Monday, March 27, 2006

Double Standards

A few weeks or a month go by with Brad as a member of the group. He was taught some of the forms we learned during this time. There were 8 basic forms that I learned. The entire class learned these 8 basic forms and spent most of class time practicing them. There were some basic warm up exercises that were performed at the beginning of class.

Honestly, we were not taught very much at all. The weekly meetings were more of a chance to practice the things we had been taught and to listen to the weekly talk. To make contact with the other group members.

For Brad, being a rich kid who got everything he wanted, I wonder how the class appeared. He joins the class, learns some basic warmups, listens to Mike talk, and then practices 8 forms. The rest of the time is spent standing around talking.

I know I had trouble with the work ethic of the class. I felt there was an awful lot of wasted time. I can imagine how the rich kid with everything felt. He was probably bored out of his skull. So it was with no surprise at all that I noticed that Brad was not at class one day. It was maybe 2 months after he had joined.

This really caught my eye. I detailed previously how Mike had taken my vacation as an opportunity to try and get rid of me. I had told Mike I was going on vacation and then when I get back he is acting like I am a failure and he wants to get rid of me.

Brad skips class and what happens? Not a thing. I don't know if anyone even mentioned it. Writing this down, I feel like a nanny or a mother. It was not me, it was the group. It was a very big deal to miss class. If you were not going to class, you were supposed to call and tell someone. If you did not call and tell someone, you got chewed out. This was for the entire group.

Brad joins, and with a month or two he is skipping class and no one says anything at all to him. Rich kid getting the special treatment again. When he returns to class, he of course goes straight to Mike and starts with the brown nose routine. Mike responds, of course, and Brad and Mike are best buddies. As if nothing ever happened.

That really annoyed me. My relationship with Mike was basically nonexistant at that time. I could not deal with his energy so it was very hard for me to be close to him. I did not really have anything to say to him. I was there to learn kung fu and practice. Not gossip like women over the back fence.

When I saw that Brad could basically do anything he wanted, and all he had to do was to bullshit Mike and everything would be fine, I was angry. I could not belive that Mike, the man I admired so much, could be so blind to Brad's lies. By that time I knew for a fact that Brad was one of those people that can and will say anything to get what they want. No respect for other people at all.

I could not understand why Mike would listen to all this baloney, then smile and act like Brad was his best friend. Becuase that is what happened. Brad was practically vying with the protege Jeff for first place in Mike's attention. This was 2 months after he joined. Mike and Jeff had known each other for years.

The thing that really blew my top was when Brad went on vacation. Yes, just like me, Brad went on vacation. He went to Europe I think it was. For a long time. He was gone for a month or maybe even more. He did this maybe a few months after he was skipping the classes.

Nothing was said. No derogatory comments about how Brad just joined and then disappeared. No trying to make him leave. No asking him to leave. No plots or games or conspiracies to get him to leave. Brad doing what he pleased and being completely accepted anyways.

By now Brad is acting like he is king. He occasionally stops by to bless the class with his presence. It is mind boggling to me. The total disrespect he had for the entire class, including Mike. And they all knew he was like that when they asked him to join.

I can understand why Brad had this attitude. After joining the class, a person would learn the first 8 forms in 3 months or so. After that, there was really no pressing need to be at the class other than expectation. If you skipped class, you would not miss learning any new kung fu. You would only miss Mike's talk that week and meeting with the other people.

For a person full of themselves, or with no concern about others, it would be the easiest thing in the world to tell yourself you had better things to do and to skip class. Which is exactly what Brad did.

Exactly what people expected

I have been working on my latest book. My brain is not thinking Ba Gua. You will need to forgive me as I switch back to making more entries here. They may seem disjointed while my brain makes the switch.

The last major event was the admission of Brad to the group. It was discussed how Mike felt the group needed new blood. It was discussed how Brad had a bad reputation as a person. How there was doubt about asking him. Then the process of him being interviewed and accepted into the class was discussed.

Brad was just exactly what everyone knew he was.

That is kind of funny to say now. I respected everyone in the group. I sat there as they discussed what kind of person they new Brad was before they ever invited him. I listened to them make the decision to invite him after they sad all the bad and negative things about him.

When it turned out they were right, I had to ask myself "What kind of decision making capabilities do these men have? How intelligent are these men? They knowingly invite a bad person to the group, and he is just exactly what they feared he would be. Are these men truly superior to me?".

I did not answer the question at that time obviously. I put it down to another case of me not knowing enough to make an informed decision.

Mike is a very smooth person. He has no trouble telling white lies if it will further his goals. In many situations throughout my time with him, when something went wrong, he would always say he knew it was going to go wrong. Or he planned it that way. He always made it sound like he was on top of everything.

After hearing this for a year or so, I thought that if they invited Brad, and Brad was trouble just like they thought, it must be another of Mike's "plans" to do something or the other. At that point in time, I refused to beleive that Mike was just like anyone else, saying things to get his way or to make himself look good.

I feel foolish acting like that is some big insight. You had to be there. You had to hear all the talk of saving the world. The talk about acting proper and moral. The talk about family style and loyalty. You had to experience the rituals we engaged in. You need to experience the personal interactions among the group members. I truly believed most of what Mike said. More because I wanted to believe it than because I actually trusted him. I wanted to live in a world like the one he talked about. So I averted my eyes when the behavior of the group did not meet those standards.

One of the first things I remember about Brad was that Mike wanted to see what he did. The same way he wanted to see what I could do when I joined. Brad demonstrated his circle walking which was a standing up kind of circle walking that is almost completlely opposite the posture in Yin Fu Ba Gua. Then Mike had Brad spar with people.

I have to point this out because it shows how Mike was a manipulator. We hardly ever, and I mean hardly ever did any kind of sparring or fighting practice. From my point of view there was no point. The difference in abilities between the various members was so great that no one could train with anyone else and gain from it.

Jeff and Lonnie were too skilled. They had private instruction from Mike for some time that had greatly increased the skill they already had. George and Steve really didn't have any skill. This was funny because, since George was big and strong as I mentioned before, he could outmuscle anyone else. He didn't need kung fu. All he did was tackle the other guy, then hold them on the ground. Kung fu didn't mean squat. James was abusive with people so no one really wanted to spar with him. He would really try to hurt people. I was in bad health. I also did not have that good of kung fu skills.

I don't recall Brad's experience with the others. I do remember my own. I thought Brad was a softy. He was rich, he had a soft and childish look to him. I am pretty sure I was older than him. I didn't respect him by his looks.

We sparred and nothing much came out of it. I was very twitch because of what had happened to me in my other kung fu class to make me ill. It made me very tight. I felt like I was fast because of this, but I did not have follow thru power. By this I mean that I could hit someone fast and it would hurt. My hands were very hard by that time and I had taken kung fu long enough to have some kind of punching strength.

Because I was tight though, I did not punch through people as is described by some martial arts books. These books instruct people to imagine they are punching through the target for increased power. I could not do this. I was more like a rubber band. I could zip my fist out and punch you hard enough to give you a black eye. I could not hit a person hard enough to knock them down.

In sparring with Brad, this is what happened. I would reach out very fast to push his arm out of the way or see how he would react. For people that do not have a lot of skill, if you reach out and slap their arm, they get so excited that they will try to attack you. They should not attack. All I did was slap their arm. I am out of range. They will need to move themselves, probably off balance, in order to reach me. I could learn about people by doing that.

Brad was good in that he did not react. I slapped his arms a few times and other than shaking them or shaking his head and body to reset himself, he did not react. Nothing much happened. I wonder if Mike was watching and stopped us. I do not recall any real fighting like someone getting hurt. There were no kicks or tackling and wrestling to the ground. Just that kind of feeling each other out.

That sounds kind of stupid. I am laughing when I say it almost sounds girlish. It was considered bad form in the class to actually get in a fight or hurt someone. You have previously read about how I hit Peter in the face and the group acted like I was a Demon Child or something. I am thinking this is kung fu and we are supposed to try to hit each other.

This attitude of the class was a barrier to me doing anything for real. When I sparred with James on my first day of class, I was wary. I knew it was a setup even though I knew nothing of James's reputation as a sadist. James was also bigger than I was. I could tell he could move better than I could in my ill health state. I held back because I felt James could put the hurt on me.

I felt like maybe I could have moved in on Brad and done something to him. I will never know because I did not do it. He did not do anything to me. I saw him in his Ba Gua fighting stance. We circled each other and looked at each other. He did not do anything that made me scared or worried I might be outclassed.

The more I think about it, the more I think Mike must have stopped us. He found out what he wanted to know by Brad sparring with the other men. Brad sparring with me was more of a politeness thing. Everyone sparred with the new guy. Mike was not going to learn anything new by watching me spar with Brad, so he cut it short.