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Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists

Uniting and empowering a diverse community
of women and girls in the martial arts.

Q & A with Professor Barbara Bones

Mary Lynn Morales

Professor Barbara Bones

Photo courtesy of Professor Barbara Bones.

Professor Barbara Bones is returning to teach at PAWMA from Hawaii. We are very excited to have her. Mary Lynn Morales conducted an interview with the Professor so those of us who do not know her can start to get excited about her coming to camp.

ML: First, Can you tell us what you are looking forward to this year at camp?
P: Well, I always look forward to seeing old friends at PAWMA. And, meeting some new ones ...

ML: What is your intention for camp? What are you looking forward to sharing?
P: Well, my intention, or blessing, for the camp would be that people find some part of their own selves that they haven't touched before. I tend to look for things that are transformative.

I hope to help provide an experience through which one may transform. I think that is probably the most important part, transformation.

ML: Super. And why do you think PAWMA is important?
P: Well, PAWMA is a rather unique place, where people who practice different disciplines can come together, to share their perspectives on their arts and movement.

ML: Okay, so I'm wondering if you could talk a little bit about what has motivated you in your training, both earlier and currently?
P: Previously, I have to say, my own process of self -discovery was very motivating.

Now, I like to provide witness to other people's self-discovery process. Providing that challenge, and witness how people make their way through. It's very different for different people.

As a teacher, you don't do much,you provide the environment where people can grow. It's like a garden. You can't force the plants to grow, you just provide them with what they need.

ML: Who were/are your inspiration and mentors?
P: Of course my teachers, Sifu Richard Mainenti and Professor Remy Presas, as well as Eddie Chang, who was my t'ai chi teacher. Also, I have to say, the folks I met in tournaments, both those who were challenging, and those who shared their perspectives with me, served as mentors to me.

ML: Speaking of challenges, what have been the challenges you have faced in your training?
P: Hmm.....my challenges have been mostly self-imposed, or long-forgotten.

When teaching day in and day out, I think communication can be a challenge. To find that image or language that speaks to the student before you, to help that student toward transformation.

Early on in a student's training, the challenge is to find the language that speaks to that particular student's growth. Later, after they've been training awhile, the language has been agreed on, so it's a little bit of a different challenge, promoting transformation.

As teachers, we all see things in our students that are inaccurate, and need to be corrected. The challenge is to interrupt them before they become habitual, the undoing of which creates a whole other more complicated task than just teaching it to them correctly in the first place. It's important to require that clear communication early on, so one doesn't have to re-learn everything.

ML: I have seen that in my own efforts as a teacher, trying to help students understand how their posture affects the application of the movement, for example. It is an on-going challenge to say and/or demonstrate a technique so that the student can comprehend and properly execute it. And each student has their own challenges, their own transformation.
P: Don't be afraid to push your students.

ML: Thank you Professor. Finally, for the folks who don't know you, what would you like them to know?
P: Ha! I think a lot of people are more serious. I think the non-Kaj people should know..... in Kajukenbo, we have fun. I just think it's fun.

Mary Lynn teaches Tai Chi in Berkeley and Oakland, California Information can be found at www.mlmorales.com.
She trains under Dr. Alex Feng at  Zhi Dao Guan - The Taoist Center in Oakland, California. She has trained under Stacey Joles
who teaches at the Wing Tao Mobility Arts in Burlington, Virginia.

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