Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, there are still two cups at my table.


Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~


Saturday, August 03, 2019

Interview with Jonathan Bluestein

Jonathan Bluestein has been a frequent contributor to Cook Ding's Kitchen. Over at Thoughts on Tai Chi blog, there was an interview with him. An excerpt is below. The full interview may be found here.

In this fifth edition of the Q&A series of Thoughts on Tai Chi, teacher and author Jonathan Bluestein generously answers on my questions. Sifu Bluestein is one of those rare individuals who has dedicated his whole life to his interest in Chinese Martial arts. He teaches Xingyiquan and Piguaquan in his home country of Israel and has made extensive research in the realm of Chinese traditional martial arts. He has travelled, met and interviewed many teachers around the world and summed up his discoveries in his book Research of Martial Arts, a work packed with interesting facts and fascinating stories.

If I would mention living teachers today who completely dedicated their lives to their arts, someone who studies martial arts, breathes and eat, in that very order, Sifu Bluestein would probably be one of the very first persons I would come to think about. Please visit his homepage Research of Martial arts to order his book or download free samples from them, as well as getting access to many free articles on the subject.

For your convenience you can also download the interview here in PDF format:
Q&A with sifu Jonathan Bluestein.


Thoughts on Tai Chi: Your favourite Martial Artists?

Sifu Jonathan Bluestein: Oh, that is a tough one! Definitely NOT Bruce Lee or any other ‘movie star’, which is the most generic answer out there. I cannot single out one man or woman to be ‘favourites’. Generally speaking, such notions are often childish, as excellence manifests through a wide variety of attributes, and Life is not really a competition. There are many people whom I respect. Some of these gentlemen are (beyond myown teachers, whom I obviously like):

Grand-Master Keith R. Kernspecht, from Germany – who is a good friend of mine, is the head of the EWTO. His modest organization has the upwards of 60,000 students. He is among the people I enjoy most spending time with, along his beautiful daughter Natalie, who is also a martial arts teacher. I gather that master Kernspecht’s business success in the martial arts is second to none in history.

Furthermore, as they say in our circles – ‘his hands are high’. I am in the process of writing his biography nowadays, and hoping to get it published by late 2019 or early 2020. You would be hard-pressed to find a better martial arts biography once this one is published. It is going to be a massive tome, over 400 pages, with some of the most entertaining personal stories one could imagine, most of which were never previously made public. To be accompanied by over 300 rare pictures, too. Luckily as we are friends, Keith was willing to cooperate with my research, and there was no need for a contract or anything of this nature. But this is still my project, not an official biography or anything of this sort. The biography I am writing of his life would be the first in a series of books I shall produce about famous masters.

Then there is master Yang Hai from Montreal, Canada – who is a friend, colleague and a wonderful, extremely cheerful individual. Every time I speak with him, I learn something new. Master Yang’s enthusiasm for all forms of Chinese gongfu is truly boundless. His Xing Yi Quan is very close to mine in terms of lineages and methods, although he performs at a much higher level and is exceedingly accomplished in his understanding of the arts. I look up to him as a person from whom I would love to study one day.

Morio Higaonna sensei from Okinawa – among my favourite karateka, and just a terrific human being. A very positive and inspiring practitioner whom I have been looking up to for many years, even though our arts and traditions are quite different. I would say that in his generation, few have equaled his ability and understanding, and among them was his contemporary, Tetsuhiro Hokama sensei.

This time of the year also marks the sad anniversary of the passing of my shigong (teacher’s teacher), later master Zhou Jingxuan. A paragraph would not do, so if you are interested, I have written an biographical summary of his life and my thoughts and feelings towards him, which can be read here (below the link is a picture of master Zhou):

http://cookdingskitchen.blogspot.com/2012/12/master-zhou-man-artist-teacher.html

 

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