Generations of Kung Fu

March 9, 2014 at 7:05 pm (Education, Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

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.

P1010222Where 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.

P1010228Shortly 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.

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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.

My amazing FIFTH degree black belt friend.  (He got his fourth degree the same day I got my third, and has just kept on going.  I'm so proud of him.)

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.

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My former student and black belt, Rick Strickland, in a Grandmaster costume for a banquet presentation.

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.

With one of my teachers... a  friend, peer, fellow geek...

With one of my teachers… a friend, peer, fellow geek… We all love a good excuse to dress up.

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.

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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Kings

July 23, 2013 at 8:12 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The Weekly Low Down on Kids Books/ Adventures in The Magic Tree House

crouching_tigerTitle: Crouching Tiger

Author: Ying Chang Compestine

Illustrator: Yan Nascimbene

This book was an unexpected treasure from the public library.  Kiddo picked this book out herself and I was really excited about it once I was in the middle of reading it.

As a third degree black belt who grew up around a lot of Chinese culture, I love finding unique children’s stories like these.  It teaches etiquette, respect for your elders, culture appreciation, diligence, perfection through practice, and each page also has a diagram of a Tai Chi stance.

This was an excellent book to jolt us into our week on Ancient China.

Day of the Dragon KingTitle: Day of the Dragon King (Magic Tree House #14)

Author: Mary Pope Osborne

Publisher: Scholastic

Although we don’t have a research guide for this topic, we’ve been perusing all things Ancient China while reading this book this week.  There are pages from Life in the Ancient World specifically on the Chinese that we read through for a second time, I can’t wait to do some of the art projects when she is older.

toddler chopsticksAlthough we didn’t do anything crafty with this week’s topic, we did enjoy some stir fry for dinner and kiddo got to practice eating with her toddler chopsticks.

The kiddo’s chopsticks are an orange elephant, but the concept is pretty much the same.  These things are so handy and I think they are a great way to give your tiny person an ounce of how other countries live.

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