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The Passing of Floyd Patterson

Although saddened to read in the New York Times that Floyd Patterson, the boxing Champion of the 1950s and ‘60s died on May 11, 2006, I felt inspired as I recalled a chance encounter I had with this remarkable man 20 years ago.

Floyd Patterson

Gentle Spirit
Warrior Spirit

 

I was enjoying summer in the Hudson River Valley, living and working at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies. The day I met Mr. Patterson I was running some errands, and lost sight of the main road as I explored some of the neighborhoods in Kingston.

Meeting a Remarkable Man
As I decided to find my way back to the main road I saw a man up ahead, walking around in front of his house. I pulled up slowly and asked him for directions back to the highway. Then spontaneously I heard myself blurt out with astonishment: “You’re Floyd Patterson!” I felt my head bow slightly as I offered my hand to him in friendship and recognition — but on the inside, my ‘Being’ was focused on making physical contact with this man.

When I’m open I can receive.

I was completely surprised that I recognized him because I didn’t really know what Floyd Patterson looked like, nor did I know anything other than he was a ‘king’ in the pantheon of champion boxers, though one that had come and gone before my time. (I didn’t come of age until Cassius Clay – soon to become Mohammed Ali – fought Sonny Liston).

‘Chi’ is a concept only understood as a feeling.

The Transmission
With the slightly regal look of someone who at one time was recognized the world over, combined with a humble appreciation of being so well received decades past his prime, Mr. Patterson graciously wrapped his hand around mine. I felt my average-sized hand ensconced in his warm, soft grip. It felt like a mother’s hand, gently pulsing with tenderness; ironically, a hand that had battered and pummeled many an adversary into submission as he plied his warrior craft in the boxing ring. And then he pointed me in the right direction and I drove off, feeling exhilarated, calm, and fulfilled. I’ve recalled this meeting several times over the years, and each time I do, I re-feel the transmission of ‘Chi’ I ‘received’ from him.

Open To Receive
This meeting/feeling was a milestone experience for me in that I felt ‘first hand’ the Chi or ‘Life Force’ of this Master of the Warrior Tradition. After many years of my own practice of Aikido and Tai Chi, I now know that this transfer of Chi was able to happen because I was open to receiving it; not that I decided at that moment that there was something for me to ‘take’; rather I was ready, able, and willing through an ongoing commitment I made to this ‘growth process.’ So, like a wireless computer that recognizes any ‘transmitter’ in its range, the Chi that Mr. Patterson emitted naturally passed into me, and because I cherish that feeling it nourishes and guides me to this day.

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IMPORTANT: All information on this Web site is provided for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of a local Oriental Medicine practitioner, biomedical doctor, experienced coach, or martial arts instructor.