"Woe to he who willfully innovates while ignorant of the constant." - Lao Tzu
The greatest influence on my practice and understanding of the martial
arts has been Master Norman Armstrong. His vision of practice and the
discipline it both requires and engenders has shaped most everything I
have done over the past 30 years.
Ten-Chi Kenpo is the art that I practice, and it is the art that I
teach. I try to pass the teachings along as cleanly as I can. This
art isn't Latin though (or for that matter shotokan) where meanings
are fixed and innovation pretty much impossible. As Norman frequently
has said, "If it works, then it's Ten-Chi Kenpo."
Norman also once quoted an Asian proverb, "Better to wait 10 years for
the right teacher than spend 10 minutes with the wrong one." While we
all make mistakes in our choices, I feel that quote is a good
guideline. No teacher is the right one for everyone, but be aware the
most difficult of student - teacher exchanges can be the most
productive in the long term.
I've had the good fortune of training with a number of accomplished
teachers each well regarded in their respective arts (see below). Some
have furthered the Tai Chi end of the practice others, the more
external aspects. Like any long-term student of Eastern arts, I've
tapped into their experience and explored in varying degrees
traditions and styles that seemed a good extension of my own practice.
Their instruction over the years got formulated into an entire
parallel practice. I came to call in the "Gray Belt" or sometimes
"Shadow" curriculum. How best to fit this optional training into a
student's workout has balked me literally for years. Now I think it's
pretty simple, as it is not a requirement. A student might choose to
pursue an aspect (qigong, say, or Arnis), and books and videos can
further augment whatever I know.
When all is said and done, a person takes training to develop a
practice. That practice should have a strong taproot and branches
reaching out in many directions. What I've gleaned from all of my
teachers constitutes a personal practice and might serve as a model
for how to train in conjunction with the structure provided by Ten-Chi
For the list of Gray Belt techniques, Click Here