The purpose of this article is to respond to some rather odd statements about my style and also, to answer some question from some e-mails I have received.
First of all, there has been some concern about us being secretive. Ever since the general public has heard the name “Pak Mei”, there have been people popping up all over the place, laying claim to it. Where did they come from? Years ago, most Chinese hadn’t even heard of it. Where did all these “Pak Mei” teachers come from? Even in China town, you would not find them…now, with the name being bantered around, up they pop!
When I did BI-CI, there were very few to be found, and any that I did meet, through my sifu, were able to show proof of their membership in our association. Anyone teaching, had a letter from their sifu proving they were capable.
In conclusion, we don’t wave our knowledge around freely, as there are already enough people doing that. Also, there is a saying: “An empty teacup make the most noise!”
I can prove all that I say. We have been asked to make videos for sale in the Orient and we will not! You cannot buy what is in my head, or pay enough to learn what I have know…and I say that in all humility. I have sacrificed a lot of my life to this art and you just can’t pay me for that. You cannot learn from videos and books…you need a live teacher. For example, once my sifu went to Hong Kong and he gave me a hard cover book on Gow Bo Tau (nine step push) for a gift. While he was gone I worked on the set in the book. When he got back, I showed him what I had learned. He watched me perform it several times and then said “well, I guess I will have to show you the right way to do it”. I asked what he meant and he said “the book was to show a little bit, not to teach anyone.
The first set is Jik Bo (straight step) and it is merely a training set. The purpose of this set is to teach breathing, sliding and the basic punch. Gau Bo Tau is the set you might teach a beginner from another style, but only if you learned it properly to begin with…and only if the person you are teaching is a disciple. You can only do Bi-Ci once and if caught lying, you will be dismissed. Also, we do not teach anyone who does not have experience in another style, as the principles are too difficult to comprehend. I won’t list all the sets here, but I will say it starts with Jik Bo and ends with Mon Fu Ja Lum. What is in between these 2 sets is my students business and our organizations. If you really know my style, you don’t need me to tell you…if you don’t know my style, why would you care. If you are a student of the style, ask your teacher.
I have nothing to prove to anyone outside, but anyone is welcome at our seminars. I have an open invitation to anyone that wants to experience Pak Mei to come to our seminars. I should tell you, however, that you have to contact Mr. Mike Doucet for the details…for that, you can send an email to the CAACMA web page. Time is always available for that.
Wu Tai Chi is also open to anyone who wants to experience more than just an “old man’s” exercise. Unfortunately, most people are spending years doing what is for a beginner and never really understand. We get into a more realistic area of what Tai Chi is really about. I do believe that if you train like an old person, you will move and start to behave older than you really are. I am in that area of age that normally buys into the idea that “slow and soft” is the way to stay healthy. Don’t believe that misconception! When the human body gets used to moving slowly, it starts to slow down for everything. For example, lets say that you slip on the ice. In an attempt to break your fall, you “will not” automatically react quickly. In order to keep the fires burning, the human body needs challenge. In order to try to keep the movement we had when we were young, we need to also do something that requires speed.
It is fine to learn Tai Chi, but is should be done in a more passionate way…as a more advanced student would do it in China. In Hong Kong, there is a school that was run by a Mr. Chen. He would send away people if they only wanted to do Tai Chi slowly. “Go down the street” he would say, “they teach old man’s exercise”. His students he would send to the full, bare knuckle contests in Taiwan…and they would win! Now, I don’t suggest that someone my age should compete, but one should not accept old age! I have friends that are in their 70’s that can move like a much younger man. That comes from proper training. Some of them do Tai Chi…some do Pak Mei. Training must have a balance…hard, soft, slow, fast. If you want a different perspective, you can try out our seminars, even if you are not a member of our association. I guarantee you will not be disappointed. You will definitely get to meet some very good people. I don’t mean to suggest that you will come away “all knowing” or with some secret that is “magic”, but you will have something very worthwhile.
Pak Mei Pai