My Sangha: Self Mastery Systems
Written by Duy Tran
As soon as I arrive to the class I jumped right into the warm ups. The studio was remodeled from a large 2 car garage with a second floor. I was surprised to see Erin, one of the contributors to murmur DC, was in full uniform and a part of the class. I was not in uniform. I had a t-shirt and jeans on. It felt nostalgic to participate in the warm ups and drills. When i was younger I was doing Taekwondo. The instructor, Fundi, took notice of my ability to quickly adapted and perform all his drills with ease.
“Duy, have you taken martial arts before?” he asked.
It was good to hear that I still got it. I felt prideful that I was still able to retain my skills from childhood. We did different kicks, walked on our hands (with assistance of course), with bounced around in push up position, we lunged around the room, splits! By the end of the warm up sessions, I was exhausted. I was so exhausted I almost felt SICK. It was a horrible feeling. Not so prideful anymore. I guess I wasn’t in the same shape I was when I was much younger. My body was not ready for those vigorous exercises. I excused myself and stepped outside and literally collapsed! I tried to catch my breath but this sick feeling wasn’t going away. Breathe…. (panting profusely) BREATHE!!! How embarrassing. At that moment a black cat came up to me and started cuddling and rubbing up against me. I realize that I shouldn’t try to participate because I’ll wear myself out before the night is over. I picked myself up off the driveway and returned to the studio as if nothing had happened.
Written by Erin Dawson
This place feels like a secret you only want to share with your best friend. But I’m a horrible judge of character and consider everyone a potential best friend, so I’m gonna share this secret with everyone.
It’s called Self Mastery Systems (SMS) and it’s a meditative/martial arts school that I’ve been going to for about 2 and a half months. I knew the head teacher, Fundi Weeks back when we were teenagers and he was John Weeks. We met at a party. He was sitting cross legged on a table, journal in hand and stone cold sober surrounded by a mass of stumbling drunken teenagers. I was one of them. We became friends and he taught me Kung Fu for about a year before I left.
I always regretted leaving and thought about it often. When I found out he had a school in Silver Spring I immediately went to visit.
The school is tucked back in a little neighborhood. Fundi lives in the main house and two of his roommates are students. Before and after class, the school has a relaxing family feel to it, and students usually stay after class for tea, (or pizza, beer and UFC fights).