Every new year brings another birthday, continued growth in the arts and life, new ideas, and new opportunities. This year marks my 6th year of having the honor of being a member of the prestigious World Black Belt (WBB) family. During this time, I have been given the great opportunity to be a part of many of the aspects that this wonderful site has to offer. WBB has put together an amazing website to communicate with the most admired and respected martial artists around the world and has given me the opportunity to share the impact that martial arts has had on my life. Some of the many educational aspects integrated in this community site are information on an array of martial arts styles, and the latest updates in the martial arts world with World Black Belts’ monthly newsletter. The WBB site is also a wonderful site to meet new martial artists and form long lasting friendships.
The Mute ExecutionerI have always believed that if one believes in the power of their dreams then there are no such things as impossibilities, but rather infinite possibilities. Like my family, Master Leo Fong, best known for his close ties and friendship to the legendary Bruce Lee and for his innovative approach to the martial arts, is a person in my life that believes that if one works hard, utilizes every resource that is available, and one is fully committed to fulfilling what one sets out to do, then one's dreams are within their grasp. Mr. Fong told me, “What the mind can conceive and act upon it can achieve” and I completely agree with his belief. To conceive being an actress and showcasing my martial arts in films and to be fortunate to act upon it with the help of Mr. Leo Fong is definitely, in my opinion, an achievement in my journey through life. I have formed a close friendship and admiration for Mr. Fong and this past year I had the great opportunity to work with him in our latest film called, The Mute Executioner, in which I play Shelly Johnson. Each time I am fortunate to work on projects with Mr. Fong, it is always a great learning experience. What I also admire is that Mr. Fong uses the films he creates as an outlet to express positive life messages. In The Mute Executioner, Shelly has a hard time dealing with the deaths of her family who got massacred by a group of home invading robbers and becomes mute from the shock of witnessing the murders. Through the course of the film, she falls in love and is conflicted whether to get revenge on the ones that murdered her family or to forgive them. We get to follow Shelly in her quest of searching for inner peace even when inside she is in a rage, bent on seeking out the killers and bring justice to her family for the murders. We get to see if she forgives them or her anger is too great to forget. In December 2011, I completed The Mute Executioner which is my second film with Mr. Fong and this film is due for a DVD release in 2013.
The Art of Goju Ryu Japanese Karate
Its been 6 years since I earned my 1st degree black belt in the art of Goju Ryu Japanese Karate. Since that time, I have continued learning and expanding my knowledge in my art and on February 22, 2012 I ranked to my 4th degree black belt in the art of Goju Ryu Japanese Karate. As I reflect back at my youth and how I started martial arts in my backyard with my father and the fond memories I have, I remember the drive I possessed at a young age was fueled with supportive parents who realized and understood the importance of a lifelong commitment to an art I was and still am completely passionate about. The honor of earning each ranking is an amazing feeling, but at the end of the day I know I am still that little girl with the same drive and tenacity to continue learning and always realizing that something new is attained each and every day.
A Legend and His Art and Exercise Program: Wei Kuen Do and Chi Fung
I have also had the honor of learning from my Dear Friend, Living Legend, and Grandmaster Leo Fong. As my mentor, he has taught me his approach to the martial arts and his exercise program. In the course of knowing Mr. Fong, he has graciously passed down his art form to me called, Wei Kuen Do (WKD)- “The Way of the Integrated Fist”. Over the last 50 years, Mr. Fong has blended together various forms of martial arts and through his life experiences he created a single approach in combat and in the totality of life which he calls Wei Kuen Do. WKD's early beginnings came from Bruce Lee's Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do, Angel Cabales' Serrada Escrima, Western Boxing, Sil Lum Kung Fu, Choy Lay Fut, and Wing Chun. From these various art forms, he has taken the most practical way for reality fighting and integrated into his approach of WKD the most efficient from each art. WDK is divided into four stages of growth and progress: developing ones skills, perfecting those skills, dissolving ones skills, and making ones tools their own. Also, proficiency and understanding of physical development, emotional expression, mental discipline, and spiritual enlightenment all aid in assuring one's growth in WKD. One must also have unity between the emotional, mental, and spiritual to reach the highest level of development. In regards to the combative aspect of WKD, the highest form of fighting is when one reaches a spiritual state or Bruce Lee's philosophy of “the art of fighting without fighting”. By reaching a spiritual state, which is the ultimate focus of WKD, one can deal with negative situations with their internal being rather than just one's physical skills solely. Mr. Fong credits his association with Bruce Lee for much of his insight into the conceptual aspects of the martial arts. As I have been learning from Mr. Fong, I believe WKD is a perfect example of the arts being a way of life, a philosophy that I personally adhere to. As I indulge myself wholeheartedly into WKD, I know that I will keep gaining new insight into an approach that Mr. Fong created and continue to give me new perspectives in the arts. I also want to thank Adam James for taking the time to help me with my training in WKD.
In the early 70's, another unique implementation that made Mr. Fong a stand out in the martial arts community was combining weight training with martial arts. During a time when this integration was not popular, he brought light to this effective training method. So, it’s no surprise that Mr. Fong would create an exercise program that focuses on relaxation, deep breathing, and effective circular movements with the use of light dumbbells called Chi Fung. What I discovered with this exercise program is that whether one is 23 or 101, Chi Fung is the ideal exercise program to bridge the gap with the ages. As I participated in Leo Fongs classes, I glanced around the room with the many in attendance, and I noticed that all the people that were participating in the Chi Fung class were relaxed, keeping up with the routine all while maintaining great form and deep breathing. Each and every one of us were different ages, had different ailments, different health conditions but we all had one thing in common which was putting our all into Leo Fong's Chi Fung class. What I personally felt through this exercise program was the feeling of a great overall body workout. The consistency of utilizing weights with the variation of strikes and circular movements makes this exercise program very effective and a leading program for injury prevention and overall great health. I feel extremely honored to have been ranked and certified in Wei Kuen Do and Chi Fung under Grandmaster Leo Fong on January 2012. I will always uphold these accolades with the highest regard and much pride. I will continue to perfect, represent to the best of my abilities, and carry on his art and exercise program for years to come.
Tiger Claw Martial Arts, Martial Arts Mart, and Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine
In December 2011, I can proudly call Tiger Claw Martial Arts a new addition to my martial arts family. I am now a Martial Arts Model for Tiger Claw Martial Arts, Martial Arts Mart, and Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine. While I was down in LA, I had an awesome photoshoot with my new family and I have to say, they are the nicest, down to earth people I had the pleasure of working with. I got to model a wide range of their new apparel, weapons, sparring gear, shoes, karate gi's, and cool exercise equipment which is scheduled to be viewed throughout the years through media and magazines.
In ending, I feel absolutely blessed to have the avenue to share parts of my life with everyone. Mr. Jeff Schrembs shared these words of wisdom with me in response to one of my articles, “Please continue to write, express yourself, now and always, for in sharing you give from the most honorable place, your heart.” I truly believe that the desire and drive I have for my goals and dreams and the love I have for my friends and family all derive from one central area, my heart. Therefore, Mr. Schrembs, I thank you for those wise words and I will continue to share with everyone as I continue in my path down life’s ever changing journey.
Hoping everyone has a safe and amazing summer! You can write at: LindaBustamante@worldblackbelt.com