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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Kung Fu Priestess

I take my faith seriously.  I practice my Craft as a religion.  I follow the cycles of the Moon closely, honoring the Full Moons and celebrating the turn the of Seasons.  I follow the turn of the Wheel and take my cues from Her seasons.

Several years ago I followed a desire which had been with me for many years.  I had longed to study T'ai Ch'i.   I grew up being a martial arts enthusiast and a lover of Asian culture.  Along the way, as a young adult I developed asthma.  I had read somewhere or learned somewhere that T'ai Ch'i was an excellent remedy for asthma, as it helped to slow down your breathing and cultivate your Ch'i, the energy of life.

Years passed before I acted on my desire to study T'ai Ch'i.  It just seemed to be one of those things I never got to, yet the desire was always lurking around in my mind.  Then in 2009 I finally took the step and began to study T'ai Ch'i, which was being taught at a senior center.

As I began to study T'ai Ch'i, I shared my experience with one of my very best friends.  Little did I know that she had been a Shao-Lin student for many years.  I had been to her home several times, seen her weapons, but it was just a subject that never came up.  I truly believe it is one of things that you don't see or understand until you are ready.  In sharing my experience, she asked me to show her my T'ai Ch'i.  After showing her the tiny bit I had learned, she suggested I might enjoy coming to her school, The Chinese Shao-Lin Center.  This suggestion scared and un-nerved me.  I was comfortable in the senior center.  Going to a real school was more than I was prepared to consider.  However, I also ran the suggestion by a trusted co-worker, and he too having studied martial arts as a teen, thought I would enjoy the structure and discipline of martial arts as it is taught in a formal school.  Thankfully I listened to the advice of my friends and I joined the Chinese Shao-lin Center (CSC) in 2009.  But I only went to learn T'ai Ch'i.

The CSC has a marvelous program of offering free classes for a month.  For one month you can take all the classes you like, for free, in T'ai Ch'i and Kung Fu.  I used all my free T'ai Ch'i classes and was hooked.  However while taking my free classes I noticed all the different belt levels.  There were belts of white, yellow, blue, green, brown, and the all hallowed, Black.  Intrigued, I asked how one achieved the belt levels of advancement.  A senior student told me "you get those from studying Kung Fu".  Hmmm.  Study Kung Fu?  This was not what I had come to learn, but those belts and the training looked awesome.  I took one free class and decided to learn Kung Fu.

However, beyond those serendipitous moments, another truth lie hidden.  In my study of The Craft I had come across a beautiful used copy, of Ed Fitch's "Grimore of Shadows".  Ed Fitch is a pioneer of the Old Ways, having been around during the days of Scott Cunningham, the beginnings of Wicca and Raymond Buckland.  In studying Ed Fitch's grimore, I came across a passage that read:

"Study of Defensive and Martial Combative Arts"
"The world is not a peaceful or tranquil place, and it is seldom prudent to fully trust outsiders - even those appointed by the Law - with the safety of oneself, one's family or those of one's coven.  All should be encouraged to take some training in Karate, Hapkido, Judo, Ninjitsu, Aikido, Tai Chi, Kung Fu, or other such martial arts which have a strong (if subtle) metaphysical and Magical philosophy behind them."

There it was in Black and White.  Ed Fitch extoling the virtues of martial arts and the benefits of training for a practicing Witch.  I knew then and there I had to continue with my studies.  I needed to see the course through to develop as a person, a human being, a Priestess and a Witch.  And so I committed to learn and study Kung Fu, honoring the commitment I had made to myself and to the Goddess.

My study and training in Shao-Lin Kung Fu has only really just begun.  On Sunday, August 26, 2012, I was thrilled to achieve my First degree Black Belt in Shao-Lin Kung Fu:

I have no idea where this journey will take me now.  I remain open and committed to the Craft and to Shao-Lin Kung Fu.   I am grateful to Ed Fitch for publishing his knowledge and to my school, The Chinese Shao-Lin Center, where I study under the wonderful guidance and training of Masters Sharon and David Soard.

Blessed Be, So Mote It Be,
Priestess Najah

1 comment:

  1. Congrats! This is awesome. Dawn has studied Martial Arts so it's a big influence in our household as she holds it sacred as a spiritual practice :)