The role that Zen-Dragon plays in my life.
My name is Michael Philip Gottlieb and I launched Zen-Dragon in 2015, on the 25th of june to be exact.
Zen-Dragon is my labour of passion. It is probably not something that will make me rich, financially, yet Zen-Dragon continues to make my life richer.
I have met interesting people I otherwise would not have met, gained knowledge, shared meaningful experiences…. and I get a kick out of inspiring people.
I use social media platforms to reach people from all over the world. The project has grown a lot since 2015 and continues to grow, at this point it is followed by thousands of people on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube. I upload at least once a week on Youtube and the channel is moving towards its second million of views. (No, that still doesn’t make me rich off Youtube. I haven’t tried to get sponsored, so all I make is from ads, which currently is about half of what I pay in rent – and I live pretty cheap by standards in Denmark)
My background in martial arts.
I got started on the path of martial arts back in 2008, and my passion for the arts has grown ever since, I expect martial arts to be a lifelong journey forme.
My primary background in martial arts comes from kung-fu, but I have taken formal and informal lessons in different martial arts, and follow Bruce Lee’s philosophy of learning from different sources and absorbing what I find to be useful.
Martial arts has many facets, and I adjust my training methods and fighting style depending on which facet I wish to focus on. I use martial arts for fun, self defence, competition (ultimately I only compete against my self, wether facing others or practising on my own), as well as a way to challenge my mind and body.
I am a student/instructor for old and young at Amager Kung-Fu school, which is located in Denmark.
I have also taught martial arts classes in private school, taught a self defence course for public school children, voluntarily trained troubled youths in martial arts in collaboration with Idrætsprojektet and voluntarily taught martial arts to a homeless guy I met and made friends with (only this brief moment of our training was recorded).
My personal background.
I was born in the capital of Denmark, Copenhagen, where I currently reside.
In Denmark most people live a safe and easy life, at least on the surface.
I grew up with two loving parents, but one struggled with mental illness while the other kept things from falling apart while struggling with drug addiction.
As you might have guess things did fall apart, but they got better.
I credit my parents for my courage to think freely and follow my passions, those are traits which also describe my (unidentical) twin brother, so I think ultimately my parents succeeded against all odds.
Martial arts has helped me overcome difficulties in life. I have learned much about life from martial arts and am continually learning.
For more on my adventures (and misadventures) and how this project Zen-Dragon got started, you can watch the Draw My Life video I did a while back.
Update: Since the making of this video many things have changed.
I have accomplished every goal I had to cross off (15 mins into the video) aside from that of becoming a father. But I’m in a relationship with the woman I expect to become the mother of my child, once the time is right. I am still friends with my ex girlfriend from the video.
I now work as a teacher/pedagogue and have the chance to make a positive impact on the youth. Alongside this I do all I can to deliver quality content for everyone following Zen-Dragon and those who will stumble upon this project.
After about 2 years of saving up all I could scrape together, I’ve paid off my mortgage for my own appartment.
In addition to that I’ve accomplished 2 more milestones which mean a lot to me.
1: After 9 years of training, I earned the rank of 1st degree black belt in Meishu Kung-Fu.
2: I’ve had my first viral video (Kung-Fu in UFC) which at this point has more than a million views and thousands of comments (with probably 40% or so being my responses to comments – Youtube is hard work, but I’m passionate about this project and everything that’s worth a lot requires effort).
Medgang (A charity/non-profit project)
I have also as of the 12/11/2017 embarked on an additional chapter with the project Medgang, which I have co-founded alongside my girlfriend who is an occupational therapist and yoga instructor.
Here’s a clip in which I share my early thoughts on Medgang, which have now become reality.
Concept: The idea is to share one’s passion to make a difference to others.
My girlfriend Anna and I both share a passion for movement, so we’ve started offering free training experiences (yoga, meditation, kung-fu, self defense, mindfulness, dance etc) to share uplifting and potentially empowering experiences with people who have had difficult circumstances.
Current status: At the moment we both work voluntarily on weekends offering free training experiences to brigthen the day of those who show up (we’ve been blessed with free indoor facilities for the project). The reason why we focus on movement (and stillness in the form of meditation) is simply that it is thru movement my girlfriend and I can use our passions to make a difference. If a chef offers to volunteer for the project, the project may expand to offer cooking classes, or if it’s a computer expert perhaps Medgang will be able to offer computer classes.
There’s plenty of ways a passion can be used to a make a difference to others.
Wether or not Medgang expands into other fields, the project has always been succesful in making a difference to the individuals who’ve shown up. Not only have the sessions served to train the body and mind, but to offer a social experience as well which can be of vital importance in a society where loneliness is an increasing social problem.
If you are able to read danish, or want to look at the videos and pictures to try and guess what’s going on, you can stay updated on the project here (Medgang FB page)