I have this tiger-fork.

Traditional Chinese Weapon

Traditional Chinese Weapon

Not much use in a gun fight. It requires lots of space to swing an seven foot trident about. I suppose a police report might read, both the chandelier and the burglar were rendered inoperable, but a properly trained martial artist can use a tiger fork to disarm a swordsman. Catch the sword in the down stroke, one twist sends the sword flying, the other end of the trident sweeps his feet out from under him and a quick flip of the giant spear and the downed adversary can consider the point of rising, or not.

When Sifu Mohr drilled us over and over on its use like so many martial artists I would imagine fighting a real tiger. But there are no tigers in the US. Instead I imagined fighting a mountain lion in Wyoming. I studied them and their habits. Mountain lions prefer stealth, and if my blood didn’t turn to water seven feet of spinning steel might just send one deciding on a different venue for lunch. I never saw a mountain lion near our cabin and in fact I never took the tiger fork anywhere but class and the back yard. Still I had many battles, some of which I won and others….

The tiger fork has spent many years tucked in a corner of the attic. In fact when I hefted it, I was surprised how heavy it is now. It’s really just a possession, one that I care about, but it owns me as much as I own it.

We are moving to a smaller place. One where a tiger fork would be an encumbrance. I’ll keep it to the last day then we will both be free.

tai chi what ?

I was once a martial arts instructor of Shaolin Kung Fu. I am in the picture with Sifu Mohr’s senior instructors somewhere ( the red/black were our demonstration uniforms, the black/white our regular workout attire). Read the rest of this entry »

and the band played waltzing matilda

Rugby players sing. After a match the teams would tip a beer or two and sing. Some songs ribald, but I always loved the ballads. One, “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda”, the heart breaking story of a young Australian at Gallipoli in World War One always touched me. So I steal a line from this most poignant of songs and I go to the way back…

All my old comrades how proudly they marched,
renewing their dreams of past glory.

A version of the song close to what we used to sing is here…, If you can find the Priscilla Herdman rendition, it is the best I have heard.

mastery — haiku

Ron Mohr, Sifu and brilliant martial artist, often spoke to us about perfect practice and repetition blending the mind and the movement until they became one.

Ten thousand motions
Seasons, balanced, unchanging

Bruce Lee, movie star, martial artist philosopher, once said:

“Self-knowledge involves relationship. To know oneself is to study one self in action with another person. Relationship is a process of self evaluation and self revelation. Relationship is the mirror in which you discover yourself – to be is to be related.”
― Bruce Lee

Under the watchful eye of Sifu Mohr, we watched and studied movement balance and footwork. We learned our limits, we learned ten thousand things. Understand that life is a dance, and become a master of it.