Opening the Year of the Pig!
Many thanks to everyone for a wonderful debut year of XiDao (what was at first called Respect the Ancient). Starting a business was scary for me because it wasn’t meant to be the “conventional” business I studied in business school. I set out to create more than Asian-inspired hoodies and tshirts. The apparel line represents pride and identity, and is part of a larger idea to be a martial artrepreneur. I wanted to forge a new path for a modern martial artist in training, a creative finding her voice, and an entrepreneur trying my best to chase after dreams with side hustle. Beneath all this, my biggest vision was to inspire. Inspire other emerging martial artists seeking community; inspire women of color to be unafraid of our inner warrior; and lastly, to inspire and challenge myself - open myself up to a larger audience, to criticism, and to praise with what I had to say.
Looking back on the last year, I have achieved parts of my vision. I held my first photo shoots as an exercise in confidence and collaboration. I met customers who said, “Finally, kung fu designs without a dragon!” and connected with women not practicing martial arts but hungry for the power and humility behind the “Shaolin salute” tshirt. As for my taiji practice, I kept it steady three times a week plus the occasional Instagram posts, and resumed my weapon forms in the fall.
When winter rolled around, I realized something still calling me. I was proud of all I built in a year, but in truth, not happy with my taiji practice results. Every master artist and practitioner I admire has spoken of the intensity of their practice - an intensity I have not yet felt nor attempted. All my teachers have made clear choices in how they prioritize areas of their lives. So in December, in preparation for an upcoming tournament, I put my entrepreneurial projects aside to focus exclusively on training. I’ve had a practice makeover: hitting the gym five times a week, switching to a modified low-carb, pseudo-Paleo diet, adjusting my sleep schedule, and incrementally pushing my reps and load each week while working on my tournament short form.
I am more pleased than I’ve ever been with my practice! I activated an essential ingredient of martial artrepreneurship. During periods of focused training, I don’t have much room for the other stuff. I’ve tapped into my next level of focus, and this is only the beginning. I won’t risk all my hard work and my tournament performance by also setting up my apparel shop at the same event - where my shirts made a successful debut last year. The tough reality of prioritization shows it’s face quite plainly in this instance.
This spring, XiDao will only be an online store. And furthermore, into the summer, I will continually re-evaluate my business model and offerings that more fully embraces and shares the martial artrepreneur lifestyle. New designs and apparel will be on hold until the summer. I want to explore how my taiji learnings and teaching can be enfolded into the business and into my creative projects: writings, photography, or video. I have no set plans yet, but I’m considering any of the following:
1) Daylong intensive workshop on Chen Taiji basics and foundations
2) Starting a YouTube channel - not on Taiji forms, but on "Taiji life" - my adventures living old wisdom in modern times: cooking, wellness, travel, money tips.
3) Creative collaborations: music videos, short films, photography incorporating design, fashion, and storytelling.
I want to thank everyone for your support thus far, and ask your patience as I head into uncharted territory for XiDao and discover how martial artrepreneurship finds its next form. If you have any thoughts or ideas about XiDao’s potential, I welcome them and ask you to share with me directly, please send me a message.
Wishing you an indulgent and joyful Year of the Pig!
For reading this far ;) you can use discount code LUNARNEWYEAR for 15% off your next purchase!