terça-feira, 4 de junho de 2019

About Kung Fu and Sight

I have heard my Si Fu saying a few times that Kung Fu helps you reassess a certain situation with a different angle, a different point of view. This is partially where the idea of naming this blog "Kung Fu Lens" was born. The other part was due to the fact that I work with vision as an ophthalmologist and as a researcher. In a lot of ways, Ving Tsun changes the way we see the world using a mechanism that is very hard to explain. But more on this later.

Imagine this as an eye looking to the left of the screen. It is such a small structure but with an amazingly complex mechanism.

Although I might be biased, I believe vision is the most important sense that we have. The anatomy of our eye is very rich and refined and the mechanism of "seeing" is very complex. Light enters our eyes throughout the cornea, our first "lens" (and the biggest we have in terms of light refraction). Then, it passes a liquid substance called aqueous humour and, after passing the pupil (the aperture that controls the amount of light that enters our eyes by dilating or contracting), it reaches our second lens - the crystalline lens. This is the lens in which a very common disease in elder people (and sometimes in children) named cataract, develops. After it passes through the crystalline lens, light travels throughout a space filled with a collagenous substance called vitreous humour, and finally hits the retina. The photons of light are then send by the optic nerve in the form of electric impulses to the brain, where this is interpreted and an image is formed. Our brain is so powerful that he receives the image upside down and inverts everything, enabling us to see things as they really are.

But wait, what exactly this has to do with Kung Fu? Well, at least in my interpretation of my Si Fu's teachings, Kung Fu enables us to see everything with a different perspective... with a different lens, if you wish. We are not talking about anything magical or eccentric here, no. I am only implying that Kung Fu supports itself in the richness and complexity of what our eyes became within years of evolution, while allowing us to use this "sense" in the best way we can. Kung Fu is seeing what other people can't see, despite being right in front of them. Kung Fu is using the best interpretation our brain can provide of what is actually going on in a particular circumstance. Kung Fu is what my Si Fu does everyday, when he sees potential that is invisible to eyes with blurry, clouded lens. Kung Fu is being the best we can in whatever scenario life throws at us. Kung fu is living a better life.

I still am very proud of this moment with my Si Fu and Si Mo, in which I accessed the advanced level of Ving Tsun in the same day my Si Fu did his Baai Si years ago. 

sexta-feira, 24 de maio de 2019

About a very special night

Last Thursday, May 23rd, we had the seventieth second ceremony of the Moy Jo Lei Ou (MJLO) family. I was lucky enough to be invited by my Si Fu to access a new domain of the Ving Tsun System, Biu Ji.

It was a very special night for a variety of reasons, some of which I will list below:
Firstly, May 23rd was the day that my Si Fu did his discipleship (Baai Si) ceremony. And believe it or not - it happened on a Thursday as well!
Secondly, it was the first day of a new instrument in our Kung Fu family, something Si Fu calls "efemérides", in which he tells us stories about previous events of his life as a disciple and as a To Dai, while taking into account his own perspective of the moments that he shares with us.
Thirdly, we had Si Mo with us, which is on its on already something very special for me and for all my kung fu brothers.
Finally, a lot of my dear brothers did their best to be there at the event, which made it even more significant for me. It is very hard to describe such honor.

All the participants of the "Efemérides".

Everything about that night far exceeded my expectations (which were already very big). It was so interesting to hear all the stories Si Fu had to say! It really makes us think and almost "demystify" the way we imagine our Si Fu as a disciple and as a To Dai. You see, we tend to think of our Si Fu as an undisputed and almost invincible hero (laughs), so hearing about previous events that happened during his Kung Fu Life via his own perspective is amazing. And man, he made us laugh! It is super nice to see this side of our Si Fu. Additionally, he invited Olívia Mamberti and my Si Hings Clayton Souza and Marcelo to start the Baai Si process, and Clara Diniz was invited for admission in the Kung Fu family. Si Fu really knows how to surprise people and make small moments become special!

Selfie with my dear and oldest Kung Fu brother, Si Hing Leo Reis.

And then, we had the access ceremony to the advanced level. I was the only member accessing the Biu Ji domain that night. The most emotionally heavy fragment of that night for me was seeing how much I am cared for in our family. My dear Dai Si Hing (oldest member of the MJLO family), Leonardo Reis, took me by surprise when he showed up just for my ceremony. And he told me at least three times during the event: "I would never miss this event knowing that you are going to another country soon". It was really special to hear his sincere thoughts.

Revering the ancestral table with Si Fu and Si Mo by my side. I got chills when I saw this picture after I arrived home that night.

Si Hing Cristiano Chaves was in the condition of master of ceremonies - and he did a great job, even with our Si Fu trying to mess with our previously arranged script (laughs). My advisor was Si Hing Guilherme. He spoke some words that are very fitting to my current moment! Both Si Fu and Si Mo then honored the ancestral table (Saam Toi) and sat down, while I was asked to speak about my experience in the intermediate level (Cham Kiu). A lot happened in my life since I accessed Cham Kiu. It is very clear now that the Ving Tsun that my Si Fu passed on to me has allowed me to develop tools to deal and connect with some of those life events.

Soon after, Si Fu asked me to display my Cham Kiu to everyone present at the event. I have to say it was not my best sequence, but I felt something different while performing it. The space was tight, my shoes felt very slippery and my adrenaline was sky-rocketing... could that be the Biu Ji nature he was talking about?
Following this, Si Fu asked my advisor, Si Hing Guilherme, to demonstrate the first part of the Biu Ji form. The sequence was great, but after the third or fourth movement, the only thought in my mind was - "Is Si Fu really expecting me to remember all this???" (laughs).

At the end, Si Fu, Si Mo, Si Hing Leo and Si Hing Cris all got to speak some words about me. I was very touched with everyone, but particularly with Si Mo's speech. The words she said were so significant that I had a hard time to keep my composure. She really struck me in the heart!
We took the official photography and Si Fu gave me the official certificate of access to the advanced level. I still do not have the photo with my Si Fu and Si Mo (Si-To), but I will post it next week as soon as I get my hands on it.

And just when I thought the night was over... another surprise. My dear Si Hing André told my Si Fu that he also wanted to take a picture with me, along with some other Kung Fu brothers. I am not sure if my Si Hing André realizes how much this meant to me. He was always very active in my practice since I started the intermediate level. Indeed, it means a lot, Si Hing!

How lucky am I to be able to have a lifelong relationship with these people?

segunda-feira, 13 de maio de 2019

Point of View

The year was 2017. The day was December 4th. That day is still stuck in my head and I remember those events like if it was yesterday. I woke up very excited, as I usually am before conferences. It was the day of the biggest annual conference dedicated to Ophthalmology in Brazil (Conference of the University of São Paulo - USP). I was more anxious than normal and I associated this to two facts: Not only me and my collaborators had three scientific posters to be presented (which is already enough reason to be nervous), but also I was going to live in the USA for one year for reasons of sub specialization (what they call a Fellowship) - The latter was the biggest change I had in my life so far.

My flight was very early, at 6:20 am, and was the first departure from Santos Dumont Airport (Rio de Janeiro) to Congonhas (São Paulo). Unfortunately, the sky was grey, ugly and it was raining a little bit, which was not the weather that I was hoping for that day (laughs). One time I heard a story told by one of my oldest Kung Fu brothers (si hing Thiago Pereira), that one day our Si Fu (Senior Master Júlio Camacho) told him that life had no soundtrack. Maybe I can apply that here as well. Nature will not always behave the way we want it to. But then, as soon as the plane took up and raised in altitude, I had a big surprise. It is all about point of view.

This was what I saw. Not so ugly after all, eh?
I have heard my Si Fu's explanation multiple times about how we revisit some events or a situation that happened in the past with a different nature, and how our interpretation of that can be very different. I reminded myself of this event today, while speaking with my Si Fu over the telephone. He let me know that he was sick due to a reaction of a vaccine that he took a few days before. While I, as a physician, have read some articles about patients getting sick after taking a vaccine, it is a very rare event. We all know how vaccines have had a great impact in our survival and raised our life expectancy and so forth. Moreover, a 1% chance of having an adverse event after getting a shot of vaccine is still too low, and the benefits far outweigh the possible risks.

Well, that is, if you are not the 1 in 100 people that got the disease, as if you are, your odds change to 100%. Then again, point of view. Life and Kung Fu mimic each other in ways that are very hard to explain. But timing, reference, momentum...this is all present in what we do in Ving Tsun. And there is no doubt that these are also present in life. It is all a question of being in the right place, putting the right energy and being able to read and make the best interpretation of what other people are telling you. And I have to say, Kung Fu made me open my mind to a lot of stuff, including studying abroad and leaving my family here... but this is a story for another time.

Photography with my Si Fu moments before ministering the combat module in 2015.

I wish you a fast recovery, Si Fu.

segunda-feira, 6 de maio de 2019

The road of Kung Fu

Last week was a very special week in my life, or at least one of the best I recall in the last few years. Not only I passed in the first test to revalidate my diploma to work in the United Kingdom, but I also got married. I realise how important a marriage is but, at least for me, what really matters is the road that my wife and I are traveling together. As my Si Fu, Senior Master Julio Camacho always wishes for his To Dai (students): "Let's keep together!"

I consider myself a lucky guy. Almost ten years ago, I met a woman who really caught my attention with her humility and kind heart - and I was lucky that she noticed me. She really supports me and, don't get me wrong, also criticizes me when necessary. She is the main driver on the path we chose for our life. Indeed, it is very clear that she had to abdicate the vast majority of her dreams so that I could live my own. So, after we went to the registry to sign all documents for the civil marriage, we went straight to my parents' house in Alfenas, a city located in the countryside of the state of Minas Gerais. 

My mother in law, me and my wife listening attentively to what my father has to say.

As soon as we got there, my father decided to make a toast. You see, my father is the kind of man who has amazing speech skills. He is also the most intelligent person I have ever met - so no pressure on me at all (laughs). However, there is something very characteristic of him: he only speaks about someone when he really thinks the person deserves to hear something, or if he thinks the moment asks for something to be said. So, hearing my father speak about someone in our family is one of the greatest honors that a member of our family can have. I suppose there is some degree of Kung Fu in that - he is accurate and only speaks when the timing is right. One can only imagine how surprised I was when I heard my father say something that I have heard my Si Fu saying before - not with the same words, not in the same scenario, but with the same meaning. He started his speech with these exact words: "I would like to start this toast by greeting the grandparents here today, as we are only here because of them. We owe this to our ancestors. Nature and life are something so spectacular that it gives us continuity. In this moment, life has put us all here today (our family members) in the same road. And it is up to us to make the best of the time we have together."

My Si Mo and our two dai si hings listening closely to what our Si Fu has to say.

My father was completely right - we owe the fact that we are here to our ancestors. We have to take care of what was left for us. I guess my interpretation of the teachings of my Si Fu are getting more accurate as time passes, just as my father speeches probably got better as he practised more. And that is something we can only achieve if we keep together in the road of life.

segunda-feira, 29 de abril de 2019

Family Ties

Given the current moment that our family is going through, in a brief conversation with my Si Mo, Márcia Teresinha Ferreira de Moura Camacho, we decided to keep this page in English language only. I am very happy to restart writing here after a long time and I kept thinking during the weekend what exactly to write about. Although we had a very rich alignment seminary last Saturday, I could not think of any better theme than our relationship with our Si Mo.

My Baai Si is still crystal clear in my head: What an amazing day! To have Si Gung Leo Imamura and Si Taai Vanise Imamura here with us was crazy! It was a very big event, as there were people accessing new domains in the Ving Tsun system, some were entering the family and my Si Hing Marcos Leiras and I were doing the Baai Si. Looking at this photograph and thinking about what it represents, I can only dream of how amazing it would be to have Si Mo with us that day. Maybe I will ask Si Fu, with all his knowledge of etymology, what word carries more weight than "amazingly special" - I am sure that word would be faithful to such an occasion (laughs).

What is funny about my relationship with my Si Mo is that I have the impression that I know her for a long long time. She blended with our family in ways I could only dream of. Her charisma, kindness, joy and warmth are very characteristic and mixed perfectly with our Si Fu. It calmed my heart when I realised, a few weeks ago, the great company that Si Fu will have for his upcoming trip to the USA. As I've heard my Si Fu saying countless times, I sincerely wish for our relationship to be long, because if it is, it will also be rich.