Last night (12/5/15) was one of the most enjoyable nights I have ever lived. I attended my schools year 12 formal - the second formal event I've attended to date. The event went from 7pm to 11pm. My elder sister did a great job in helping me find a suit for the event. We found it from a shop called 'yd' (http://m.yd.com.au/product/528041?CategoryId=1321). My formal attire was/is a grey skinny suit with a grey vest (black on the back), a black skinny fit shirt with little light blue poker dots and a red tie. The event was held at Ascot House in Ascot Vale - Melbourne (http://www.ascothouse.com.au). The hospitality provided at Ascot House was perhaps of the highest standard I've ever experienced. The food was brilliant. I couldn't finish all of it as it was rather heavy. When ever the jugs on our table were half empty, waiters would take it away and provide a full one.
The music the DJ played was pretty good. It was easy to dance to, and as such, something was brought out from within me that I never realised I had. I can dance!!! I'm normally a pretty quiet and reserved person. I don't even have a personal Facebook page. When I walked into the venue I didn't even know it I would dance or not, but the music brought out a side of me that I didn't know I had. When most people were dancing, they were bobbing up and down in addition to moving their arms a bit. I started with the "bobbing up and down". My dancing turned out to consist of moves that purely existed in the moment and were inspired by traditional Gung Fu and Freddie Lee's Gung Fu dance. Then moves that I've learnt in my Tai Chi class quickly took over. These moves were executed at the speed that I felt the music was dictating I execute them. I suppose when Tai Chi forms (which largely consist of circular movements) are practiced at a fast pace, it looks rather flashy. Within about one minute, people were circled around me. Within 3 minutes almost all the 120 or so people were circled around me. I was just being self expressive. A by-product of this evidently was that people found me somewhat intriguing to watch I presume. This happened a couple of times. After the first time it happend, people were coming up to me, shaking my hand and complementing me. I was also complementing other people during the night.
After a while, another guy who does WTF Taekwondo tried to integrate what he knows into dancing. His moves were very linear and combatively clear cut. He is not yet independent of the system. I doubt he ever will be but regardless of that, I encouraged him to keep it up. I suppose what he was doing was really clear cut Martial Craft. Although practical in combat, his moves didn't seem to be harmoniously synchronised with the music. My moves, which as I mentioned were inspired by Freddie Lee and Chinese expressions were much more fluent, circular and the martial application was to the untrained eye, largely un-obvious. At one point someone was encouraging us to have a dance off. I half heartedly participated with a playful spirit but lost interest pretty quickly.
A plus one guest came up to me and said "Oh my god your dancing is so cool! It's like combative but it's like it's not!" She asked me to teach her a few of my dance moves and I was happy to oblige. I was honestly flattered that she was taking such an interest in the expression that was coming from my heart. She didn't quite grasp it technical side of the technique but it was still very fun and regardless, I was very happy with the effort and enthusiasm she displayed. Another instance was when three other guys who I danced a bit with me said "You lead and we'll follow!". We did moves I learnt in my Tai Chi class such as stroke the white horses main, rooster stands on one leg, wave hands like clouds and brush knee push hand.
At the year 12 formal I was able to share what I have to express with others. I wasn't trying to impress people but as a side effect of my self expressiveness on the dance floor I became more popular than I ever have been. The headmaster even came up to me and complemented me on my dancing. All of this attention presented a new challenge to me. That challenge was to be able to cope with newfound popularity whilst remaining humble. There were opportunities for the ego to take control; however, when those opportunities arose I consciously recognised the ugliness of the ego and said "No". The egos assertion doesn't feel good. I know the ego is not me and so on the odd occasion when it did try to assert its self, I was quick to tighten its lead.
For the most part though, the dancing was like a meditation. In meditation there is no ego. It was nice to have a platform to share my creativity with others, and just as significantly, to have my individual expression of Martial Art widely embraced by others. I think that perhaps the reason that I had so much energy at the formal was because for the number of months gone by, most of what I've done has been academic study. As this is my last year of high school I've tried to remain as focused on my studies as possible. The unfortunate result of this sedentary activity is that I have been lacking variety. It's important for me to remember that I've only got four months of classes left before exams. Year 12 is a short year.
In conclusion I had a fantastically brilliant time that will be remembered in years to come. I gained a deeper insight into the realms of creative martial expression. I also gained practice and a deeper insight into my own ability to interact with other people at social events whilst remaining true to myself. By that I mean knowing how much assertion is enough. Not being shy yet not being cocky. It reminded me of a quote from Bruce Lee's book Tao of Kung Fu located on page 30: "A Gung Fu man, then, should be soft - yet not yielding; firm - yet not hard.". Finally I'd like to thank: all my friends/classmates for just being there and making the formal the epic night it was, my elder sister for helping me select an awesome suit and I'd also like to thank my Dad for being a legend and driving me all the way down to Ascot House in Melbourne and back home - each trip took over an hour.