Last night I watched many of my instructors and one of my students get inducted into a Martial Arts Hall of Fame. It was all done over belated Chinese New Year celebration and a Kung Fu & Tai Chi Reunion banquet. I took kiddo to the first half so she could enjoy a little bit of culture and learn a bit about what my life was like growing up in a Kung Fu studio.
Where you would have found me in a Kung Fu uniform or a simple banquet dress, little girl is all about the princess attire and insisted on wearing her princess dress to the ‘party’ where she also insisted on having cupcakes. In the car she told me that it wasn’t a real party without cupcakes and that she wasn’t sure about going unless there were cupcakes because, “I don’t really like people.” So expressive for a three year old.
No worries, the girl got her cupcakes. She got interviewed from so many black belts I’ve know through the years… “Do you know your front kicks yet?” “Let me see your center punch.” Even princess need to learn to protect themselves and their loved ones. She also got to hear a pretty stellar drum (The Lion Dance by Lee’s Golden Dragon) performance and see real Chinese New Year dragons. One came right up to the table.
Shortly after that she went home with her Grandmom and Grandad – it got a little late for little princesses and she was about to turn into a Chinese Pumpkin – leaving me to my own devices for a few hours.
Ran into Bill “Superfoot” Wallace. I used to adore going to his seminars and it was good to see him again. It’s been a little over a decade since I worked out with him last.
I’ve gotten fatter, he’s gotten older, the world turns. It would appear that I’ve gotten taller, too, but really I’m wearing five inch heels. Last night included an announcement and celebration of the fact that this amazing 10th degree black belt has his very own DAY in the city of Houston.
Annise D. Parker, Mayor of Houston, proclaimed March 8th as Grandmaster Bill “Superfoot” Wallace Day. My grandmaster, the late Grandmaster Victor Cheng, has his very own day as well – March 3rd. I don’t have any digital pictures of us over the years, but I can say it was a pleasure to learn what I could from him while he was still with us.
Above and on the right is a picture of me with my amazing FIFTH degree black belt friend, David Barnes. He got his fourth degree the same day I got my third, and has just kept on going. I’m so proud of him. I have no doubt one day he’ll have his own day proclaimed by the mayor.
There were so many present last night, people who have been training for 50-70 years, people like me who have been training for 20 years, and people who just joined the martial arts community in the last year. Young, old, new student, grandmaster, and everything in between – it is inspiring to see how influential martial arts is to the community at large. We are authors, booksellers, instructors, teachers, pastors, lawyers, rotary club members, small business owners, nurses, doctors, surgeons, police officers, cyclists… we are everywhere. We are parents, grandparents, wives, husbands, children, Black, White, Asian, and everything in between, Christian, Buddhist, Agnostic… we are everyone, peppered throughout generations, all over the world.
One final thing I think I should mention – being that this is, after all, a book blog – all of us have read Kung Fu: History, Philosophy, & Technique by David Chow. Most of us also probably own and have perused Dynamic Stretching & Kickingby Bill “Superfoot” Wallace. An interesting thing to note about martial artists in general: many may not read for pleasure, but most are avid students and will read for research. The very definition of Kung Fu is “to perfect through practice” and we will go above and beyond in any field we pursue to be perfect – even if that means being a non-reader and picking up a book to learn how to get better at something. We get our energy from knowledge and training.