You know what this Wing Chun shit is all about?
Standing there, in the pocket – taking some damage, all the while you completely destroy your opponent.
You wanna know why?
Because that’s what life’s about.
Guilt – the most useless emotion ever.
I’m procrastinating right now and loving it.
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.
My job includes twisting, turning, putting my torso almost upside-down and bending over my patients.
These types of movements, from an occupational health & safety standpoint, would probably make those desk-monkeys quiver with fear.
But I play my life like I’m playing a sport. Everything is Kung-Fu.
I enjoy bending my knees instead of my back. Getting a good stretch out of a twisted, upside-down position while needling. Using my whole body while performing Tui Na massage. Even while vacuuming, it might look like I’m training my lunges.
So loosen up out there! Enjoy all those mundane activities! And wash the dishes like you’re playing a sport.
“Hey there! How are you doing? Listen – the students love you. I mean, you’re a superstar – everyone loves you. You’re a great teacher. Our college really needs people like you.”
“Thank you very much.”
“What we’d like to do is hire you on full-time. You can work from 8:30-5:30 Monday through Friday and we’ll pay you salary. What do you think?”
“Well…um…that won’t work…because, as you know, I run two clinics. So I’d still need to see my patients. I could shut down one of my clinics but then I’d still need to run two days a week at one clinic. Could we do 20 hours a week – just an idea?”
“But clinic is so up and down. Plus, with our college pumping out more graduates, there will be more competition and it will be harder for you to make money. A good salary job is the way to go.”
“We want someone young, energetic and you’ve got great marketing ideas. We want someone to commit to our school and teach 50% of the time and do administration 50% of the time. I don’t think it would work with just 20 hours a week.”
“But what about the executive director? Isn’t this all his job?”
“Yes, but, you see, his contract is ending and in it we agreed that he get new programs up and running and that he get 25 new students every year. He’s failed to do that so we just can’t afford to pay someone that amount of money so we’re going to have to get rid of him.”
(“Really? So you’re going to sh*t-can my friend – the guy who got me this job – who you probably pay $100’000/year, hire me as his replacement, pay me less than his salary for more hours in a week than I work now and I’ll work on contract with you so you can shit-can me anytime you want as well? Well then…”)
“I don’t think this is going to work…”
“Think about it.”
(“I will. And next week, I’ll kindly decline your offer after I’ve made you sweat a bit. I’m off to work at my unstable clinic which gives me more freedom than your boot on top of my face.”)
Less waiting. Put the plan in motion.
Go buy that house so that your house will sell. Go write that book so that those customers will have something. Go run those sprints so that you’re ready at all times.
They asked me how I do it all. Time management. No TV, only books. Four days of push. Teaching, clinic, writing between patients, personal training before the house wakes up, eating 16oz gloves for lunch and when I’m not at work – I’m not working (read: family time/downtime).
“We cannot control the winds, but we can direct the sails.”