I have been a Xinyi Meditation practitioner since 1986, but only started teaching the art last 2011.
I grew up during the time when Bruce Lee, David Carradine, and Jackie Chan’s “Drunken Master” were very popular. Their movies sparked my interest in Chinese Kung-Fu. Unfortunately, there were no kung-fu schools in my neighborhood. I enrolled at the Association for the Advancement of Karate Do (AAK) of Pocholo Veguillas. On my seventh year of learning, 1986, both in the school and under private tutelage by Pocholo himself, I acquired Hepatitis A, and my doctor ordered me to stop practicing Karate, he however allowed me to pursue Internal Arts, which I wanted to do since I first met Master David Chan in 1984.
It was while browsing through martial arts books in Squadron Shop, owned by Alex Co, that I saw for the first time Tai Chi Chuan, the only Internal Martial Art book among probably over a hundred martial arts books. I loved it, bought the book and the instructional tape, and came back a week later to inquire if there are any good Tai Chi teachers in the Philippines. Cora Co informed me that her husband Alex was a student of Master David Chan, who teaches Xinyi Liu Ho Pa Fa Chuan, as the style was called during that time. I set an appointment, and two days later was very much impressed with Master David’s skills. I couldn’t move him even when he used only one leg, and he could throw me back easily. When he pushed me I flew several feet in the air, and I couldn’t even budge the guy. He asked about my fighting history and asked how strong I was, then I was worried when he told me to hit him as hard as I can, because I knew or thought I knew, that I might badly injure him, I was 260 pounds then and Master David was only 130 pounds. Several very powerful punches later, he said he was not strong, but I was weak. It literally felt like I was hitting the threads of inflated car tires, aside from being hard, it was painful for me to hit him. On one of my punches he grabbed my hand upon impact and started returning some force to me, hurting my whole arm and chest. None of my existing fighting skills worked, no matter how fast or tricky I was, he could easily control me like I know NOTHING! Today I know that he used soft skill force against my hard strength and speed. My only regret was that I did not start studying with Master David that same month, and it was mainly because he charged over 15 times more than what I was paying for my Karate lessons. I was 14 years old that time and I didn’t know if my father would have agreed to pay for it. Aside from that, I had other priorities in mind, like getting a purple belt, etc.
Finally, October 10, 1986, I started formal lessons on Xinyi Liu Ho Pa Fa Chuan, and after four months Master David asked how much I think I’ve learned so far compared to the other martial arts. I remember my answer like it was yesterday, I said “I’ve learned more from your teachings than everything else combined.” On the third year master David started teaching me Xinyi Zhanzhuang, which I thought was the last, and most expensive part, of learning the entire system, since I had to pay 300% more and a year in advance. In exchange for my promise do well in the university and get a good job, my father finally gave in and paid for everything.
Unfortunately, my learning wasn’t continuous because of other obligations, nevertheless loyalty and dedication were never in question. I thought I completed everything last November 1995, and went on my own for several years, meeting various styles of martial arts and testing my abilities against them. I returned to master David on December 1999 to February 2000 where he taught me some more new lessons, and that’s when he told me that there are still a lot to learn. Unfortunately, I stopped again until mid-2008. All together, my total years of learning Xinyi Meditation is about 13 to 15 years.
Master David called all his senior students together sometime on the 3rd quarter of 2008, and told us that he promised God that he will complete our learning, giving us what he originally planned to pass-on to his children only. He said that he will not charge for it, and that’s when I assumed that what he will teach us was priceless. All he asked was for us to come to him at least once a week, and to persevere until such time that we’ve completed everything. Last 2008, Master David closed his doors to new students so he could concentrate on us, his disciples-to-be. There were probably about a dozen that he chose for discipleship, just about half sincerely accepted his offer, but only four of us finally became disciples.
Last 2008, I thougth that there was only about 20% left to learn, now I realize it is more like 70%. I feel so glad, lucky and priviledged to have this second chance to complete my lessons in the art, hopefully I can finish, as there is still a lot to learn. I am now trying to master the art by being the art.
All in all, Master David has probably had over 20 batches of students. I came in around batch 8 last 1986.
When Master David asked us to teach around mid-2011, two feelings overwhelmed me; first, it was an honor to be authorized to teach by your master; second, I didn’t want to teach.
I have a friend, Hubert Posadas, who asked my help to train him because he wanted to join the URCC, Universal Reality Combat Championship, the official MMA body in the Philippines. He was planning to run under the banner “Old Man Fighting”, you can see his Viral in YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ahkteu3_CU&feature=related). We were both karate practitioners from the same school, but he became an instructor and has had several awards and acknowledgments long before and after I started learning Xinyi Meditation. Around 2002 during a reunion, we talked about martial arts and got to test each others skills. Last year 2011 he asked if I can help train him for the URCC. Him being 43 years old is a huge and difficult hurdle, but it challenged me and that is how I got my first student. That is also why I started to spar with ground fighters, wrestlers, and MMA practitioners, to see how I can teach Hubert to fight against them. Some of them are my students today.
Master David taught Xinyi Meditation for about 36 years in the Philippines. I am the first of his disciples to take the teaching route. The best comment Master David ever said to me was, “… at least you are now teaching, the art will not die.”
I am now 45-years-old and I want to be able to pass this art before it is too late. As I get older my fear is that the art might die with me. Losing knowledge through death is the usual case with most closed-door arts, and that is our boon to carry, or change.
Today, I am training my son for discipleship, having formally started only mid-2011 he still has a long way to go just like myself. I also have a fighting group consisting of several styles, including Taiji practitioners, Xingyi fighters, BaGua learners, Boxers, Muai Thai fighters, Karateka’s, Chua Li Fut and Wing Chun enthusiasts, BJJ aficionados, Greco-Roman wrestlers, and several other MMA competitors. 😎
JR Rodriguez IV
“Xinyi is not one martial art, it is all martial arts.” – Grandmaster David Chan