What did you do before coming to acupuncture?
I was a lawyer and then an office manager for Legal Services, the poverty agency serving the poor in Long Island and then NJ. I was a member of the NY Bar having passed the bar exams in 1978. I stopped lawyering in early 1986 and focused on studying and teaching martial arts. I was studying Healing Tao with Mantak Chia too. One time I had an acupuncture treatment for a wrist injury. One treatment did it and I was impressed. I took a weekend acupuncture course in New York and a seminar on Chinese herbs and I decided Chinese medicine was what I wanted to do in midlife.
Why did you come to NESA?
It was serendipitous really. Partly because I wanted to study with the Tai Chi Master Gin Soon Chu who was in Boston and partly because of the high reputation of NESA. Also because I had friends in Boston.
You have been involved in the martial arts and self-cultivation and you’ve seen and experienced some amazing things in your travels. Would you share a few with your NESA colleagues?
In October 2007, I visited the beautiful mountains of Huangshan, China for a second time. I trained in a lineage of the Lei Shan Dao (Thunder and Lightning Path). Included in the foundation classes were Xing Shen Zhuang Fa and Sheng Zheng Gong, basic courses encoded by David Verdesi Shen, a disciple of
the Lei Shan Dao Damo lineage. During the training, his master Jiang Shifu was in attendance. He did treatments on us. He diagnosed partly with what is known as “yin yang gong,” the mating of the yin and yang in the lower dantian, which is manifested as electricity. Jiang Shifu is the main disciple of the Grandmaster (whose name will not be mentioned to respect his privacy) a 100 year old hermit with incredible powers of pyrokinesis and telekinesis. The Grandmaster was also present to do demonstrations. He could project intense heat and move objects from a distance.
In February 2006, I was in Java, Indonesia, as a guest of David Verdesi. He wanted me to meet John Chang, the famous Magus of Java. Two books have been written about this Daoist master by Kostas Danaos entitled “TheMagus of Java: The Teachings of a Taoist Immortal” and “Nei-Kung: The Secrets of the Warrior Sages.” For the month I was there, David, Ana Vladirimova and I visited the Magus almost every day. The first time I met the Magus, David asked him to do a little demo for me. The Magus raised his arm and asked me to touch it. I did and I was shocked by the intensely strong current I felt. He said it was just 5% of his power. He asked me to touch his belly at CV 6 and I felt the same strong current. David asked him to test my qi. TheMagus put his
index finger on my belly and it felt like shooting electricity up and down my body. He said my dantian was 20% full. I did not know if I should be embarrassed or proud. But that set the tone of my perspective on Lei Shan Dao.
I asked him if he could treat me for a rotator cuff injury that had been bothering me for 2 years. Surgery was recommended by a doctor but I refused. We all repaired to his small clinic. I laid down on one of the tables and he asked Ana to take off her shoes and hold my arm. I understood this was meant to ground me. When he inserted the needle and manipulated it, the stimulation was so powerful, it went up and down my whole body. He inserted and manipulated 3 needles and each time the qi was extremely strong. The Magus did 3 treatments over a period of days. The injury that had immobilized my right arm was healed completely.
My focus in recent years is the study of Lei Shan Dao, a mysterious lineage. One thread of it was supposed to have been developed by Mo-Tzu/Mozi and it is called theMo Pai. The master associated with it is John Chang. The other thread is traced to Boddhidharma of the Shaolin Temple and its most visible representative is Jiang shifu of Huangshan.
What are you doing now?
I’m basically retired now and living a very productive life. I have been writing essays and poetry, which have been published in the US, Europe, and Asia. I am still committed to pursuing the different lineages: Lei Shan Dao, Angka, Classical Yang Family Tai Chi Chuan, and Healing Tao. Hopefully I will be able start studying Miao Tong Dao, a lineage directly attributed to Lao Zi, the author of the Dao De Jing. I also plan to continue sharing what I’ve experienced and learned in seminars in the US, Europe and the Phillipines.
Learn more about Rene Navarro at www.ourownvoice.com and on this site. You can read Rene’s essay
“Thunder Path in Huangshan”, a background study on David and the Lei Shan Dao, one the Writings page of this site.
Mike Arsenault ’99 practices in Ipswich, MA and Winchester Hospital and is the founder the herbal skin care line Emily Skin Soothers.