The Master and Me

Almost 10 years ago, I left Beijing. Based on the fact that I have kids and a business, and blah blah blah, I haven’t been back. But last week I got to see my teacher for the first time in almost 10 years!! Let me briefly explain…

He and his wife are currently on an 18 day tour of North America. He was in Toronto for a total of 45min on his way to Niagara and then New York and then beyond. So we saw him in Kingston for the night, prior to him driving through Toronto. 

Zhang Lao Shi is a man that has always  understood timing. The information itself, at the wrong time, worthless. It’s the timing of the message that is golden. Zhang always knew how to speak to me exactly where I was at.

This time around, I got to see Zhang at a new stage in his life. Knowing of his past, as well as his recent fame, I was curious. 

Following the passing of his teacher, Grandmaster Feng Zi Qiang, Zhang was in demand throughout China for his teachings and because of it, he spread himself a bit thin. His health suffered for it. 

Now I can’t compare myself in the true sense to my teacher. His teachings, wisdom and status are quite remarkable. But in these last few years, my business has also grown. And although it’s been beautiful, it’s also been challenging. How to navigate tighter scheduling as well as maintain my family dynamic became more difficult. I didn’t want to ever become overworked or make work my main thing. I like teaching, I do. It just has to be balanced with the other aspects of my life. 

I’ve realized as of late that more of what I have is not necessarily going to be better than what I have. It’s a fine balance. I am appreciative as my business continues to grow. But my workload and family life must coexist in accordance. 

I didn’t go to see my teacher last week to learn new forms or theory. I wanted to see how he was doing as a person. Knowing him back then and seeing him now, the experience was nothing short of amazing.

It was visible in his overall demeanour. Vibrant and strong, but at the same time he had a more relaxed perspective about himself. He has slowed down and focused more on the quality of his life. At my age, with my peers, many of us lack the balance and lose sight. Seeing him again was perfect timing for me. But then again, he always had a knack for timing.

It’s been over a week since our reunion and I am still spinning. I continue to be forever indebted to my teacher, Master Zhang Yu Fei. On our first goodbye I cried a wee bit. I’ll admit it. This time it was he. 


Thank you for reading.