Blu Man Fu the street performer in Chinatown, San Francisco

I have been meaning to do this for a long time. I find pictures sometimes around the web that people have taken of me street performing and I thought it might be cool to put them up.

For the last 3 years I have been painting my face blue (or occasionally white), dressing up and going out into the streets performing and trying to make some money. I have been doing a bit of beatboxing, miming, and storytelling.

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This was a recent interesting pic that was taken by Trevor Ryan in Chinatown. Those were actually people walking by, but it sort of looks like some paranormal activity or something.

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It looks like I was trying to scare someone here. That’s pretty fun. I have seen some pretty fun things. Laughter is good.

I think most figure you are real, but sometimes you can catch someone off guard.

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There’s a fair amount of picture taking going on. Which I don’t mind if people ask and if they tip something. Otherwise I don’t really like pictures.

That’s just me and although I may look kinda cool, but it’s just like normal for me. If you had people pointing cameras at you wouldn’t you get tired of it?

Maybe not. People are different. I am an introvert for the most part and can live without them.

Can’t imagine what it’s like being a celebrity.

I am not surprised some of these celebrities flip out and punch people in the face for it. Always ask.

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Here I am telling a story that I made up. It’s about “my boat trip” to Taiwan and an encounter with a pirate I had.

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This one is old school. It’s probably close to 3 years old. Those hats are cool. They’re great for keeping the sun and rain out. Guess that’s why many farmers use them in Asia.

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Doing some beatboxing.

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This is a close-up thumbnail from a video I made called a day in the life of a street performer.

See my more recent costume.

What’s your Kung fu?

When I lived in Tainan, Taiwan I took some kung fu classes. Downstairs was a guy who owned a t-shirt shop. He said his kung fu was making t-shirts.

That’s actually the real meaning of the word. Kung fu can be pretty much anything. It can be skill like a martial art, making t-shirts, coding, writing, teaching, playing golf, etc.

I find myself sometimes in awkward positions reaching for something sometimes and then ask myself, “how’s my kung fu?” or just notice that my kung fu is bad.

What’s my kung fu?

Nowadays it’s jiu-jitsu, art (scratching records, beatboxing, performing, etc.), yoga, meditation and ESLinsider.

What’s your kung fu?

How I went from NOT kneeling to kneeling

3 years ago when I started jiu-jitsu I realized I couldn’t kneel without pain. I didn’t know what happened as I used to be able to kneel. But my left knee cap would catch and I couldn’t sit back on my heels.

In fact I used to do it when I did yoga. In yoga there’s a position called child’s pose that is similar. However, somewhere along the way I stopped doing that and lost that mobility in my knee.

I was kind of obsessed with kneeling though as everyone did it in jiu-jitsu, but I couldn’t do it without pain. Then I remember seeing some squatty potty videos and others about deep squats.

It also seemed like the natural thing to do. But that had become a little painful to do, but I decided that I was going to push through the pain a bit and deep squat more often.

Public toilets

I share bathrooms with many other people here where I live. So since I do I never sat on these toilets or touched them, but decided to go back to standing on them. For a long while I had been hovering.

I also started doing deep squats just here and there and gradually I found myself able to kneel in judo and jiu-jitsu.

My advice…

Do deep squats for your knees. It may hurt a bit, but if you do it consistently I think your mobility will improve.

I think it’s also good for your hips and low back.

Previously a doctors told me that it puts a lot of pressure on the knee. Like 50X or something. He sort of suggested that it wasn’t good, but now I can see how it benefited me.

I had done a bunch of rehab exercises which didn’t seem to do much or improve the mobility. Deep squats improved it though.

Confession: I am 41 & on food stamps

I recently watched one of Gary Vee’s videos and at the end of it he asks a question something like: “What’s the conversation that you are most scared of having in the world?”

Is it with your parents, your relationship, etc. He suggests that letting the world know that may clear the kink in your pipes.

Time to expose some of my dirt.

The truth is I am broke and stuck here in San Francisco. I can’t manage to save money and I have to pay high rent. I can’t seem to escape.

I have been getting food stamps pretty much since I have been here.

I usually make most of my money by street performing. I often make less than minimum wage.

I owe $28,000 in student loans. It’s hard to keep up with interest. I started with $30,000 in loans and my grandmother paid off a big chunk of money then I had $17,000, but unpaid interest grew it back to $34,000.

Some might say get another job. You see that’s part of the problem. My resume is kinda shitty now after spending 6+ years out of the country and street performing for 3+.

On top of that. I don’t really want a “resume” or a job.

Because I never found one that I liked. Every job was a means to an end. Something I did to get somewhere else.

I guess I always wanted to do my own thing. My parents were never like that. They were practical people.

For a long time it was art for me and that was what I wanted to do with my life. Make art. Then I got burn’t out on painting. Maybe I gave up too soon. IDK, but I wanted to travel so I did.

Pretty much spending any money I earned on it. Since then I have lived in 7 different States and in 3 different countries.

In 2009 I started my project ESLinsider. It wasn’t until the end of 2010 that it got online with videos and an ebook. I tried selling a subscription to the videos.

That failed and approximately one person paid. Then I made the videos free and then like a year later or so I was making $80 a month with ads. I never made more than that with ads.

I decided to make it a course and for a few years I averaged maybe $300+ a month from it in donations or paid courses. Just last year I had one month where I made $1700.

But the month that followed was like zero. When I told my dad that he snickered. Over the last 3 months or so it’s been pretty bad.

Sometimes I wonder if I should quit. I have been doing this for 7 years! And I can not support myself with it. I mean I probably wouldn’t totally erase the site, but just change my focus.

I think that’s what I am doing and that’s why I changed my Youtube channel name from ESL Insider to Ian Leahy.

I have gone back and forth about that and starting a new channel.

Being 41 

It’s not that different from when I was 26. Seriously my life hasn’t changed much. On some levels it has (like instead of snowboarding I am passionate about jiu-jitsu & instead of painting I am more into the music thing), but not by usual standards.

Most people are married, have a career and kids.

Not me. I don’t really desire those things. Sometimes I think I’d like a relationship, but kinda fear it and getting attached to someone. Japan is where I want to move to next and I kinda think getting into a relationship is not really going to help that.

Also I don’t think many women are interested in a street performer who’s on food stamps.

As far as kids go I still think the same thing I thought way back when and that was maybe when I am older.

Like when I was 26 I was all about getting to next place – a better place. I am not sure if it’s searching or exploring. I just get bored with places so the same could happen with Japan, but if I don’t do it I’ll regret it. I don’t want to be 50, 60, 70 saying, “what if?”

But at this rate I won’t get there until something changes or rather I change something. I guess the point of this post was just to share some of the things that get swept under the rug.

Jiu-jitsu: 2 Ways To Help Stiff & Sore fingers

If you are doing jiu-jitsu or judo then chances are at some point you will get sore fingers from all the grabbing of the gi.

In this video I’ll show you 2 ways how I deal with finger pain and soreness.

I used to dunk my hands in cold water and that helped for the pain. Yet I didn’t think it did much for helping them heal. I also used to tape my fingers a lot. But I am not sure that it did much.

Then I started soaking my fingers in warm water and that helped. Your fingers like your toes are on the end of your body so they get less blood flow than other parts of your body.

So I think the warm water will improve blood flow to them and help them heal as they sometimes get micro injuries from the grabbing.

You can try it out whenever your fingers are sore. You can soak them in warm water for 15-20 minutes a time.

I also combine this with meditation. So I am doing 2 beneficial things at once.

The other thing I do is use DMSO. You can apply this to your fingers after you have showered or at least washed them.

I notice less stiffness and soreness after doing this.

Jiu-jitsu wear and tear you’ll probably get

In this video I cover the different kinds of wear and tear most people get from jiu-jitsu (bjj) and judo. The topics I cover are fingers, bruises, scrapes and cauliflower ear.

Your fingers will get beat up a bit from grabbing the gi. They will get a little raw around the knuckles at first. Over time you will develop calluses on your top knuckles.

I think everyone will get this unless you do no gi.

Some people don’t bruise, but I do. I tend to get bruises on my legs and arms.

Toe injuries are common too and one thing you’ll probably get are scrapes on your feet from the mat.

Cauliflower ear is also common amongst grapplers. I noticed recently that I have a little in my right ear and I wear a head piece most of the time.

You are NOT homeless if you live in your car

I recently saw a bunch of videos on Youtube where people sort of said they were “homeless” but lived in their cars. Then there was another video that really looked down on people who lived in their cars/vans after 2008.

But you are not homeless if you have a car and live in it.

On a positive note your mobile and living frugally. It’s not a house but it’s some place to go to that you can also take with you.

There’s a lot of homeless people here in San Francisco that live on the street. They don’t have a car, job or any way of making money.

That is what real homelessness is.

He Doesn’t Pop, Lock Or Do The Robot

Here’s a video that I made that combines some of the street performing that I do as well as some dj scratching.

I came up with the idea for this show since before pushing play many people thought that I was the robot kind of guy. They assumed I did the robot or danced.

Not really, but I do beatbox and scratch. And in this video I mix the beatboxing up a bit and then scratch it.

How to Meditate Using Counting

Here’s a technique for learning meditation that’s simple and practical. In it you use counting. This counting can be done to yourself when you are breathing.

First find a comfortable place to sit. Close your eyes and keep your eyes closed. Make sure all of your muscles in your face and body are relaxed. Set an alarm on your phone for a few minutes if you are just starting out.

You can do longer if you want. I do 40 minutes a day that usually includes 2 sessions of 20 minutes. But sometimes I might do 3 with 10-15 minutes or so.

There are a few different ways to count. Pick a number that seems right for you usually anywhere from 4-9. The first way that I learned goes like this:

  1. Inhale and count to yourself as you do.
  2. Pause and count to yourself as you do.
  3. Exhale and count to yourself as you do.
  4. Pause and count to yourself as you do.
  5. Continue until your alarm goes off.

I started with that way yet found the following worked better for me.

  1. Inhale.
  2. Pause and count to yourself as you do.
  3. Exhale.
  4. Pause and count to yourself as you do.
  5. Continue.

You could also try the reverse of that and just count on the inhale and exhale.

Blu Man Fu Tells Secret Sauce Story Then Scratches It

Here’s a video I made that combines a little of the street performing I do and some of my dj scratching.
The secret sauce is a sort of joke I made that was inspired from a kung fu teacher I had in Taiwan who used to break bricks with his hands.

It was tricky matching the video to the sound. It has quite a few layers to it with the music, the scratching and the video and getting it all to sink together was a challenge.