The Healing Journey Project

Renewal and Transformation Through Kung Fu

Progress Journal

A Craftsman's Toil and a Father's Pride

Posted by Robert Bibeau on August 15, 2011 at 12:15 AM

Every once in awhile we are immersed in some very life affirming experiences.  The sort of thing, that when it happens to you the emotion's you feel dont simply well from deep within, they swell from the deepest of oceans and crash upon you.  I had such an experience this week, and I managed to finish a project I have been toiling over for months so obviously I am writing with particualr sense of calm tonight.  It does make more sense however to begin with discussion of this mystery project I have mentioned several times before.


I have been calling it "Chan Heung 1" or in texts with my Sifu "CH1" and it is named for Chan Heung the founder of one of the two styles of Kung Fu I study, Choy Lay Fut.  Appropriate as it is the first of many more to follow and with great effort at remaining humble, I will admit I am pretty proud of its graceful appearance in spite of its rugged utilitarian form.  In fairness, I have yet to describe what CH1 is.  CH1 is a Ching Jong.  Meaning "balance man" or "balance dummy" Ching Jongs are the quintessential identifying hallmark, at least in training aids, of the Choy Lay Fut style.  There are a lot of wooden dummies and other so called "body hardening" devices in the world of commercialized martial arts.  It seems like everyone in the business has a dusty, seldom used Wing Chun style Mook Jong in a dark cob webbed portion of their school somewhere.  But the Ching Jong, stands like a lone sentinel loyal to only one style.... actually I could care less if practioners of other styles wanted to use our Ching Jong, I'm confident it would enhance their training, and I'm not going to begrudge someone an opportunity for that.


The production of CH1 is something I have been cultivating for months... It has honestly been however a labor of love.  That being said, there were several times as I was actually producing the Jong that I thought "man this is going to be one UGLY baby!"  However I actually do feel that it came out really well and in many respects even better than I had anticipated.  My Sifu's birthday is tomorrow and we had a potluck at my school last night (Saturday).  At the potluck, all the students performed a "recital".  I ended up being an hour late.  I was furiously struggling to get CH1 done in time to present it to my Sifu as a birthday gift.  It was my gift to the school, but the students all agreed that they would in turn bequeath it to our Sifu.  Be sure to check out the picture gallery to see the Jong in variious stages of production, and check back to see pictures of it is action at our school.


So clearly you understand the aspect of tonights title, "A Craftsman's Toil."  What of fatherly pride? What of this title wave of emotion I discussed?


I have recently observed my son beginning to mimic the people around him as he learns more about the world and about himself.  I have watched as he has grown, physically and intellectually but also, I have seen his spirit take form.  I have seen his will develop I have seen him joyful and sad, and I have seen him both carefree and terrified (our dogs once got into a fight... scared the hell out of him.)  Seeing this range of emotions and these experiences in him, I would venture to say I have gotten to know him as well as any parent knows there child.  So I know when he was watching me, I know when he is ignoring me, I know when he is tired, or willful.  But I don't always know what will take hold in his mind and reveal itself through him to Tiffany and I hours or days later.


A few weeks ago, while I was in Pennsylvania and I got a text from Tiffany which was actually a movie that she had shot of him on her iPhone.  It is of Jaxon doing Kung Fu.  It is really cute, but to hear the delight in Tiffany's voice as he is doing his Kung Fu is what truly made me feel good.  Since that time, I have seen him briefly and spontaneously drop into Sei Ping Ma (a Horse Stance) and maybe even through a few punches but nothing as concrete as what Tiff captured him doing in several videos.


On Friday night, I picked Jaxon up from his day care.  Tiffany had told me earlier in the day that whe was going to have to work late (I dont know if I have ever mentioned here in the blog or not, but she builds lasers.  It turns out they arent easy to design and build afterall, hence no lightsabers as of yet, and they sometimes require staying late at work.)  Since Tiff was going to be stuck at work I called my teachers wife to ask if she could watch him during class which she said she could.... side note, Jaxon LOVES her! Seriously, he doesn't even say his own name yet and simply calls himself "Baby" but he can say her name.


I brought Jaxon with me to class and he was soon sitting with my teachers wife and was intently watching the class.  We were doing the foundational form of Choy Lay Fut called Ng Lung Ma.  During the conduct of the form, the whole school will say the names associated with each movement.  One such type of move is a kick, and instead of saying the name of the kick there is a particular sound associated... a sort of "Hi-Yah!" if you will.  The sound however is "dik" (Pronounced "DEEK!").  I knew Jaxon was watching and I thought it was really cool but I didnt think much else of it.


About two hours later, I was at home preparring dinner when I suddenly hear Tiff yell from the living room "Hey get out here you've got to see this!" When I walked into the living room, Tiff said "Jaxon show daddy what you were just doing, show daddy your Kung Fu."  Initially he was pretty shy about it but with only a modest amount of coaxing he was running around the living room kicking as high as he could and screaming "DIK! DIK!" It was extremely heart warming and felt good to know that of all the examples I could have set for my son, he is following one which I feel has been a recent (two years recent) pillar of my life.

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