December 1989 > Now I got the ticket in my pocket from Budapest to Moscow from Moscow with the „Transmongolian Train“ to Beijing. Voila in two days leaving Hungary toward to China. The seven days waiting for it was worthwhile because I payed only 200 US for it. With this train ticket I could go now to the embassy of Sowjetunion for a transit visa who need for my traveling with the train via China. The visa took me two day to get but with it in my passport I felt like a winner of a long boring game. My second visa after the Chinese one who got from the embassy in Germany. During my stay in Budapest I started to realize the big difference between east and west. I remember one german saying at that time: „Im Westen ist es am besten, im Osten stehen die Posten“. Such a big different in the same continent Europe how it will be more far east? Two days later on the train to Moscow looking out of the window to say goodbye to Budapest. A city at that time sad and poor but full of dreams for the coming future with democracy.
The skyline of the snow covered houses of Budapest become smaller and smaller. In the same train cabin was a Japanese arround the same age like me. He was already six years on traveling. For me unbelievable at that time. I was repeating it in my mind „six years“ not at home only on the road from country to country. Mhhhh crazy stuff what the Japanese is doing. Not realizing that I´m on the way to do the same. Because this was actually not my plan. This guy was telling me he was traveling from Japan via China till Europe with his motorcycle. He was crossing hole Europe to Spain from their took boat to Marocco this all with his bike a small one with 125 cc. In Greece he ship his 125cc bike back to Japan. No problem the bike has made the hole 6 years he sayed. The only thing he has to change ones in a while chain and tires. Thats why he decided to ship the bike back and he want to cast it in acryl and make a table out of it.
Why to traveling to the east? As martial artist my vision was to visit the roots of eastern martial arts the Shaolin. So many stories I was reading in books or watching in movies. Exactly what I was searching they were representing for me. Now I was already closer to my dream. Money in my pocket, enough time and I was free like a bird at that time. Hanging around in Budapest for week or so and try to get a cheap ticket for the transsiberian train. The travel agency I found at that time was saying come back next day the trains from Moscow are all fully booked you have to wait. On a waiting list for one week enough time to discover the city. Buda and Pest at that time full of beauty history for me and at the same time sadness in the heart of the people. I felt first time how lucky I´m to get born in western countries. Like I said 1989 was not a easy time for the people there after changing the politic closer to western ideas. But no money no honey came into my mind by seeing the dysbalance. The hungarian had still low income but the western products the shops were offering had the western high prices. A bell of sadness over the City because close to Christmas and no money and new western the shining products in the showcase. After around seven days the travel agency told me they get a space for me on the transsiberian train. Budapest to Moscow from Moscow to Beijing my heart starts beating faster. Closer and closer to my vision to find a real master. Real master… yeah I´m coming. Wherever in the east I gonna find him I´m starting in few days to come closer to you. How he will be? How his teaching will be? Will he accept me?, a guy who just came over knocking on his door with the dream to learn and growth. Stop thinking man just follow the flow came into my mind, good my heartbeat was lowering down now with this particular thought. And this sentence became essential in the more then five years of searching for a master in the east.
after my decision to start my search for master I booked my train ticket from Frankfurt to Budapest from there I heard I can to get cheap ticket for the transsiberian train.
Ok 1989 Hungary was not very luxury because first year of democracy and capitalism. The border were open to import goods from western countries. It was wintertime and close to christmas the people there and especially the children where looking with wide open mouth at the shopping windows. For me nothing special to see only new TVs or toy trains. But the children eyes were shining like they where looking at wonder of the world. It was the first time they could see such things but also I could see they did not have the money to buy it. This was a country in Europe for me not understandable how it could be. The things I was reading in the newspaper became true for me, east and west, capitalism and communism, cold war…To see it, feel it or just read it a big difference and it was making me sad. In the train or busses I was taking the smell of vodka or what ever kind of alcohol always present, the frustration to see the luxury stuff in the shopping window but no money to buy it. With these pictures of the reality I was living around one week in a small apartment in a building made with precast concrete slaps. The landlady was catching me at the train station after my arriving in Budapest. She was showing me pictures to catch me for hiring her privat room, cheap, cheap so far I remember correct, where her only words in broken english. Indeed it was quite cheap around 5 US for a day and the smell of alcohol from my landlady
For one week every morning the same action. I went to the station and was asking for a train ticket to china
was the last phrase of my previous blog. After practicing already for 17 years martial arts and mastering five arts my Sifu (Chinese term for father teacher) entered actually my Dojo/Gym/Kwoon. This is how the places get called where you can learn martial arts. My previous martial arts school name was „Budocan Frankfurt“ and was very well known in Germany because of its high level competitors. So how does it come that my Sifu was entering my school ? Much later around two or three years or so Sifu (Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit) just answered my question about with following phrase:
Kai thats a easy to answer, if the student is ready the master appear.
It sounds a bit strange but what to do if the master say so. But actually I was looking i.e. searching for thus strange not explainable spiritual experiences. Now after over twenty years walking the Shaolin arts path who Sifu learned me it becomes more and more clear. I was searching by heart not by intellect. This was also the reason why I was all together more then five years traveling to Asia to search for a real master. For me a real master is more then one who master only the external art i.e. method/ technique. From the so called external masters I had already the best for my practice art. I still respect them all from my heart because they were showing, leading and educated me very well until I was ready for the complete art. What it mean complete art?, a combination of practical, energy and mind/spirit. But about this I gonna talk in a other blog later.
Ok five years searching by traveling Asia and finding nothing what I was looking for. Visiting martial arts schools all over from Shaolin Monastery to other Kung Fu schools 1,5 years in China. Later Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Thailand from country to country from art to art and MA-school to MA-school. But nothing what I was looking, searching or was dreaming about. But what was is it? Actually motivated from books who where writing about the masters from the past who where able perform for me so called „crazy“ stuff. And I was sure there are still some around us somehow hidden. This belief was so strong to start my search around the world. I felt it in my heart but could not explain why my belief was so strong. The most friends where thinking at that time now he will get crazy, hahaha, when I was starting traveling and saying good by to them. The questions of my relatives and friends I couldn´t answer. Questions like:“ where you going first..“, which you going next…“, do you got an address where we can get in contact with you…., and so on. My standard answer:“ I realy don´t know“ or „I gonna start with the transsiberian- train then I will see“
Flowing with the clouds thats how I would describe my past action now. I was moving by intuition following the flow of situation and never forgetting what I was searching for. The central theme to my vision (find a real master) was my pilot.
From theory to practical use is a very important step but many Dao / Zen followers are fail. I´m always saying to my students „you can´t learn how to swim by reading books or by discussing“. That means lower down your will to understand by mind better to understand by practicing. Because of practicing real practical and experienced conversation about will start. This made the difference. A understanding of the philosophy by practicing is already walking on the path in right direction. The questions of theorizer are complicated and most of the time confused. This doesn´t mean they are stupid because there are not such things.
The level of followers of the path you can see by their actions and hear by their questions. Not what the most people thinking> how many techniques somebody knows or can perform is showing the level.
Morning view from Zen- Kloster Eisenbuch /Germany
How to follow correct? Not as easy because we get educated from our parents, school, education or university to think and to questions things. In tradition way we trust the old path and wisdom and we should just follow the advices of the master we have chosen. This is sometime also a difficult task. How do we know its a real master of the art?