Here’s a little something I wrote for my friends over at 108Heroes Tai Chi and Kung Fu (complete with hand-crafted GIFs). This pretty much sums up my views on most push hands sessions.
“…I shouldn’t have left you without a dope beat to step to…”
And here I am, back on this crazy thing and ready to give an update on all that’s happened. The biggest thing was that for the past two years, I’ve been off at Carnegie Mellon University pursuing my MFA in Dramatic Writing under Rob Handel’s direction. The amount of writing we were doing in this program made life for the past two years fairly intense, so it was hard to keep The Dynamics of Groove up to date. That’s not to say I was an internet hermit. I still contributed to the blogs with San Francisco Theater Pub and 108Heroes.
Here’s the top 25 things I’ve accomplished over the past two years in no particular order:
It’s been a long journey, but I’m ready to take this all to the next level!
I haven’t been the best about updating my blog lately, but if you’ve read the last couple of posts, you’d know that there’s so much going on! I just haven’t made the time to focus on writing, but since I’m leaving behind a lot of folks in the Bay Area, one of the things I’m trying to make a commitment to is updating this a little more regularly. I’m not promising much, but, hey, you gotta start somewhere, right?
August for me is all about new beginnings. I’ve accepted the 31 Days, 31 Plays Challenge. I’m continuing the Artist’s Way practice of morning pages, and even trying to incorporate the Artist’s Dates more regularly. And even though I’ve written about it before and felt like I totally bombed, I’m trying to commit to at least five minutes a day of practicing kung fu and tai chi.
These three activities are intensely important to me, not just because I love doing them, but because they ground me and keep me moving forward. As I shift my life pretty dramatically in August 2012, it’s important for me to start it out right. That means building these three things into my everyday.
That being said, you gotta have goals. Certainly the top priority for me is just to be consistent and diligent about incorporating these three activities into my life, but without milestones, an assessment of what you do well and what you’d like to improve upon, it’s hard to really move forward realistically.
The morning pages, because they are already a part of my daily lexicon, were not hard to start out with. The kung fu practice and writing a play were a lot harder. So, I decided to do a little writing brainstorming about it. I took a page of my journal and divided it into three’s. One was titled “writing”, the next, “kung fu” and a third, I added called, “personal”.
I added the “personal” column because I realized that there were some larger ideas and concepts that I wanted to get better at in all of my life. In kung fu, we talk about reaching the next belt level and there are certain focus points that you should have attached to your training, whether that be balance and focus or clarity and confidence. For adults practicing the art, achieving another belt level is not as simple as passing a test, or this tangible thing that marks your progress into a more advanced level, but it can weave into something in your personal life that you are trying to work on.
For me, adding a “personal” column was a way to focus on the areas of my life where I would like to see growth. Instead of just wishful thinking, however, like “I wish I was more fit” or “I wish I didn’t get angry so easily” or “I wish I knew how to hold the nunchaku without constantly hitting myself in the head.” All these can be fuel for goals and are achievable when a bit of action is put behind it.
In this list-making exercise, I decided to free-write as fast as I could to get at the aspects of each of these areas of my life that I wanted to improve upon. After everything was written down, I noticed that in each column, and overall, there were certain ideas, activities and concepts that were a theme. These were the ones that I highlighted as I read back the list. Additionally, in each column, there was at least one goal that I had written that I gravitated towards, but was not necessarily a part of any pattern or reoccurring theme. I made note of those too.
My approach to goal-setting came from my work at the Food Bank where as the Grants Manager, metrics, goal-setting, and deliverables were part of my daily projects. In a lot of nonprofit work, there’s an idea of creating deliverables that are SMART (duh…), but in this case, SMART stands for “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely”. Even though I didn’t put my goals in this specific format, I thought it was a good way to think of what I wanted to carry out in the next month and not just set out to do something because it will be “good for me”. Well, something is only good for you if you understand what it is improving upon and if in practice, it is actually effective in moving you forward.
Once I had looked over the list and identified themes as well as what jumped out at me, I decided to make a couple of focus points/goals out of the results. Because I want these to be achievable over the next month, I picked only three in each group, with one “fun” goal that I added in as a marker for a personal best.
Here were my top three goals (and one fun goal) in each category:
So, there you have it. My top goals/focal points for the moment. I’m trying to be better at using my blog as a tool by which to assess myself. Hopefully, it will happen!
Guys, you totally thought that this was going nowhere, but I got you! I have been practicing! Let me update you since my last post:
Friday: it was looking grim, but then a wonderful thing happened! I had to wait! Waiting is the perfect time to go through material. While waiting for my mom to get off work, I went through the Yang Tai Chi form. Then, later, for my co-workers, I went through the 24 posture combined Tai Chi form.
Saturday: Long day of training in class in the morning. Then, went down to Brendan Lai’s Martial Art Supply Store for a straight sword in preparation for the Skewer the Sun Sword festival on April 7th. It’s a beaut! But later on I still managed to go over the new brown belt form I learned. From memory! Even though I wrote up notes, I didn’t need them!
Sunday: Admittedly, kind of a slow day, but I still managed to practice the new form.
Monday: Started the day with six i chin ching postures from memory. Stopped at six rather than 7 because I forgot the 7th.
Later on, this evening practiced my new form in my folks’ backyard in the dark. Then, went through the tiger form too. Tried to practice hou tien chi while driving (that didn’t work out so well).
So far, so good!
This is hard. Today, I failed yet again! NOOOOO! Well, maybe not completely, but I woke up early then fell asleep and then had 20 minutes before I had to leave. No time to do my 7 i chin ching postures…
So, on the way to work I practiced hou tien chi breathing. I was successful in that. I will say.
Also, because I was late I have no clothes to change into to practice. I feel a little awkward about rockin’ my gi out in the Food Bank parking lot. If I ever get the nerve to do this, I’ll take a picture and post it.
Now then… what was I going to practice at lunch? Let’s see what the good ole schedule says…lower belt forms!!! Ok, get ready Food Bank volunteers, I’m about to get all Shaolin in the parking lot…