Pakinam: I killed a cockroach this afternoon. I'm badass.
Chris: I ate a scorpion last night. I *am* badass.
Voice 1: Tell him you also slayed a dragon.
Voice 2: Or shot a monk.
Voice 1: Come on. Speak!
Voice 2: Perhaps claim you sparred with your Shifu and won?
Voice 1: No, sparred with *his* Shifu and won!
Voice 2: Hiked up Mount Song and down in a couple of hours.
Voice 1: Punched the wall so hard it cracked.
Voice 2: Yeah, the Great Wall. And it cracked.
Pakinam: Yeah, I guess you are badass, Chris.
Voice 1: Bèn!
Voice 2: Erm, that's 'stupid' in Chinese.
Pakinam [inside head]: Oh, shut up.
Qi Gong in Egypt
… and no, I’m still in mainland China. But I came across this website through a friend. It belongs to Solay Center, a health and well-being center in Maadi, that offers both Qi Gong and Tai Chi classes. Now, I’m neither recommending nor dismissing it, just bringing it to your attention. I did a little search outside of the website, and the teacher, a Kung Fu, Tai Chi, and Qi...
The ideal life (a Sufi interpretation)
“Once I was with a sage whom many people went to see. He pleased them all, and he was not fond of disputing or discussing, because to a sage there is nothing to discuss. Discussion is for those who say, ‘What I say is right, and what you say is wrong.’ A sage never says such a thing; hence there is no discussion. But the world is always fighting and discussing and disputing. ...
Master Li and Number Ten OX
“Take a large bowl,” I said. “Fill it with equal measures of fact, fantasy, history, mythology, science, superstition, logic and lunacy. Darken the mixture with bitter tears, brighten it with howls of laughter, bellow kan pei—which means “dry cup”—and drink to the dregs.” Procopius stared at me. “And I will be wise?” he asked....
The surreal moment when a classmate asks you “Would you like to come along...– It’s also amazing how easily I can now incorporate Kung Fu terms in casual talk. “I love your pants, they’re very Shaolin.” “What are you up to? … I’ll just Chi Kung for a bit, skype with a friend, then sleep.” “Oh, the Chi of my phone is...
This is one of my favorite Kung Fu forms, Xiao Luo Han Quan! The slideshow is from my Shifu’s blog. shaolinshifu: These are patterns from a Shaolin Kung Fu form called “Xiao Luo Han Quan.” The series of pictures, of Shifu Yong Hui and another teacher, show how these patterns can be used in combat or in an actual fight. Shaolin Kung Fu forms are known for their dance-like flowing,...
You don't have to think about it ...
It is as if fulfilling a dream shatters your whole belief system. Your mind trembles, and your faith is lost, and suddenly becoming what you’ve always wanted means destroying everything that you once was. Even if the past is full of failings, and fear, it’s still familiar, and that makes it safer than any unknown —albeit bright and flowery— future. Your dream is a...
I think it’s time for me to get into my cocoon and let the world fall away for a bit. As my fascination with Shaolin and of being here in China is slowly fading away and is replaced by a reassuring familiarity, I find myself turning inwards. Solitude, body work, Chi Kung, they all force me to sit with feelings that I have been escaping from — pain, fear, and self-doubt. Well past the...
He who is looking for a reward is smaller than his reward; he who has renounced...– Bowl of Saki, May 15, by Hazrat Inayat Khan. Another quote that demonstrates how Buddhism and Sufism share similar ideas. I also had an interesting conversation about Buddhism and Taoism with my Shifu, who’s a devout Buddhist, yesterday. I think I will relay it some time.
I’m waiting for someone to merge Muslim Sufism with Buddhism into a new...– I’m simply fascinated by the story of Buddha, as recounted by Osho, and I already ordered a copy of Karen Armstrong’s “Buddha” off Amazon. I’m very aware of how some Buddhist ideas are very similar to Sufi and Muslim ones, with the latter more familiar of course because...
It’s amazing how breath controls everything, and how we breathe determines...– In a very real way, our breath is our destiny. Taking charge of it, observing it, playing with its intensity or flow, directing it through visualization through our bodies, and connecting it to the sea of energy outside of us can accomplish so much, and can help us listen to our souls. And these...
Practice Notes: Qi Gong
I have started Qi Gong practice this week with a form called Bā Duàn Jǐn, which, as the name suggests consists of eight (bā) different sections (yi duàn) of movements (jǐn). As I explained to a friend —fresh out of my first practice— Qi Gong is a companion exercise to Kung Fu. Shaolin Kung Fu is an external martial arts as taught according to the temple’s tradition, while Qi...
Would you drink your own piss? →
Medically, it’s completely sterile: 95 per cent water with a dose of minerals and vitamins. Here in China, consuming your own fluids is popular in some areas for its alleged health benefits. I hear that many Yogis in India too follow a habit of drinking urine for purification every morning. But say it is really a magical anti-aging elixir and say it cures all diseases and ailments as per...
One Shot Mind
“Wherever you go, there you are.” This quote embodies what it means to be present, and it is what mindfulness boils down to. It starts with paying attention that you’re here. No backdoors. Just you. Now. Right now.
The Qi factor
Commenting on my post Kung Fu Soulwork, a friend Amr Bassiouny —who’s a Wing Chun Kung Fu expert, and who I credit for encouraging me and giving me basic training before I came here— emailed me his reflections on channeling life force or Qi, which is the energy that lies in the heart of Kung Fu forms. This energy is not mindless, in fact it is in essence a higher intelligence,...