April 23 2021 Now it is over a year of forced sabattical from teaching, five cancelled trips and probably this summer, due to covid travel and contact restrictions. I am still training and staying in shape, and have been working hard on two books, plus redoing all the old books.

January 2 2020. Once again settling in at the cabin for some training on the deck and Hok skiing around the hills. I have been busy since the last update here, finishing finally the dictionary, and training baguazhang in both Beijing and Shanghai. I am gradually learning the 72 hidden kicks on Jiang style, and have learned the 64 hidden hands of Liu Dekuan, through the Liang style. Teaching around Canada and in Basingstoke has been going well, but I am rarely teaching at home. So it is kind of like being semi-retired.

September 30, 2016. Off to China in a couple of days. I'll be staying a full five weeks and training both in Shanghai and Beijing. Training in Shanghai is again going back to my roots. I will be with my martial aunt, following the death of my sifu last year. I am at the same time finishing up a full year project, a new book actually written, not just translated, by me, which is pretty darn exciting. Meanwhile, in the park, I am trying to get the eight Liang changes good enough to show Di laoshi in Beijing. And, at the same time, a condo development at our club looms over our heads. I may come back from China to a moved out club.

September 8, 2014. It seems  little ridiculous after over forty years of training to be too excited about the next session to manage a nap before it. Some of you may have noticed little changes in the artwork of the site. On turning sixty I am 'rebranding' myself back to my roots, so have been incorporating my older teachers into the logos. I have also been working on including the logos of the groups where I teach, to indicate their relationship to me - that of a visiting friend and teacher at their club.

March 12, 2014. I seem to only update this when I'm at the cabin, for lack of better things to do. I finished a big project of translating a Shang style xingyi book, so am on vacation. This year I got Altai Ski Hoks, a short flat ski with permanent skin on the surface. So they go up easily, they go down not too fast, and they go around trees. I am having so much fun that I haven't been training bagua at all. I don't use poles, so I am actually putting bagua walking to use, since I have to get all my control from my feet. That is my excuse for not training, anyway.

October 11. I have discovered how to do slideshows on the site, so now all the main pages have annoying slide shows showing pictures of varying sizes and clarity. I did my best, but can never seem to find the original book covers to do a proper, clean copy. I have also been working on the new shopping cart, which is a lot of hassle because I have to set up the whole thing all over again, including calculating and entering the shipping charges. The company that I have used since the beginning is closing shop. Guess I didn't sell enough books to help them stay solvent. This year I got to spend all summer and autumn in Quebec city, and we have had the best weather probably in recorded history, so lots of great cycling and training outside. We have now had the indoor spot for a full year, though it seems like we just opened.

June 4, 2012. I changed the website again, and seem once again to be able to write on this page. This is the anniversary of Tian An Men in 1989.

August 25, 2011. Since I changed the website to Sandvox 2 I couldn't add to or change the content on this page without accidentally losing everything. I had to cut and paste each paragraph to make a new page. Lots has been going on, though. In the last two weeks, in chronological order, not order of importance, is the wushu centre training extravaganza, the wushu nationals and team selection. And then the death of Jack Layton. I want to put his message here so that I never forget. "My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we'll change the world." That he would send us this message as he was dying says a lot about how he lived his life.

April 27, 2011. Yay! We are back to our summer quarters in the trees at Bois du Coulonge. The snow still prevents us from getting into the trees, but it is nice to be in the little gravel road instead of the parking lot. After three weeks of training with the flowers and birds in England, it is a little rough and I've caught a cold from riding my bike in the cold air.

February 15, 2011. I've been training hard at the cabin, doing martial arts related cross training, just to change things up a bit. I know that kicking things is not good for your deep skills, but it is just so much fun! Have had some very, very intense snowshoe sessions, what with deep new snow  and deciding to go straight up and down hills whenever possible.

October 22, 2010. I have just figured out that it isn't so much the time change that gets you, but the confusion of being where you are. I have finally realized that it is actually mid October, and I am really in Quebec City. The change in weather really threw me, going from 25° to 10°, I kept feeling it should be summer or winter, or perhaps somehow spring. I've adjusted now, and training in the cold doesn't feel cold any more. I still feel like I should be getting up off the tatami rather that hopping out of bed, but I'm sure that will pass.

August 26. I've just been chatting with Sunny and Alan Tang and the Canadian wushu taolu team. Nothing too odd about that, it happens every once in a while. But I am in Beijing at the Friendship Hotel at an international photosynthesis conference (accompanying Gilbert, nothing to do with wushu). This city has how many million people and how many thousand hotels, and I just happen to bump into Sunny in the hallway? The World Sport Accord Combat Games just happens to be using the same hotel complex for the athletes. The funny part is that the hotel had all these scientists since August 22nd, the top international people in the field of global warming, and it was a very laid back hotel complex complete with beer garden. Two days before the athletes get here, entire sections got blocked off, guards are at every entrance and door and even wandering the hallways, x-ray machines at the entrances to the living buildings. When I went to university here in the 80s, us Sports Uni students had at least twice the standard of living as the science university students. Looks like Chinese priorities haven't changed. What we can't figure out is, just look at the list of sports: aikido, boxing, karate, kendo, muaythai, sambo, sumo, wrestling, wushu sanda... all I can say is that the little wushu taolu guys are pretty well protected.

August 22. I am in Beijing madly studying Japanese, getting ready for Tokyo. When I first started studying Chinese in 1973 (!), they told me that I should also study Japanese since all the best research on Chinese things was done by the Japanese. I took three years of university Japanese back in the 70s, but it didn't stick. I took another (or should I say the same) three years of university in the 90s, but it still didn't stick. Sure enough, the Japanese are the ones who take my bagua teacher seriously, so it is looking like most of my future training will be done there. It is so hard to study when the deadline is far away, so here I am a few weeks away, once again going through my notes and silly phrase books trying to get some Japanese words crammed into my head. Thanks to all that course work, at least when I do manage to say something it sounds good.

June 17. Things are going well when I am grumpy about just stiff knees and frizzy hair. Haircut tomorrow, but I sure wish the knees could be as simple to fix. I walk like an old woman, but oddly enough, move quickly and easily doing bagua.

May 3. I was in England supposed to be flying to Belfast when the volcano went up in Iceland. I like it when mother nature shows us who's boss. I also rediscovered the joy of traveling, taking ferries, trains, coaches, and busses at a more relaxed speed.

February 3, 2010. I post things from time to time on FaceBook, so forget that I'm supposed to have a blog-like thing here. So, I forgot to mention here about my glasses. I got a new pair a year ago, and when I was in Victoria I stopped in to see my optometrist (Helen Martindale, should you want an optometrist in Victoria BC, she is really good). I mentioned to her that my glasses felt funny, and she immediately had her tech guy check the alignment. The alignment of each lens was 5% off (there are hidden markers in lenses so that they can replace one and line them up again - who knew?). For someone with astigmatism, this is really, really bad, the techie guy was amazed that I could see at all. I took them back to the makers and they replaced the lenses (too three weeks to do it) because they were 'still on warranty', no apology (Eyeland Optical in Sydney, BC).  I had told the Eyeland Optical people a couple of times before that the glasses were off, and they had twiddled the earpieces. The moral of the story is that if your new glasses feel a little funny, ask that they show you the marks on the lenses. If you experience headaches, dizziness, loss of balance if turning quickly, poor hand-eye coordination, bumping into things, a desire to hang onto the handrails on stairs... I could go on - check your glasses.

December 7. The MaGui bagua continues to transform my body and the way it moves. This trip to Beijing I have been learning how to step. Yeah, to step. After almost forty years in the martial arts, thirty in bagua, and eight in MaGui bagua. I have to redo all the photos for the namgbga website and training manual, because, looking at them, they all suck. 


August 20, 2008. I just have to share this amazing latte art, from Steverino's in Halifax.

July 1. Back from a four day intensive teaching the taiji changquan routine. This is a very cool routine, and with my new bagua body, much cooler than before. I vow to never place it aside again.

February 6. Too much travelling and teaching so far this year to train properly and consistenty, but my body continues to change in strange and wonderful ways. My ribcage is now square, and someone remarked on the rather odd shape of my ankles. Why is the MaGui bagua training so powerful?

October 13, 2008, Quebec city. I have spent so many autumns in Beijing that I have missed out on the wonderful Quebec crisp weather and colours. Fabulous cycling, and, perhaps a cooincidence, another big change in my body that has improved my bagua. Pretty exciting for me, and I'm eager for the next few months of training to see where this takes me.

September 13, Quebec city. What is it about bugs? Big tough martial artists reduced to twitchy idiots by an implosion of little black flies. Not even proper blackflies, just annoying little bugs.

September 5, Quebec City. I posted my impressions of training in Japan to the MaGui forum, so have been neglecting to post here. No matter how much fun it is to train away, it is always good to get back to Catarqui and settle in for some basic circle-walking, mosquitos not withstanding.

May 13, Quebec city. All the snow has melted except for the bigger snow banks. We have found the best training spot ever! It is an old skating rink – huge and flat, dirt and gravel. We lookout over the beautiful Cataraqui park and the river. Lots of birds and squirrels, and the dog walkers don't make it up as far as our spot. After the months packed into the covered veranda, we are having a wonderful time doing long lines back and forth.

February 25. This is a record year for snow, for the last 50 years at least. I have been snowshoeing up hill and down, sometimes sinking into drifts up to my hips (and no, I don't use poles). Talk about whole body power cross-training, this is it!

February 6, 2008. Yet again a snow report. Lots and lots of snow. We are at the chalet at the lake for the winter, so I'm back to clearing the deck and circle-walking on a slightly icy surface. The cheerful company of chickadees is the best in the world.

December 4, 2007. Quebec city. Blizzard for two days, the snow is so high that we can't see out the windows of our little basement apartment. I'm going into the old town to take photos of the prettiest town in the world in the snow. I have just about got this new site working and almost finished the spear chapter of Di's book, so can afford a little break away from the computer.

November 22. Quebec city. Once again, it has been freakin' snowing for two days at what seems to me to be an odd time of the year. I have not kept up these notes too well, but I have been reporting to the magui forum. Training has been going really well with a new method of fixing my knees. All of a sudden a lot of moves are possible and strong, which is exciting.

March 1. I managed to have a really good winter of training. I am concentrating on my knees, so have been working mostly on the deck, which I shoveled regularly. I did some snowshoe circle-walking, but most of my snowshoeing was more of the mountain climbing variety. The sun has been shining for a whole week, and finally has some heat coming from it, and I'm looking forward to cycling. I've had the bike on the trainer on the deck a couple of times already. There is supposed to be a huge snow storm tomorrow, of course.

Aug 17 Victoria. It is freezing here! My knees don't like this. They want to go back to 30° C with 90% humidity.

Aug 10 Now that I am comfortable here in Yokyo, even at Shinjuku station, it is time to leave. I am already looking forward to the next time.

July 25 As with any big modern city, the old parts are the coolest. I have found a few in Tokyo with alleys and passageways filled with bonsai in front of each house. And, the good news is that the subway station from hell is actually the biggest one in the city, so I'm not so bad after all. Just bad luck that I had to go through it and trry to switch lines in it often.

July 23 2006 I finally am catching on to a few changes Li is making to my bagua techniques, which of course changes everything...

July 21 Training bagua in Tokyo for a week so far. What can you say about a huge city where you don't lock the doors? I mean, where I am the windows don't even close properly, much less lock. I am staying in Natsume Soseki's old wooden house, a stone's throw from the city gate (if it was still there) and within sight of Senyakuji temple, of the 49 ronin fame (if apartment blocks didn't block the view). Training is hard, although only two hours a day, the travel and recovery time really bites into the day. Li's method of no warmup and no cool down can be pretty rough when you're working on those low stances. Being used to China, I was up the first day before 6:00 as usual, only to find that nothing opens until 10:00. Since we train in the evenings, my schedule has shifted a few hours later, which is fun and kind of exciting, wandering around different areas of Tokyo late at night. My internet connection is at the biggest Apple store I've ever seen, actually, the only 'Apple products only' store that I've ever seen, where they have free access on the fourth floor (Japanese keyboards are a bit odd). I knew I should have started writing down my impressions before I got used to being here. After a week some things are starting to look normal. I'm afraid that I find almost everything delightful - the design of the traditional materials and mysterious things, the vending machines on every corner, the politeness of every single store employee (even the street bums are cheerful and polite, and they don't beg), the helpfulness of people when I'm lost, and the quietness of the traffic. I am still in terror of changing lines on the subway, an amazingly confusing task made worse by helpful coloured maps that have six shades of 'red-orange'. For all that the Japanese are supposed to be cookie cutter workingmen, I haven't seen that. I've seen a pretty keen sense of style, and people comfortable in whatever they have on. I've seen a few women in beautiful kimonos and some guys slopping along in wooden geta, and it all somehow fits into the mix.

June 15 Once again I have almost survived the worst of the bug season, but I'm afraid I did it mostly by slacking off. It's not the flurry of bugs around the face that is the worst, it is the buzzing at the ears. Now there are less blackfiles but the deer flies have come out to play.

April 4. Actual email correspondence "it's freakin' snowing out!" love, sis. "now why does that sound familiar...." bro. Just when I was starting to get used to circle-walking in shoes on the deck.

Feb 9, 2006 This has been an odd winter of global warming. We have lots of snow, but have had no 'character testing' cold. I can still circle-walk, but it isn't quite the same when you aren't suffering. When I was explaining to a group in Guelph the best kind of snowshoes in which to do circle-walking, for some odd reason they kept laughing. An embarassed 'she's crazy but we don't want to tell her' kind of laugh. I don't get it. Or, should I say, they don't get it. Snowshoeing should be mandatory for Ma Gui bagua people.

Oct 26, 2005. Looking at the last few entries, it seems that every time I update this page I'm slacking. I wouldn't want you to get the idea that I'm always slacking. Really, I spend most every morning before lunch walking in circles like a true fanatic, and if I do a different excercise it is before supper. Normally if anything gets pushed aside it is the translation work.

Aug 15 Testing the system to see if I can connect my computer directly to the internet. The weather is the worst I've ever seen in Beijing, reminds me of Shanghai. If it isn't pouring rain it is miserably hot and humid. The lightening and thunder almost every day is kind of fun, but it does put a damper on training. Today I've got my accounts all up to date, and will get going at the second volume of the Di book, so at least the rain is making me more productive (the fact that I could have done this at home is a bummer, but at least we're not in quarantine).

Aug 3 I sent off the Di Guoyong book yesterday. I remember when I finished with university that I thougtht I'd never have to go through that essay writing deadline thing again. Little did I know. I should be on a plane tomorrow, so I couldn't have timed it much tighter. I will miss my bike in Beijing (along with the fresh air and beautiful scenery) but it is definitely time that I got back to serious wushu training. The last thing I want is to turn into a book-learned non-player!

July 27 Time on the west coast passes quickly when you're trying to finish a book before leaving for Beijing. I will be in serious trouble when I see my bagua teacher, but it is hard to say no to a really sweet road bike.

June 29 This is my last day at the cabin for a few months, tomorrow I shift back into nomadic wushu training mode. I have completely slacked off training this week and gone jogging in the woods, followed by a dip in the lake every day, thanks to the early summer weather and the slight slackening of bugs.

June 18 Extreme taiji doesn't get easier with practice. I did manage to get through the routine a couple of times, but often ended up a quivering mass of twitchiness within the first section,. The good news is that the blackflies are now gone. The bad news is that the mosquitos have eaten my entire lower legs. Even in extreme sports you have to take care of yourself, and going into the woods without tucking your socks into your pants was a total beginner's mistake.

June 2 It is the season for our Canadian extreme sport of taiji without a net. I haven't managed yet, I am still a neophyte who uses a net, and still can't complete a routine because the blackflies have driven me insane by the end of the first cloud hands. No matter how calm you thnik you are, you somehow manage to leave out movements, 'cause your body just wants to get through and be done with it.

May 13 The plan for xingyi taking over the world has taken a big step forward in Florida, a ha ha ha ha ha! Di Guoyong was an even better teacher in organized seminar mode than he is in Beijing dude mode. If I do say so myself, I was even better than usual as interpreter, since I usually knew what he was going to say before he said it. If you want seamless interpretation, there is a lot to be said for working with your co-author, teacher and friend. I am so glad that it all turned out well, and this trip was only the first of a long relationship with Florida, and next year we will get him in Canada for sure.

April 13 In another one of those totally so unZen moments, I spent half an hour trying to start the freakin' skidoo yesterday. I mean, how many people still have to use a skidoo to carry their book shipments at this time of year?! It is nice to be shown once in a while that I can still lose it. I did revover my sweet even temper quickly, however, left everything in the truck, and walked in with the groceries. The skidoo was not stolen out at the road, and works just fine. Apparently I flooded it.

Mar 18 In another one of those cool zen moments that happen out here, this morning we found rabbit tracks going straight through my bagua circle. A blessing from a pooka? - a sign that tgl books is the right thing for me to be doing?

Mar 2 I'm not doing so well in my first attempt in my new role as wushu impressario. In a tough learning curve, I had to be the one to pull the plug on the second attempt to get a Canadian visa for Di Guoyong. Tough to be realistic when your buddies want to play. What we need is a rich sponser who will pay any amount of plane fare so that we don't have any time limitations - any takers?

Feb 17 2005 I must apologize once again for not keeping this record up to date. My report today has to be about the frustration of trying to get a Canadian visa for Di Guoyong. The final word, so far, from the Canadian embassy in Beijing, is 'don't send us any more correspondence because we won't answer it'. Mid-level bureaucrats do indeed rule the world.

Dec 5, 2004. If you want to learn how to 'go with the flow' and 'feel the force' just drive in England for a while. Those roundabouts teach you a lot about staying calm and going for it at the same time.

Nov 4 Ma Gui bagua is an odd, odd skill to become obsessed with. That is all I have to say today.

Oct 27 We put up a pole made from a fallen tree to walk around this year. In true kung fu film fashion, I ripped off most of the bark using my devastating ox tongue palm. I have also discovered a new game - throwing chunks of wood backwards with a daishou. It is great for training straight arm techniques to develop whole body power. After I picked up all the pieces I was allowed to select a pile to keep separate from the firewood. No one really appreciates an artist, eh.

Sept 10 I guess I'm too busy to keep this up to date. I'm back from Beijing, back at the cabin, and have enough projects and plans to get me through to next year with no spare time. It is fun having so much enthusiasm for the martial arts at my 'advanced age'. Di Guoyong's softer, gentler xingyi really suits me, and I had the best time in Beijing ever. My bagua walking is downright scary, though nowhere near as scary as Li's.

April 15 I'm back to Beijing next week. The lake is still frozen here, and it is 28° in Beijing. The adjustment is going to be a bit weirder than usual, I think.

April 8 Actual email correspondence of April 4th, between the Laurentians and Victoria:

"It's freakin' snowing here!" sis

"Here too! Oh, wait. Those are just cherry blossoms. Never mind." bro

Mar 18 I've declared spring officially sprung, although it is snowing right now. I leave tomorrow for Halifax, then in a month for Beijing, so it's time to stop walking in endless circles, haul out the weapons and have some fun.

Mar 4 The snow has gone all smooshy, so I've been circle walking in runners on the deck, which feels very strange. This is the first time in my life that I've thought the winter has gone by too quickly. Of course, there is another month of winter conditions to get through, which will certainly cure me of that feeling.

Feb 26 I thought I was up to date on this. The month has gone by so fast, walking in circles, tramping through the hills, translating madly. Snowshoeing, both in circles and in the hills, is the greatest training for power coming from the lower back. A word to anyone wanting to take up snowshoes - the little bear claws are perfect for circle walking, but you need real snowshoes for hill tramping. A lot of people have taken to tramping around in the little things, making narrow trails full of great holes wherever they go and annoying skiiers and snowshoers alike.

Feb 5 Snow walking has become part of my psyche. As if Ma Gui walking wasn't addictive enough. My teacher said, "Surely, once you understand the power of Ma Gui circle walking you will not want to do anything else." I should have taken the warning, and stopped right there.

Jan 22 My first week of snowshoe walking the circle has been a great success. There is no fooling a snowshoe or snow, you either step with power or you don't. There is a big snowstorm going on out there right now, so I have to get out and circle walk to make sure my circle does not get covered in.

Jan 15 I have to have another first and only here - I must be the first and only person to practise bagua walking in snowshoes. Ma Gui walking is actually enhanced by bearclaw snowshoes (the short ones with grippers on the bottom). I can feel my feet gripping and digging in to the snow, which squeaks differently depending on the power I put into my feet (for non-Canadians - snow squeaks below minus 20). I must also be the first to have auditory feedback for foot power application!

Jan 10 2004 Just too much to say sometimes. Every Canadian should drive across the country in winter just once. And, possibly another first - this website is now coming to you via satellite. We are so far in the woods that we have no phone, but we are connected to the world via internet. Yesterday I was emailing friends in China while on the messenger with my family on the West Coast. This is very cool, and very Canadian.

Nov 4, 2003. Winter has hit Victoria, which means rain and wind. Bear walking was very fun yesterday, in pouring rain and hurricane force winds. Bears love that kind of weather.

Nov 28 Yet more excitement in my little world. I have switched to a more powerful, faster, huge flat screen (and can burn bootleg DVDs) eMac that cost half of what my old iMac cost. My old iMac has found a happy home, and I am now testing if the system 9 HomePage program will actually work on this system X "Panther" machine. The big screen is great for writing the web site, because I can have my page and all the pallettes in view, no more opening and closing the palettes. For you, of course, this will make absolutely no difference, but you can read the site happy in the knowledge that I am having more fun working on it. More good news, my little brother has turned up a huge pile of tote cases, so our move across the country can be done in our little pickup full of Canadian Tire totes. How Canadian can you get?

Nov 20 I have yet another first, I think. I must be the first person to miss out on a knee operation because the doctor "forgot". He had gone fishing for the entire month of August (!) and was supposed to put me on the rush waiting list for September or October. Since all my martial arts training has given me oodles of patience, I didn't call back until today, to find out how the waiting list looked, since I am leaving the province in a few weeks. My earlier theory that I didn't need an operation wasn't true, since it jams up all the time, but it looks like I will get to test that theory for a few months more, while I get onto a waiting list in Quebec.

Oct 16 Don't know how it went so long between notes. I've been walking around in circles so much that I've lost track of time. I have finally broken through with the bagua circle walk thing, with this Ma Gui style, and am addicted. On another note, if you tear a piece of your knee cartilage, you can tear the whole thing right off with the occasional stupid movement (think chaquan, spear, sutff like that), thus saving on an operation. It hurts like hell, but you don't have to go under anesthetic and get cut. My knee is still sore, and there are a lot of movements I don't dare do, but I think it will eventually come around without operating. So, as usual, I've cured myself through training, but this time it was the combination of strengthening through circle walking and doing stupid things which caused more damage - that whole yin yang thing - the further you go into yang, the closer you are to becoming yin, and all that.

Aug 21 I've been brushing up on my chaquan for a friend. Every once in a while I teach it, and I love it so much I get excited every time I have to pull out my old university text book to remind myself of good old #4 (why is it that our body remembers every single little movement, but our minds just can't get them in the right order?). Zhang Wenguang in Beijing is one of the best martial artists of our time, and his chaquan is terrific, so I would love to translate his book. I am trying to restrict myself to xingyi and bagua, but this potential chaquan project keeps coming back to haunt me.

Aug 14 Pawma camp is such a good excuse to go to California. Madame Gao Fu was such a sweet lady and skilled taiji player that it was a privilege and a pleasure to be translating for her. They kept asking me questions about her, and I'd say "I don't know, I just met her yesterday". That was so cool to have become so close to her so quickly. To anyone wondering if it is worth the effort to learn Chinese, IT IS.

July 24 This is great, guilt free cycling. No, really, cycling is all my knee can handle. Its just a cooincidence that it has turned hot and sunny.

July 17 Two years of getting my back into top shape, and what do I do? Blow a knee cartilage. To all newbie martial artists - take care of your bodies. Pain is not a test of character. It is a sign that something is wrong and needs to be healed You can get away with years of abuse, but it is going to catch up with you when you are less able to heal.

June 26 Perfect cycling weather, and what am I doing? Walking around in a circle pretending I'm a bear. This last trip to Beijing has either brought back all my old enthusiasm for training or has made me completely insane like my teacher. In either case, it feels good to be obsessively training again. Apparantly I look kind of scary, too, in a nice way - not in a "wow, she is weird, I'd better keep away from her" way, but in a "wow, she looks so powerful I'd hate to be inside that circle" way.

June 12 Well, I finally found out how to really sell a lot of stuff - give it away practically free. I mean, you guys are really cheap. I even had one customer (you know who you are) who is getting me to carry the books to California to mail them there, so that they can save $5 on postage. To my eternal shame, I happily agreed to do this.

June 5 People are getting tired of me going on about how great the people of Beijing are. It was a great experience to be stuck in quarantine with an entire housing project. The citizens of Beijing know how to kick back and chill out. I talked about this with some Beijingers, as we hung out one afternoon, and one guy said it really well. A Beijinger can take his stool out to his doorstep with a jar of tea and a fan and think, "Man, this is the life".

Mar 22 Quarantine is over and I'm allowed to rejoin Aikido class. It was pretty weird, after doing nothing but circle walking for two months, to suddenly fling myself of the ground. My bagua teacher will have fits, of course, that I have gone back to Aikido, he just doesn't get the idea of playing without trying to hurt someone. But he's in Beijing and I'm here, so hah!

May 13 Well, that was quite a trip to Beijing. If you ever hear that I have booked my ticket to China, DO NOT book a ticket for the same time! So far I have booked June 5 1989, Sept 12 2001 and the spring of 2003. I enjoyed my SARS house quarantine no end, but my poor students who came along to see Beijing and train might have other thoughts on my timing. I mean, the government SAID that it was alright, so was it my fault that I told everyone that there was no problem in Beijing? I mean, was it? We have been back for five days now with no major symptoms, so it looks like the wushu centre can carry on intact,. though Shane is still there...

Mar13 This week I suddenly and spontaneously started doing flying falls in Aikido. Is this something to do with my cat, or is it something that was perculating all the time?

Mar 6 Everything important that I know about living and dying I learned from my cat. Ash, Feb 1984 to Mar 2 2003.

Feb 20 Talk about random zen happening at opposite ends of the earth. Check out samuri lapin at

Jan 9 2003 The never ending saga of the Jiang Rongqiao translation is finally going to be put to rest. I don't know how many times I've redone that book, but I swear this will be the last. I had all the photos digitised professionally straight from negative, then I redid the whole two hundred and thrirty eight of them. I never get bored of looking at Cai Yuhua do his stuff, the style is just so cool, and he is so funky.

Dec 12, 2002. I have finally rejoined the ranks of wushu bums, having finished a French forestry translation. Boy, time passes slowly when you're not having fun. I am eager to get to the Liu Jingru series. He makes such cool sound effects. How is it that Chinese sound effects are always so expressive? They are going to cause a little problem in translation - do I just leave them out or what?

Nov 21 I was at Chen Zhenglei's seminar last weekend (more on that later, he is a true master in every sense). I just thought I'd pass on something cute that happened. I pulled out my Beijing Wushu Team VCDs to flog, and Hong Yijiao, the instructor/organizer was all over them. This is a professional wushu coach, so I thought it was neat that she was still a fan. But then Chen Zhenglei came over, all keen - is Jet Li in them?

Oct 10 This time my excuse for not updaating this page is having too much work. I've turned into some kind of an obsessive work computer dweeb. But the Di Guoyong book is done, some vcd's are on their way from China, and the Beijing Wushu tapes are almost, but almost, on the way. The only recreation I have at the moment, aside from training, has been renting dvd's, so I have a couple of must-see recommendations for you - Jet Li's The One. Pretty interesting plotline for a kungfu flic, and it has this way cool xingyi vs bagua thing happening. Also - Beijing Bicycle. It should take care of any romantic notions you have about China, and for those like me without romantic notions, it is brilliant. Brilliant is my new word, picked up from all the English guys who say my translations are brilliant. Don't you just love them?

Aug 29 The summer is almost gone, and it has been great. We have found a place for training where people actually apologize if their dog bothers us, and one even asked if it was ok if they played near us. Next up is the big trip to California. Instead of doing the straight down and back on the plane, I've got an intricate train schedule all worked out. Boy, is the internet fun sometimes. For the first time I actually have maps printed out so I have some idea of where the train station is in each town. I hope everyone will be impressed with my new muscles, developed from playing with weapons all winter and summer.

August 1 It is great to be back in Victoria, one of the most beautiful places on this earth. This time we drove across Canada by the backroads, including gravel roads, and it has brought home even more how awe inspiring our country is. The prairies, as ever, were the highlight of the trip. If you haven't been down south to Grasslands national park, you must go, and take the time to walk into it and camp overnight. Just watch out for the toughest mosquitoes in the country. They have adapted to high winds, and can get you under any conditions.

June 13 This last week I learned an important lesson: if you make it to old age it is because you are healthy, but doctors assume you are sick because you are old. Our 18 year old cat had an abscess on her leg from a cat attack, and the vet (not finding the abscess that was so big that her infected hip was an inch above the other) took blood tests, urine tests, etc., assuming her kidneys, thyroid, and whatever were shot because she had lost weight. After an extra four days of suffering, we took her to another vet, who lanced the abscess and said she would be back to normal in a day or two, and ps that she was a marvelously healthy cat - cats don't eat when they are hurt, it was as simple as that. Anyway, if you are old, or have parents who are old - get a second opinion!

May 23 This page had turned into an irrelevant chatty sort of thing, so I am giving it a rest unless I have something to say.

April 25 It is great to see how popular the books are (for people who think small) with a hundred sold in the year since I started selling them properly. Visions of retirement funded on book sales might be a bit premature, but being able to pay for the next print run without going to much into debt is a definite possibility. The real fun is selling books that I think are great, and I really have a soft spot for Yan Dehua's little guys. The more that book gets around, the better.

April 18 The snow is gone from the grass, finally time to train on solid ground. The river road here is completely flooded, which is fun - we walked barefoot carrying our bikes through the snow melt. A little early to take out the good bikes, I guess, but it is so warm all of a sudden. Wildlife count on our rides this spring is already is two moose, one fox, and one groundhog.

April 11 What an outpouring of enthusiasm from around the world. Now I couldn't back out of this project even if I wanted to. Of course, at the same time, I have practically run out of books. Kind of fun to be getting all these estimates for all these projects. I had fun today saying (in french), but no, they will do it for much less than that in Victoria. Anyway, if you particularly want to see a video, get your vote in.

April 4 Well, the big excitement this week, for us retro wushu fans, is that I got in touch with Anthony Chan about the instructional series that he did with the one and only original Beijing wushu team. He still has the master tapes after all these years. I feel guilty about the way he lost out on the whole thing - the only copies I had were those fuzzy kind where the red kind of blurs...Anyway, if we can come up with the funds, we will digitize the videos so that they can be copied onto vcd's. This will allow a whole new generation to see how wushu is supposed to be done. And the best part of this project is that I will finally get copies of the whole series.

March 21 I was so busy with changing the way all the photo pages work last week that I forgot all about doing this page. Also, I was trying to remember to call my brother on his birthday on Wednesday, so when I finally did on Thursday, I naturally forgot that I always do this page on Thursday. This week was the week I finally found a credit card connection that I could afford. And, "just like on t.v." I got an order the very next day after uploading the online system! Time to start thinking of retirement, eh? That was probably a total fluke, but pretty exciting anyway. The other excitement of this week is the tons and tons of snow which have fallen since Monday. I thought I'd be out on my bike this week, but instead have been discovering all the ski trails here in Val David which weren't that skiiable in the atrocious condidtions we have had all winter. We now have about four feet of fluffy white stuff and everyone is going nuts with the spring skiing. This is all good as it distracts me from the thought that my weapons are STILL in Victoria.

March 7 Another first and only - I have got to be the first and only person to have a whole pile of weapons shipped to Victoria when home is in Montreal. I lie awake thinking of those bright new spear heads with their long fluffy tassles, all nestled together just waiting for someone to lovingly put them together and make them quiver. And the sweetest bagua broadsword to replace the one that was stolen - beautifully balanced and a pleasure to wield. If I thought it was torture waiting for them to arrive in Victoria, knowing that they are there waiting for me is even worse.

February 28. Well, if you want to invade Canada, all you have to do is set up an Olympic gold medal hockey match. There wasn't one person in the streets of any Canadian town for an entire afternoon, and then there were so many people out celebrating that you could have driven a tank through them all and just gotten cheered. Even us non hockey fans were completely caught up in the game, our 'Canada' toques and hockey sweaters on and everything. You have to be Canadian to understand.

February 21 Have you ever broken your favourite weapon and never been able to replace it? You know how much that hurts. I have been without a spear for so many years that my right thumb spear callous had almost become invisible. I am now, once again, 'with spear' and having so much fun it should be illegal. I am being sensible in my middle age, and doing only xingyi style spear, which is more powerful but also more sedate, if that is the right word for it. Less running around, anyway. I think you probably have to be middle aged to appreciate the xingyi spear, but I am finding it very, very cool. Or, as we say in Canada, really neat.

February 14 If you have seen my latest project, the dictionary page, you are probably thinking - "now there is someone with entirely too much time on their hands." But let me assure you that I am just completely insane ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! It started with me flipping through my pile of papers searching for the list with the exact English terms I had decided on for the vcd translations. Gee, sez I, I sure wish I didn't have different scraps of paper for every book I've done, it is getting hard to be consistent. P.S. if you ever see anyone in a laundromat with a portable computer, give them a wide berth.

February 7. I am finally settled in here in Val David, so will be uploading the site every week again. Sometimes things just take a little longer than you think they will. It was weird being more out of touch in Canada than I was in Beijing. I am having a whole pile of fun translating the vcd's I brought back from China. Guess it is time to admit that video is a valuable resource, also, and stop being such a book snob. My defense is that I have never seen good videos before - they always seem to be more about showing off than about teaching. And for another of my firsts and bests - I have got to have the largest collection of Chinese pop music outside of China. Some might argue that this is not a good thing, but they are the uninitiated!

January 12, 2002 Well, that was quite an autumn - I went to pawma camp, tested for my aikido ranking, spent three months in Beijing for training (all during a bout of sciatica and more), drove across Canada, and am now in the Laurentians for a training/translating retreat. It has proven even more difficult to get connected to the web here than in Beijing, but I will do my best to keep the site up to date. What can I say about Beijing? Obviously it has changed immensely since I lived there, and even since I last visited. Beijing is my second home, and when I missed China I was really missing Beijing, it just took me a few years to figure that out. Aside from just enjoying hanging out in Beijing, I found two good teachers for bagua and xingyi, and discovered that the Wushu Association is now filled with my old classmates. Now I suddenly have nothing to complain about with the old boys' network way of running things.

September 12, 2001. This is a test to see if I have figured out how to upload to my new server. I messed up last week and they basically moved things into the right folder for me. Even great tai chi masters of the universe can get a little frazzled trying to change to a new server when the old one is already out of time, and packing to go to martial arts camp in an hour.

August 30 We've moved out and are now house sitting, and I've quit my non wushu job, so I am now an official martial arts sojourner for the next eight months. Here, then China, then the cabin in Quebec.

August 23 My neck, which has been cranky since I crashed and burned on my bike four years ago is now completely healed - and it wasn't qigong that did it, but my Aikido sensei. He sensed that a neck should move in a certain way with a certain throw so thats how he moved it. Makes sense in a certain twisted way. After a cascading crack from about twenty vertebrae all the way down my spine I am one hundred percent pain free! It was a pretty cool throw, too, and like true professionals we continued on as if nothing had happened. P.S. Never try to kick an aikido person when they have contact with even one of your hands.

August 16 The geese are on the move already and I am starting to feel like I am too. I have gotten my inoculations and have sent off for my Chinese visa. Much as I would like to afford to go to China way more often, it is more special when I haven't been for five years. All of my training is already heightened and more effective as my mind/body anticipates the need for super attentiveness.

August 9 Just in from three days super intensive training. I think the biggest accomplishment was the first day of forms training. Six hours of form teaches you a lot about the form and about yourself. Working through pain may the traditional way, but it is still, I think, the best way to develop real power. Not harmful pain of doing yourself damage, of course - but the pain, both physical and mental, of hard work. As the master said in Wulin Zhi (our bagua movie psych up) - real power comes from your heart. After that, all the grappling, throwing and hitting was just plain fun.

August 2 The power of the internet is the connection between the people. I put out a call on this site for photos of Li Zhizhou, Jia Ping and Zhang Chengzhong, and a wushu player in Spain sent me a great photo of Jia Ping. Just think about that for a while.

July 26 Get your kids into wushu - Beijing has won the Olympic Games, so wushu will be a demonstration sport in 2008. Now that the decision to have Beijing host the games has been made there is no use grumbling about human rights and other political issues - 2008 is a long way away, and who knows how China will have changed by then. We have spent so many years paying our own way to international competitions and getting no public acknowledgment for our achievements, that it is hard not to get just a little excited about wushu athletes being part of the Canadian Olympic team. Of course we will have to work to get wushu accepted by Sport Canada, but this will give us the motivation.

July 19 Our new training ground at St. Ann's Academy has brought new life to my knees. I think we have found the only flat piece of land in Victoria, and it is ever great. To add an authentic Beijing touch, it is surrounded by brick walls, very cloistered feeling with a lot of city noises happening outside. The little apple trees have branches just low enough to ensure that you sit down in the form, too, as an added bonus. This will be a great place to experience the seasonal changes, I hope I get back from Quebec on time for the apple blossoms.

July 12 A funny thing happened to me this week. I had popped into Kata Trading for lunch, when who should walk in but Dan Anderson. That's not the funny thing. The funny thing is that I was quite thrilled, as in - wow Super Dan Anderson, I can't believe it! Even he was bemused by this. You have to have done karate tournaments in the Pacific North West during the 70s to have any idea who he is, and I have hung out with the biggest masters and athletes in China, you would think I would be blasé about some old fighter from Portland, but there I was telling everyone who would listen - Super Dan Anderson, man was he fast! The coolest part is that he is still doing martial arts, and so am I, and so are a lot of people who started back then.

July 5 Now I think I know how drug addicts feel. I have been practising the taiji changquan form exclusively for the last month in order to the different movement pattern into my body (aside from bagua and aikido, what I mean is instead of Chen taiji) and finally allowed myself to do the Chen form this week. It was like sneaking off from the methadone treatment to get the real stuff. I won't say that the Chen style I play is the greatest (though of course it is), but it is certainly the exact style for me. If you ever find the style that is like drinking water after being so thirsty that you feel each cell welcoming and absorbing it, then you have found your style. Taking a break from it just served to remind me how lucky I am to have found mine.

June 28 Long weekend coming up, and time for a taiji retreat up in Campbell River. The main question of the weekend will be - do we go with healthy tofu dogs that are pathetic when roasted on the campfire, or with cancer causing smokies which swell and drip?

June 21 The first official day of summer, and so the first official day of training bare foot in the park. The wasps are not out yet, and don't get irritable until August, and did I mention that we don't have black flies here? Today I finally got all the way through the taiji changquan form without looking at my notes once. Now I have three months to get it looking as if I have been practising it for the past five years. And you thought you were the only one that got lazy then faked it in class? Would that you were.

June 14 In another of those interesting life moments, my aikido sensei had us spend twenty minutes doing liufeng sibi to each other and he didn't even know it. This is not big thing, you are saying. After all, he does aikido, not Chen style. Aha, I have taught him Chen style, and he can't do liufeng sibi properly to save his life. Or so you would think to see his form. BUT he can do it perfectly - total control and power - when he is doing aikido and calling it something else. I know it is best to have an empty cup, beginner's mind and all that when being a student, and I more than excel in that (just ask my aikido sensei about my blank huh? look when we are doing a quite simple bagua movement if only I would think of it). I just think its funny, that's all.

June 7 The crisis has been averted - the taiji changquan form is NOT lost to Canada. My notes were not so bad after all when combined with my motor memory, and I have pulled the form back from the brink of extinction. This time I will continue to practise it regularly.

May 31 I may not be the only one, but I am certainly one of not very many who know the taiji changquan form. Which brings me to the topic of the day - when you learn a form write it down very clearly and make little diagrams. Don't just make rough notes because you assume you will practice it constantly and so remember it, or because you know what you mean and only need a little reminder. Write down everything that you can possible write down, foot movement and resulting stance, arm movement and final exact placement, direction of movement, direction of regard. If not, you will live to regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life.

May 24 If you are playing a taiji form in the park and do not see the hummingbirds among the flowers, then you are concentrating too hard on the internal and missing the martial and (dare I say?) spiritual aspects of the form. Taiji is not about navel gazing. You must be alive to your environment. How can you defend yourself if you are not aware of what is going on around you? There is a fine line between being aware and being distracted, and you can learn to control this when you pay attention to your reactions to what is going on. Aside from that, though, if you are missing out on the hummingbirds then you are missing out on life, and taiji is part of life, not separate from it. Obviously the weather has turned fantastic here.

May 17 Sometimes it is embarrassing to be a B.C. native, and provincial election time is always one of those. On top of having the largest percentage of losers in politics in the country, we manage to vote in one party with absolutely nobody to hold them in check for the next four years. Am I the only one who voted against the party that was obviously going to win? For those of you not following our silly politics, it is too sad to relate.

May 10 Shane is teaching wushu again, so the gym is alive with giggles. Us serious internal stylists can now train our concentration even better. Reminds me of Beijing, with wushu, xingyi, bagua and taiji all happening at the same time. Except for the giggling, of course.

May 3 A banner day today! I went back to aikido, collar bone and all. It only hurts when I fall. Or when someone twists my shoulder around and tries to rip my arm off. No problem, how many times could that happen in aikido? Now for all you physiotherapists out there - the point of injury (the distal end) does not hurt (would I go back to training before an injury healed?), but a three year old injury (the proximal end) from a bike crash hurts. And this is the interesting part (trust me, this is fascinating) - that end never hurt during aikido before.

April 26 It must be spring by now even in the rest of Canada. The flowers here are downright distracting to a serious taiji person in the park. It has gotten so nice out that Shane is even going to come back to train in the park. Too bad we don't have any black flies to add to the enjoyment, eh? Oh, that special day in May when the blackflies all hatch, what fond memories of the Laurentians... . Did I mention that we don't have blackflies in Victoria?

April 19 I'm off for a weekend seminar. I haven't had time to recover from the weekend holiday. Why do people always hike all over the place on a holiday? My legs are fried.

April 12 I'm off for the long weekend. Happy Easter!

April 5 I guess this may be annoying to those of you in the rest of Canada, but here goes - I am starting to get tired of the rain. I have switched my hours around in my lame minimum wage stock job, which I have only because it allows me to train, and for the last three weeks it has rained every day I have had off and been beautiful every day I have worked. March was supposed to be the last minute desperate try to get in shape before the first bike race (this weekend! aargh!). Victoria is in the middle of the worst drought in 100 years, so why have I have done nothing but commute in the rain and ride the trainer inside? I spent five hours riding around in the rain getting things done today. We had such an easy winter for training in the park, why can' t I have an easy spring for training on the bike? Isn't life supposed to be perfect when you live in paradise? Now I have to go teach in the rain. I don't want to build my character any more, I just want to be dry. ps, even more little flowers are out, including the Easter lilies.

March 29. New proof that thieves are stupid. In Winnipeg they stole the clothes printed with the name of the club. Here they stole my bagua broadsword - about the most easily identifiable sabre in existence. How many five foot broadswords do you think there are in the city? In the country? Police are passing out a photo of a broadsword the size of the kid who will be trying to hawk it. My big hope is that he will show up at Kata Trading where my aikido sensei awaits with great enthusiasm. Hmm, let me see, it appears to have the name of the owner carved in the handle...

March 24 Well, that was fun. I got to meet old friends, hang out with the guys from Winnipeg, and I was introduced to bubble tea. If you need to ask, don't, because it could become a horrible addiction. Fortunately for me I can't get it here in Victoria. Though it is very healthy, like a smoothy. It could become sad if I start making up reasons to go to Vancouver just to get a hit of bubble tea. It is sad enough that I actually enjoyed wandering around in Richmond malls buying Chinese pop music cd's. I think it is time to go to China before I become pathetic. I am definitely out of here this year.

March 16 I am off to Vancouver to watch (not judge! what a pleasure) a wushu competition, so I can't do my usual massive uploading of photos this week. I will probably get involved in the latest political hassles, but I hope to relax and have fun. The big news this week is the cancellation of the Women's Festival in Squamish. And I was counting on the fifty bucks honorarium. Really, though, that was a fun relaxed camp, with no ego trips at all, and I am sad to see it fade away. If any of you readers are women and you haven't been to a women only camp or seminar, you should give it a try. You don't have to be a man-hater to appreciate the difference it makes not having them around. I have taught women only bike training clinics, too, and we have so much fun it is amazing we learn as much as we do.

March 10 I have found out about the International Taichi Day this week, and aside from being a California type bring about world peace bit of silliness, it sounds like a pretty cool idea. Maybe when we all do our forms in a wave that goes around the world we will feel some extra energy, since we will know that this is happening, and the imagination is a powerful thing. Once when I was doing the Chen form in Montreal in the evening, I felt that Cai Yuhua was doing it in Shanghai in the morning. I was just learning the form then, and that time I felt a powerful energy course through my body and suddenly everything fit together and I knew how it was to be done. Ok, maybe I did it all by myself, but it sure felt like I had help.

March 3 This internet thing is sometimes amazing (though not all that great for selling books). I am now in contact with a bagua master in Beijing who is willing to teach me when I show up there! Coming from the old China, where a telephone call was a major incident in the day, I was completely astounded to have this guy just email me to say hi, he had been practicing bagua for over twenty years and is moving to Canada in a couple of years. He is a lineage holder and looks legitimate - he seems very straight forward and honest and it is obvious that he loves bagua. He has written a book that he wouldn't mind translated, and even emailed me the first chapter. I have been trained for the semi political writing of the eighties, so don't find it all that easy to read (he's a pretty good writer, well educated), but I have made this my next project. This will be the first time since I did the 48 move form in 1982 that I will have the author available to help with any problems in translation. So my plans are changing - I want to go to Beijing (I miss Beijing so much) instead of Shanghai (I don't miss Shanghai one bit) and train bagua, and take trips down to Shanghai to see sifu for my taiji. Got to get a job in Beijing! Got to train harder! Got to get busy translating!

Feb 24 One of the reasons we practise outside is to experience the yin/yang interchange of the seasons. Too many people go from house to car to office, so outdoors training is my little way of getting non-cyclist-commuters to experience the slow changes of the year. Today the sloping rays of the sun on the oak trees were beautiful - this is one of the best times of year for lighting effects, the sun is starting to get a little stronger but still lies low enough in the sky to give depth. I have to admit I did a lot of gazing around instead of focussing on my 'opponent' - today I am not fighting the world, I am celebrating it. A woodpecker came by to the old oak over our 'flat' bagua spot, and I saw an eagle on my way home. Though I complain about cold occasionally, I wouldn't enjoy living in a place without major shifts in light. We live with the cold and dark for a few months of the year (well, ok, maybe six months) and that makes the light and warmth more precious as it comes and goes. The next step up in enlightenment, of course, is to honestly enjoy the cold and dark. I can go a fair way along that line, but still have to admit to a limit.

Feb 17 Ok, so this is still Canada. We've got about four inches of snow on the ground gradually melting. Pretty weird for here, but true nonetheless.

Feb 10 Is it just me, or have you noticed that there are some people out there that take this martial arts thing way too seriously? A friend put me onto a chat page where they had mentioned my bagua translation, and I discovered someone discussing whether or not the stance I was in was double weighted and whether that technique would be more powerful single weighted. Check out the bagua excerpts page at the bottom - can you tell that we were laughing? How do you like my new little disclaimer? Do I have to be that careful about what I say and what kind of stuff I put on this site? What on earth do those people think about the picnic table picture? And don't you dare mention the hair. It was short when I left, and I was there for a long time. I can't help it if it grows straight up.

Feb 3 This page is turning into a bit of a rant about the perfect weather in Victoria, but today before practise I spent an hour lying on the ground taking photos of little flowers coming up - tiny and fresh, with just the perfect light touch of dew. Sorry about this, but what can I say? If it makes things any easier for you in the snow, our reservoir is half empty what with no rain this winter (and you know we don't have any snow to melt in the spring to fill it up) so we will have to be careful with water this summer.

Jan 27 I promised myself that I would add something each week, but I have been indoors all afternoon working on the photos for the site and now have to go out for a bike ride before the light goes. Another beautiful day in paradise. I hope that you people still in the snow like skiing.

Jan 21 While going over all those wushu photos and reorganizing the whole mess, I realized that there is another 'only' in my palmares. I must be the only person who was forced to go to watch national wushu competitions as part of her education. I was given all expenses paid trips to each professional and amateur national in 1981, 82 and 83, and I had to go to every single session. Imagine that, poor me, watching at least six hours of wushu a day for up to ten days. No wonder I can recognize any style within the first five seconds of a form. Like any convention, they were always held in some scenic place like Hangzhou or historic place like Zhengzhou. On one occasion I made friends with some reporters who smuggled me onto the floor with a press pass to get better photos, but that's another story...

Jan 13 You'd think that after all these years I'd be bored of wushu, but I've had way too much fun this week going through photos to put up on the site. I hope you like the ones I could afford to upload. I almost paid for more web space so that I could put more photos on, but that wouldn't be too smart since the site is supposed to be for selling books, not for spending more money on wushu. One of these days I'll get this business end straight. My brilliant brother thought of putting in a pile of thumbnail photos and having them link to pages - this way the hit on the page registers in web stats and I don't have to figure out how to do an interactive vote page. No one need know how little I have mastered this medium!

Jan 6, 2001 Just to rub it in for you in the rest of Canada - we had a great practice this morning in the bright sunshine. Luckily the temperature went down a bit from Friday, so we didn't have to peel off all our clothes. I went for a fantastic bike ride later - an almost full moon rising over the sea in the pale blue sky, a sunset glowing behind the Malahat mountain on the other side, Canada geese flying by straight ahead. With careful dressing I did not overheat, but it was a close call. Why on earth do I want to go back to Shanghai? You can't ever see the sky there, just a general haze which changes shades of grey. Must be completely nuts.

Dec 30 2000 Happy New Year.

Dec. 23 A story for Christmas. My martial brother, little Cai, is a martial arts teacher. He's been around for quite a few years and has a pretty good reputation in his town. He's a good fighter, and has a good group of people training with him. One day, one of them brought along a friend, a big guy. He wanted to learn wushu, too. Trouble was, he was as stupid and slow as he was big. But he was eager, so Cai sent him off to one side to lift up a big rock. It was so big he had to spread his legs and sort of sit and embrace it to get his arms around it. He was happy to be with his friend, and be doing wushu like the others, so he lifted that rock every day for hours. After he had been there a while, they got used to him lifting his rock in the corner and didn't really think about it. They practiced their forms and fighting and he lifted his rock. Afterwards they would all go together for tea or something and he was one of the club. One day, a few months later, a challenger came looking for little Cai. He'd heard, as fighters do, that Cai was hot stuff. Cai didn't like fighting that much, had a sore back, and thought the guy looked like a jerk. He just didn't want to bother. He thought he could scare the guy away with his big student (he was really big). So he said, go fight my student in the corner, if you can beat him maybe I'll fight you. But the guy was game, went over and challenged the student. "What do I do?" He'd never fought before, just lifted a rock. "Just grab him like you've practiced" So he did. Just picked up the guy and held on. They were so busy laughing they didn't notice the guy turning blue. They had to take him to the hospital to resuscitate him. I don't know if the moral is that you should never underestimate anyone, or that if you learn one technique and learn it well, you're better off than someone who's learned a hundred.

Dec 16 The first day of this season that we missed training on account of the weather! It is raining now, but we woke up to a blanket of snow this morning. It destroys the grass to train on the snow, so class was off. We have had the most beautiful autumn with clear and calm skies - my students will turn into a bunch of wimps. It is much more character building to train in hurricane force winds and driving rain. I even saw shooting stars the other evening - a bit too much.

Dec 9 This is it - the first iMac generated web page from the wushu centre! I know that I am not the first person to spend all my wushu earnings on wushu, and I won't be the last, so this is no claim to fame. After suffering for about a year with a partially functioning computer that could scan and print but needed to be turned off and on to be able to refind its RAM, and a borrowed computer that could connect to internet but couldn't find the printer, I now have one functioning (and beautiful, if you are into art deco) computer that will do everything! A huge thanks to the players in Portland and Winnipeg who invited me to give seminars just as I was descending into computer hell.

Dec 1 I think I have just about covered all the 'only person' things I have experienced. I may the the only taijiquan player who races track cycling, but I don't see why I should be. I am probably the only track racer who treats riding a bike as a zen experience. If you play taijiquan as slow as you can or ride a track bike as fast as you can, you may slip through a rip in the time/space continuum, so they are really the same thing, except that your lungs hurt more on the bike.

Nov 23 I am only person I know of stupid enough to collect the same injury with the same action on both sides of my body, in a completely unforced situation. If you drop directly down on your shoulder the acromial-clavicular ligament, which connects your shoulder blade to your clavicle, pops. Now, most people upon discovering this will not do it again. I did it in 1981 and again in 2000 (the other time a few years ago doesn't count because I flipped over my bike when my front brake fell off into the wheel, but that's another story).

Nov 11 I am the first person to be fined under the new visa and immigration laws of China in 1995, set up in July, just on time to catch me in the fall. I probably still hold the record for the amount paid to avoid deportation or jail (5000rmb - $800!). Even the immigration official was nervous, and I was lucky to have a martial brother lawyer to hand out cigarettes and crack jokes. It's a long story but at least the moral is short - the date on your visa is for the range of dates for entry, not how long you get to stay there. The blurry stamp that you can't read that they put on when you arrive is the date by which you should either leave or have your visa extended.

Nov 4 I am also the only person I know who has both stepped in a rotting pig up to my knee and jumped waist deep into human compost, though luckily on two separate occasions. Bet you didn't know that fields are not just spread with human excrement, but they are completely tilled over and built up. As Cai Yuhua says, when it's sticky like that you know it's human. I really don't understand why people don't like to go to China.

Oct 28, 2000 I am probably the only person in history to have gone overtime in a competition taiji form. I can assure you, this is virtually impossible, since they blow a whistle at 5 minutes, giving you a whole minute warning.

The rabbits were drawn by a friend, Carol Rae, who is mostly a print artist, but did these brush drawings for me. She does excellent costume design as well. She is currently being discovered as an abstract painter, so watch out for her work.

The Chinese characters which are on some of my pages say "continuous, continuous, without a break." They were carved in a stone for me by my martial elder brother in Shanghai. They refer to the power and energy in a taiji form, and to the lifelong commitment needed in the practice of anything.

tgl stands for three big rabbits (trois gros lapins), in case you were wondering. The rabbits remind me of one of those perfect moments in my life when I looked up just at the right time. This reminds me that I translate for the love of what I do and also reminds me not to take things too seriously. There is more to the story, but its a zen thing.

trois       gros       lapins      traversent       le      chemin