FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
1. Where did Flowing Dragon Swords come from?
Flowing Dragon Swords comes from the fortunate mixture of training and life experience which Richard Squeri has been blessed by. Richard’s professional vision braids three strands of that blessing together:
- Teachings by Far Eastern and Indigenous mentors;
- Counseling of hundreds of youth at-risk in Los Angeles & New Haven, CT;
- Training in various martial arts, stage-combat and stunt work, as well as the teachings, writings and wisdom of Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, Morihei Ueshiba, Nietzsche, Rumi and many others.
2. How long have you been teaching this to groups?
Since about 1991-and before that mostly one on one. Though this Game was known as “Tai Chi Sticking Swords, Dragon Slayer Style” in those Days, and only has been known as: “Flowing Dragon Swords”since 2004.
3. How fast should the Game be played?
Because of the unique nature of Flowing Dragon Swords, it is played at as many speeds as there are players who play it. There is no “correct” speed except that when starting to learn, it is best to go very slowly. Never, would you go faster than the speed at which they are “meeting you”, (as you are always “Listening” to your O/T’s sword). It is always a co-creation of movement or stillness, slow or moderate, beginner, novice or advanced.
Note: There is also what’s known as “Stilling Play” *(see glossary), which is little or NO movement at all after the O/Ts have engage swords and eyes.
4. How do I start without tapping or double bumping the swords together?
The idea is to contact the O/T’s sword at a single still point, so placing your second hand on the back of the blade while steadying the first contact is sometimes helpful or as some people prefer, the other hand can be placed on the lower part of the long handle, then using a slow drawing movement, like gently placing the bow on violin strings, you can join with your O/T and start or continue your Game. In all Instances though it is good to take a “Good deep Breath”; this could be all you need to ground yourself.
5. What if our swords come apart a lot?
It is said in Flowing Dragon Sword Practice that, “A Game with a thousand Deaths in it, is preferable to a Game without Integrity.” First, try slowing down. Disconnection in our Game, is part of our Game, and though not purposely sought, it is a vital piece, which identifies for us areas of our play which we can bring our attention to( starting always with the self). Then Reaching for the other, with our “Heart-Mind”/ or “Soul” and Opening our own heart/ or “soul” at the same time.
5a) How can we do this?
We don’t worry about it — we simply reach for it each time we play.
6. What if I think my partner is not doing it right?
It is said that when a student would bring someone else’s faults to the attention of Professor Cheng Man Chi-ng the Great Tai Chi Master of the Yang short form, that he would have the answer for the troubled student by saying, “Start with yourself”. If we are graced to have a partner, an O/T of any ability, who does us the profound honor of helping us to look at ourselves in this deep way, then: “It is always up to us to meet them where they are…”
7. Is eye contact really that important?
“The Eyes are the Windows of the Soul.” Though uncomfortable for some at first, it is a vital physical and psychological principle to reach for in our practice. It is, in final the analysis, what makes FDS the extraordinary possibility for change of our own deeply held “High and Low Dragons.” These Dragons are like the Masks and Armor which we fit, create and forge to protect us, hide our guilt, faults and hubris. This leads us and pushes away from one another, only to find more reason to fear each other in this self fulfilling world of separation.
We ask this of each other, Not because it is an easy thing, butbecause it can be a difficult thing. Only by participating in the mutual gift of Risk, do we have the opportunity to grow.
8. Why can’t I play this with my friends and family at home?
Part of the answer may be helped by this analogy: Though not readily apparent, this is a very “Different Language” than most of us use to communicate with each other. Further, you probably already have your very own language with this other, which did not happen overnight; and like this complex other language, there are even more easily MIS-understood subtleties, until you become use to speaking this new language more fluently. This can usually happen in 4 to 5 lessons. However, before that, you might be using a very harmful form of the “Verb” without realizing it, while simply wanting to say something very different.
There are deep and vital emotions, feelings and messages which you would like to communicate to the ones you love the most, have the most history with, and want most to be understood by. You have had the common lovely and positive experience with a Flowing Dragon Sword Instructor, now you want (understandably) to share that experience with the ones closest to you.
It is also said in FDS, “That the Swords are not the Dangerous part of our practice; it is without doubt the ‘Dragons’ we all carry, which can do the most harm.”
9. Is this a Martial Art or do you need Martial Arts experience to play?
Yes and no. In its advanced stages of play, it has many martial applications. However, it is not what is normally thought of (in general terms) in and of itself as a martial art. Anyone who can “Hold a Sword” can practice FDS; I have played with people in wheelchairs and Hospice beds and had some of the most profound games of my experience.
However, if it is combined with other martial understandings then it is one of the finest and strongest augmentations to Martial Practice available.
In its practice we are reaching for the premier ideal of the
“High Martial Arts”, namely … “to Protect your attacker “;
to be so connected to your fellow human’s energy, so completely present, that new understandings are brought to the moment, physically, psychologically and spiritually.
10. Could I learn how to teach this? Do you use people of different ages, sizes, physical states to teach?
The age of Teachers (FDS Instructors) trained in the past and presently in training, range from their late twenties to 82 years young, with a low and/ or moderate to extraordinary athletic ability. They come in all sizes from stocky and/or petite to tall and/or large of stature.
None of these things has a great bearing on whether someone will make a good “FDS Instructor”; It tends to be much more about what is on the inside and where that inside is on its path. Presently it is by Invitation only and at this time, there are no plans to change that policy.
11. How do I find out about who teaches FDS, where & when Classes are, and can I get private lessons?
Please start by using this site:
- To find out who Teaches see the Contact page
- Where and When Classes are. Please email us.
- To find out about Private Lessons Please email us
To Contact us for this or any other additional Information Please email us.