Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Kip-Up

I make no exaggeration when I say, "the kip-up epitomizes my existence." Let me explain. Ever since I was a child, I have wanted to do the kip-up. I was exposed to Kung Fu at a very young age and Kung Fu soap-dramas was all I watched. They always did amazing feats with their bodies but there was one move that always astounded me, the kip-up. To go from being flat on the ground to standing on two legs in a mere flash. To be defenseless and then all of a sudden, ready for battle. I tried on my own many times with my tiny body. I flopped helplessly over and over again. I thought it must be magic. I gave up.

When I started training at temple, the fiery desire to do the kip-up was ignited anew. I saw it on the list of moves that you get to learn in Level 2. I couldn't wait to learn it. I passed the test for Level 2 almost 1 year ago which means I've been trying to do the kip-up for almost a year. This past week, I got it.

There's a split second where the mind must erase all doubt. Only then will you be able to get up. That infinitesimal fraction is the most important thing. It is the division of greatness and mediocrity. The whole world is in that space and in that time. I could spend lifetimes there and not even begin to bear witness to its genius. It is through that darkness can you then be bathed in light.

The journey of learning the kip-up has been absolutely wonderful. New challenges, new thrills, new paradigms have been enveloped by it. These days, I can't wait to fall down, so I can kip-up back up again.

"In rain during a dark night, enter that darkness." -Shiva


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

This Is Why I Train

It changed over the year. At the beginning, it was to stop thinking - for at least two hours during class. I was obsessed with my doomed relationship and self-pity. I was on a verge of depression. I learned to be present and mindful of things around me rather than just stayed in my own head.

And then I got over it.

I opened up and got to know more people at the temple. I realized I did not have to pretend to be accepted and liked. I could have friends I liked and liked me back for who I was in New York City! At the time, I trained because I was lonely. I wanted to make friends. I learned to open up and be comfortable with myself.

And then I started liking myself. I didn't need to be around people to not be lonely anymore.

Then it's because of Kungfu. I kept training because I wanted to be good. I wanted to kiss my toes and do all kinds of cool things other people can do. I liked learning and pushing my body to do things I never imagined doing. I remember the first time I did Ceshoufan. I had a surgery on the left shoulder not more than a year prior. I was mortified. But I did it. I liked the rush I had after the class - the feeling of accomplishing something difficult. I learned to be humble and confident at the same time.

And then that stopped too. I have been training only in Level 1 with the same routines over and over. I hardly do anything new anymore. I learned to find ways to improve what I know. I keep telling myself I can always learn - not a new move or a new form - but about myself. But that sometime wavers.

I still keep training at least 3 times a week. And I ask myself - why? What do I like so much about being there that even crumbling knees cannot stop me?

I think it's the positive energy - the chi. It's infectious. It makes me a positive and happy person. Maybe I do believe that through training I will one day understand myself. Or maybe I'm just addicted to pain.

Why do you train?