Saturday, June 30, 2018

I CAN do it...

Nothing compares to the feeling of having set a goal and accomplishing it! Nothing... Today, June 30th, is my final day “on the mountain” for this second year of the program. I slept later than usual since there was no group meditation this morning. When I finally got out of bed, I was focused on finishing my packing to get ready to leave in the afternoon to catch my evening flight to San Francisco.

As I moved about, I realized I wanted to take advantage of the morning to do some conditioning and review a couple of the sequences (Taiji Saber, Taiji Sword, and the Taijiquan form itself). Sitting in the airports between flights, as well as, the 5-6 hours on the plane itself was not appealing; especially after all the moving and training I’ve been doing these past 6 months. So, I skipped breakfast...

I began with Panther Crawling up the hill. I then did my trampoline push downs followed by pull ups and chin ups. Afterwards, I went to the enclosed gym and did my HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) routine using the 70 pound kettlebell (squats and swings). When I left the gym, I walked down the hill toward the main building. As I approached the vertical climbing rope, it beckoned me to the challenge.

Earlier this semester, I severely strained my right shoulder and had to stop climbing the rope as well as curtailed and/or modified several of the solo and partner drills. As my shoulder slowly healed, I promised myself to climb the rope all the way to the top before I left this semester. I made some good faith efforts along the way which were encouraging because I didn’t reinjure or aggravate the shoulder. I just didn’t have the extra power and strength to make it to the top.

Additionally, the focus of the past two months shifted to managing my time and energies around all the varied guests and prospective candidates for the upcoming new 3-Year Training program that begins in September. This last month, the focus was on preparing for the graduation ceremony for the Shaolin students. Needless to say, I hadn’t paid much attention to my climbing goal. However, this morning there it was right ahead of me.    

At first, I wavered a bit. My arms felt good. It was my mind. I felt doubtful and a little nervous, too. Then again, I always felt nervous every time I got ready to climb the rope even when I had no problem doing it before. So, I reconciled those thoughts and feelings and made up my mind to do it. There was no one else around. I gripped the rope firmly; right hand above my head, left hand just below my chin; elbows tucked in tight. I took a few deep breaths and used my legs to literally jumpstart me upwards.

I surprised myself the first few feet because it wasn’t as hard as I thought it might be. However, not long after that feeling, the doubt returned. I fought it off each time I pulled my body up. It got more difficult and there was a moment when I felt like completely giving up, but it was the furthest I had climbed up the rope since I had stopped. I paused for a microsecond and then committed myself to reaching the top no matter what. And I did it! It wasn’t elegant and smooth. In fact, it was pretty ugly, but I did it. I didn’t give up on myself. I didn’t give in to the doubt and fear.

I descended slowly and part way down I had to use my legs to help. In the past, I was able to climb up and down just using my arms. I know that will come again. I know I can...

It took me several minutes to gather my wind and emotions after I got to the bottom. It’s been a long time for me not being able to make it to the top. Now I know I can again...

Once I got my wind back, I Panther Crawled down the hill to the main building. I spent some time doing the Taiji Sword basics and the Taiji Saber sequence and then called it a day. Now I’m ready to leave the mountain...



  1. Beautiful Good Doctor! Both your accomplishment and your flat out honesty. Thank you. Welcome home



  2. Way to go Doc. I have been following the students since 2008 and have seen their progression. Keep up your faith within and you will be next to graduate.....