June 7, 2009

C’mon, we all did it at some point of our training and my justification is that I was young, eager and misguided…..I am talking about trying to learn a form from a book. 

So there I was in my 20s and thinking that I was equipped and everything, I picked a book in my collection and started teaching myself … well it did say on the inside cover “Learn without a teacher. 

After a few months, I performed it for my teacher and he gave me the biggest puzzled look, the kind that I had never seen before. 

Yep, it was that bad.

The form is a northern/southern blend and I butchered it totally; everything came out fuddled was his comment. 

At that point, I thought maybe he was harsh because he was unhappy that I was doing something outside of his syllabus…sifus are humans after all no? 

Well maybe not; I remember during my first trip to Colorado and I visited a kung fu school and the owner of the school asked me to view one of his forms. 

There he was, in the middle of this big space, doing what appeared to be some kind of silat; you know the hand/thigh slapping movements and foot stomping that you see in many silats.

At the end of that, he asked for my opinions and I politely told him that I am unfamiliar with the form. 

And when he told me it’s supposed to be “Pak Mei”, I was dumbfounded. 

Really, it doesn’t even look Chinese, the way he was doing it and certainly not Hakka.

Pak Mei …. No way. 

Later when he mentioned that he got it out of a book …well …..What can I say? 

And he is not young, no, not by a long shot. 

Anyway, here are a couple of pages from the book I was talking about and these days when I do the form, I like to think I got it right …finally. 

It has been 20 over years after all     🙂




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