Monday, January 29, 2007

We cannot do it ourselves - Waaaahhhh!!!!!!

Quite a title isn't it? That is what happened. I suppose I could have phrased it differently, but I was so dismayed by the situation that I felt exactly what the title says.

The men's group had been meeting at Tom's house for some time. At some point along the way we had lost Jeff. Jeff said that he was busy and could not make the meetings. Jeff was enrolled in college and he had many other obligations. It was understandable that he was too busy to come.

It was also disappointing though. The purpose of the men's meetings was so we could get together and do things that would make us all progress. Jeff was the senior student in the class. It seems pretty reasonable to think that the top student in the class should be at any meetings or classes to oversee what was going on. After all, he was the top student.

Mike was not at the men's meetings for guidance. Jeff was not at the men's meetings for guidance. What was the point of the men's meetings if neither one of them were their to oversee or to teach? Without the leadership of the leaders, we were basically just a group of friends meeting every week to talk.

Lonnie was attending the meetings at Tom's house. Lonnie was generally accepted as the No 2 person in the group. Lonnie was not Jeff and he was not Mike. I respect Lonnie and Lonnie was very good to me. He treated me better than I deserved.

In spite of that, I have to honestly say that Lonnie is not a leader. Lonnie is a follower. Lonnie would drop everything to follow Jeff or Mike anywhere. If Lonnie was a true leader, he would have been able to stand his ground if Jeff or Mike were to go somewhere else.

So Lonnie was not providing the leadership at the men's meetings that I felt he should as the senior student.

As was stated, with no real leader, we were a bunch of guys meeting to talk. There was nothing special about us or the meeting.

One day Jeff showed up for the men's meeting. Everyone was naturally happy and sat around and talked for a little bit. Then Jeff announced that he could not stay. He had an obligation that he had to attend to. He had stopped by because he said he would be at the meeting and he did not want to break his word. He was sorry, but he had to go.

Everyone's mood dropped because Jeff was leaving. People looked at each other in a disappointed way. No one really knows what to do. They do not like that Jeff is leaving, but what can anyone do? Jeff leaves the meeting.

Everyone stands around looking at each other uncomfortably for a minute or two, then George says "Well, I guess that's it. Looks like no meeting tonight".

I was flabbergasted. George was suggesting that because Jeff left, there would be no meeting? We had all traveled to Tom's house and were prepared to spend the time for the meeting, and now we were going to give up because Jeff left?

We had been having men's meetings without Jeff for months. Why did this one have to close done just because Jeff stopped by for 5 minutes and left?

That is when it hit me how sheeplike the group was. None of them had any confidence in themselves at all. If they were alone, they might try to do something by themselves. But if Jeff or Mike was around, they turned into sheep.

I was so disgusted that I, the person that hardly ever talked or suggested anything, confronted them. I started talking about myself which is something I never did. I talked about anything, I don't even know what anymore. I just kept talking to show them that we could have a regular meeting as we always did. We were independent men that did not need the sheepherder jeff there with us.

You know what? That was really hard. The heart of all of those men were still with Jeff. Jeff got in his car and drove away, and all of these sheep wanted to follow him. I could see their bodies yearning to walk out the door and get in the car to drive away like jeff walked out the door and drove away.

They were completely mindless. It is hard to convey what it was like to be hit by the realization that these men that I respected could really be so totally sheep like. Especially as everyone of them considered themselves to be superior to me. I was the black sheep of the group. Yet I was the only one who had the independence of mind to not become a sheep.

The incident was so out of character for me that, can you believe it, the guys went and told Mike about it! ;) Next class time, Mike comes to me and says "I heard you had a lot to say at the men's meeting". There is George and the other guys standing over there, pretending not to watch, but watching because they know Mike is talking to me about what they told him.

It was all so weird. So disappointing is what I guess I want to honestly say. I lost respect for every single man in the group after that incident. I knew without doubt that Jeff and Mike were the only two men who were worth learning from and emulating.

The rest of them were mindless sheep. They had all been with Mike for at least a year or two. If they had not developed a backbone and a sense of independence by then, they never would. It was their nature, their fate, to be nothing but sheep for this life.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Doctor / Patient Confidentiality

I stated before that Mike encouraged all of his students to visit him privately in addition to attending the weekly Ba Gua practice. I related how I had avoided this because of the expense and because I do not believe in psychiatry.

Mike had a degree in psychiatry. His office was a combination chinese medicine / psychiatric practice. I always felt there was a stigma attached to seeing a psychiatrist. A person seeing a psychiatrist was crazy, or they were unable to do things for themselves.

I also violently distrusted psychiatrists. What a psychiatrist does basically is encourage people to tell them secrets. These secrets give the psychiatrist power over the person who hands them over. I think it is not a good idea to be telling strangers your secrets.

I described how I had avoided going to Mike's office by saying I was broke and could not afford it. Then I finally gave in after a year or so because I felt that Mike was treating the other students who did pay him to go privately better than he treated me. I thought maybe if I paid him for the office visits, then I would become his buddy and be treated like everyone else.

Because of my attitude towards psychiatrist in general, the office visits did not go well. Mike wanted me to talk about myself. I was not there to talk about myself. I was there to learn about Ba Gua and how to become a superior kung fu man.

Mike assured me that it was necessary to talk to me as a person, find out who I was, etc etc in order to best teach me. I grudgingly accepted this and told him a few things. Things I felt were private, but harmless. I wanted to test Mike to see what happened.

I told Mike I did not like my mother and I didn't really get along with my family. Mike said I need to tell my mother that I loved her and reconcile with my family. I took this very literally. I went home, got on the phone, told my mother I loved her, then I waited.

And I waited and I waited and I waited. I didn't feel any different. I didn't feel any difference in power. I didn't feel like my Ba Gua got better or my kung fu practice in general got better. I felt like I had acted on Mike's instruction, and it was a waste of time.

That naturally made me even less willing to talk about myself. I went to Mike's office to learn about Ba Gua and Kung fu. Every time I went there, Mike would ask me what I wanted and my response was invariably something I wanted to know about kung fu.

Mike even told me once at the office, "Every time I am around you I find myself talking about kung fu". Looking back now, it was probably a rebuke. At the time I thought it was a stupid thing to say. I hoped he would be talking about kung fu. I wasn't paying money and driving an hour to his office to talk about anything else but kung fu.

Most of my time was spent in the office quietly resisting. Mike would talk about this and that and I mostly refused to participate. I did not want to talk about all these other pointless subjects. Plus I did not trust him. I did not trust psychiatrists in general, and I did not trust his judgement after the situation with my mother.

Later on, I came to thank the gods that I was untrusting.


One day we were practicing at the school playground. I don't know if the narrative to this point has talked about the move to the school playground for Sunday practice. Well. Now you know. ;)

We are all standing around taking a break after doing something and talking about nothing in general. I do not know what the subject was.

Whatever the subject was, at some point in time Mike says "Steve told me he had sex 10 times in one day".

My mouth dropped open in shock. I turned to look at Steve and he was bright red. Obviously the statement was true.

Apparently, Steve was a male prostitute at some point in his life. While Steve was at Mike's office for a visit, at some point in time Steve thought it would be a good idea to tell Mike that story. I don't know if Steve cared or not that Mike said that to all of us. He did not act angry. He kind of hung his head like "Yes I did it".

Of course Steve could not act angry if he knew what was good for him. If he wanted to stay in the class and remain Mike's buddy, he knew he should smile and laugh.

I never knew Steve was a prostitute. I don't think anyone else did. I was in such shock maybe my judgement was impaired. I remember most of the others looking away or looking at the ground after Mike said that.

After I got over my shock, I was stunned. Mike had taken something that Steve had told him in the confidentiality of his psychiatric office, and told a group of other people.

If Mike told us, who else was he telling about Steve the male prostitute?

It was like a concrete seal was poured around me. At that instant I knew that I would never, ever, ever, confide anything to Mike. I realized that I had been right to distrust him all those years.

This event occurred towards the end of my time with Mike. This event along with other events that showed Mike to be not the dignified kung fu man with integrity that he talked about in class, but just some guy that was no better than anyone else, and possibly was worse than other people, changed my feelings towards him at such a basic level that my respect for him would never be the same.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Tom's House

The men's meetings had been held at Jeff's house for some time. This was mostly throughout the first year of the class. I could not have people to my house. James could not have people over. We had gone to Chris's place a few times but for some reason or the other that fell through. George and Steve both lived very far away from everyone. Jeff was the most centrally located.

Then Tom joined the class. His house was actually very close to the park where we practiced. The reason we practiced at the park was because it was centrally located for everyone.

At some point Tom volunteered the use of his house. One of the meetings was set for there.

This place was a mansion! I told you the Gay Guy was a millionaire. His house was up on a hill. The road in the neighborhood was all windy and very small. All these mansions lined up along the curves of the road. The parking was terrible so we had to walk up these winding roads to the house.

There were steps leading up to the houe and gate. It was three story house that looked large and impressive in the dark. The meeting was held at night and it was dark already.

The inside of the house was just as nice as you would imagine. Large rooms all downstairs. Wood flooring. Lots of windows everywhere. The second floor was devoted to bedrooms, bathrooms and maybe some miscellaneous rooms. One of the rooms was occupied by a border he had. I mention this to give you an idea of how large the house was. This was not someone being put up in the spare bedroom. This was like someone being given an entire apartment to live in within this guys house.

The top floor was something else. There was a study set up there that was oddly shaped because the room was cut off by the roof. The room was not exactly square or rectangular.

What made the room so spectacular though was the glass. One wall had lots of windows in it so that it was almost like the wall was glass. The house was surrounded by tall trees which were growing outside of the windows. They provided privacy from the ground.

There was a great view out of the windows because the house was at the top of the hill and the windows were at the top of the house. The room was a magical kind of place. One of those rooms you see in a movie where some kid is doing something and then a troll pops out of the wall or something. Like a fairytale.

That room was so magical I just sat there and enjoyed it. Sometimes during the meetings the lights would be turned down low or perhaps even some candles would be put out. Tom had some candles and they only added to the atmosphere of the room.

I was so envious I wondered how I could get myself into the house as a boarder. I would have been happy living in that room upstairs with access to a bathroom and a kitchen.

I think everyone else was as appreciative of the house as I was. We sat there and did our meditation thing with the candles burning and the wind blowing the trees outside the window. It is hard to explain the effect it all had.

When we left that night, I think we talked to each other about the house all the way out to our cars. ;)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Forcing Jeff

Jeff was a good guy. He was really small. Maybe 5 6 or somethnig like that. A typical kind of chinese guy. He had a good disposition and he really tried. He was not really friendly by nature, but he wanted to be. He was the kind of person who felt tortured because he wanted to be close to people, but he couldn't.

Somewhere along the way, the group began having situations where eating would take place. It would be something informal like eating crackers after practice or something similar. After awhile, instead of bring things that could be purchased at a store, people would begin cooking things to bring.

It was kind of funny because it turned into a competition. For me it did anyways. ;) At some point a feast began to appear. So many people were bringing so much food that it was going to waste.

At that point it was decided people would take turns bringing things. No rules or anything. Just an informal agreement that the persons bringing the food would be different each time.

There was some situation coming up. Someone's birthday, some special event...I do not recall. I went to Mike's office for one of my visit's to him. When I got there, Jeff was in the waiting room. It was odd because I was almost always the only person there. There was also someone else in the waiting room. A person who I did not know. Mike had people visit him who did not belong to the Ba Gua group.

Jeff and I exchanged pleasantries and then the talk turned to whatever the upcoming event was. Jeff said that he was going to bring something. I was excited and feeling good and generous. I said that I wanted to bring something. Jeff could take it easy and let me do it.

Jeff said no, he would go ahead and bring whatever it was. I was trying to be helpful and good I thought. Jeff was the head guy in the men's group. I was the junior guy. The way that I thought, it was my duty to do something menial like bringing food. Jeff's job was to be the leader of the group. His time should not be wasted on things like bringing food.

Jeff said no in that quiet and deferential way of his. We were in Mike's waiting room so that made the situation even more quiet. You had to see Jeff. He was kind of hunched over with his elbows on his knees or a similar posture. His head was down and his eyes were looking downwards then up at me.

In my zeal to be helpful, I thought Jeff was just being polite. I thought that he was playing the game where people say "Yes/No" two or three times before someone does something. The game is played so no one feels forced into doing anything.

I insisted that I be allowed to bring the food for whatever the event was. I excitedly described what it was I thought I would bring. I repeated that it was no problem to me at all and he should not feel guilty that I was having to do it.

At that point Jeff looked at me and nodded his head OK.

I am visualizing this situation right now and shaking my head at how naive I was. While I was talking to Jeff I was standing up. I had moved close to him to talk to him and in my excitement to please, I was probably very close and perhaps even overbearing.

After all, Jeff was sitting down in the chair, a small chinese guy, and I am standing over him, a tallish person who is talking animatedly.

What I never realized until later was that Jeff really wanted to bring the food. He wanted the feeling of being thanked by the group for bringing the food.

I had basically forced Jeff to say that I could bring the food. Looming over him and insisting that I be allowed to bring the food made Jeff concede and agree to let me bring the food.

I have felt guilty about that for years. There I was, thinking I was being the good student taking a load off of my superior, and really I was being rude and browbeating my superior into doing something that he did not want to do.


Of course something like that was not going to go by. For some coincidental reason, I figured all of the above out. That I was rude and forcing Jeff. The next time we were together, and it may have been the actual event where I brought the food, someone said "I thought Jeff was bringing the food."

Which of course was my queue to admit in front of everyone that I had forced Jeff to let me bring the food. I say of course because that was my lesson. To learn that instead of being helpful and taking a load off of Jeff, I had forced him to allow me to do something that he either was supposed to do or wanted to do.

I didn't really mind admitting what had happened in front of everyone. Like I said, I was completely innocent of any maliciousness. They the rest of the group thought I was stupid or naive for not seeing that, I didn't mind too much. I learned a lesson. What could I say?

The Cult

As you can see from the time between posts, Mike appears to be doing a good job of distracting me from writing in here. Since I have no way to know who will win this battle, I am going to be posting things willy nilly. The time scale is going to be all over.


At some point in time, Peter began mentioning the word cult. Peter had probably been in class for a year or so before he began to bring up this subject.

Peter was a lawyer. I am guessing that in his social circles, when he talked about Mike and the group, his social circle must have told him it sounded like a cult.

One day Peter brought his father to class. This was really odd to me. Peter must have been 30 or 35 if he was a lawyer. Why was he dragging his father to class like a teenager bringing dad to one of his classes?

Looking back, I have to wonder now if the father insisted on going to see the man who had power over his son. Or I wonder if Peter himself, subconsciously since he was in his 30's, brought his dad along to check out Mike.

As time went by, Peter began to bring up the subject of cults more and more. In the beginning Mike discussed the issue with him. I felt that Mike handled it well. I did not see surprise or discomfort in him. He did not act guilty in any way.

Peter felt like the group was a cult because everyone deferred to Mike and no one talked back to him. It was never said outloud, but I wonder if Peter had ideas about the group being a cult because of the situation with the women.

As I have written previously, the men were not allowed to practice with the women. The atmosphere was almost adversarial. If one of the men approached the women, the women would literally walk away or act like the man should leave immediately. It was the weirdest thing you ever saw. Now, looking back, I can see it was a sign of mental illness on the part of the women. Mike had brainwashed them so thoroughly that they begain behaving erratically.

What is so....funny? sad? insightful? about all of this. The group really did fit the defition of a cult.


Because Mike was having sex with the women. That is why he kept them separate from the men.

One of the signs of a cult is when the leader of the cult has sex with the women in the group. The cult leader says whatever is necessary to get the women to have sex with him. This includes the single and the married women.

Mike had sex with married and single women in the group. Peter was spot on in saying that the group was a cult.

I didn't know any of this at the time that Peter was talking about cults. It was maybe a year or more later before I found out that Mike was having sex with the women.

I wonder now if Peter had somehow found out about Mike having sex with the women. Peter was more sociable than I was. He had a friendly manner that would encourage people to confide in him. Peter also became good friends with James.

James always kept his head about him around the group. By that I mean he was never completely swayed by Mike. That is why James was considered the troublemaker. Mike could not control him the way he controlled everyone else.

I wonder if Peter and James got together and the discussion got around to Mike having sex with the women. James was there when I joined the group. He would have had more time to observe Mike's behavior with the women. He would have had more time to hear rumors or to observer the interaction between Mike and the women so he could reach the conclusion Mike was having sex with the women.

I always ignored the talk of a cult. I thought that Peter was a complainer. I previously related how Peter had no martial arts experience at all, and how I felt he did not belong in the class because he was not really serious.

I guess that shows how naive or how controlled I was doesn't it?

I was naive to believe that Mike was a man with integrity who would never abuse his position of authority to take advantage of his students.

Or I was controlled in that I thought I would never believe any negative comment about Mike, no matter how insightful and truthful it was.


Just to keep things fresh, in case Mike is successful in erasing my brain some more, his sex with the women was one of the causes that the group ultimately fell apart. There were too many women to have sex with. Jealousy among them and Mike trying to run the group with all that social interaction going on did not work.

And to make you wonder about the audacity of people, Mike now is associated with a women's organization for Ba Gua.

I would guess he uses it as a harem just like he used the women in the group as a harem.