Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama’s Inauguration: A New Brand

After watching Obama’s Inauguration on television yesterday, it is back to “chopping wood and carrying water” for me today. As an intense introvert, I confess that I couldn't always relate to all the hoopla yesterday. I do know that I like how Obama thinks. I like how he solicits information from multiple sources and synthesizes it. I like how he defines his goals. Of all the candidates who ran for president, I think he is the best one to lead the United States at this point in time.

This morning as I was waking up, I was thinking about the strong power of symbolism. Older white males have come to symbolize so much of what is wrong with the United States right now: corporate greed, untouchable arrogance. They have almost become as much of a brand as Campbell’s soup or Pepsi Cola. (I am in no way saying that I agree with the stereotype.) When people looked at President Obama yesterday, they saw something different. Part of people’s hope yesterday was related to seeing a different brand of elected official.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Techno Sensei

Ron recorded Bob doing the first third of the Liuhebafa form and gave each of us in the class DVD copies. The form is complex, and I appreciate the ability to look at it at home. One couple loaded the video onto their I Pod. I loaded it onto my computer because I don’t own a DVD player. This weekend Ron told me that I can actually slow the video down. So, now some of us have “Little Bob.” I now am enjoying “Slow Bob.” What fascinates me is that we are using current technology to master an ancient martial art. We are also naturally being proactive in our learning. I think most of us have a high degree of motivation to learn the form.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What Is Dancing?

On Sunday, NBC premiered Superstars of Dance, a program with dance routines from around the world. Some were what people traditionally think of as dance, but some pushed the definition. A number were martial arts routines. The judges didn’t know how to score them. Yes, it was an incredible routine, but was it dancing?

I have fond childhood memories of dancing in the living room of my parents’ home. At night I would use the picture window as a mirror, not so different from my ballet class. I was an adult before I ever found out that some of the neighbors used to watch me. I would have been horribly embarrassed. Instead I just remember the joy of moving to the music.

After much internal debate, I registered for the second semester of Liuhebafa, an internal martial art. Yes, I am uncoordinated and the slowest one in the class. Yes, a number of times in the first semester I wanted to sit down on the floor in tears because I was trying to figure out which hand was my right and which was my left when everyone else was asking detailed questions about movements. Yes, I have just a fraction of the martial arts experience of the other students in the class. But, when I go home and practice what little of the form I can remember, I feel like I am dancing, just like I did when I was a little girl. While I get a great deal of satisfaction practicing Tai Chi, the flowing movements of Liuhebafa often make me feel joyful. Right now that feeling is worth the struggle.