Today, we are honored to be speaking with Grandmaster Don Baird (American School of Martial Arts; Chang Moo Kwan Kung Fu). Though martial arts are rarely thought of as being imbued with artistic process, our discussion sheds light on the more refined realm of the practice, as developed though several decades in Don’s advanced levels of Black Belt training. “Rounding off the angular” refers to an expansion of being through engagement with the arts. This process is traditionally known as “The Five Excellences”: fighting, healing, musicianship, painting, and writing.  In contemporary life, the five excellencies may refer to any number of art forms, though with the personal challenge to develop one’s craft, in at least five different arts, to a high degree of skill. This interdependence with creative practices in everyday life facilitates a “rounding off,” which deepens one’s life experience, and is reflected in all things attempted in life, including the martial arts. The focus of our discussion is centered on the feeling of freedom as an entryway into creative space. Along the way, we also discuss desire, limitation, privacy, and secrecy, as aspects of an holistic approach to achievement not only in fighting but in human potential. Don himself is an exemplar of the approach he teaches, as you will hear in the conversation. How round are you?

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Don Baird—Links

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MARTIAL ARTSrAmerican School of Martial Arts/Kung Fu: kungfukarate.comrSuh Do Kwan / Chang Moo Kwan (history & lineage): https://amzn.to/2Wbejcd  r”Faces and Places” (view online; haiku anthology/photography): https://bit.ly/3z1RwOkrAmazon: https://amzn.to/3AWfGKB

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HAIKUrHaiku at The Living Haiku Anthology (LHA): livinghaikuanthology.comrDon’s LHA Haiku Page: https://bit.ly/2WdOiZErUnder the Basho, Haiku Journal: underthebasho.comrThe Haiku Foundation: https://thehaikufoundation.org/poet-details/?IDclient=175

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Music and Haiku: https://bit.ly/3z3RQfq  (“Haiku — The Interior and Exterior of Being”)

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MUSICrThe Wandering Clarinet: https://bit.ly/3z3RiWU rThoughtscape: https://music.apple.com/us/album/thoughtscape/378345758rSoundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/donbairdrSite: clarinetpro.com

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PHOTOGRAPHYrFlikr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/donbaird/Getty: https://bit.ly/3sJZp8R

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PASTORrDon Baird: https://bit.ly/3svv5OSrr

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