The interesting thing about my story is that had I never met Sifu and never become involved in Kung Fu, I likely would not have noticed anything missing in my life. I am not saying that I haven´t seen any change in myself because of Kung Fu. I am saying that my involvement in Kung Fu has made changes to what was a complete and planned out lifestyle. I guess a little background will help.
From the time I knew what college was, I also knew that for me it was the way out of my hometown. As I entered high school, I knew I wanted to get into something technical. My profession of choice started out as electrical engineering. But as I learned that EE wasn´t what I thought it was, I also discovered computers, and I changed to Computer Science. I made this decision my junior year of high school. It took me five years to finish my college degree. Meaning that for 7 years of my life, I had an exact plan for most of my life figured out. In April of my senior year of college, I was well aware that I was graduating. I already had a well paying job awaiting me; I had a place to live arranged for; I had a group of friends from college to hang out with and ride bikes with. I was completely set. All of my planning for the previous 10 or so years of my life had come to fruition.
Enter Sifu Cabais and Kung Fu. During March I started speaking with Alvie, a guy I knew from my early years in the dorms. I had been mildly interested in the Martial Arts for maybe a year or so. Alvie had been doing Aikido at the college for a while, and I was thinking about looking into such things after graduation. Alvie told me about this Kung Fu thing he was doing. It sounded cool. I found out that I had to speak with the instructor just to make sure that I wasn´t some sort of nut. At some point, Alvie and I discussed that the opportunity available to me was to become more than just a student taking a Kung Fu class but to become a disciple of the system. We spoke about the philosophy and brotherhood aspects of the system. This sounded much more interesting than being student number 8675309 at Sifu Jones´ School of Kung Fu. At the time, I had no idea what the effect of that choice would be.
A couple of weeks later I had spoken with Sifu, and I had had my first class or two. At that point, all I could see was the physical change that Kung Fu would have in my life. The thing that I originally wanted to get out of Kung Fu was cross training for my cycling--that changed quickly. Rob was another individual whom I knew from my early dorm years--who also happened to be a Computer Science major--was also involved. We both graduated in May and started driving to Rolla from St. Louis twice a month. When we graduated, we knew that we would have to be doing this drive for a while. Almost two years later things are starting to get going in St. Louis, and we have been doing the drive ever since.
As you can see, I was about to move forward into this cozy little life that I had planned and built for myself. A month before I graduated I started Kung Fu. I could have decided to search for Kung Fu in St. Louis and avoid the drive. I could have given up on it altogether and settled back into my planned out life. I didn´t.
I guess what I am trying to say is that my situation is a testament to the power of Kung Fu. Being involved hasn´t made any huge changes in my life. What it has done is make small changes in an otherwise highly structured and planned life. I like to make the analogy to weight loss. If you are 50 pounds overweight, losing 10 pounds is pretty easy. If you are 11 pounds overweight, losing 10 pounds is nearly impossible. It is similar to making changes to a stable system. I wasn´t really searching for any life-changing thing to be involved in. However, I found one, and it is changing me.
I realize now that I have the power within me to succeed at whatever I will myself to do. That statement is a lot stronger than it sounds when you first read it. Some of the things I wish to succeed at require me to change my very nature. I don´t have to do these things. I choose to. If I had never found Kung Fu, I may have never realized that I had such goals. Even if I had chosen such goals, I never would have had the will to change myself to reach those goals. One of the standards, bits of philosophy of the system, is:
"If it is not the power of the fist or the foot that we train first, then what is it?"
I couldn´t agree more.
- David Hahn -