Reflecting

It’s the last week of classes. It has been a great experience being in the RTBN program. I have to say, all the hard work has been paid off and I’m ready to be a 2nd year. I know it’s going to be a challenge, but I’ve come this far and I’m not giving up. I decided to reflect what’s happened to me since I’ve been here. This is sort of martial arts related. When it comes to reflecting, it’s a good idea to do that so you can get better the next time you face it. I know there’s a few things that need to be worked on.

Biggest achievement for me, is that I was determined to learn. The reason why I came to this program is to pursue a career in voice acting. If I keep this up and move forward, I’ll be able to reach my goal. It’s a good idea to set short and long term goals. It’s a great way to keep motivated.

2nd achievement I was able to plan ahead and balance things like choir and having time for myself. That was one of the biggest challenges. Sometimes I wasn’t able to practice new music because homework assignments were in the way. But I was able to plan ahead, pushing myself to get things done so I don’t have to worry about it. To be honest I’m nervous about 3rd semester, I’m really hoping to balance my schooling and choir. Singing has been a passion of mine and I want to keep doing it.

3rd achievement, accept mistakes. There were times that I totally forgot to do a small task, or had a miscommunication. I always take things personal when it comes to the work I do, but now I’m not as angry like I used to. I always remind myself to accept whats happened and move on. There are times when the feelings eat me alive if you know what I mean. If you feel like that, talk to someone you’re comfortable with. Sometimes talking it over with someone helps.

 

Things I need to work on. The reason why I’m posting this one, is because I want to come back and remind myself what I need to do to be a better person, and to get better at something. I’m not ashamed of sharing this, it’s a personal goal I want to reach. People have goals to reach. If I can reach those goals, you can too.

1st thing to improve is to relax. I’ve been told by my martial arts instructors many times, is to relax. I still struggle with this but hey, first time for everything right? The more you relax, the better you do. As you relax, your body starts to loosen up. The more you think about the task or the problem, your body will feel tense. Important thing is to relax. I will work on that eventually

2nd thing to improve is to keep practicing on-air. I haven’t been able to practice a lot of on-air due to deadlines for assignments. But now the semester is coming to a close, I’m taking the advantage this summer to come in and practice. Goal is to prep for a 3 hour show for next semester. I’m gonna work real hard to master this.

3rd thing to improve is my writing. My teacher Louise told the whole class, it’s good to write everyday, so you can get better. My goal this summer is to write a novel this summer I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I had this story in my head back in junior high, but I think this will be a great idea to write my story to keep me motivated. I’m really exited.

 

The semester will be coming to a close this week. This isn’t goodbye, but I’m looking forward to my next chapter in my life. When I come back to writing blogs, I think I’ll be writing stuff of what’s in my mind other than writing just martial arts stuff. But you never know.

Ip (YIP) Man 3 Movie Thoughts

I was really upset, I had no idea Ip Man 3 was in theaters in January. But that’s what happens when you’re in school. Luckily, I bought the movie and I have to say, it was really cool seeing Mike Tyson in the movie, never expected that when I saw the movie trailer.

After watching the movie, I really enjoyed the fight scenes, very well choreographed. I’m not going to spoil the movie, you should check out the movie yourself so you know what I’m talking about. The lesson you learn from the movie, is family comes first. When Ip Man’s wife had cancer, Ip Man spent all his time with his wife, taking care of her, and spending time with her. She only had 6 months to live.

I like the movie, just because of the fight choreography. The story line in my opinion, I felt it was all over the place. I’m not going into further details, I can’t explain why. Whenever I see a movie, my intuition kicks in and I can tell if it’s a good or bad film. I have have mixed feelings of the film. I feel the story should be more effective, and the ending as well. But I guess not all stories have happy endings. I just felt the story line could be more effective if they had the time to tweak it up a little bit.

Ip man 3 is on sale at HMV, get your copy, only 20 bucks on Blu-ray!

Relax!

                                                                                                  

One important thing I still need to work on is to relax. Whether its trying something new for the first time, singing on stage, or sparring with someone in a tournament. My body starts to freeze up and I freak out. My teacher, Sifu Gord, told me that the more I relax, the better I do. The key to relaxing is to control your breathing.

Whenever you feel angry or you’re freaking out when you can’t find something, your mind is all over the place. And I’m also going to mention Chi as well, because breathing is the source of storing your chi.  Whatever emotions you feel, chi is always involved.

Negative emotions make your body tense, Chi is spilling out of your body, and once you let your emotions out, your body will start to feel tired. All of your chi has been depleted.  When I competed at Arashido Toournaments, my body would start to feel tense. Sparring an opponent from a different dojo can be nerve wrecking, because you don’t know them and you don’t know their style of fighting. Every tournament, I always win 2nd or 3rd place. Always wanted to win first in sparring.

After the tournament, I had a better understanding how Chi works. As I said before, chi comes from inside every living being. People use Chi everyday, even if people don’t know it. Whenever you feel angry, or scared, always remember to breathe. Because the more you breathe, your body and mind will function more better. Relaxing is key to maintain your Chi. Have some time to close your eyes for 10 minutes and just breathe. You will develop more chi, and the best medicine to spread chi in a positive way, is to smile.

Sometimes when people are having a bad day, sharing a smile to others can help brighten up their mood.

I still have ways to go as a martial artist and as a person, but I’m still willing to keep learning and become a better person. I hope one day, there will be balance in the world. No hate, no violence, just peace and harmony.

Real Martial Arts on TV?

When you were a kid, whatever you watch on TV your mind thinks that it’s real. Watching Kung fu films, I really enjoy the fast movement and the stunts they do. One of my favorite animation series is Avatar: The Last Airbender and the Legend of Korra. I’ve been learning Kung fu for 13 years and the movements they do to wield the elements is all based on Chinese martial Arts.

WaterBending is based from Tai Chi. Going with the flow with movement. When you hear about Bruce Lee’s saying about the movement of water, water is a flow of movement. It moves around like waves in a beach, and it can crash into rocks. I self taught myself Tai Chi, and I recommend people trying it out. It teaches you patience, go with the flow, and how to control your breathing. If you know someone who experiences short of breath, this is a good martial art learn. Compared to other martial arts, Tai Chi is more of a soft style, going with the flow of energy.

Earthbending is based on the Hung Gar martial arts. Hungar is based on firm strong stances. You wont be able to move a guy who knows this style, it’s like their feet are planted to the ground. The techniques they used are based in animals like the Tiger and Crane. The Tiger represents the hard power and Crane which is soft power when they throw their punches and kicks.

Firebending is based on northern Shaolin Kung Fu. This is a style I’ve studied for a long time and I also learned southern style as well. The difference between northern and southern style is northern is the technique more based on using punches and southern style is using more of your kicks. What I love about Shaolin is the techniques you learn. Whenever you’re doing a kata (KAA-taa) form, all the movements can be used as self defence techniques. Nothern Shaolin is more used as a long range technique, using wide stance and quick movements.

Bagua (BAA-goo-a) or ‘circle walking’ is the style the airbenders use. The style is known for their movements, moving in a circular motion. It’s hard for opponents to hit them because of their circular movement. The circular movements can be used to strike and evade attacks. Think of how the world moves in a circular motion. How the seasons chance, the cycle or recycling, and how all the planets in the galaxy move into a circle. When you see a Yin and Yang symbol it’s in a shape a circle. The circle of life.

Now you know how martial arts is used in Avatar and the Legend of Korra TV series. If human beings can wield the elements, I would choose all of them. I would like to be a hero who can wield all the elements to save the world and bring balance. I’ll be like Captain Planet, saving the environment and be a peace keeper.

Mistakes Happen

Whatever martial arts style you learn, it teaches you discipline, patience, and also teaches you life lessons. Admitting to your mistakes and learning from them is the step of improving yourself as a person. I’ve met lots of people who won’t admit mistakes and blame it on others. I used to do that. I learned all I’m doing is hurting others, and myself.

I remember teaching the class for the first time. I had no idea what to do. I was scared and nervous. After bowing the students, we always did a warm up before doing any techniques. So I started with neck rolls, arms, legs, and then did some stretching. To warm up the group, I told them to do knee raises and jog in one spot. It’s real important to warm up to keep the student’s heart beating, my teacher always says. They are here to work out and learn, so I need to give it to them.

I did some reviews with the students. All the students had colored belts. I didn’t want to mix the higher belts in doing basic techniques. So in order to keep things balanced, I told the higher belts to partner up and work on techniques they want to work on, while I worked with the lower belts.

My first hour teaching, I was still nervous and made some mistakes, like showing the lower belts a technique they shouldn’t be learning yet or not talking loud enough. I was also not confident in myself so the students could tell. One thing I like about the students, is that they encouraged me. Even if I was scared they believed in me.

After class was over, my teacher pulled me off aside and he was happy with how I was teaching. Things I needed to work on was to be myself. My teacher told me that he instructs the students differently and the other instructors as well. When you’re the teacher, you have to be yourself and have fun with what you’re doing.

The other thing he mentioned is that I was speaking too softly, so some students couldn’t hear me from the back of the dojo. I admit, I’m a soft spoken person. That’s something I have to work on. I’m always like that when I’m on stage, but when I sing, I’m a totally different person.

I took all those tips and learned from it. I was able to get better and better at teaching and I really love it. Everyone makes mistakes, but theirs nothing wrong with learning from it. Mistakes happen, if you learn from it, it will never happen again.

Getting Started

When I was little, I got bullied a lot. I was very shy and scared when I was in Elementary. No one liked me, I was a very sensitive person (still am). One bully decided to push me around and call me names. I came home going straight to my room, just crying. My mom would wonder what was going on, but I would say nothing.

One day I went to school with my mom and my teacher wanted to sit down with us. I’ve always kept things to myself. I would be made fun if I was a taddle-tale or get hurt for peoples pleasure. My teacher found out, and it was heartbreaking for my mom. When I was 5, my mom decided to enroll me to martial arts classes, so I can learn to defend myself. Plus it’s really good excercise as well. I started taking TaekwonDo Kickboxing classes. I learned a lot, but it took a while for me to get used to it. I stayed there for 5 years, reaching up to green belt.

I had to leave because I wanted to try something else. I always had an interest in Kung Fu Martial arts. So my mom managed to find one close to home. It took a while to get used to learning a new style, but I worked hard and I managed to get better. I’ve been doing Kung Fu for thirteen years, martial arts plus 5 years of TaekwonDo, total of 18 years of experience.

Martial arts has helped me with my confidence, to maintain balance, and to be myself. Whatever the things I do in life, I apply my martial arts to my work, acting in plays, and school. Learning how to control your anger, don’t do too much that can stress you out, and to learn to deal with people. I think Martial Arts help with anything you do. And to learn to respect for yourself and others.

Taking Big Leaps

Taking those big steps isn’t easy. I sometimes give up easily, or just run away from it. But how do I know if I’m gonna fail, if I never try? Martial arts taught me not just self defense, but a lot about myself. The biggest achievement and obstacle I faced is obtaining my black belt. “Once you’re a black belt, it will be with you forever”, that’s what my teachers told me. And I’m really fortunate that I took that step and worked real hard to obtain.

I learned that you shouldn’t be afraid of something that looks difficult, keep an open mind and work hard to master it. It may take a long time, but as long as you respect the learning process, you can master anything. I’m still learning as a person and as a martial artist. Keep an open mind no matter where you go, try something new. You will have the sense of accomplishment. You could also help that person who is going through the same thing. Never stop learning, because you will learn more about yourself.

 

Who’s my Hero? Roméo Dallaire

Hero’s come in all colors. I have a lot of martial arts hero’s, but I have to say that Roméo Dallaire is one of my favorite heroes. For those who don’t know him. He is a retired lieutenant-general, and he was a former commander for the UN Assistance Mission in Rwanda. I really admire Roméo’s courage and his passion to help others. And I had the opportunity to sing the National Anthem in front of him when he was a guest speaker at my high school.

In 2011, my Social Studies teacher called me and asked if I wanted to sing the Anthem. As some of you don’t know, I have been singing since I was 8 years old, singing has been a passion of mine. I asked what was the occasion? And she said it was for guest speaker, Roméo Dallaire. Now I had no idea who he was until my teacher gave me a movie, “Shake Hands with the Devil”.

I watched it. It was based on Roméo’s story of his experiences in Rwanda. I highly recommend anyone to watch it. You have no idea how hard it is to witness thousands of dead bodies and trying to survive this killing spree. So many people are living normal lives, when people are trying to survive. What’s even worse, is that children are being trained to be soldiers. They can be used as weapons of war if it keeps up. Please watch it.

It was the big day for Roméo Dallaire to come talk to our school, I was so nervous. When I saw him step into the doors, my heart was pounding. I had to step outside to take a few breaths and I drank water constantly. I remember it well, but I drank like 8 bottles of water. My hands were cold, and I was jumping up and down to shake out the nerves. I went back to my seat, just swaying my body forward and back like a rocking chair. People were laughing at me, saying I look like a child with a mental illness.

My teacher called me up. My heart started beating, but the shivering stopped. As I walked up to the stage and grabbed the microphone, I saw Roméo Dallaire looking right at me, he had this look like he was not impressed. Well I guess his expression is always like that because he used to work in the military. I quickly looked away to avoid feeling nervous again. I was thinking, “What if he doesn’t like my singing?” or ” What if I messed up?”. Once the piano started playing, everyone stood up, especially Roméo.

I started singing, my fears started to go away. My heart started to beat normally. I didn’t even bother to look at Roméo Dallaire again, don’t want to feel nervous. I managed to make it through to the end. I think people clapped, I was too focused on the song I didn’t pay any attention to my surroundings. I felt really accomplished to sing in front of the whole school and to Roméo Dallaire.

After the event ended, I walked up to Roméo and thanked him for coming. He smiled, shook my hand and gave me a big pat on the back. He really enjoyed my performance, but he preferred to be a little fast paced as a joke. The most memorable thing he told me, was to “Keep singing”. It was an honor to get such praise from him.

I was so happy. I had the honor and the opportunity to sing, and meet him. I’ll never forget that moment for the rest of my life. If I had the opportunity to sing the National Anthem at the Saddle dome, or anywhere, or to him again,  I would do it. I believe singing and speaking are very powerful things, and I want to reach my full potential to create change with my voice, and make an impact on people, just like Roméo Dallaire did.

Facing Gang Members

Before I tell you what happened, I want to advise everyone that this is a real life event I went through. Do not, or whatsoever in any circumstance attempt to do what I did.Don’t even attempt to fight a gang, Your safety is important. If you are in a tight situation, run. I did  what I had to do because I can’t stand people who are disabled, are being threatened by stupid people who have no respect for elders.

The title says it all, my uncle was dropping me off at the train station, right after teaching me how to drive. I was heading from Shawnessey Station back to Whitehorn. I was just sitting down, listening to my music. When the train reached Canyon Meadows, 3 guys and 1 girl, came in and they had the scent of weed on them, and were so drunk. They appear to be in a gang from the look of their clothes. The whole train ride, the scent was so putrid.

Later the gang members walked past an old man who had cane, and a broken leg. One guy decided to kick his broken leg, and the old man was hurting and furious. The gang member didn’t care, he was telling him he was in a gang and he could do whatever he wanted. He was threatening him, telling him he will beat him up.

The old man stood up, limping, reaching out the emergency lines to call for help. One passenger was blocking the way, preventing the gang members from reaching the old man. Once the train stopped at Anderson station, the gang members stepped out of the train car. I was keeping an eye on them, one guy was looking at the old man like a hawk. The train car door was open, where the old man stood, he was about to attack him. My adrenaline started to kick in. I quickly ran up to the old man. As soon as the gang member grabbed the old man’s arm, I quickly elbowed him to the face, and kicked him out of the train car. I was very angry, I was shouting at them to leave. The guy who I hurt, threatened me, saying he will come after me. He never did.

My adrenaline began to subside. The old man was okay, so I went back to my seat. I was terrified from the inside. I have never done that before. I just hated the fact that people are so rude to people and, they are picking and threatening them, I just can’t stand it. What really upsets me is that people never bother to just stand up and help out. I’m not sure if I made the right move, but I had to do something. It still scares me, I don’t think of myself as a hero. I’m just glad the old man is safe, hurts me to see people picking on the elderly. But I’m glad what I did, regardless of what people say. But I don’t want to experience that again.

Try and Try again

The one thing I’ve learned in live and through martial arts, is to never give up. Back then, I was the shy, doubtful, and scared kind of person. I would always quit, or just not try thinking it’s too hard. But how do I know if it’s too hard if you don’t try? Teaching really changed me.

I remember my martial arts teachers telling me I should be getting my black belt, It’s been  a brown belt for 2 years now and I needed to get to that stage. Once I’m a black belt, it’s gonna stick with me for the rest of my life. I was really scared to be honest. I was scared to fail. I liked how things were before; I come to class every Monday and Wednesday to train. But it’s different now that you’re a young adult.

I had to teach the entire class on Wednesday, I was terrified because I had no idea what to do. But with my teachers help, he gave me a guide to help me get started. I started with a good warm up and did some kick and punch techniques, great start so far! I had a young student, and his mom who also joined as well. They were struggling and they needed some help. The high rising block they had a hard time getting the flow and movement. Instead of going to the next step, I told everybody to hold their stances and I walked up to them.

I was between the new students and I went back to my stance. I told them to follow me slowly. All the students did the regular speed while I helped the other two. After 5 attempts, they got the flow and movement down. I gave them positive reinforcement and they smiled at me.

After my first day teaching the class, my teacher pulled me aside. He really enjoyed how I was teaching the class. It was different from how he taught the class. Of course there were a few mistakes that I need to remember for last time but you can’t expect to be perfect on the 1st try. It’s the same thing in everyday in life. Just because something is new a different, doesn’t mean you should be afraid of it. Keep an open mind.

Teaching gave me the confidence to lead others, be confident, be myself, and more importantly believe in myself. Of course, I’m still scared of obstacles I face. But I’ll never know if I don’t try. And if I fall down, I will get back up.