One version of a tale…
I grew up around my father’s die-casting lab where he introduced Felix Zandman’s process of photo-stress analysis to design the first working aluminum engine block. The physics and engineering I was immersed in during those early years did not turn me into an engineer (as everyone hoped), but gave me critical thinking and an appreciation of the elegance of functional design. It also showed me that some folks in white shirts can’t actually DO anything useful (hmmm). In college, I majored in architecture, but dissatisfied with the program, I found martial arts as a personal outlet.
I immediately found that I loved teaching, and my students enjoyed their learning. As I moved into a family stage of life, my asking “why?” all the time led me into reading metaphysics for a few years, but with a very practical (almost engineering) bent. An unlikely coincidence led me to learn Wing Chun from a very low-profile senior student of Yip Man. Wang Kiu was a civil engineer by profession, and we bonded through a common language.
My particular background led me to take a rather different view of Wing Chun than was then popular. I thought it obvious that I would need to understand computer programming (particularly ‘C’ language) to grasp what Wang was saying. This led very directly (in my opinion) to cognition, and an invitation to grad school. Bill Nash at Texas A&M allowed me to write my own program. I dove into the library and read in more than a dozen fields of research because nobody seemed to be doing exactly what I wanted. In 2004 I graduated with a Ph.D. Working independently is very liberating, but you come up short in the mentoring/networking area…or even how that stuff works. I drew attention at conferences, but being in my 50s, was not interested in starting a faculty line or moving to “hire on” anywhere. So I continued to work on my own.
I have not bothered to formally publish anything, since I did not need a CV for professional promotion. Now, my kids and their peers are teaching me how to reach the people I want to work with more directly, through the web.