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Little Boy to Young Warrior

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Most of you probably know me as the tall, always smiling, confident guy at Tyler Kung Fu and Fitness.

If so,  I understand why, because that is who I am. I’m always happy to meet new people, and 99% of the time I’m in a good mood. I’m laid back and go with the flow (like the FU). The children that I teach look up to me. These are just some of my many influences that make me the person I am.

However, buried deep inside me is a little boy struggling to prove that I am the best.

When I played basketball for my high school team I was always trying to prove that even though I was less skilled and naturally gifted I was the hardest working player. In fact, during the summer I would go to the gym close to my house at 1 p.m. and play basketball until 11 p.m, only because the staff made me go home.

I loved basketball more than anything else in the entire world and it put me in a depression when I saw all these kids that had natural talent that I had to work my butt off just to have a sliver of.

Of course, I’m a determined person and I wasn’t gonna let anything get in the way of pursuing my passion. Then I moved to Terrell for reasons discussed in one of my previous blogs (Never Quit Never Lose Hope), and I just stopped playing basketball.

Then, on January 11, 2011 I started doing kung fu and I found my joy and passion. With my competitive-always-got-something-to-prove- mentality, I found something that is for me. I struggle with kung fu as well, because I feel I’m not good enough. I’m always training with people way above my level and experience, and of course, I get thrown around a lot. However this just makes me push harder.

Defeat is NOT an option, not even to someone better than me.

I’m competitive in everything I do and I hate losing more than anything. I’m confident because I have to be. I’m always smiling and happy because there’s no need to be in a bad mood all the time.

I am the little boy ever struggling to become a young warrior.

The Box

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

I’ve been teaching kung fu for a little more than a year now and I have gotten a much better understanding of it than most people (average Joes). However, having a good understanding comes at somewhat of a price. You could call it a limitation. I have to stay inside the box.

What is the box you ask? It’s the boundaries that let me know whether or not I’m giving too much information about a particular technique or form. This makes it much easier to avoid getting carried away and teaching everything that I know all at once.

I teach the kids classes so it’s hard to get my fix for the Fu when only going over the basics. Don’t get me wrong, the basics are essential to your kung fu getting better. It’s just that I strive to learn more and more kung fu everyday. That’s why I love going to the advanced level classes.

The hardest part of being an instructor is that I have to stay within the confines of the curriculum when helping beginners with a particular technique or form. The reason being that if I show a beginner too much too soon they’d freak out!

I love teaching and learning kung fu more than I can express with words. It has become a challenge to find that balance of teaching a beginner something new and staying within the curriculum (The Box). You could even say that finding a way to teach inside the box yet add stuff to the contents of the box without confusing the student is the conundrum that we all as kung fu instructors face. We will face it proudly and to keep the generations of students learning and getting better.

 

Mind of a Warrior

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Recently I went over to one of my Kung Fu brother’s houses so we could practice our forms together. We spent about 4 hours outside in his backyard doing forms and playing hands (fighting with control). We then went inside of his house to get some much needed water refills.

While we were inside I saw a chess set laying out on his table. I made a comment about how long it had been since I had played chess. My kung fu brother and couldn’t help ourselves. So we started setting the board up, and there we were trying to outmaneuver each other. (I am in no way a skilled chess player, but I can’t say no to a challenge.)

My kung fu brother was whooping the dog snot out of me on almost every move. I was on the defensive the entire game. It got to the point where I was left with only my king. Most people at that point would give up. However for me giving up is NOT an option. I just kept moving my king out of check. I still had the idea of victory in my head. Why? The odds were a million to one.

The answer to that question is that my training has taught me that no matter what the odds that I simply can’t give up. “Keep going!” I could hear Sifu (Brandon Jones for those of you that don’t know everyone) saying to me in my head. Defeat is NOT an option in the Mind of a Warrior.

Mindset

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

In everything you do, whether in kung fu, sports, or life in general,  it’s important to have the right mindset. All too often I see people who show no sign of work ethic in anything that they do. No will to try. Giving up, so afraid to lose. I can’t grasp that mentality, giving up without a fight. They don’t have the Right Mindset.
Former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell (Author of the best selling book Lone Survivor) is the epitome of having the right mindset. When ever he entered BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/ SEALs) one of the toughest military training programs on earth, he already had his mind made up. He wasn’t going to let the drill sergeants make him quit. SEALs share that mindset.

For martial artists it’s equally important to have the right mindset. Especially for the more advanced students, particularly black belts. Black belt students are challenged daily to improve their skills and to never give in to the pain that they know is coming on their next test. In the life of a martial artist pain becomes your friend. You have to know you’re going to overcome any challenge that may try to slow you down.
When you have the right mindset you can do virtually anything no matter the difficulty. Sigung Fogg sat in horse stance for 6 hours. How did he do it? I will tell you. Even before he started he knew he was not going to give in to the pain. He had made up his mind that he was going to sit there in horse stance for 6 hours.

Having the right mindset is one of the most important qualities a person can have. All great martial artists, Special Operations soldiers, and athletes share that quality. No matter what you enjoy doing, what you do for a living, or even what physical activities you take a part in, there are challenges in everything. Having the right mindset will help you overcome those challenges.

 

A New Family

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

When I first walked through the doors of Tyler Kung Fu & Fitness, I never expected that I would become so consumed with this mesmerizing art. Nor did I ever think that I would become a part of the Instructor Program within 6 months of starting. I have dived so deep into the art that I automatically react using what little kung fu I have learned.

In many ways, Sifu Jones has been like a father figure to me.  Therefore he has generously included me in beneficial kung fu events, such as demos, Sigung Fogg’s birthday celebration, as well as Grand Master Fogg’s annual workshop.

Just the other day, whenever we arrived in Richardson, Texas to celebrate Sigung Fogg’s birthday, Sifu Jones introduced me to Master Fogg and told Sigung that “I’d been bitten by the bug” (meaning I’m obsessed with kung fu, which I am, and proud to admit it). Sigung said to me “So you actually like this stuff?” My response to him was “Just a little.” (I said with a smile on my face). Then Sigung said something that will forever change my perspective on kung fu. “Welcome to the family. You’re in it for life.” At that time I realized kung fu can’t leave my life. Even greater, I’m part of a family forever. (If you read my first blog you’ll understand why that’s so important to me).

Shortly after the meet and greet it was time for the ceremonial demos. (It’s a sign of respect for a Sifu to have there students demo in front of their Sigung on his/her birthday). I wasn’t expecting to have to do a demo, so I had not prepared a form to do. Then when Sifu Jones called on me, my stomach dropped and I started sweating like crazy.

I got up, bowed at the sifus, called out the most recent empty hand form I had learned, and let my body do the rest without thinking. I thought I did horrible, but everyone told me that I did great. Despite how nervous I was, I’m honored that Sifu Jones would trust me with such a task.

We went out to eat at a Chinese restaurant after the demos and everyone was sharing food like we had known each other forever. We were all laughing and talking about (you guessed it) kung fu. Following dinner we stood outside the restaurant for about an hour discussing the applications of different moves. I was having the time of my life watching the masters break down different forms, and absorbing as much of it as possible. It started getting late and we had to come back to Tyler and everyone started hugging me and shaking my hand. I felt proud. I knew they will forever be my Family.

 

Never Quit, Never Lose Hope

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

My name is James and this is my story.

After eleven years of marriage my parents got divorced because they both have incurable mental issues. (At that time I was just a baby). I lived with my mom until I was in third grade. She fed me lies about my grandparents and dad. At such a young age I didn’t know what or whom to believe. The lies ceased when my mom and oldest sister went to prison on drug charges.

About two years ago after eating at Spring Creek barbeque, my grandpa’s aorta ruptured. We rushed to the parking lot of Super One foods on Troup highway while I communicated with a 9-1-1 dispatcher. The ambulance met us there and rushed him to the hospital. When we got there the doctors told us that he had a three percent chance of living through the surgery. Heart-broken, we thought we were gonna lose him. Just when we thought all was lost, they told us that he made it through the surgery.

Shortly after, I was overwhelmed with feelings of depression. I felt like my sisters hated me and that I was all alone. I felt as if everyone liked my sisters more than me. I would cuss at my sister which is very unlike me. So in an attempt to flee my depression, I moved in with my mom in Terrell.

After about a month of being in Terrell I got into a wreck which amplified my depression. That’s when my mom started showing me her true colors. One night, we got into a major argument that ended with her cussing me out at 5 am while I’m trying to go to sleep. In the heat of the moment, I said a few words that I shouldn’t have. After that she kicked me out on the street so I moved back to Tyler. Three months later, I enrolled in the Tyler Kung Fu & Fitness Black Sash program, which is the best decision I have ever made.

I have thrived off of kung fu because it has made me realize that everything bad that has happened to me can never sum up to the good that I get from doing it. I’ve become part of the TKFF family, and I feel at home here. Now I feel a responsibility to help others that might be having a hard time, because before kung fu, I was right where they are.

The events that have occurred in my life has built my character and made me a stronger person mentally and emotionally. I have also become a more understanding person. My grandpa taught me to NEVER give up no matter what the odds. When I have kids, I won’t make the same mistake that my parents have made. So always remember NEVER QUIT, AND NEVER LOSE HOPE.