The Latest State of My Wing Chun

Originally today I planned on writing and posting a blog called “People CAN Change,” but that is going to have to wait. I tried starting it on my lunch break, but the words wouldn’t come. I know what I want to say, but I didn’t feel the fever to write it down. That’s when I know I’ve really locked into something special: when my hand moves across the paper so fast that it feels like it might start a fire!

Instead, I am going to write down my thoughts about one of my other great loves: wing chun kung fu. I’ve been attending on a steady basis, except for last week: I was out all week because I hurt my back. But a few glitches aside, I have been pretty good. Up until a few days ago, I’ve been on autopilot. Do I mean just going through the motions? No, I have still been making a conscious effort to get better. What I mean is when Sifu asked me if I had questions on anything, I would say “no.”

I usually don’t think in terms of asking specific things or techniques. After all, you shouldn’t think to yourself, “I’m going to improve this punch or this kick or this block.” You should think, “I’m going to improve my wing chun.” I equate it to the breakthrough I had when I was trying to get better at singing. I didn’t ask myself, “How do I sing a rock song better?” It was simply, “How do I SING better?” When I realized that, I started to improve…well, until I temporarily gave up on music. In any case I try to avoid thinking about things like that with wing chun because of this “bigger picture” approach, but yesterday it dawned on me that it takes little things to COMBINE INTO the big picture. So now I had an epiphany going in the opposite direction: focusing on the smaller things, the little weak areas.

With that realization in mind, I came up with the following list:

1) Practice more chi sao.
2) Develop uprooting energy. This is the feeling you develop where your opponent feels as if you are “under” them, which disrupts their balance. For a short guy like me, it is IMPERATIVE to learn this skill. After all, a big
guy can’t take me out if he has no balance.
3) Still need to tap into my agressive side.
4) Get my arms more along my centerline. Sifu showed me in chi sao that, while my structure was good, my arms had a tendency to drift off the center.
5) Proper release of two-way energy. If one arm is going forward and the other backward, they should both have the same kind of release.
6) Work on forward intention. If I feel an opening in my chi sao partner’s defense, then I should GO FOR IT. Instead I find myself standing there saying, “Yep, there’s an opening,” but I do nothing to pursue it.

Most of these problem areas are tied together and be solved by the same process: for example, if I address #1, then this will lead to improvement in #2, #3, and #6. If I practice my forms, this will address issues #4 and #5. Chi sao will also PARTIALLY address the “drifting off centerline” issue, but ideally that is something that should be corrected during forms. In other words, it is something I can address on my own time, and Sifu can help me with when I attend class.

I want to address the issue of tapping into my aggression separately here. This is something that actually exists outside of wing chun, although I know Sifu could help me with it if I asked him. As I have said in blogs in the past, I seem to be a bully magnet. It seems like people try to bully me more than anyone I know. In fact, a coworker said to me, “Man, in this last month you have told me about more situations where someone tried to bully you than I’ve had to deal with in the last five years!” It’s pathetic and sad. I’m 38 years old; the days of being picked on in the schoolyard should be LONG GONE…but for me, they’re still here. Well, I want it to stop. I want
to project an image that says, “That’s a guy I shouldn’t mess with.” Since I can’t figure it out on my own, I need to ask for guidance, and Sifu seems like a good person to start with.

I know it won’t transpire overnight, but here’s to hoping it works.

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On Being Inconsiderate

Recently I had some friends tell me I am inconsiderate and selfish. (Well, make that two friends and one acquaintance.) These would be my former roommate (to be known as C), a friend of his (to be called L), and this other guy that I have known since 1999 (to be named E). At first it bothered me…until I realized that, in their own ways, they were all suffering from selective memory loss.

Let’s start with E. He says that, in all the years I have known him, I have never asked how he was doing or if he needed help with anything. WRONG. When he told me that he and his last girlfriend broke up, I asked how he was handling it AND what the circumstances were. On top of that, I seem to remember him dating a woman who treated him like garbage when we first met. Knowing very well he wouldn’t dump her just because I said she was bad news, I
made it a point to hang out with him as much as possible. The purpose of this was two-fold: (1) Time spent with me was time NOT spent with her. (2) I was hoping to subconscously drill it into his head that he was a good guy who didn’t deserve that type of treatment. So to say I never helped or asked how he was doing was incorrect.

Now let’s move on to L. To be honest I don’t quite know the context in which she called me inconsiderate, but I can hypothesize. Years ago, L offered to read a novel of mine and offer suggestions on how to improve it. Months went by. Every now and then I’d ask her how the notes were coming. Now kep in mind she was going through some personal turmoil at the time. I ALWAYS made it a point to ask her how things were going first. It wasn’t until that conversation was done that I asked about the notes. Even then, I would preface my statement with, “I hate to sound like a nag, but…” And not for nothing, but the main reason I asked was because she told me she had two pages
of handwritten notes. I was just curious why it took so long to type up two pages of notes, but then she had time to post cat pictures every ten minutes on Facebook. So once again, labeling me selfish was the wrong answer, but thank you for playing…enjoy your parting gifts.

Which brings us to C. Sadly, when it comes to him, he is right. I never said, “How was your day?” Never asked if he was seeing anyone or how he was doing. For that, I apologize. However, one thing he CANNOT say (which he did) is that I am selfish. I seem to remember giving him countless rides to and from work, for which I never received any gas money. I helped hook him up with a decent place to live, namely the second floor flat of my mother’s house, for which my mom received less than HALF the rent she was due. Then he moved out, not notifying my mom of his departure UNTIL IT WAS IN PROCESS. On top of that, he left his bedroom floor covered in cigarette ash and all other sorts of garbage. He can blame it on depression all he wants, but depression is no excuse for not being an upstanding person. The definition of depression doesn’t include shirking your responsibilities.

So what is the point of this blog? Was it just to publicly bash some people? No, that isn’t the real aim. They are merely an example, meant to illustrate the kind of person I am. Simply put: I believe in accountability. I will owe up to the flaws I DO have, but I don’t like being accused of something I’m not.

But then again, how can I deal with that? People are going to think of you whatever they want. It isn’t going to match up to reality every time. So I guess once again we arrive at the solution of just taking a deep breath and letting it go…and when you blow out, you exhale all the anger those misinterpretations of you caused. Okay, so they got the impression from a couple things I did that I am selfish and inconsiderate. So what? Maybe they just caught me on a couple “off” days. But more often than not, I don’t feel like a selfish or inconsiderate person. And believe me, I am the FIRST person who would hold myself accountable for that if I thought that’s how I am.

I guess the lesson here is (as it always seems to be with me) “KNOW THYSELF.”

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What Makes Sexy Sexier?


I have been talking with people a lot about this blog, so there is already a bit of buzz about it. In my opinion, I think it is the best (or at least the funniest) blog I’ve ever done. If this one doesn’t get any kind of response to the poll at the end, then I may very well throw in the towel!

I was talking with a friend of mine who said, “You’re very sexy.” (It wasn’t a random compliment; it came up somehow during the conversation, but I don’t remember the context.)

I said, “You know if you said that to me in person, I would be blushing, covering my face, averting my eyes, telling you to stop it, and so on. So here’s my question for you: does that bashful reaction increase the sexiness?”

She said, “Absolutely.”

That got me thinking about different ways someone might react to being called sexy. Some reactions might INCREASE it, while others might DECREASE it. I came up with five different reactions:

(1) EXTREMELY LOW SELF-OPINION: This is the kind of person who refuses to be called sexy, almost to a violent degree. They think so poorly of themselves that they can’t tolerate the thought of taking a compliment.

(2) BASHFUL: As I described above, this is the person who would cover their face, blush, be rendered speechless.

(3) HUMBLE: This person might laugh off the compliment. As for a verbal reaction, they might say something like, “Well…I don’t agree, but thank you.”

(4) GRACIOUS/COOL: Also known as the “sexy and I know it” response, this person differs from the humble character in one key way: they will not say the “I don’t agree” part. They will just say “thank you” and be on their way, as if being called sexy doesn’t even phase them…and it usually doesn’t, because they already know.

(5) ARROGANT: We all know this one. This is the type of person who may never actually hear someone else call them sexy…because they’re already walking around declaring how sexy they are anyway. Nothing wrong with being confident, but this person crosses the line into Obnoxious Land.

So there you have it: the five reactions to being called sexy that I thought of.

OPEN POLL: This is a two-part poll. I’d like to know which reaction INCREASES sexiness, which one DECREASES it, and (if you have the time) WHY you feel that way.

I hope this gets a good response. The answers will be fun to hear!

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Stop Going to the Dark Side

A lot of people think the world is a sad, dark place. If you watch the evening news, it is easy to agree with that. However, I think the world wouldn’t seem half as sad if that weren’t what people focus on. I’m not saying you should stick your head in the sand and act like bad things don’t happen. What I mean is you need to shine the light on positive things sometimes. RESPOND to positivity more than negativity. Unfortunately, that’s not what most people do. Let me give you an example from my own life.

I had a friend, who I will name D here. D and I hadn’t hung out in a while, so I emailed her and said, “Hey D, we should hang out sometime. When is good for you?” No reply. Okay, fair enough…not everyone replies to every email, right? Sometimes they get missed.

A week went by. I wrote again. No reply.

Another week. Another attempt to hang out. Nothing.

By this point I was getting frustrated. Was it really possible that so many emails had been missed? The more I sent, the more unlikely it seemed. So I decided to conduct an experiment. I sent her an email that wasn’t NASTY in tone, but it did send out an unpleasant vibe. I said things like, “Well, I guess this friendship means more to me than it does to you. I have been asking you to hang out for weeks now. You can’t even be bothered to write back with a quick sentiment like, ‘I’m not blowing you off…just busy.’ So I guess you don’t care.”

And wouldn’t you know it? My NEGATIVE email got a novel-length reply! Naturally she claimed that she never saw ANY of the other emails. (For the record I fired back with, “So you never saw any of the ones that said ‘I miss you, let’s hang out,’ but you DID see the email that came off like an attack. Interesting.”)

Now what can we learn from this? Negativity obviously got a MUCH greater response than positivity. This leads me to wonder why. I can only guess, but I’d say it’s because it’s what she is used to. A similar example: I was complimenting one of my coworkers. My glowing praise was met with silence, so I said, “Sorry that I am so openly mushy.” She said, “Yeah…I don’t know how to handle compliments or mushy stuff.”

It’s almost like we live in a backwards universe. You think to yourself, “Why would anyone want more negativity than positivity in their lives?” The answer is…NO ONE DOES, and yet for some reason it is what most people choose to focus on.

Do I have an answer for what to do? Honestly…no. By that I mean I have an answer that works for me but might not work for you. I don’t want to provide it just yet. Instead, I’d rather open the blog up to discussion. So tell me: why do YOU do if you find yourself dwelling on the negative?

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Pros and Cons of Being Underestimated

My whole life, people have viewed me as a pushover. For a long time this was an accurate description of me…at least when it came to verbal confrontations. If there had been any physical altercation, then my attacker would have been unpleasantly surprised to discover I had some self-defense ability. Of course, no one EVER took a swing because most bullies are all talk and no action, so they never got to see the side of me that could handle things. All they ever knew was the guy who didn’t retaliate, not even verbally.

The bullies from my days of being a push-over are long gone. Since 2010 I have found my backbone and learned to stand up for myself, but you wouldn’t know that from the NEW bullies I meet. To this day I still describe myself as a bully magnet. I just seem to attract them. Hell, I could be around someone who has never bullied anyone in their life but, when they are around me, they decide to give it a shot! Of course, they’re not too happy when they find out I’m not an easy win.

The point of this particular blog is not to figure out why I’m the magnet or how to change it. That can be addressed in a later blog because, to be honest, I’m still searching for the answer. Today I am merely concerned with the pros and cons of my situation.

PRO: I know I can handle myself, but the BULLIES don’t know it. Therefore I have the element of surprise on my side.

CON: While I know I can take care of business, I’d rather not deal with the aggravation in the first place. I don’t have the time for it, so it’s annoying that they won’t just leave me alone.

So how do I deal with this frustrating aspect of my life? The answer seems clear: even though I would prefer people don’t mess with me, I can take comfort in the fact that I can handle it.

That’s the plan for now anyway. In the meantime, the search continues for a way that I can project a vibe that says, “Don’t fuck with me AT ALL, you filthy SOB’s!!!”

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Romeo, Romeo…Thou Art a Stalker, Romeo!

DISCLAIMER: As always, this is all my opinion. I’m not saying this is how things really are. Feel free to disagree with me. In fact, I encourage it.

Times have changed, and I am not sure why or how.

Today if Romeo or Lloyd Dobler showed up unannounced, then Juliet and Diane Court would call the cops. I know a couple friends who have been called “stalker” because they tried to pursue young women who caught their eye. In fact, to put all cards on the table, it has happened to me. In 1993 I sent a couple love poems to this girl, secret admirer style. Someone knew that I wrote a lot…they figured it might be me…and they told her. Next thing you know, I’m in some hot water.

I just don’t understand it. Women whine a LOT about how romance is lacking these days. Then someone tries to woo them, and that person get treated like a creep! A long time ago, you used to be EXPECTED to pursue the woman you wanted. It was called “courting.” You didn’t just get laid or put a ring on the woman’s finger after three dates. The pursuit used to be half the fun. Hell, sometimes THAT was better than the destination!

You know…now that I think about the current generation, I believe I see where the problem lies. We are a fast food nation, not just in diet but in mentality. Everything people want, they expect it immediately. If they have to put any effort into getting it, then they abandon that thing and move on to the next TV dinner daydream.

But then one day you meet someone who is interested in you. They seem nice enough, but the feeling isn’t mutual so you turn them down. Then they start doing things to slowly win you over, like sending you flowers or leaving you a heartfelt note. Well, you aren’t used to this. You are used to guys who give up at the first “no.” The spark wasn’t immediate, and yet they keep going. So what do you do? Instead of giving it a chance or at least appreciating the sweetness, you say….

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A stalker…a STALKER!!!!!!!!”

So there you have it, folks. Romeo would be considered a stalker today merely because the instant gratification crowd can’t wrap its head around this type of slow burn approach. Sadly, I don’t think the practice of courtship will be commonplace ever again. But to all you hopeless romantics out there, fear not: there ARE women who still enjoy the pursuit. They’re just hard to find.

Now here’s to hoping you don’t get arrested for aggravated harassment while you look for them.

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Don’t Concentrate on the Finger

I hope I was able to find the Bruce Lee video I needed. If not, you will still be able to follow what I say…hopefully…unless, of course, people miss the point AGAIN.

A while back I posted a video blog about how to not take rejection personally. In this video, I mentioned a woman that I met at a coffee house called the Daily Grind, using my interaction with her as an example of rejection.

The results of this video? An unmitigated disaster. One guy commented, “Dude, she is leading you on.” Another guy became fixated on the fact that I said she bought me “tea” when I said we met at a “COFFEE house.” He insisted that this mix-up of the MOST MINUTE, INSIGNIFICANT DETAIL OF THE STORY meant that every single detail was murky. Then he went on to ask if I were “sure” I wanted just friendship and not romance with this woman…all because I said “coffee” when I meant “tea.”

First of all, Daily Grind serves both. Second, by grinding on these details, both of them missed the entire point of the blog. The point was DEALING WITH REJECTION, and the story about the woman was AN EXAMPLE OF BEING REJECTED.

It’s kind of sad how they could both miss such a simple point. Furthermore, it’s even more depressing to think about how many other blogs they must have misinterpreted because they aren’t all as easy to grasp as that one.

Here is my suggestion to you all: please, before you comment on my blogs or videos, make sure you know what is actually being said. Read or watch as many times as you need. When you leave a comment that has NOTHING to do with the topic being discussed, it just makes you look…well, not so bright.

Actually, you know what? I’m a nice guy; some would say to a fault. I can help you out here. Going forward, any comments that have nothing to do with the subject will be removed.

And no, that has nothing to do with me being a wuss who can’t handle criticism or “reality.” It has EVERYTHING to do with wanting us to keep our eye on the moon…not the finger.

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