Questions: Ilya Zhuravlev, Oleg Flow
Interview by Oleg Flow
Interview with Duncan Wong
Oleg: How and when did you start practice martial arts and yoga, what styles did you study and who did you study from?
Duncan: I was born in the martial arts world and transferred the street into the ring and later in my teens I discovered the super powers of yoga and in my early twenties I rediscovered the healing and Zen aspect of martial arts and massage therapy, ultimately synthesizing these interconnected forms into one intrinsic flow that is “Yogic Arts”; my evolving life's practice and work. The systems and masters I studied under are numerous and eclectic. In the end you could say that the high masters of flow and stillness brought me to now.
Oleg: Usually martial arts are quite difficult systems which you can study all your life, they have own practice and philosophy. Why did you start practicing hatha-yoga? What was missing in martial arts?
Duncan: As a seeker I never questioned the flow but merely followed it. I was awakened early to the power of perceiving all as one, and as a result of my vision, I was blessed to have several key systems revealed to me in depth and detail, all of which have common ground in early Buddhism and of course earlier Yogic Magic. If brands are of interest to you and your readers, then here are a few to name: Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, Kuk Sool Won, Siddha Yoga, Jivamukti Yoga, Thai-Shiatsu Therapy, Elite Life Training - I always learned from the top down. One could say, I have studied with the best of these traditions.
Oleg: Tell about the main principals of your method?
Duncan: A) Become acquainted with the classical systems that possess universal structure, pranic flow and applied therapy. Martial Arts, Yoga and Massage are helpful. Some dance for rhythm doesn't hurt also. Timing, control and surrender are everything. No one know that more than a dancer, or a fighter, or both lover and fighter if you got it like that :) B) Forget all rules and restrictions after years of intensive training and simply teach from the heart. Live what you share. Be 100% at all times. C) Protect all that is living. Perform each action with the least harm. However, if you have to kill, do not hesitate, even for a moment. Above all, BE YOUR SELF.
Oleg: Are you interested in philosophy?
Duncan: Life has a way of creating a story around our experiences. Given the grace, we are afforded that small measure of peace that is the goal of all creatures; to create a space to venture an intimation with the dream in our hearts. Life is a series of philosophical awakenings; don't you agree brother Oleg?
Oleg: What breathing techniques do you use? Do you practice meditation?
Duncan: I integrate interdisciplinary pranic techniques to depending on the type of training or activity at hand. Primarily I use Ujjayi Pranayama to develop sama vritti, or equal intake and out-take to calm the mind and clean the heart. However, if I am running or kickboxing I can assure you the technique will change from moment to moment. Most importantly is realize the truth about breathing technique as a universal principle, which is that, slow and even movements require throat breathing, such as Ujjayi, however small, rapid movements are bedt fitted to nasal respiration, such as kapalabhati or 'S' and 'SH' breath sounds thru the mouth for a higher rate of oxygen draw and release. I do meditate. Sitting in a quiet room or in the aliveness of the great outdoors whenever the opportunity arises. Ultimately like all practices, living and breathing each step is of the most interest for me. The Zen masters teach us: “Master the movement; master the mind” - Ancient Zen Koan.
Oleg: What do you think about “subtle anatomy” in Chinese and Indian traditions are different? For example Chinese subtle anatomy has differences between male and female (the locations of the channels are different - specular) but the Indian subtle anatomy doesn’t have it?
Duncan: Without extensive study in these areas I am not at liberty to elaborate on the differences, but as a yogi and a warrior, it is clear to me that the similarities are far more important and interesting, in terms of an interest in Universal Flow of Male-Female (Union of Opposites). The more intriguing point for me and the premise of my contact work is this: All of the pressure points and energetic channels are the same. They don't move around based on country or culture, he-he. The healing and killing points are the same. 10,000 years later we are still hard-wired for enlightenment. That will never change either. The deeper we breathe the slower we move. The slower we move the more we see and feel. Slowness leads to stillness and awakens awareness and the energy of source power. At that time you can feel the flow of energy through your channels and you won't need a text book or a field guide to inform you of that.
Oleg: You teach a lot in Asia - Hong Kong, Japan.. Is there a difference in attitude to the practice between western and Asian students?
Duncan: Well, this is a loaded question and I would love to go into it in the detail that life has allowed me to share, however, to keep it simple, I will say this: Westerners are often individual while Easterners are more communal, in terms of interaction and awareness especially. I am excited to see how Russia and the surrounding cultures have integrated East and West, due to their geographical location and proximity to Asia.
Oleg: What are your impressions from the Bhakti Fest (California), what artists and yoga teachers do you like most? Is the Indian culture of bhakti close to you in general? Have you been to India?
Duncan: I discovered deep bhakti towards my Self and the Self of others over the decade of training tours in India. Bhakti Fest is cool because it has the element of nature with music; perhaps the two principle elements that developed yoga from its inception. I am not familiar with most teachers, since I am there to teach, however, being friends and fans of Shiva and Sean, I might take one of their classes when I am free. Mostly though, I love the desert, and steal away in a Malibu rental to the seeming emptiness of the desert that is so full of life at night. I can truly Be My Self naked to the forces in a setting like that.
Oleg: What places and people on the planet, where you have been to and taught, impressed you most?
Duncan: Wherever there is rich culture and the face of raw, vital, living humanity in the face of poverty and oppression. Like a weed that turns into a magnificent flower, growing in the crack in the road.
Duncan Wong, Yogic Arts creator www.yogicarts.com