*Please stay tuned all month for more updates on this May feature on Dragon Gates Sanctuary.
Name of Feature: Sifu Christopher Matsuo
Area of Focus: Acupuncturist, Massage Therapist, Tibetan Medicine
I have been a licensed acupuncturist since 2000 and a licensed massage therapist for several years. I was training in acupuncture while I was learning the Taoist arts of bagua . The bagua was the one of the most fascinating martial arts to me. I have never seen anything like it, although I have taken a lot of martial arts. It is something mystifying and magical to me even now even after I know what's inside of it. It took me a long time to understand what to give up inside to get the strength energy and skill I wanted. The teacher was very difficult and it was like getting venom from a snake but I knew I wanted that knowledge and that I could do so much with it; so it was not an option to quit when I really got into the tuina and Lomi Lomi.
The Hawaiian massage really took off when I decided to really study the Lomilomi that I learned I was never going to pursue it because I wasn't Hawaiian. But something just inspired me. The art was practiced for royalty and rite of passage. At a certain age & time, royalty would be sent to the temple to receive hours of Lomilomi. The massage is very in the moment and you have to hold that space. It is much like surfing; you have to stay there in the present moment, aware, not lingering on past or future. With this space held with the massage it starts to let go of all that is not the moment. Also all the main movements are geared towards opening the heart called, the temple of I'o; I'o, being one of the four Hawaiian gods, unmanifested energy like wuji, or Vishnu. When the heart opens and floods through the body that is cleared of past and future, such as worries, fear, anger, resentment, frustration, misconception, illusion, delusion... our sense of purpose and responsibility starts to become very clear with discernment. Doing these rites of passage, wque begin to question our purpose; “why was I born to this place and to these people?” When we come upon our purpose and responsibility, then it is clear.
The Lomilomi came from Tutu Rachel Moke, Mahuike, Moki, Manoi…; her last name was hidden, changed as it needed to be. I heard she was almost seven feet tall and unbeatable at the Hawaiian martial art of lau both the fighting art and the Lomi Lomi where from the mo'o aumakua… it included the specialized massage as well as a special dance that went with a specialized breathing for the aumakua, the mo'o. As I started to practice and study whatever I knew, elders would show up and tell me more about the deeper parts of the art and also about Tutu Rachel. I eventually met her grandson, her great-grandson, grandsons cousin, her best friend’s granddaughter Ruby Johnson, and soon, her daughter. Each of them shared with me priceless pieces of the art I would have never known.
Since 2003, I have been a lineage holder for the Wu family (pre-taoist sect.) Some of the lineage were advisors to Genghis and Kublai Khan, also called “The Black Khan.” The lineage holders before were Wu Xiao Shr, Wu Xiao Deng, Wu Wai Moon. It is an internal martial art including medical martial/spiritual skill and knowledge, including tea ceremony, healing, evolution/transformation.
What are your favorite memories of tea time?
Meetings with my teacher, lots of stories drinking so much tea, he would make so much and I would drink so much tea I would be running to the bathroom a dozen times before we got to train. Drinking 5 Venoms Wine in his tearoom, I thought I was going to die but I was even more surprised to find out he thought I was going to die, watching his social tea skill and wisdom. I watched as he had multiple depths of conversation and multiple conversations going on at the same time seems like genius and naturally spontaneous but it was his art of tea. I spent most of my training time in my shifu’s / teachers tearoom. Learning a very rare style of snake bagua which is related to the naga the serpent energy that rises in the spine it included the arts of healing meditation, moving meditation, philosophy and meditations for evolution after brain and heart. The art related to the 8 forces of nature combined with itself to create 64 changes which related to the 64 codons of DNA. Bagua is also related to the Bonpo which is also related to the Bon Dance a Japanese dance that originates from the Tibetan shamanism practice of thunder and lightning. The dance uses the five elements hand postures in shamanistic trance dance.
learning the art of his tea ceremony was always fascinating
What are your thoughts on &/or relationship to earth medicine?
The vibration of the earth is used throughout the bagua training, as like a violin in circle walking the feet are rubbed against the ground to bring the mid-to-high theta waves of the earth through the body. The body has to be held in a posture that stretches the instrument to allow the vibration to flow freely. The 5 elements are also earth medicine because they relate to this tangible world, the world we always come back to, the world we feel pain in, and also relates to the physical body and the physical world. The 5 Elements compose the world and physical body, the rooted sources of strength in the body, and so relates to the martial arts, body reading, and actually reveals a lot about qigong and what is really qigong vs. empty movements. This is sometimes, actually often, the place where people want to escape and disengage; but it is a place of strength. There are key anchors to this strength at certain locations of the body that are sources of strength and energy and specialized power and they are developed by these energy dances.
What is YOUR medicine?
My medicine is the heart and laughter also referred as thunder in the shamanic methods of thunder and lightning. It is the ionic flow of yin & yang, and can always acknowledge, discern, engage and catalyze with skill and wisdom. There is an art to the heart. The entire art of bagua is based on the heart and the energy that comes from it and then wielded. There are thunder dances which existed from the time of the historical Buddha and before. These Thunder Dances I called the Eight Limbed Sutra. Ashta Naga and are a series of dances on a triangle like pieces of pie on a circle they used centrifugal and centripetal force expansion and contraction in ancient version of the Fibonacci coming from the heart. Talking about this it's important to say that most of the main Asian Healing Arts are also based on the heart as the center the key center; the main player in the game.
Current community building projects and what sparked this interest? Products/recent releases?
In the coming months, I will be sharing levels of rare practices which include; Kuan Yin/Chenrezig moving meditation form, qigong, magnetic meditation, hidden though much needed philosophy
mudras such as the Art of Kuji Kiri, 18 Buddha Palm/ 18 Flowers of the Buddha; a lomilomi dance originating from ancient thunder dances, related to the mo’o and the heart, with a special type of integrated breathing for transformation
I have these vajra thunder dances that I called ashta anga, 8 Limbed Sutra; it is a teaching and it is also a martial art, but it is a dance based on spirals coming from the heart through the arms with strength, wisdom and skill, physical movement but also philosophy and teaching. Ancient moving meditations that are sorely needed for our modern existence, extinct gurus yogic practice that develops the charismatic and hypnotic energies in the adept. 8 Diagram Palm called, baguazhang or bagua which is a physical articulation of Taoism and Buddhism. I will be making training videos and other materials available.
What is your vision for the next year.
I’d like to spend time with people who feel like their current life and environment are obstacles to their spiritual lives; people who feel they need to get away or escape, just to have spiritual time. Your life should be your spiritual life, your spiritual energy should flow through the life you have now; duality is an illusion.
I have a rare opportunity because the knowledge/ lineage i am responsible for is extremely old and extremely useful. In our modern world, people have searched and couldn’t find or were denied access, so they created what they could for lack of this knowledge. Artists creating art though artists cannot be the artists they want to be merely by copying someone's artwork. The truer the training and the truer the framework; the truer the artist.
Mudra: Inner Strength (Vitality Mudra)
Right hand over left back-to-back linking the first joints of the little finger and middle and index. Thumbs touching the ring fingers. Gathering the strength of the body, mind and heart, focusing the inner, sacred serpent fire in the playing field of the spirit. Hands pulling at each other and only finding yourself, your center and your strength. And now, being in that passive position to experience and engage; breathe... When we reach and we pull, we find the heart of what we were really looking for; maybe not quite what we expected, but maybe even more. And it's nice to know that it always will, when we put our Self on the spot.
Reaching for the mudra of inner strength what time will you need it the most you can reach for your own hand and find that inner strength over the crown. When you don't know what to think anymore, when you don't know what to believe anymore, and it's not enough to ask someone anymore.
Over your third eye, when it's not enough to see the world through other people's eyes anymore. Both of your throat, when you want to engage on a level that seemed impossible before, but now seems like your only answer.
Over your heart, when every other action seems to create more isolation when there doesn't seem to be a logical answer to your sense of purpose our responsibility in this world.
Over your solar plexus when what you just can't seem to access the person you know you can be and bring it out for the people around you. This hand seal gathers your sense of yourself together at each challenge and finds what you need to feel your own strength rise to meet the catalyst. Close your eyes and breathe, feeling the strength filling into its purpose and responsibilities the energy you knew you could always trust would be there for you when you need it the most.