Saturday, January 12, 2008

Baby Steps

Amituofo, everyone! It has been ages since I've posted due to my knee injury, and it's been just over a month since I've resumed training, so I've felt like I owe the blog a big post about that process of return and rehabilitation, but for several reasons I have not been able to harness my chi and focus. Consequently, I have delayed returning to the blog, but dammit, I'm here now!

I've been feeling all this pressure to say something long and profound about everything, but instead, I'm going to revisit a concept that we learn early on at Temple, and I deem it especially apropos with respect to this re-entry into Kung Fu Dorks Unite. We are taught early on the importance of taking baby steps as we progress through our training. If we come to Temple and look at the beautiful bodies flying through the air and decide, Man, I'm never gonna be able to do all of this, then, yes, already the mind has created a barrier, a mountain, which makes the concept of training quite insurmountable. However, if we approach training one step at a time, from the very first caijiao we kick, and then finesse that, and then move on to gong bu, and so forth, we quickly realize that eventually, it can be done.

(And, as a side note, that is why I think I love caijiao the best. It is the first thing we each learn at Temple. It appears simple, yet is deceptively complex and powerful. I am constantly struggling to refine it. But mostly, when I'm through that door and gearing up to jump in line and run down the green carpet with those kicks, caijiao to me most represents rebirth -- a new opportunity to polish, a new beginning, an announcement that we have arrived, a blast of chi that says, We are here!)

So last night, after catching Heng Zu's play, a few of us hung out at a local bar and talked and talked and talked. Speaking of babies, it was especially awesome to see our Shaolin brother, David L., and to view clips of his beautiful baby daughter (no, that is not her pictured). The proud papa showed us her amazing chi -- the girl's got lightning fast kicks already!

We talked a bit about babies and their chi -- that pure, unadulterated energy, and how as humans get older, something happens to that energy. We develop and accumulate more and more, some of it good, some of it obfuscating, and eventually as adults, we lose sight of that internal energy, which results in some of us seeking ways to tap into it a la training. So perhaps when we train, we seek to recapture that pure chi we once had as babies and children. We work hard to shed the constraints, both mental and physical, that hinder our ability to be full of chi, and in a way, we hope to return to that blissful original state of unfettered energy.

Gosh, I've written more than I originally thought I would!

Yes, baby steps, my friends, baby steps.


  1. Welcome back Ellen!! It's nice to have your chi back training at the Temple again and also here at the blog!

    Too often, we impede our own growth by looking too far into the future and not at our present moment. We see the impossible mountain climb ahead and give up even before taking a single step. If we could just realize that by taking one step at a time, we will arrive at wherever we need to be.

  2. What I was afraid of the most was ceshaofan. I had a shoulder surgery not long before I joined the temple. I thought there was no way I could do it.