interview with duncan wong


martial arts meets yoga

Duncan Wong’s grand masters were enlightened acupuncturists who taught him that healing and killing points are the same. This suggests that the intentions of our actions determine the course of our destiny. A Bay Area native, Wong practiced self-defense and self-realization through the study of martial arts and yoga. During his formative years, the confluence of these two seemingly different paths birthed Yogic Arts.

Yogic Arts™ is his patented integration of yoga, martial arts and Thai massage. Duncan Wong combines the detoxification and flow of Ashtanga Vinyasa, with joint conditioning and core strengthening properties of Buddhist Gung-Fu, plus the healing adjustments of Thai therapy.

Duncan Wong’s intense study with Tripura Sundari, Deva Das, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, and Kwahn Jang Nym, S. J. Su (to name a few) has been instrumental in his discoveries. Wong is truly an innovator and an inspiration, sharing his knowledge with students all over the world. He has taught celebrated performing artists such as Sting, Madonna and Bjork.  I had the privilege of experiencing an invigorating workshop with Wong a while back at Golden Bridge Yoga in Los Angeles. For this interview, I caught him at a transient moment; he answered my questions as he boarded a long flight to his home in Shanghai.

Yogi Times: How long have you been practicing yoga and how have you evolved as a yogi over the years?

Duncan Wong: Twenty-plus years, with a life-long background of martial arts training and competition. It is difficult for me to distinguish how I have evolved as a result of my practice, since my practice and exposure to the teachings and the lifestyle began at an adolescent age.

From observing my peers, and from the environment I arose from, it could be said that I have excelled as a human being, and that I have achieved a level of higher mind.

I am known within yogic, martial and healing circles as a highly achieved athlete and healing-warrior practitioner. However, the sensitivity and insight developed over a lifetime of practice is a much more internalized process, and I suppose, the inner aspect of self analysis.

YT: What is Yogic Arts? What lead you to this discovery?

Duncan Wong: Yogic Arts is the synthesis of science, spirit and art: a complete warrior path, which supports an empowered lifestyle of selfless service.

This method organically blends the therapeutic bio-mechanics of the ancient sister disciplines of yoga, martial arts and massage, which share common ground that dates back to prehistory.

The intrinsic evolution of these seamlessly integrated practices as one complete mind-body method is experienced as a healing, full-on practice that awakens our inner warrior bodily instincts and reflexes, while simultaneously sparking our enlightened nature of true mind, or intuitive consciousness.

This system is essentially the self-expression of my ongoing life’s work. Growing up with the intensive training in the Vinyasa yoga, Buddhist martial arts and Thai-Shiatsu massage therapy fields, while developing as a movement-oriented person, a yogic artist and a teacher over the past few decades, the practice and the passion have infused into my teaching and the lifestyle.

YT: What keeps you inspired and driven?

Duncan Wong: My teachers, my students and my life partner. I also find power and purity in the eyes of animals, children and elders, as well as in the spirits of rocks, water, trees, etc.

I like to swim in clear open water. Water is my grounding and energizing element. This is a point we must all realize to find our center of power, which I refer to as our ‘sweet spot’; everyone has one. It’s also a pointer to our bio-energetic center of gravity, located between the sit-bones and the sacred ‘lady place’.

My drive has much to do with the fact that I know there are people everywhere practicing incorrectly, and without proper intentions, resulting in serious, unnecessary daily injuries and disconnection from their true power and the real benefits of the practices, which, of course, are peace of mind and physical enlightenment.

Having information that can directly lead to the reversal of this global reality is like having a master key to a door that people are constantly running into. This is painful for me, yet I realize that everyone is progressing perfectly.

YT: What is your secret for being such a skilled practitioner?

Duncan Wong: Goddess worship, connecting deeply with the ground as Divine Mother. And, you know, good karma, and also the ability to get out of my own way and surrender my practice to my higher god Self. Practice also helps. My little double meaning mantra I stand by is “Practice for Life.” In the yoga sutras, or enlightened scriptures, it is called Sthira Sukham Asanam, which means “steady happy connection through contact.” 

My Ashtanga Vinyasa guru, Sri. K.P. Jois, explained to me that “when the heart controls the mind, the body becomes light.” This experiential, or true knowledge is pivotal for proper skill.

YT: How do you stay humble with all of the press and success that you have attained?

Duncan Wong: Hmmm…I suppose we should clarify what form of success is in reference. For me, on the material plane, this is like, day one, with a rich lifetime of physical and spiritual successes, derived from so much global support from powerful beings.

My work is now reaching the greater global mainstream communities in many countries. I sense that waiting 20 years to evolve and release my work in DVD and book format has charged it with a sort of crazy wisdom that is just right for the times we are facing and embracing now.

But I will not run ragged, promoting from city to town, and country to continent. Rather, I will limit my work to conferences and teacher intensives, and allow the next generation to interpret and grow the work and teachings.

Watch a video of Duncan Wong

Check Duncan Wong’s Yoga Teaching Schedule

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