My journey in Kung-Fu, little did I realize, started me on a path of humble life-long learning. Looking back at those first few years where push-ups in the corner were punishment for talking in class, I learned that I get out exactly what I put in. I also learned that the rewards were never immediate but I could trust that they were on their way.
Speaking with the acupuncture students yesterday brought something to mind – an idea that is often forgotten: mastery. When I began on my Chinese medicine journey, at first all I cared about was finding the right acupoints. As I moved forward in my practice, finding acupoints started to become second nature. While I hadn’t mastered this, I felt that more work needed to be done in other areas.
I started to look at other facets of my practice. I started to think about bedside manner and how it greatly affected the patient-practitioner relationship. I put these thoughts to paper and published a book on Amazon on the subject. I also asked if there was a better way to put certain needles in – the pinchy ones. I looked at how I held my body in relationship to the patient – my groin far away from their hand or playing acupuncture like playing a sport: with bent knees to save my low back.
These mastery patterns have slowly filtered into my life because the next stage for me, and this perhaps might have been at the forefront for some although bedside manner and results still seems KING to me (in that order), is proper management of money. Money and healing (especially the quirky-funny-esoteric-can’t-double-blind-study-this-type-healing) have a hard time getting along -sort of.
Lately, it’s been less about money management and more about lifestyle mastery. We, as a family, have discussed and made our life choices and it stands to reason that all about all we can do is change the way we life our life. Baker, author of Manvsdebt.com, has a tag-line that I most enjoy: sell your crap, pay off your debt, live your life. And while it may seem quite extreme considering he did just that and travelled, it is a sign post that most of us ‘middle-class’ folks are taking a good, hard look at.
So, through the vehicle of martial arts, through Chinese medicine study and practice, comes Mastery of Life. Just watch the most amazing documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Not only has this elderly gentleman mastered the art of making sushi, you can watch his mastery of the whole damn thing! He prepares for the patrons that are left handed instead of right handed. He watches the speed of how they eat and adjusts accordingly. He’s not only mastered making sushi, he’s clearly mastered all the pieces of the ‘business’ that are associated with that. He’s got good Kung-Fu.
Kung-Fu: mastery of a skill through hard work.