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“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. 

- Lao Tzu

Great things start from humble beginnings.

-Jing Shuai*

An 83 Year Old Martial Art “Uncle”

Practicing martial art is a wonderful activity that keeps participants physically active, their entire lives.  In the culture of Chinese martial art, the goal is both wisdom and skills.  Most people who practice martial art are hoping to improve their overall wellness besides enhancing both their defensive and fighting skills. 

I admire those humble practitioners who bring martial art values into every aspect of their lives.

In China, “Uncle” is a term of endearment for older friends. A week ago, I met and spent a couple of days with an 83 year old uncle of a cousin of mine, who lives in an ancient city, Yi Bin in China.


“Uncle” is such a person.   With a twinkle in his eye and as light as a feather, he demonstrated for me his self-defense skills.  With incredible wit, agility and lightning moves, I was honored to observe a respected martial art practitioner. His years of practice paid off In good health, positive energy, self-confidence, discipline, and tranquility.  I wasn’t watching an old man, but rather, a marvelous spirit, full of life, who was relaxed and exuded a positive energy. 

The next morning after “Uncle” needed to catch a bus.  So he said goodbye to us, and told us that enjoyed our company. He refused a ride from us and instead, insisted that he would walk to bus station. We all agreed, watching him disappear into the bustling crowd, that his stride was that of a 30 year old, not a man of 83. 

What a remarkable man Uncle is. I’m so pleased that I was able to share some time with him.      

-Jing Shuai 06/12/2018

“The Journey Starts Here”

While I was gallery sitting in the afternoon at the Roost Studios in New Paltz, something of interest was revealed to me about the good nature of one of the artists who is featured in this show.  

But, before I talk about what I saw, I want to explain a little more about the show and the artists who are exhibiting.  The show entitled “Journey Starts Here” is Michelle Michalko and Emre Arapkirli’s first show.  These young artists are seeking to achieve recognition and success through their association with Roost Studios.  

Ok, back to the aforementioned occurrence, While I was talking to Michelle about the ins and outs of the way young artists need to take necessary steps to actually make a go of it, I was suddenly surprised, I noticed that Michelle had stopped speaking, and she in apparent disbelief was staring out of the window with her month open and something obviously held her attention.  Of course, I didn’t know why then, but suddenly, she ran for the door and down the stairs, on the way, she looked back at me and Emre and she added: “that lady apparently is in trouble, no one is on the street, and it is raining.  I must go help her.”  Then Emre and I went to the window to see what was actually going on.  We saw Michelle and a gentleman who had just come from the Gourmet Pizza shop helping a lady to stand because her knees apparently were giving her a little trouble.

This whole experience speaks to me about Michelle and Emre’s future, I clearly have seen and understand from observing and thinking about Michell’s quick act of kindness.  This type of person, who smiles easily and is comfortable with people easily, will ultimately succeed in life as an artist or in whatever endeavor they will attempt.

So we all should wish them both well, their “Journey Starts Here”

I hope you, the reader do not think I am making a mountain out of a molehill.  But to me, this is something worth mentioning.

-Jing Shuai      06/10/2018

(Thank Martin Daniels for helping on editing.)