Got a nice letter from our gone-but-not-forgotten student and friend, Kaz, who moved to Humboldt a few months ago. Here are some excerpts:
How are you guys? I miss you! We are pretty settled in up here, and generally loving it! Moving really discombobulated me; I was out of sorts for a couple of months, but now I’m feeling pretty good. It is beautiful here, a land of vast forest, rivers, coastlines and fog. I’m beginning to find some favorite outdoor places; in Santa Cruz I spent a lot of time at the river and the beach, but because it’s been cold and wet I wasn’t getting much outdoor time up here so far and that was contributing to my funk (as was having to work a 40-hour a week job again after a decade of treating patients and having my own schedule. Yuck!).
But for my birthday I spent my first whole day in the sun, at the Samoa dunes, and for the first time since moving I felt like everything was going to be OK. Naked Kung Fu Guy even made his first Humboldt appearance!
One of the things I miss most about Santa Cruz is training at the Academy, and the community around it. I’m feeling this great regret that I squandered my time and opportunity while in Santa Cruz, that I should have trained harder so that I could have learned more from you (this includes you Debbie! If Ted is the paterfamilias and Linda the gruff warrior grandma, then you are surely the beating mama bear heart of the tribe). I miss class, I miss hanging out with Gene and Nick, and I will really miss watching little Archer grow up and take his first steps (and kicks, and rolls, and stances).
There’s a little park right across the street from our house, and I’m happy to report I am training again! I always do some standing, some circle walking, lots of pi, always bagua, sometimes yin shou, bagua tui, long fist, or staff/spear/sword. Though I am a dense student, I am really appreciating what I did manage to learn under your tutelage! You’ve given me a lot to work with. Ted, I remember so clearly I asked you once long ago if some move we were doing was a strike or a block, and your response was, “It’s a shape.” Now, more and more, my experience of practicing kung fu is that it’s a practice of forming my body into shapes, and mastering the fluid transitions from shape to shape, so that at any given moment you are able to express/absorb/deflect force. And if you practice a lot, you are conditioning yourself, you are making a body and honing a mind that’s able to do that well. So that’s what I’ll be working on. Hopefully at some point someone will materialize that I can do partner practice with.
Anyway, I just wanted to check in! I hope you are all well, and hope I can make it down to Santa Cruz sometime to say hi and work out!
PS Check out my newly re-treaded FeiYues! Everyone raves about these shoes but I was disappointed how quickly the soft rubber soles wear out. A mountain bike tire, a bunch of Shoe Goo, and homemade leather-foam insoles for comfort, and they’re reborn for (I hope) years of use!