About Casey Abbott Payne
Casey was born in Milwaukee in the winter of 1979. His serious martial arts training began in high school studying Shaolin Kung Fu at the Chinese Kung Fu Center of Milwaukee founded by Grandmaster Chian Ho Yin.
In his early twenties he became focused on taiji and Taiji Push Hands. Even though he studied with several different teachers in Canada, the UK, the US and Taiwan, the source of these lessons were the same, Grandmaster Huang Xingxian.
Like millions of people around the world, Bruce Lee has been a major inspiration. Without Bruce Lee blazing a trail onto the silver screen, it would not have been possible for martial arts to flourish the way they do today.
What Bruce Lee did for all martial arts, Casey will do with taiji push hands. He thinks of himself as
“The Bruce Lee of Taiji”
5 years teaching kindergarten (Taipei, Taiwan)
1 year as a part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program (Milwaukee, WI)
1 semester teaching a shaolin class for Milwaukee Parks and Recreation
7 years teaching taiji
3 years coaching soccer, kindergarten to 2nd grade (Osage, IA)
Full resume and references available upon request.
I appreciate you taking the time to read this proposal. Whether we work together or not, it is my sincere hope that you took something away from it.
Prologue, Vision and Vision
This is a story I’ve only shared with a handful of people. Now I share it with you here. July 5th, 2000 was the single most auspicious and accursed day of my life. That day I was struck with what felt like a Mandate of Heaven to set forth on the quest which has led to the document you’re reading today. I wasn’t raised to believe in things of this nature but I felt as though Grandmaster Yin visited me from beyond the grave. He “told” me I had a light I was to nurture, grow and share. Previous to this vision I only wanted to find a quiet place to be a hermit. It is this vision which motivated me to stay on this path for so long.
It should come as no surprise that this was also the day of my first manic episode. When I woke up I was in the ER, handcuffed to the bed, with a sheriff reading a paper in the corner of the room.
Was what happened to me real or was it a temporary break from reality caused by lack of sleep and misfiring neurons in the brain? I’ve spent my adult life wrestling with that question. My scientific and logical self told me it wasn’t real. If that was the case I should have, logically, abandoned materialism and pursued a monastic life. My spiritual side, one I didn’t know existed until that day, told me it was very real and I should pursue it with my heart and soul. I eventually came to the “logical” conclusion to act as if it were real to serve as motivation to do good in the world.
That’s the vision that brought me to today. My vision for the future is a culmination of the experiences I’ve had with Traditional Chinese Martial Arts and martial artists throughout my life. A student of Grandmaster Yin’s, Shelton Calloway Jr, took me under his wing when I was in high school. There weren’t any class fees and the public parks system was his school. He wasn’t just showing me how to kick and punch. He passed on life lessons, lessons that Grandmaster Yin passed on to him and his teacher to him and…
What could I do to make sure the spirit of Traditional Chinese Martial Arts was passed on to the next generation?
EVOLVE THE ART
This is my vision for the future
Create a simple system based on Shaolin training and Taiji Push Hands that can be trained in small groups, independent of instruction from a teacher. Taiji Push Hands and Shaolin are a good fit because they require no equipment and can be practiced in spaces large or small, inside or out.
Deeply embed this system into community centers, schools, churches and parks. Wherever a small group of people want to learn I, or another instructor, can be there to get them started and available to periodically check in with them.
Create a relationship with the City of Milwaukee and the Republic of China Push Hands Association in Taiwan.
Bring a team from Milwaukee to the 2016 Tournament in Taiwan, organize a tournament in Milwaukee for 2017, return to Taiwan in 2018 and Milwaukee once again in 2019.
Between now and 2019 bring together the push hands teams and communities from around the world and help establish a governing body to create a standard set of rules for the sport of Taiji Push Hands
2020-Future: Based on feedback received from push hands teams and communities from around the world have a tournament schedule that will best serve the spirit of Traditional Chinese Martial Arts as it applies to Competitive Taiji Push Hands.
This is a picture of me and Zheng Laoshi (Teacher Zheng) taken in 2006 during my first and only push hands competition in Asia.
Zheng is the perfect example of what I aspire to be and create. He was a constant fixture in Taipei’s Peace Park for over 30 years, touching the lives of thousands. He was there every morning, rain or shine, available to teach taiji and Taiji Push Hands.
What Zheng did for Peace Park I will do for Milwaukee.