Teaching, Guilt, But the Shows Must Go On

My regular readers deserve some sort of explanation about why I haven't been blogging much. I do hope to get back to regular posts soon.

First of all I'm busy teaching.  Lots of kids classes.  My advanced students are doing a mini-tour of schools and centers with a DeYoung Museum sponsored show for the public on Thursday May 13th at the Band Shell in Golden Gate Park around 1 PM.  It looks like we are head-lining because my kids put on such a good show last year.  Or maybe it was just an accident.  Anyway it should be fun.  Part of our show is a group fight scene and... we have 10 year olds with swords.

I'm also presenting a paper and teaching a workshop at the Daoism Conference in LA, June 4th... at the moment my paper is titled: Theater, Exorcism, Ritual and the Martial Arts.

Also I've been doing nothing but reading and sleeping on Saturdays for the last two months.  At 40 I realized that guilt was a primary motivator for me.  As a self-employed enthusiast, I always have something I feel guilty about not having started or finished yet.  So I decided to invert that.  I committed to doing absolutely no work on Saturdays.  Now I feel guilty if I try to do even a little work on my day of rest.  It's like, my job to lay on the couch.

I'm still looking for a space to teach evening classes and I'm looking to create my own after-school program for next school year.

shapeimage_2I started taking a Physical Theater class.  I haven't been in a class like this for maybe 20 years, but I thought I should test my ideas about the relationship between martial arts and theater training in a more immediate way.  The class is called The Flying Actor. At the first lesson we learned two stances which were used together.  The names for those two stances in martial arts are Bow stance and Horse stance.  The way they do Bow stance is with the front heal up and the arms are in what I would consider a basic shuai jiao or "throwing" position.  The horse stance has a high and a low version.  One of the things we did a lot was to put a hood over our heads.  The hood makes it hard to see but not impossible.  I'm used to moving with my eyes open (of course) and also with my eyes closed, but moving with disrupted vision messed me up a bit.  Good exercise.  We also worked on some basic mime and I realized that I've trained myself not to look at anything close up.  My fighter mind doesn't want to narrow my focus to "show" the imaginary object.  But I also realized that one of the beginning shaolin instructions is to slowly look into the distance and then draw your vision back to yourself before beginning.  It never occurred to me to do it as a mime exercise before, but it fits.

Rory Miller is doing a workshop called Responses to Ambushes and Breaking the Freeze, on May 9th, I'm attending with a few of my students.  I will not be wearing my pajamas.  Check it out.

Oh, and I actually wrote a really long blog post which I might still put up, but I don't know how to finish it.  Maybe just a summary is enough:  Traditional exercise routines were not for weight loss because in the old days people didn't have Trader Joe's or even McDonald's.  Anything claiming to be traditional would have been designed to work without consuming very much food, duh.  If anything, a traditional form of exercise would have helped you put on a little extra fat for leaner times. (Wrestling, by the way, is an extreme example.)

And lastly, I've had some stimulating time with George Xu lately and my practice has been really empty, in a good way.