Chief Instructor: Sifu John C. Loupos - Since 1968

Mantis Memos

Master Little Big (Man)tis Answers All

January 2003 | July 2001 | March 2001 | April 2000 | October 2000 | January 1999 | April 1999 | September 1999 | December 1999

In this column guest contributor Master Little Big Man(tis), founder of the Kor Nee and No PC styles of Kung Fu will answer your most pressing questions.

January 2003

Q. Master Little Big Man(tis), how come we never get to see your picture? Other, well known, columnists like Dear Abby or Mike Barnicle, get to have their picture next to their column. Don’t you rate?
   A. Hmm, you raise a valid point and one which I’ve given much deep thought to. I’ve already spoken with the editor about it and (s)he’s time for my unveiling. See my photo
premiering in this issue. Now who rates? BTW, where’s your picture, smart guy? [Editor’s note: In this 19th century photo Master Little Big Man(tis) is shown as a young man in a scary Unicorn Style fighting pose.]

   Q. Speaking of other columnists, everybody else’s column that I read hammers away at martial arts virtues, qualities like self-respect and self-control. What’s your take on this?
   A. That stuff is easy. The real trick is to have a sense of humor. Zaniness is the most important martial arts virtue. Just think, if everybody was busy laughing and telling jokes nobody would ever have a reason to fight. BINGO, end of conflict. That said, I better not hear about anybody laughing at my picture, or else.

   Q. I hear there’s a new Tai Chi book coming this spring, one which pushes the envelope a bit by including a chapter on humor in Tai Chi. Have you heard about this?
   A. Heard about it? I was a major contributor. I had to be. The guy who wrote that book has NO sense of humor. He’s about as funny as beach sand in your shoes.

   Q. Master LBM, would you ever consider writing your own book about humor in Tai Chi?
   A. Me? Write about the humor in Tai Chi? No, but I might write about the Tai Chi of humor. You know, how to tell a joke with a real nice slow build-up, sensing for that perfect moment to strike with a punch-line. You know, it takes accuracy and timing to deliver a punch line just right.

   Q. Do you ever find opportunities for humor around the school?
   A. “It” happens...all the time. Just last week I overheard Sifu telling his Jrs to do their jumping kicks as if they had Flubber on their shoes. One little wiseacre piped up. “But, Sifu, Flubber’s not real.” To which another youngster chimed in, “Flubber IS real. I read about it in National Geographic...Flubber is how whales stay warm.” Duh. If whales had Flubber instead of Blubber the world would be a very different place, try flying whales. So much for educational reading.

   See you next issue. Remember, send YOUR most pressing questions to Master Little Big Man(tis).

July, 2001

Q. Master, you always seem so serene in your serenity. Isn't there anything in this life that pushes your buttons?
A. When someone pushes against my buttons I always yield and smile so as to maintain my inner peace. My motto is, "When you stay in school, you be kool."

Q. Huh?
A. Oh, sorry, wrong motto. I get these from Johnny Cochran. Oh's, "When you hear some sleeze, just breathe, breathe, breathe."

Q. So, nothing bothers you, ever, at all?
A. Never. Well, to be honest, there is one thing. It's these modern women coming to class with water bottles. We didn't have water bottles when I was a young student. We practiced self discipline. We went without and endured the hardships. These women today think they can just get up and go wet their whistle any time they're thirsty. There's not supposed to be water bottles in Kung Fu. Remember Tom Hanks in that chick baseball movie, what was it?...oh yeah, A League of Their Own...remember how he said, "Crying?, there's no crying in baseball!"? Well, that's how I feel about water bottles in Kung Fu class.

Q. Still, that's pretty impressive that there's only one thing that puts you in a snit.
A. Hold on, there's one other thing.

Q. And that would be?
A. Students who stick their hands in their pockets.

Q. But Kung Fu pants don't have any pockets.
A. Exactly!! I'm talking about students who think they can sneak by with regular black street pants when they forget their training pants, er...maybe I should say Kung Fu pants. Yah, they think they're pretty slick until I catch them with their hands in the pockets.

Q. Is that all?
A. Just one last thing. It's women who chat during warm up exercises, as if they were in an aerobics class no less. I'm telling you some of these women are putting a new face on the martial arts...and it's wearing make-up.

Q. Is there anything else?
A. No, no, now I'm feeling serene again.

Q. So Master, what then is your secret to staying stress-free?
A. I do things backwards...I eat lots of desserts.

Q. I don't get it, why eat desserts to stay stress-free and what's that got to do with do things backwards?
A. Because "stressed" spelled backwards is "desserts"! Kewl, huh?

March, 2001

Q. Master Little Big Man(tis), angry women have flooded your publisher's office with letters since your comments in the last issue about water bottles in class.
A. For or against?

Q. Duh, against. What have you got to say about that?
A. Against? Against? That's unbelievable! What did they say?

Q. Well, one writes, "Unfair to women." Another calls you a "smarty pants". A third vows to spike her water bottle with vodka. The rest are unprintable. Now what do you you say to that?
A. The anonymous guest columnist's job is to provoke critical thinking, and at times, criticism. It's a perk actually. Pass me my water bottle, would you.

Q. Well, you certainly seem to be taking all this criticism in stride.
A. Consider the source.

Q. Ouch! On another topic, perhaps more apropos to our training, my teacher is always telling us to do our moves with martial spirit, to show that intensity in our eyes. How to do?
A. Easy answer. It's a shoe thing.

Q. What do you mean, "a shoe thing?"
A. Always wear shoes which are a size or two too small for your feet. Then you'll have no difficulty conveying intensity through your eyes when you're jumping around doing your Kung Fu moves.

Q. Master, several issue back you shared with us some of your Haiku favorites.
A. Ah, yes, the Microsoft error messages used in Japan as less impersonal and unhelpful than those used in your own culture. What about' em?

Q. Might you share some more of those with your readers?
A. They do offer some consolation when the inevitable crash occurs. Ok, here goes.
A file that big?
It might be very useful.
But now it is gone.
The Web site you seek
Can not be located but
Countless more exist.
Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.

Jan, 99

Q. Recently, our school had its annual holiday banquet. Afterwards, my Sifu and a group of students went back to the school for music and dancing. My question is this: Is this traditional Kung Fu behavior or what?
A. To answer your question I contacted your Sifu to get the facts. He categorically denies ever dancing in such an undignified manner. In fact, he insists that after the banquet he went straight home to meditate and go to bed. Next time don't drink so much and start ugly rumors.

Q. Of what significance will Y2K be for Kung Fu students?
A. Well, there's always the danger that your memory might be wiped out if you don't practice enough. Between now and the millennium you should practice every form you know at least 500 times. Other than that there shouldn't be any problems.

Q. Master Little Big Man(tis), what's the best way to protect myself from bullies?
A. The famous Kung Fu nun, Nan See Raag Un, taught us the "Just Say No" technique. This works really well because you can make your escape while the bullies are falling down laughing at you.

Q. Sometimes, when my Sifu does bulk mailings, he lets me help him stuff the envelopes. He never charges me for this, even though he says it's good for my Kung Fu skills. Is this for real, or is it like slave labor?
A. Your Sifu is too good to you! Imagine, not charging you for such an opportunity to learn and improve yourself. I'll tell you, there's no better way than licking envelopes to improve your Tongue Fu skills.

Q. Why do those Tai Chi people move so slowly?
A. It's a Y2K thing. They're supposed to be moving fast but their memory chips are already in decline. See what I mean about practice?

April, 99

Q. What's this new "Bow Tie" system I keep hearing about? It's splashed all over the newspapers and it's even got infomercials. What gives?
A. Bow Tie is the latest fad in martial arts. Last year it was cardio kickboxing, now it's Bow Tie. In those styles of martial arts that use belts you don't look really cool until you wear a Black Belt. No problem with Bow even the newest student can look really phat just by wearing a Bow Tie (and any color will do!). I predict that, like most fads, this too will pass, (no doubt just in time for Bow Tie, the Sequel.)

Q. Master, elsewhere in this newsletter I read about "4 Rules to Get it Right", or some such thing. What do you think about these 4 Rules?
A. Well, I have my own 4 Rules that I follow to get the most out of life. The 1st is: Avoid the IRS at all costs (IRS, of course stands for "internal residual stress"). My 2nd rule is: chew 20 times before swallowing, then swallow slowly. the 3rd rule is: Smile and the world smiles with you...frown and the world smiles without you. and my 4th rule is: Don't spend too much time obsessing over rules, except for rule #1, that rule is very important!

Q. Can you talk a little bit about the meaning of life? Are you a pessimist or an optimist?
A. I'm definitely an optimist. I think life life sucks, that is to say, life is like vacuum can find the most interesting things in the most neglected places. Just open your eyes to take in all the best things that life has to offer, just like a vacuum cleaner.

Q. Do you think it's better to be materialist, or philosophical?
A. Personally, I'm philosophical about being materialistic. That way I get the best of both worlds, and if I'm not happy with what I get, I just return it for a refund.

Q. What's a Reiki Master? I see them advertised all over and I was thinking about becoming one.
A. Becoming One is always good. As for becoming a Reiki Master, the work is seasonal, although I admit it is a good way to get in touch with (your inner), nature. It works like this...leaves falli off trees, then Master reiki the leaves, then trucki off to dump. See, easy, but seasonal. Go become One.

Q. Master Little Big Man(tis), are you excited about the new Star Wars coming out this summer?
A. If the truth be known I have a starring role in this film. Go back to my answer to the last question for a hint. That's right, I will appear as "Gobi Kumwun," the irreverent Jedi Knight.

Q. Have you ever heard the term "Politically Correct"?
A. Actually, no, but it would seem that these two words are mutually exclusive, you know like the phrase "government intelligence", they cancel each other saying someone is a "real phony", or has a "forgetful memory" or like expecting me to write a conscientious humor column. Nope, you'll never see PC in this column.