In 2002 I got in a van with Sam and Ali Bacon and we travelled for four months all over North America. The excuse was to interview tai chi players and make a film called, Tai Chi People.
I donâ€™t know if the film will ever be seen on the big screen, but Iâ€™m glad I was there for most of the interviews.
One memorable and very fun interview was with Dr. John Painter who lives in Austin, Texas.
Several aspects of spending time with Dr. Painter stand out â€” like his having a hand gun slung over almost every door knob in his house. His jumping on the roof of his house, and his knocking out one of his students with what he called, â€œTexas style single whip.â€ But, the reason I am reminded of him right now is because of the beach I am walking in Sechelt these days.
The beach here is rocky. Stepping is hard and mindfulness is important. The rocks vary in size and stability. Sometimes I glide from rock to rock with ease and then all of a sudden, one of the rocks base will wiggle and Iâ€™ll slip or slide.
This actually reminds me of John Painters backyard! His entire house and yard was a bit of a marital arts playground and his yard in particular was set up as a training field with booby traps!
Dr. Painter had tree trunks, posts, and rocks placed around his yard for step work training. The challenge was some were rocks stable and others were not. Also, he moved them around so you would never know which one was goofy. We would be moving quite well and then when you least expected it â€” the base would fall out of the placement of the rock or stump, challenging your foot work and balance.
Maybe Dr. Painter has been to the coast. Good mindful training comes in all forms, walking the beaches of Sechelt is a good one.