On Teaching

The person who taught me the 66-move main form of Liuhebafa beginning in 1997, and who spent several years helping me refine my abilities with it, is Joshua Crossley of Nanaimo, BC. I am indebted to him for his generosity in teaching me this form, and for setting me on a course that has truly transformed my life. This is why I dedicated my book, Ride Backwards on Dragon, to him:

For Joshua
who taught me the 66-move sequence of Liuhebafa
and who has been a powerful catalyst for transformation
in my life in more ways than he will ever know

My Liuhebafa teacher Josh Crossley and myself, playing one of our innumerable games of Chinese Chess (Hsiang-Ch`i) that would always follow our practice sessions, along with a good meal.

Over the years, many people have asked me if I will teach them the Liuhebafa form, either privately or in a class they offer to organize. They have read Ride Backwards on Dragon, or they have watched me practicing the form daily down at the seaside park near my home.

I have chosen not to teach the full 66-move form at this time for several reasons. My primary reason is so that I remain focused on the solitary journey of the Wanderer, the Poet, the Explorer. For that appears to be my path to walk in this lifetime.

 “Be in the world but not of the world”
~Lao Tzu
 

 It is very easy to become diverted from the real Journey (which will be different for each one of us) through our engagement with others and our temporal commitments to the outer world, no matter how well intentioned and selfless our undertakings may be. This is especially true when the roles of Teacher and Student are involved.

“All roles are dangerous. The world tends to trap you in the role you play.”
~James Baldwin
 

 A Teacher, by definition, is expected to have answers. All the more so when money is involved. We don’t pay someone to have a headful of questions, someone who wanders that liminal zone between the harsh contours of day and night on a path lit only by the luminous glow of infinite potentiality. We pay someone to tell us exactly how to weight our stance, how to deflect a strike, how to correctly align elbow and knee, hip and shoulder, wrist and ankle. We pay someone to tell us whether our form is right or wrong, good or bad. And all too frequently in the martial arts community, we are paying someone in exchange for the belief that we are now part of an elite tribe, superior to all other practitioners, schools, and teachers of the art.

I no longer believe in such absolutes as right and wrong, good and bad. It’s all relative and context-dependent. And I want no part in perpetuating people’s tendency to seek validation and self-identity through cults and gurus of any kind.

“If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.”
 

My investment these days is in questions, not answers. For true power resides in questions, and in the questioning mind. It resides in not knowing, in being forever joyously embarked on a voyage of discovery.

And so I choose not to teach the form.

I do, however, offer my Pen & Dragon: Kung Fu for Writers creativity workshops. These workshops combine writing exercises with specific movements and principles from Liuhebafa, T’ai Chi, and Chi Gong to achieve a more fertile mind/body connection and stimulate creative flow.

Visit my Workshops page for more information.

May you be gentle wind sweeping leaves.

~Kim Goldberg

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