Friday, April 07, 2006

What happened to Chris?

During this period after Brad joined, Chris began to go missing quite a lot. At first there were a lot of "I don't know's" about his condition. Then he might have been busy with school or his life.

After awhile, there was open talk of what his status was. As I have said before, the class was not a kung fu class where you paid and attended as you saw fit. If you joined the group, you were expected to be there every week and on time. If you were not going to be there, you needed to call someone and provide an excuse.

Chris not attending class was like open defiance of Mike's authority. That could not be tolerated. At some point, I think Mike said something to the effect that Chris was not coming back.

That was truly a stunning thing to happen. I believe it stunned everyone, not just me. When Arol and Tim left, everyone else wanted them to go. When Jeff's friend left, no one really cared because no one really knew him. And possibly because they were a party to the game Mike was playing with the man.

For Chris, who we had all been told was #3 after Jeff and Lonnie, to voluntarily walk away from the very rare Yin Fu Ba Gua style was impossible to accept. Finding someone who could teach this style at the time was difficult. Having access to someone with skill like Mike is not something to be taken lightly.

Chris did have skill. I had seen him prove he had a basic understanding of the real ideas behind kung fu. Full body power etc. For him, being an early 20 something kid to think he had learned it all and was walking away seemed like the most foolish decision in the world.

Nevertheless, that is what happened. Chris just sort of faded away like a ghost. Never to be spoken of or referred to again. He was never very friendly and I had never trusted him after he slammed me. Still. He was part of the group and to see him drift off like that, without a word of goodbye to anyone, was sad.

I personally think that Chris had an attitude similar to Brad's. Only so much was taught in the Sunday classes and that was it. After a short period of time, there was really no reason to go to class except to meet people and listen to Mike talk.

I have always wondered if, after Brad and his attitude came to class, he and Chris reinforced each others attitude that they had it all and didn't need anything from anybody.

Because there are no coincidences in the world, I cannot accept that Brad and his selfish attitude joined the group, and within a short time period, Chris made the decision to leave.

I was also left with a question in my mind after Chris left. Did he know something about Mike or the group that I did not? What could he possibly know about Mike or the group that would be so disagreeable that he would voluntarily leave?


I went to class one day and it was beautiful. Maybe 65 or 70. A mild breeze. A fantastic day. The park was full of people. On my walk over there I saw people the entire route. The section where we practiced was near a child's playground. The playground was full of families with noisy kids. The basketball courts had some guys playing basketball.

We all got together and exchanged small talk. I don't exactly remember who all was there. I would think most everybody. We then formed up on the concrete to perform the group exercises.

We went thru the basic exercises. When performing certain types of exercises or Tai Chi, the effect on the body is to open it up. Sort of like opening the blinds in a curtain to let light in. Except the body is opened up so energy can leave or enter.

After the basic exercises, everyone stands at attention in preparation for the Tai Chi set to begin. We are all opened up from the basic exercises and we are in a receptive state to begin the Tai Chi set.

CRACK! BOOM! There is this tremendous explosion. It could not have been more than 2 or 3 hundred yards away from us. I don't know if anyone actually physically jumped, but I know they wanted to. The explosion was so loud and so close to us that, in our receptive state in preparation for Tai Chi, the loud explosion went right inside of everyone. This can and did cause a shock to the heart. The explosion was so powerful that there was even a very slight concussion wave that could be physically felt.

Everyone is standing there with their hearts shocked and their mouths hanging open. If you are not an open person, or do not have experience with being open, it is hard to relate exactly how shocking and paralyzing an incident like that can be.

I know I looked at Mike for a reaction and I guess the rest of the people must have also.

Mike projects strength and says "I knew that was going to happen 5 minutes before it happened".

My first honest reaction was "That is the biggest lie I have ever heard". Because that is what it was. A lie. That event was one of the ones that really challenged how I viewed Mike. To see someone whose teaching was about honor and integrity tell such an obvious lie rattled my faith.

There were two reasons Mike told that lie. By loudly proclaiming he knew the explosion was going to happen before hand, he was reasserting his power and authority.

This is hard to believe for people that have not experienced it. At some point in your kung fu practice, or maybe you naturally have the ability, you can feel what other people feel. It is as if you can experience the physical sensations of their body.

When that explosion went off, I looked right at Mike. I know for a fact he was just as shocked, stunned and paralyzed as the rest of us. I could feel the state of his body and it was in shock. That is how I know his statement that he knew the explosion was going to go off ahead of time was a lie.

There is a good and beneficial reason for what Mike did. By asserting his authority like that, people calmed down or felt safe once again. Because everyone automatically looked to Mike when their was danger, a loud explosion, if he projected that everything was OK, then that is what people would believe. Regardless of what their own sense were telling them.

The incident provided quite the insight into the personal dynamics of the group and the leader. I knew from that point onwards without a doubt that Mike would lie if he felt justified in doing so. That battered my trust in him and the group hard. I try to avoid liars in my life as best I can. They only cause grief.

I also got a more personal glimpse of how slavishy people acted towards Mike. Don't get me wrong. When that explosion went off, I was startled and I looked to Mike for reassurance. I also had enough sense of self to be able to deal with the trauma alone. I felt that many of the others were waiting for Mike to tell them everything was OK because they were incapable of dealing with the trauma themselves.

To see that they had given over that much control of themselves over to Mike disturbed me deeply.

We never did know what happened. I think it was someone causing trouble. They must have used one of those very large Mexican style firecrackers that are supposed to be equal to a quarter of a stick of dynamite. They must have set it off very close to our group.