A site honoring the teachings of Kuo Lien Ying and the magical time that we were able to learn from Si Fu

Portsmouth Square 1965-1985

Cheryl Lynne's Biography
I am a Fire Monkey, year 1956. My father, J.P. Pickens, was a leading force in the early North Beach, San Francisco, music scene, circa 1963-65, influential and inspirational in the creation and definition of the psychedelic rock genre that burst out of the Bay Area.

I started at Kuo's when I was sixteen and living in the Mision district of San Francisco with my family. My beloved younger brother "Owl" (a name given to him when he was 10 by Peter Coyote) and my boyfriend at the time, Bob Valadez, started studying Shao Lin ch'uan with a great Tai Chi master who taught in San Francisco' s Chinatown. Bob and Owl were introduced to Kuo by a member of the Free Family, John Brownson, who was studying with Kuo. Watching Bob and Owl horse around in the kitchen of our flat, I tried to do some of the moves, and was dismayed at how NOT flexible I was, and asked them to teach me some Shao Lin. So six months after they started, I found myself down at Portsmouth Square at the unbelievably early hour of 5:00 am, and when I began doing Line One of the Tontoi set, Sifu Kuo started laughing, Heh heh heh, because he was surprised that I knew it already.

I loved, and still love, Shao Lin. It gave me grace, hyper-flexibility, power, precision and speed of delivery. My self-confidence soared, and for the first time in my life I felt part of a community, and I was accepted without reservations into this fascinating culture of pioneering Americans deeply devoted to learning something rare in the US, Chinese martial arts from an elderly, but certainly not old, Chinese man who demanded that his students attend every single day of class, rain or shine.

The Sho Lin Broad Sword set is my favorite of all the forms in Sho Lin, although Ehr Long is a close second.

For Donald and I, and for countless others, the time spent learning and practicing at Sifu Kuo's early morning classes and, later in the mornings, at Bing Gong's classes in the Panhandle of golden Gate Park, was a magical time, the building of community and shared values. To rise every monrning before dawn, and ride Muni to Portsmouth Square, arriving in time to greet Sifu as he was opening the studio door was a joy. To rush to be the one to bring the weapons out into the park and set them upright in front of one of the benches, signaling the start of class, was an honor. To watch the sky slowly lighten, as the sun rose in the East was a blessing. As the noise level around us gradually rose in volume, as the activity of the day increased, as the City started the day slow and sleepy-eyed, Kuo's students were fully awake and active, fresh and full of vigor. Arriving at class every day, whether it was a cold misty fog; a clear, star-studded sky; or cold, stinging rain, Sfu Kuo's devoted students relished the crisp, clean air, and the exhilaration of each morning's practice.

Kuo's Shao Lin students would line up for drills, eager to show Sifu how much they had progressed. As he called out in Mandarin, "Yi, Er, San Su...(One, two, three, four)," everyone would move as one, coordinating their movements with each other, starting at the exact same moment and ending at the exact same moment. Tan Tui, Cha Chuan and the sword set.......

Those are wonderful memories for me, and I am so delighted that Randy is putting together this virtual Portsmouth Square, it is truly a labor of love in honor of our teacher, Sifu Kuo Lien Ying.

It never occurred to me during all those years of study that I would someday be a teacher of these precious arts. Today, Donald and I run the Paul D. Pickens II Research Foundation (a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) health education organization named after my later brother Paul "Owl" D. Pickens II) and Rubbo Art of Energy. We are blessed to live our passion and follow our hearts.

Donald and I live our lives as if this moment is the only one that exists, as if our only purpose here is to be of benefit to all, and as if there is no difference between these two intentions. This is, in fact, how we have always lived ur lives.

Our websites are: www.CultivateChi.com, www.BreatheStrong.org, and www.ExtraodinaryBreath.com

Youtube video: Rubbo Art of Engergy Blast

Cheryl Lynne's Links