TCMA: You're Not From Around Here

The dungeon; circa 2007.

The dungeon; circa 2007.

When I moved to Nova Scotia in 2007 I was very much alone.  Clearly, I had my family with me; however, we had initially moved to a community that did not welcome “come-from-away’s” and proceeded to tell me to my face at least once a week.

“What’s your last name?” they would ask me. “You’re not from around here,” they would counter in disdain to my reply.  I would have initially guessed that new-comers would be asked to share their story, yet, in this community that shared the longest sandy beach in Nova Scotia, they wanted me gone.

My martial arts practice started to suffer. Anyone who wanted to train with me would have to travel from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours from the Big City.  I did managed to gather a couple of training partners but spent a lot of time by myself.

My lonely life would become a project where I decided I would improve my Wing Chun skills in isolation - like a Kung-Fu hermit of sorts.

In order to excel at my chosen martial arts system I set my alarm for 5am three times a week.  I forced myself into my basement, while everyone continued to sleep, and went over my forms.  I ran solo air drills until my arms ached.  I punched and kicked the heavy bag - dancing in and out with the way it swayed.

In those early mornings I was able to forget my aloneness and go deep into my practice - incense lit, music blasting, and moving meditation.

Seven years it was - until we moved to a very open and welcoming community.  Seven years of hell.  Seven years of being told, without a word of a lie, on a weekly basis, from randoms, that I wasn't from there.  ...looking back I wouldn’t change a thing.  Perhaps the lesson during these years was to prepare me for life in general.  Harden me.  Force me to go within so I wouldn't go without.

My Kung-Fu is about excelling through solo training, despite lack of equipment, facilities in which to train, or bodies to train with.

It was born out of the countryside, born out of extreme loneliness and a desire to become more than just my mundane self. My Kung-Fu was born out of my imagination.

Training occurs all day within my mind, interspersing movements between business and familial obligations, and full-out training sessions when time is available. My Kung-Fu lives during and between the day to day.

My Kung-Fu; I can’t teach it to you. You must learn it yourself through a clean lifestyle, a disciplined mind, and an obsession for a physical practice.

O seeker,
These thoughts have such power over you,
From nothing you become sad,
From nothing you become happy.

You are burning in the flames,
but I will not let you out
until you are fully baked,
fully wise,
and fully yourself.

- Rumi

Kenton Sefcik