Who are you and what are you doing here?
They call me Fred. I’m here to tell you about awesome kung fu, food, a bit of science, and my zany adventures.
What do you do for fun?
I love going for walks or blazing about town on my bicycle or roller blades. During my undergrad years, my pal Josh and I would often head off hiking on Friday afternoon after classes and come back Saturday morning (our longest hike was probably twelve straight hours of walking along the Wabash river trail and through Lafayette, IN). I also enjoy dancing, especially ballet and the fundamental techniques that Professor Sally Wallace taught me, in particular Egoscue, Traeger, and Pilates. My true passion, however, is kung fu.
Whoa, you know kung fu? What kind?
I practice kung fu as taught at the Shaolin Wahnam Institute, in particular Wahnam Baguazhang. I’ve learnt from a handful of masters, but my emphasis is definitely the core Shaolin kung fu from Shaolin Wahnam (heavily emphasized by Southern Shaolin, especially the Lohan style) and Wahnam Baguazhang. Since I live in Illinois, I mostly practice on my own. I tend to get weird looks when I practice in public, but that’s half the fun! I have a few videos of myself demonstrating material on my Youtube channel; I hope to add more in the future.
What do you study and do professionally?
I completed my bachelor of science degree in Microbiology from Purdue University at the end of December 2012. I also have a bachelor of arts degree in History (also from Purdue) which didn’t do me too many favors because I wasn’t ready to duel a tenured Historian to the death for his job (I know kung fu now, I might be able to pull it off), but hey, that degree landed me a job teaching in China back in 2008, which was darn cool. I’m presently a third year (M3) student at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and am going through my clinical rotations.
What have you done before?
Well, I worked a few gigs as a barista before teaching English in China back in 2008, just before the Beijing Olympics. Let me tell you, that was not a fun time to have your visa expire. After several zany adventures in Beijing, Inner Mongolia, and exploring near the North Korean border, I returned to Indiana to pursue a microbiology degree whilst working at the local county library. I worked for a year and a half at Purdue’s embalming laboratory and human gross anatomy laboratory, which was freaking awesome. I spent a few months after getting my B.S. in microbiology putting my astounding biology skills to good use working as a laboratory technician in Purdue’s Laboratory of Immunology and Hematopoiesis.
Wait, you worked with dead bodies?
Yup! It’s awesome! You get to learn so much from watching/assisting with dissections and harvesting specimen. I have to hand it to the donors of both human and animal specimen; their donations really make the training of doctors and veterinarians possible.
What about the smell?
Eh, you get used to it. I took a gross anatomy class right before taking the job and it only took a week or so to get over the, “Holy cow, formalin and Carolina solution reek!”
What do you read?
I’m a big fan of fantasy and science-fiction, when I can sit down long enough to read (I generally prefer playing in my own imagination to most books nowadays). Perhaps my favorite book series is Glen Cook’s The Black Company. My favorite science-fiction novels are Roger Zelazny’s Lord of Light and Larry Niven’s Inferno, both of which have heavy fantasy motifs. I’m also a fan of G.R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels and Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files series. I absolutely adored Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea series, which along with Margaret Weis’ and Tracy Hickman’s Soulforge, were perhaps the first fantasy literature I read.
I also pursue spiritual literature, in particular the Upanishads, the Buddhist Tripitaka, Daoist and Confucian literature, and Gnostic texts. They can all be quite inspiring reads. A rather fun game to play is to remove some of the signature vocabulary of these texts and replace them with generic terms, and then see if you can identify what discipline the text belongs to. It can be surprisingly difficult some times!
I used to be an avid reader of kung fu books, but I now find the actual practice of kung fu to be far more stimulating and effective for my aims and objectives (e.g. health, self-defense, fitness, agility, and mental/spiritual cultivation). Naturally, I recommend my grandmaster’s books because they always seemed the most complete to me: they explain the background, history, philosophy, form, force training, and application of kung fu. A few authors, like Bucksam Kong and Park Bok Nam, come in a distant second tier. There’s a lot of rubbish out there; I intend to draft a few book reviews some day regarding the kung fu books on my shelf.
Nowadays, I’m mostly reading science papers and textbooks for classes, professional training, and to keep an eye out for what the public thinks of science. I enjoy going to Science Daily to take a look at what’s going on.
What music do you listen to?
I listen to a little bit of everything, but my favorite genres right now are cabaret and 1930’s style club music. Max Raabe und Der Palast Orchester, Clare Fader and the Vaudevillains, and Vermillion Lies really represent those genres for me. I have a Youtube Playlist which collects the music that I think is pretty neat.
Do you play any music?
I played violin for a semester. Less Pachebel and more screaming banshees, all things considered.
How can I ask you stuff to put on this webpage?
Got a question not already answered here? Ask it in the comments below or throw me a Tweet!
What is best in life?
Self actualization. Failing that, cookies. Cookies can help.