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Kung Fu TO’A appeared for the first time in Iran (then Persia) by the hand of Ibrahim Mirzaii, a passionate student of martial arts, with a philosophy degree, belonging to the armed forces of Persia, and, given his enormous abilities, charged to reunite and codify into a new style the ancient knowledge of the East with the new physiological and anatomical, 'scientific' knowledge coming from the west and which pervaded Persia at that time.
Kung Fu TO’A is the result of that encounter between the East and the West by the hands of (what some people consider to be) a visionary. In Portugal Kung Fu TO’A was introduced by a direct disciple of Mirzaii, Shahram Kassiri, driven away by the religious revolution that took place in Iran at the time.
Master Kassiri only stayed in Portugal for a couple of years, but one of his students Guilherme da Luz, himself a passionate student of the East and the West, aspiring to bringing to light the deep communion between the physical and the spiritual aspects of Kung Fu, started to teach a revised version of TO’A that included his own insights and previous experience in other traditions of Kung Fu and other martial arts.
The end result is a martial art that adds fluidity to the original Kung Fu TO'A style and an emphasis on 'communication' skills with the adversary, whenever possible. Guilherme focuses that the important thing is not to win a fight, but to «sair-se bem» which means something like – don't be hurt by what happens, instead, learn from it. Sometimes, if you are too violent, or involved in a fight, you become hurt, even (and perhaps especially) if you 'win'. The point is therefore not so much to win, but to cruise life taking all that it has to offer without getting stuck in obsessions, despite or indifference. In other words, «sair-se bem» is growing up, fulfilling the dream, instead of growing old, fulfilling the mechanism. It is to be free and realistic at the same time, being able to contemplate the mystery of existence.
Our classes (when given by Guilherme) have a deep impact on his students, both because of his technical perfection in martial arts, but perhaps mostly because of the depth and richness of his vision about life, and what he has to say about society, personal friendships, drugs, sex, spirituality, love, music, or even food or specific qualities of teas, etc. He not only speaks in an enlightened manner but is also a living proof that enlightenment to some secret degree is possible, something that transcends the scientific vision which is the hallmark of our times. Also because of that he is a symbol of hope to all of us.
In the way Guilherme gives his classes, the first three stages of TO'A are connected with three different kinds of energies: physical (pure power – the animal), feeling and rationality. In occidental societies a great emphasis is given to knowledge but the most animal and intuitive parts of us stay hidden; although this helps to give society its orderly structure, it also makes the individual less aware of himself and less able to control/understand himself at times when rationality by itself is not enough (times like revolutions, when the rational boundaries fade and something else is needed to control our actions). Due to this repression, the animal impulses within us remain unconscious, and when they are released, they usually assume an irrational behavior, they are disconnected from reason. The first stage is therefore to make this bridge inside ourselves, to bring the animal out, not in a unconscious manner, but with eyes that see and ears that hear: a conscious, deeply aware animal, and integrated both in reason and feeling.
It is a personal discovery to each of us that this awaken power has abilities that we would not had foreseen, we can anticipate many events in others (perhaps by using our innate intuition), find the right replies in many situations of life, guide us to the right postures during the day, avoid confrontation, verbal and other, and especially, it helps us to feel better with ourselves by helping us to find 'our own way'.
Finding 'our own way' is a deeply recurrent theme in Guilherme's classes. The focus is that there are many ways to become happy and fulfilled, no single way can express the richness and variety of the universe. Some people grow up by cultivating martial arts, others by doing music, or painting, or by studying astronomy, or by talking to plants. There is no single way, no recipe, no panacea to find happiness. One must first look inside (and no one can make you look inside except yourself) and search for his way, to create it, to discover it, and then to live it, to fulfill it, to recreate it as time goes by, and reorganize everything, always in a creative act that gives meaning to life and flavor to each morning and each moment.
Learning Kung Fu is learning how to fulfill the dream, how to be alive, how to be happy, better still, how to be ecstatic, with each moment, each breath of air, each pulsing of the heart. It is to see in the waves of the sea all the beauty of the universe, it is to learn how to love and be loved, how to die, it is to know the world with the eyes of knowledge and also with the eyes of the heart.
We have grown accustomed to a society that grows exponentially in its technology and science. Perhaps Kung Fu TO'A can't help much in telling you about the muscles in your body or how ATP changes oxygen into energy, the strength of covalent molecular bonds, and things like that. What it does is to complement this techno-scientific vision with what we need the most: a humane, sensible vision of the universe that equates this knowledge into something larger: the meaning of our lives freely constructed / created in a pure act of freedom and love.
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