Finding Time to Leave a Legacy
Earlier this month I took a family holiday that involved returning to my home town. While visiting, Simo and I took time a visit to my step father’s grave. I was thinking about him, some of the things he accomplished in his lifetime, and what mark they did or didn't leave behind. Some I can be proud of, some I cannot. This led my train of thought to what I am trying to achieve and the time it is taking to do it. I also pondered how it appears time goes faster as you age, how there often seems to be a lack of time, and how I commit my time to achieving the goals I have. My passion for Tong Long Kung Fu and Tai Chi would come as little surprise to many of you but the actual depth and breadth of that passion for martial arts on a greater level might. If I were to list them it would look more like this :
* Circular Tong Long Kung Fu
* Tai Chi - Chen, Yang, and Sun styles
* Xing Yi Quan
* Bagua Zhang
* Qigong and Meditation
So this passion translates to studying not one martial art, but seven! Also with the under pinning foundation skills and health benefits of strength, mobility, and flexibility from the Stretch Therapy to practise as well. (Oh yes, and I could throw in there the very appealing weapon skills of the Filipino martial arts. Just in case it looks like I am being lazy or aiming to low!) The ultimate goal would be to master them all. In one lifetime this may simply be impossible. In a modern society with a young family, a career, bills to pay, and a fulltime school that mastery could be seen as a little crazy too. That being said and with them all laid out in plain sight, I plan to spend this lifetime working on getting them all as close to mastered as I can. So, at almost 46 years old time is certainly a major factor in achieving these goals to say the least.
Thankfully, my favourite art and the one that means the most to me, is well on track to being mastered. (Only 4 grades/approximatley 12 years to go for that!) Therefore, I better minimise the excuses I can find as to why not to train. You know the ones – I’m tired, it’s late, it’s cold, hot, raining, windy, I’m hungry, I can do it tomorrow, I’ll just watch this TV show, I will hit snooze and get up soon, on and on they go. Life is busy, work is important, money is necessary, and family balance is a must but following your passion and achieving those goals brings true happiness and fulfilment for yourself. Life is too short to live it for other people or to their demands. As your Sigung says “you will always find time if you are passionate about something.” He was able to achieve his Master levels in Tong Long Kung Fu while working 7 days a week, with back to back shifts on the weekends. And he did it while his Sifu was studying medicine full time at UQ, which made their training times even scarcer. He says he always found time to practice even when it appeared there was no time. And I am sure you have heard the idea that if you want something done then ask a busy person to do it.
So finding the time seems definitely possible. But can we find enough of it, considering the depth of these arts and the repetition required to achieve mastery? My Qigong teacher, Master Zhao Shui says to practice something once means doing it for 2 hours! When Sifu was in China studying his Chen style Tai Chi in the late 1990’s, they would spend 2 hours practising 2 techniques. This would be done once in the morning and once in the afternoon. That’s 4 hours on 2 techniques! In Bagua Zhang circles they say Si Xia Gong. This means spending your own time. Si Xia Gong refers to people that love what they do. These practitioners spent their free time practising their Bagua Zhang because they wanted to, not because someone told them they had to. The art was a part of their daily lives and they practised until the day they died. Now that is true long term discipline. These masters didn’t settle for being ordinary. But to be extraordinary you need to train with extraordinary discipline. And as my Sifu says “discipline is a promise you make to yourself and you keep it.” Unfortunately it is easy to break promises made to yourself where no one else is going to hold you accountable. In the long run it’s all about self development for the body, mind, and spirit. And if you want health, vitality, well being, and longevity then remember movement is medicine and we should take our medicine everyday!
Therefore, if I can minimise the excuses, find the time, keep my promises made to myself to achieve extraordinary results, and take my medicine regularly then maybe, just maybe, I will get good at, great at, or possibly master these few arts I have chosen as my passion in life. A great end goal would be to leave a legacy where future generations are inspired to do the same for their own well being, self development, or self preservation. And when my sons and daughter sit by my grave I hope there will be much they can be proud of.