly aware so that I didn't find myself somewhere that was foreign. In other words I didn't want a "bad trip." On one hand my body was free to relax completely, on the other hand my mind was not. I thought it safer that I not allow my mind to expand beyond my control.

I approached this experience like I do within my daily meditation practice - induce a semi-sleeping state.The ability to feel and release tension was an effective skill in this instance. Throughout most of the session I was constantly self evaluating my mental state - basically self assessing to see if I was "still in Kansas." While necessary, observing the experience takes you OUT of the experience momentarily, and when this happens you have to start from the beginning and then go back in.

This was cool: As I felt myself going from semi-sleep to deep sleep, I could feel my energy body expanding; but when my mind became just a little uncomfortable with how far I had expanded, my energy came racing back into my body. I got a sense that if I fell asleep completely that my energy might expand too far. What lies beyond? Who knows?

For the physical body, floating is very effective. My body was so relaxed that I counted 7-10 "releases," which are characterized by the twitching of a muscle or a group of muscles. This is quite significant in comparison to other modalities of healing like massage. It is different for everyone but just to give you an idea about what I'm talking about, a healer or masseur might spend 30 - 45 minutes guiding a patient to a state of deep relaxation, inducing this "release" from the body; and when it finally happens there might be, at most, 3 releases. I had close to 10. A large one actually jolted me so hard that it created quite the ripple effect, and had my body bobbing there for a minute.

The closet thing to a psychedelic experience that I had was watching some very interesting light patterns forming in front of me. It's pitch-black in there. I need to go back to gather more information. I think I would like to try it once a month for at least 6 months to note any significant effects.

After the session I passed out for almost 3 hours. I'm not sure if this is attributed to the Epsom salt. It could be that my body needed the recovery given the intensity-level of daily training.

Hope you enjoyed. Any questions? What's was your floating experience like?

Ninja Secrets

"You get out what you put in." Have you ever heard that one?? I'm sure you have. That's what it's like training here. Without harmful chemicals or drugs I'm always looking to improve performance and recovery. In this entry I share the latest products I'm using. I'm going to add these to my Pinterest-Ninja-Secrets-board. Click the links for more info.

Pre-slash-Post-Workout drink

I refer to these drinks as "real" fast-food, as in this is the only "fast food" you'd catch me eating; or this is the only "fast food" I would recommend... just saying. I'm just now looking at the label after using it for about a month, and they pack so much nutrition. The product was given to me as a gift... I know what you're thinking - why would I ingest something without looking at the label? Well in my defense the product came from a reputable source. Any-who I have two kinds: Vanilla Spiced Chai and Chocolate Cacoa. In terms of flavor I definitely recommend the chocolate one. I was reading some reviews, some people make shakes because they don't care for the texture or the flavor. I guess I'm "Spartan" like that cuz I just mix with water, post-workout.

Bed-time Rub
I have been really putting this stuff to the test and it's awesome. For some reason I have been really injury-prone lately. Among other things I clashed my knee on someone's shin and I can't stop jamming my right thumb. Topricin helps me maintain the thumb issue and I'm not sure how many days my knee would have been out of commission without this stuff. The first time I used it was on my Sciatica and the next morning I woke up feeling a lot better. Don't quote me but I would definitely choose this over dit da jao. What do you use for injuries? http://

Energy cleanser

I started using Palo Santo a year ago after we had a... let's call it a "spooky" experience around the mountain. I was soon to be alone to watch the property for about two weeks and some of the guests were concerned for my... "spiritual" safety (thank you guys) so it was suggested I burn sage and Palo Santo. I took to the Holy Wood instantly. If you like incense I recommend it. The smell took me back to my early twenties when I lived in Orlando Florida and I would frequent this new-age book store quite often. So I have been using it almost daily before laying my head down, with the intention of clearing the air.

Saturday is the new Monday; and Friday never comes

I just got back after a week-long Texas trip and year 6 begins on Monday. But I hate this down-time right before the start of a sememster. It drives me "cray cray." I just want to skip to the inevitable: the torture. Thankfully, NOW I can see past the torture to expect progress and growth. So that's what I patiently wait for. I suppose that comes with experience because for the first few years I used to feel a lot of anxiety on my way back to the mountain. Institutionalized I guess.

I think I'm still on a high from the summer seminars. Some will say it was the best summer-seminar-season to date and I think I would agree with that. I saw a lot of great camaraderie and willingingness to "empty one's cup." Don't get me wrong the work load is demanding but there are moments of light to keep me trucking-on. A BIG thanks to those who show appreciation and those who step in to help us out. The summer is six weeks of back-to-back-back seminars where people fly in and out on Fridays with a new topic starting every Saturday. It screws with the head if you're used to a Monday-Friday work week. That's why I say that in the summer Saturday is the new Monday and Friday never comes.

If you have never seen the movie Waking Life, get it and watch it. When I experience those few moments of light I feel like I am that kid in the movie. He just floats from scene to scene and has these insane, colorfull, thought-provoking conversations with random strangers. So I like to float around when I get a chance because many of the guests that visit are professionals in there own fields. If I want to learn something I go right up and ask.

People's interest in training at the Retreat Center just seems to grow and grow each year. 30 people have reserved spots for next summer seminars; and for the regular training period (fall and spring) people are wanting to sign up for a year at a time - that's new to us because most stay for a couple of weeks to a month.

Note: those wanting to live and train here for a full year are encouraged to come for a month to test it out. Then it's suggested they make a more-informed decision within that time.

Enjoy this scene from Waking Life

more to come


"Being a poet is a condition not a profession" Robert Frost

When I was a child I never thought about how I would "use" my Karate training. I just really liked it. I enjoyed training and I appreciated the moral principles we strived to adhere to.

Fast forward twenty something years. People ask me, "What are you going to do when you graduate from the program?"

I have to ask myself: Where will I fit in? What role can I play? What skills have I developed that are useful in society? In this day and age what is the relevance for learning what many consider out-dated self defense systems?

When I told people that I wanted to pursue the ten year program they were like, “Wow, that sounds great. It’s a big commitment. What are you going to do with that when you're done?”

It's a legitamate question. I wonder though, will my training ever be complete? There is this notion that my training will finish, a chapter will close in my life, and I will move on to the next chapter. But what if I want to continue training and learning. What if I want to delve deeper? To be honest I feel like I'm just beginning to build momentum as I complete five years.

We are trying to impose a modern mode of thinking to a something that is better characterized as a lifestyle slash relationship between teacher and apprentice. In my field however, according to Dr. Yang a student needs at least ten years of training, every day mind you; and that is referring to a child, who's body is supposed to grow with the training. Further, that is just a starting point - a beginning.

The easy answer when people ask what I will do is, "Well, teach." And granted I did take an oath to pass down the knowledge to future generations, but you can't just "teach" martial arts these days.

So I have been pondering this for a while among other things and I have been writing a lot of ideas down. I hope they to find my place, my purpose. Either way I will certainly continue to share what is going on in this brain of mine.


What!? An Update?!?

..Yea that's right. Coming atcha with an update here.

Where do I start????????

The biggest thing for me is the return of my health after my ruptured appendix. It happened in September (2012). It was the first week of the semester and I was gunning to hard. I'm pretty sure that my appendix ruptured while I was doing pushups. "Ya see, what had happened was: I had someone pushing down on me for resistance and I was just... trying to accomplish too much too quickly." There's probably a health professional out there saying that you can't rupture your appendix with a pushup but hey that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

jav hospital

This March (2014) marked 18 months since the surgery. That's how long my doctor said it would take to fully recover because he had to do a partial Cecum-eptomy after the infection had spread. So I have brought back a lot of body conditioning these passed three months. I had still been doing some conditioning throughout my recovery but I hadn't added rigorous strength conditioning similar to that of my first year here.

When I returned to the mountain from the hospital I was weighing just over 130 lbs. and now I am weighing just over 150 lbs. I have added a lot of things into my diet that I had never been exposed to prior to my surgery: probiotics (I make my own kombucha), flax and chia seeds, maca root powder, FIBER, and there's quite a bit more (check out my Pinterest Ninja-secrets-board). There were a lot of people that helped me throughout my recover. Thank you all so much.

Good things are coming and more updates are coming. I will still be here conquering those demons. Here are a couple of recent videos of me continuing to accomplish goals.

Muscles-up. Getting that strength back. (5.2014)

The is actually a belated birthday present to myself: the Back Hand Spring- 3 years of blood, sweat, and tears for this... but it's just the beginning. (5.2014)