1995 Anvil Ranch Retreat
My Training History with BK Frantzis
I first met Bruce "Kumar" Frantzis in February of 1992. My friend Dave Shuck had met Kumar a few months earlier through his co-worker the late Frank Tamits. When I went to my first workshop Opening the Energy Gates which was held in Kumar's basement dojo I was struck by the wide variety of people. Being seventeen, I was the youngest person there by a decade (except for Dave) there were people ranging from 30 - 80. When the workshop began (it was a Friday night) I expected to be "thrashing bozos", when all we did was stand I kept thinking, "when do I get to hit someone" but something "hit" me when I went home that first night I had a spring in my step which I had not felt in years, if ever.
I had never been an athletic or physical person and I was on the road to the "rock n' roll" lifestyle but something in me was hooked. The next day we began with a short standing session and then a question and answer session. Kumar asked us "what would you rather have a soft body or a hard one?" I was the only person who answered "hard." This was a defining moment - I realized that I had finally found what I had been looking for, what exactly that was i still wasn't sure.
A few months later I took another weekend seminar with Kumar, this time it was "Bend the Bow - Shoot the Arrow", during this workshop I first learned the techniques which I would ultimately use to heal my scoliosis, which at the time was quite severe, being young I was able to fix the majority of it before it got worse. It was at this second workshop that I first felt "internal power" when Kumar pushed me. The push incredibly soft yet it picked all 200 lbs of me off the ground and sent me flying about 10 ft into Dave who being 50 lbs lighter then me, failed in his attempt to stop us from slamming into a wall. Doesn't sound like much now but at the time, wow!
The following Fall (1993) I enrolled in Kumar's weekly classes. At the time Kumar was teaching only Taiji, Push Hands and Ba Gua. I first took Ba Gua and push hands and later took the short form class taught by Craig Barnes and other students of Bruce’s.
It was Joe Z. that would later that year convince Kumar to begin to teach Xing Yi Quan in the weekly classes. These classes were my first exposure to the fighting side of the internal martial arts, I had some in the Ba Gua class but most of it was beyond my grasp at the time. I met many of Kumar's more advanced students at these classes and was fortunate enough to have several of them tutor me in the fine art of taking a beating.
For the next 10 years I continued to attend Kumar's weekly classes, long after many of the senior students had "moved on." In these classes I would eventually learn the Wu Long Form, Xing Yi 5 elements, Eight Drunken Immortals (as far as I know this was the only time BKF taught this), Ba Gua Zhang, Tui Shou (Push Hands), Rou Shou (soft hands) and Yi Chuan. I also attended "Kamp Kumar" every year where I took each of his core Nei Gung sets a minimum of two times. In addition I was certified to teach Dragon & Tiger Chi Gung in 1996, the Wu short form in 1999, Marriage of Heaven & Earth in 2004 and Ba Gua in 2010.
In 2008, I joined with my long time training partner Jess O’Brien in hosting Bruce’s Bay Area Seminars and we are continuing to develop a strong group of committed practitioners and friends.