Kashu-do (歌手道): Everyone Needs a Teacher: My Return to Kung Fu

Some 18 months ago I began teaching a student who was simultaneously studying Kung Fu. The subject often came up because I studied briefly 15 years ago but was not able to continue. Over the years, I sought often to find a school that embodied the values that were important to me, indeed the values I profess in my teaching and singing and that appear on the title box of the blog. Courage, Patience, Faith. Hard Work is a given. These are the principles that lead to excellence.

All of the principles I value are so evident at Sifu Romain’s Kung Fu school. My first lesson with him revealed wisdom, knowledge, experience, respect, and he requires a commitment from the student. Kung Fu is challenging physically, mentally and spiritually. My first private lesson with Sifu Romain was not surprising. I knew what I was in for the moment I saw him. Quality shines in a person. His quiet confidence exudes strength that goes far beyond ego. It is about respect for the experiences that led to his success. He embodies what I value and I barely know him. All that I needed to know was so evident in the process of our first lesson. I trust he will help me in my path.

Today, inspired by my first lesson, I got up earlier than usual and ran two miles. I had limited my physical workout to Yoga, and it was clear that it was not enough. It was not easy for the first half mile. The air burned in my lungs and reminded me that I was out of shape. But my breathing technique was strong and soon the fire calmed and I finished a little more than a mile then I jogged back home before beginning my day.

Tonight I had my first group class with one of Sifu Romain’s other teachers. The process was the same. Respect, knowledge, experience, wisdom. My arms burned during some of the exercises but there was something wonderful about the encouragement of my classmates. I was the newest student, the rookie, alongside more experienced little girls on one side and very strong looking men on the other. I am inspired to excellence. Tomorrow I have my next private lesson with Sifu Romain. The school is 3.5 miles from my house and I intend to run it.

Suffice it to say I have found my teacher.  At this point in my training, I do not need a voice teacher. The process of building my voice alone has been extremely satisfying. But being a singer is much more than a vocal  pursuit. For this voice to be strong, it must be supported by a powerful body. The musical, emotional and dramatic experiences are there. I put great value on what I have achieved in that regard. But over the years I have let my body go. In presenting myself as a singer I must be proud of all of me, mind, body and spirit. I know that the challenge that Kung Fu will present will prepare me well for my journey as a dramatic tenor.
I have to be up before 6. am to be certain I can run 3.5 miles and get there on time. So I will stop here and go to sleep.

© 03/22/2010

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