Thursday night (7/16/2015)
I received a call the previous day from my teacher, Sifu Frank Primicias. He called to tell me that Sifu Gaspar Garcia, one of his oldest students whom I’ve known since I was 16 years old, is coming into town to teach some ‘advance’ (i.e. black sash) fighting skills, and if I was interested to come to his house at 6:30pm. Of course, I wanted to be there. One, mentally I am ready to get back to training. Although, physically and financially it’s a bit tough at the moment. I have had an injured knee for a month now, and walking around hurts. Two, I haven’t seen Sifu for about 2 years, and Gaspar since the year 2000, when Chen Yong Fa came to San Diego to teach the 5 animal set. And three, I knew Sifu Nick Wright and Sifu Rob Kopp would be there and wanted to connect with them after communicating over Facebook for several months now.
As the day progressed, I realized and knew that Sifu Frank was going to ask me if I recall any of my sets in Black Sash. More specifically, I knew he would ask about Sei Moon Kiu Jau San Ma. I used to practice this set about 18 years ago. I hated this set. Although, I did understand why it needed to be trained. It was advanced footwork to make me more efficient and effective. However, at the time I just could not retain the movements. I remember thinking that I must be burnt out and probably needed to step back for a few months. Well, a few months turned into many years. I did continue teaching and had several good students, and would bring them to Sifu for testing. But as far as moving forward in my rank, I did not.
So, I show up at Sifu’s house for training (notice I said ‘house’? Traditional is the best.) and Sifus Primicias, Garcia and Wright were already there. Sifu Rob would show up much later. After a little bit of ribbing me for looking like Buddha, what does he ask me? “Do you remember your Sei Moon Kiu Jau San Ma?” Well, it turns out that the practice today requires the use of it. Of course it does.
It was very good training, and Sifu Gaspar is an excellent teacher. Funny, the things he said to us is exactly what I say to my students (i.e. turn your waist, block and strike at the same time, etc.). I guess I needed to be reminded as well. Although my knee took a beating, it was good to be in the company of higher level practitioners. I plan to come to Sigung’s class at least once-a-month to review and train new skills. Maybe even lose the Buddha belly. 😉