If you’re looking for a magical secret or special technique you may want to look elsewhere because you wont find it in this article. I was never taught to defend myself as a kid, raised by a single mother and a father hardly around made that non existent. My mother being a gentle soul maybe thought the world was a better place than what it is. So I had to make due and figured out how to make my way around bullies as a kid. Bullies grow up and some don’t change, I encountered this as an adult which led me down the path to Xinyi-Dao and Grandmaster Li Tai Liang.

As I learned circular and linear movements, how to move and breathe the fear of being bullied subsided. I learned to feel comfortable that at the least I could stand my ground regardless of the outcome. That’s not the only thing that changed, my health improved and I learned far more than I could have imagined about myself and this art we call Xinyi-Dao.

Some of my most memorable moments were after class sitting with Grandmaster over tea. I’d listen to stories of Grandmaster Li’s life growing up in China, the old Masters, the power of Chi and more. There were adventures of foiled robberies, saving the helpless from bullies, and helping the damsel in distress (which turned out to become Mrs. LI). I was fortunate to be able to sit there, unwind from class, sip some good tea and learn to embrace cultural traditions and family values through an honorable man.

There was one story that inspired me to create the painting “The Farmer” and it went a little something like this…

Teachers are like trees Li said, their branches are the students, the students seed and become trees and their students the branches and so on and so on. This stuck with me and years later after moving away I would paint The Farmer in my Figurative Graffiti style. A farmer with a sack of seeds planting them in the ground to grow.

A new city and life had gotten in the way of training as often as I had in the past but recently I found new inspiration. You see I now have my own little seed to grow, my newborn son. Someone to teach all that I have learned from Grandmaster Li. My little branch, and oh yeah maybe Teacher did show me some secrets ;)

-David Gerena