It was the year of 1999. I was training Karate Shotokan, incentivized by a good girl friend of mine who introduce me to martial arts. I was loving it. The discipline, hard training, respect, self awareness, all the things that martial arts teach… I was living them.
Then one day I decided to see a Kung Fu Toa class, that was happening next to us in the same gym at Atlético de Alvalade. My world changed. On a room were about 30 people, where normally 15 would be a croud. They started intense conditioning, with a jump I had never seen. The Master, Guilherme da Luz, demonstrated strength and flexibility as one. He was the most flexible man I had ever seen, and I had done gymnastics before. Then came the punches, another weird combination of a twist punch like in Karate, combined with a wave movement. By the time I saw ‘sensibility’, using relaxation and strategy to defend and attack as one – closest thing I could think of are the Wing Chun sticky hands – I was wooked. The phases followed and when I used to do 25 movements in a Karate kata, I saw various with 120+ movements. But it was not the length but the intensity and authenticity. It was the most effective dance and expression of self that I had ever seen.
I decided to train and the next 12 years shaped my life, my core and I found myself. I left to Australia in 2012 and now, 5 years later, I am back to my origins, rediscovering the Kung Fu Toa in Portugal. Here I will share my journey, with hope you find them insightful and transformational.