Wednesday, March 3, 2010


My inheritance is found
between Heaven and Earth.

My Taijiquan is not Chinese.
My Capoeira is not Brazilian.
My Natya Yoga is not Indian.
I am not a nationalist,

To be an artist, one makes art
This cannot be done if it is not your own

I am not a traditionalist
I am not preserving culture
I am not concerned with historical accuracy.

I am a child of a new world
That old worlds become
as borders dissolve

A child of Slave and Master
of mixed caste and class

I am a crossroad
I am continents joined
I am a planet united

The identity of mankind
either frail through division
or perfected through unity

the choice is clear enough

It has been said that masters are few
yet systems are common
Systems are but the creation of masters
yet seldom are masters the creation of systems

for the true master innovates
forming themselves anew from the ways of the old
as much new as old
if they try to let the system make them, they fail
mastery is not had by a conveyor belt
no one method works for all people
to obtain mastery one must master self,
self is but identity

The students all try to imitate each other imitating the masters.
The masters imitate none.
the truth of things is clear enough
many people expect the system to do the work for them
but mastery of a system does not result in self mastery
this is the inevitable result for those who do not make the art their own
Skill is not the same as mastery

perfect imitation is still not the same as doing
how many people fail for not having known this?

The student is like a hungry man,
a technique is like a fish
one can give him the fish
and so one can give him the technique
but he will hunger after another
and depend upon being fed
but what of teaching the student to fish?
Teach him the origin of technique
and he will learn to feed himself
this is the difference of mastery
the master does not master technique
it is the source of technique that must be mastered
the source is not a system or a method
look inside yourself to find it

Why does a student practice?
Why does a master practice?

I am already who I am.
I am not learning to become Brazilian
I am not learning to become Chinese.
I am not a nationalist

I take the art and make it my own
bit by bit,
day by day

I do not pretend to improve the art
only myself
bit by bit,
day by day.