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

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September 17, 2008

I Ching prognostication re our project (from Richard Vogel)

 Recently and feeling exhilarated I inquired of the I Ching for its commentary regarding our revisiting of our experiences with Master Kuo and Simmone. While there is a lot to be said for Carlos Casteneda's admonition in the early 70's that we "erase our personal past", in this instance and for the success of our current endeavor, the contrary would be true. As for myself, I am intrigued and possessed by warm feelings of nostalgia for that period in my life. My association with other dedicated martial artist friends under the auspice of Master Kuo was a life-changing event for me though I did not know that at the time. Today I feel blessed for having had the opportunity to be part of this wondrous convocation of aspiring martial art adepts.

 It was by chance that I wandered into the studio on that fateful day in the year 1973. There was no contrivance on my part nor had I anticipated upon entering the studio that I was about to enter a domain simultaneously grounded yet other worldly that would endure (as long as I continued to practice) and be conducive to the enhancement of my somatic, psychological, emotional and spiritual development. The fact that as an older dad I am in possession of the energy and resources that it takes to raise my three young children is in part due to the “chi” that I cultivate daily as I continuously refine the entirety of my Tai Chi practice. My practice is informed by my recollection and images of the transmission of the art of Tai Chi by Master Kuo, Randy Fung and Bing Gong. In the present I continue to be inspired towards a diligent practice by my current Sifu Donald Rubbo.  Donald generously provides me with everything, and I mean everything inclusive of technique, form, application inclusive of the counseling I require to respond adroitly to the complex demands of my career as a psychologist and the multiple roles ascribed to me as husband and parent. My observation has been that Sifu Rubbo’s competent and convincing counseling style is a synthesis of his martial arts background, Taoist and Buddhist studies and his heart felt concern that his students achieve their aims, martial, material and/or relational.

 My initial interest in I Ching paralleled my dedication to my Tai Chi practice in the early 70’s. At the time I was a psychologist working in community mental health in the mission district of San Francisco. I was single, yearning to be married. As karma would have it that was not to occur for another decade when I would meet the love of my life, my wife Tracy. Unrequited love in the early phase of a man’s life has an “initiatory” potential. Jung’s “night sea journey” refers to anguishing moments that accompany archetypical “disappointment”. In my case remediating factors included the intensification of my Tai Chi practice, personal therapy, and the initiation by an Indian mystic in the practice of Surat Shabd Yoga (light and sound meditation). I also sought counsel by continuously inquiring of the I Ching with regard to all that was occurring in my life at the time. The I Ching has been a wonderful companion, guide and reference point. It advises me regarding clinical decisions that I am continuously making on behalf of my clients and facilitates skillful means and mindfulness in my role as husband and father. More importantly, it alerts me to errors of judgment that if acted upon would be detrimental and potentially injurious to either myself or significant others.

 So, getting back to my inquiry of recent days regarding our project, the question that I asked was “Where lies the meaning of the reinvigoration of the period in my (our) life when I began my Tai Chi practice amongst like-minded individuals whom I have not seen in many years and who are now reconvening in a spirit of enthusiasm and goodwill?”


Hexagram 13 entitled Tong Ren - Fellowship with People is an auspicious response that bodes well for this undertaking. Here once again, I want to share my appreciation for Randy having provided the opportunity for all of us to participate together in bringing life to ”the once was - that now is”. Here I quote from the commentary by Jack M. Balkin’s impressive book The Laws of Change, I Ching and the Philosophy of Life.


With regard to our project what follows is the I Ching’s admonition:

The best way to realize your goals now is through participation in a group. You can achieve great influence and success through a collective endeavor. The group may be your friends, or it may be a political group, a social club, a religious organization, or the people you work with every day. If you are willing to join in with like-minded people, you can accomplish much more than you ever could on your own. … A sense of commitment and shared devotion make it possible for a group to achieve important and ambitious tasks, symbolized by being able to cross the great river. … The collective intelligence of many people working on a single project is often more powerful and thorough than that of any single individual, no matter how talented. Individual efforts and skills become greater than the sum of their parts when they are brought together in a common endeavor.


Richard Vogel Ph.D