Beat the Box Challenge

We can beat the box like the human beatbox.

Take on the beat the box challenge.

We can judo flip the movie script of our lives.

And drop our "boots and cats"... at the jump.

We can judo flip the movie script of our lives. When we think we can't. We actually can. Our losses, failures, and mistakes in life are what can build our character. We can grow, learn, and mature more in our valleys. Yes, we can in our peaks, but not as much in our peaks. It is through our valleys our character can be refined. 


We can reflect, revisit something, even our failures. Mistakes. Losses. And have the courage to return to it. Reframe it. Work at it. And then turn the tables of our failures into success stories. 

The industry standard of "overnight success" is not "overnight." Overnight success is 15 to 20 years of dedication, commitment, work ethic, discipline, passion, purpose, and follow through.


Here's some of my turn arounds and success stories from some of my life's hurdles that helped me in my career in the long run. I do hope this can be an inspiration for you. 


This picture here is a throwback to when I had finished performing a live beatboxing concert at the Chinese New Year Festival in Honolulu's Chinatown. Oh, and I am holding a take out box of Chinese food. So yummy! 


During the Chinese New Year performances or whenever I have performances with native Chinese speakers in the mixed crowd is when I do bring out my Cantonese and Mandarin.

If you asked me even I didn't think that would be possible. 

I am a fourth-generation American of Chinese descent. Learning Chinese as well as American English was challenging growing up. American English is not my first language. It is my third language. 

I attended a Chinese school daily after regular school for years. Yes, I missed my favorite afternoon cartoons, because of that. I had no school breaks. We studied traditional Chinese characters and formal Cantonese. I failed the first grade in Chinese school, annually. I lost count. Three, four or five years in a row, perhaps.


How come? End of semester we had to speak on the microphone through a sound system in front of the whole school to recite an entire formal Cantonese Chinese prose, word for word, by memory. 


As an introvert, I struggled with this each year, because of "stage fright." I dreaded it. It was my earliest experiences of "stage fright." I was of elementary school age then. 


Formal Cantonese was challenging for me as it is not colloquial Cantonese. In other words, written Cantonese is not the same as spoken Cantonese. As a southpaw, I earned low marks in my penmanship for my traditional Chinese characters. Chinese character strokes are intended for a "right-handed" person, not a lefty. 


I got reprimanded and disciplined by my father when he caught me playing hooky from Chinese school. I had no breaks... regular school then Chinese school. I struggled in both. 


I dropped out of Chinese school to concentrate on not failing regular school and focus on my "comic book" drawing endeavors. I also wanted to catch my afternoon cartoons. Behind closed doors, I continued to record my beatboxing on analog music cassette tapes. I began beatboxing at the tender age of four, and by age six, I began recording my beatboxing.


I continued my comic book career path and got into graphic arts as well as web design. Then when I graduated high school was when I considered attending an art school to major in comic book illustration. I gradually shifted away from that path and focused more on my athletic career as a judo champion. 


Upon my return to college, I simultaneously pursued my beatboxing career and caught an opportunity to study abroad as a scholar in mainland China. I applied. Got rejected. I knew I was not going to get accepted due to my cumulative grade point average, but I applied to go through the process. I knew by when they'd offered the program again, I'd ought to have bumped up my cumulative gpa. 


I didn't give up. Determined, I worked my way from the bottom to the top.


Remember how I wrote that we can judo flip the movie script of our lives? No joke, I judo flipped my college transcript from a 1.0 to 4.0 gpa. My math professor referred me to get hired on campus as a math supplemental instructor. Even with math, I judo flipped that from a D to an A. 


From what I picked up from my former years as an award-winning soccer athlete and judo champion, I applied those tools into the classroom setting. 



My athletic career gave me the necessary and practical tools I needed to succeed in life, music business and entertainment, and my academic career. I've also been impacted when Charlie and Lucy Wedemeyer signed my copy of "Charlie's Victory." And my jaw dropped when I caught Chinese American beatboxer Elaine Chao's show stopping performance for the Showtime at the Apollo. 


I bumped up my cumulative college gpa. When time came for scholarship application season... I applied a second time with my letters of recommendations, and my scholarship proposal essay. Spaces were limited. Many applied. Applicants screened and interviewed. 


I got selected. 


I enjoyed learning Mandarin. It was challenging learning it in the United States. But learning it in Beijing was incredible as I could apply it daily. Written Mandarin is consistent with spoken Mandarin. Cantonese overall has more tones than Mandarin.. thus I worked on it to not have a Cantonese accent in my Mandarin. I worked at my Mandarin fluency and proficiency. 


As a scholar by this time in Beijing.. I applied my Mandarin daily. I worked on simplified Chinese characters, traditional Chinese characters, and pinyin with proper tone marks. 


I earned high marks on my fluency and proficiency in my written penmanship, verbal, listening comprehension, pronunciation, understanding, context, reading, spoken, etc. 


How did I improve in my penmanship? I recognized that I had to write everything in reverse of how I would intuitively would want to write the Chinese strokes and order. I literally treated writing Chinese characters like illustrating actual pictures, like drawing. I also worked on, honed and mastered the foundation for each of the Chinese character stroke direction and stroke order. 


As with what I did with drawing, soccer, judo, math, beatboxing.... I went above and beyond to learn Mandarin. Which became my fourth language. Well fifth.. because math is the language of science. Okay... sixth, because of the "boots and cats." 


Still though, when I became an entertainer and public speaker as a professional beatboxer, I had to confront and overcome "stage fright." To this day, "stage fright" may creep up, but I've worked on it. Practice does make perfect. 


Nowadays? I can perform and speak in front of a live audience... and one of my favorites are to Chinese native speakers, because I get to speak and perform in Cantonese and Mandarin. 


Crowds of Mandarin speakers. 


Crowds mixed with Cantonese and Mandarins speakers. 


And crowds mixed with English, Cantonese, and Mandarin speakers. 


The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I have so many to thank in my life like that of my paternal grandmother, maternal grandfather, father, mother, uncles, aunts, family, and relatives, who advocated and demonstrated for me as my models of the importance of Chinese literacy and fluency. 


It's fun!!! 


I want to encourage you reading this.. whatever it is you've failed at in life.. know that you can have the courage to go back, return to it, reflect, confront it, and judo flip the movie script. Turn the tables on your failures into success stories. I've failed many times in life. Reflected. Revisited my failures to judo flip the movie script into a success stories.

And remember, successful people fail more. Not that we fail on purpose, but we learn and grow from it. 


And you can beat the box like the human beatbox and take on the beat the box challenge. 


Now that's some boots and cats.