• A man with hat standing and woman sitting in a distance

      Don Baird and Kathabela Wilson

      An interview with Don Baird, kung-fu master, teacher, poet, artist, photographer, musician, and philosopher.

      By Kathabela Wilson

      Shortly after his birth, Don found himself with his family on his grandfather’s ranch in Wyoming in an old converted chicken coop building for some time. During his deep studies and prolific Martial Arts career he fell in love with Asian poetry and Philosophy. You can find him in his Burbank Martial Arts Studio, his photo gallery, in his books, and online journals.

      A microscope on the Artist

      What makes you a poet, an artist, what propelled you from the beginning and propels, and lights the creative fire in you?

      Honestly, I have no idea. I woke up this way! I arrived from creation and brought creation with me!

      A telescope on the poet

      You have a unique stance in the poetic/artistic world. Your martial arts teaching, performances that combine arts and music are inspiring dynamic and unusual, what is this potent mix?

      The greatest of the historic masters of martial arts followed a dynamic principle of “pursuing excellences.” The greatest practitioners are ones who are extremely broad-minded in their pursuits. Don Baird practicing martial artsThey are ones who immerse into culture and leave artistic paths for others to follow. This has been the Way of the warriors; this is my Way today. And, it is the Way that I teach and lead my schools, by word as well as example. My pursuits are: kung fu, photography, poetry, chi kung healing arts, and music. I am involved each one of these on a daily basis — my artistic routine, so to speak.

      A compass on the poet

      How do you see the poet/artist in the world, what can he give and how do you see yourself doing that?

      Poets, artists, and musicians are, to me, the core of culture: they are the representation of what culture has been and where it is going. Don Baird at VromansThey are the ear to the railroad tracks listening to the thunder of humanity tromping on the earth — they are key to raising general awareness of humanity while connecting individuals to a greater and higher-self expression of life. My music, photography, and poetry comes from my very essence — a place where I believe there is something far beyond the ego-centric aspect(s) of my existence; I surrender to that and allow it to flow through my creative channels into existence, the best that I can.

      Pulse of the Poet

      How does your art and poetry combine artistically in your life.

      My photography is poetry without words — not my “snapshots,” but my heart-driven photography. Ritual Dance Duck by Don BairdThere is no difference between my internal force (creative spirit) of photography and poetry; nor any difference between writing poetry and composing music. They are of the same source, the same DNA, so to speak. Different mediums are entirely that — different functions; their source is a singularity of self within. In that, I move from one to the other without thought, a routine of creative flow; and, mainly, I’m unaware of its workings. I just go.

      Mapping the Poet

      How does the place where you work and live, and a sense of place in general influence nourish and ignite your work?

      The earth is where I live and work. A home is a speck of dust in the eye of the universe. All things, coming and going, birthing and dying, blooming and wilting, are my inspiration. Don Baird @ the 2014 Martial Arts History MuseumThe simplest things often intrigue me the most. Have you ever seen dust in a spider web, or a snail in a yellow rose? It’s these that catch my eye and lights my creative fire. Listening to a railroad train chug by — my music arrives; watching a hawk snatch a squirrel ignites my poetry; meeting a child with leukemia startles my heart and drives me to offer chi kung healing even if it is to simply relax the child and help her transformation to be smooth and loving — embraced by the feel of confidence.

      All Things One
      by Don Baird

      from tragedy to butterfly
      wrapped bodies to priests’ tears
      transcendence of the moon
      gunshots and bombs
      children playing war
      birdsongs disappearing into the night
      random in nature
      nothing by accident
      this journey
      a chaos
      through it all


      out of darkness . . .
      a light autumn gust
      remembers me

      never ending . . .
      the wind blows
      against itself


      longing for home I become a memory



      Don’s books, Haiku, the Interior and Exterior of Being, Haiku Wisdom and As The Crow Flies are available on Amazon.

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        • Kathabela Wilson

          Kathabela Wilson is a local poet/writer/artist and musician. Her Poets Salon has become an international respected must read in the poetry world. She's the creator and host of the Pasadena-based group, “Poets on Site.”

          Colorado Boulevard is your place for enlightening events, informative news and social living for the greater Pasadena area.
          We strive to inform, educate, and work together to make a better world for all of us, locally and globally.

        • Latest posts by Kathabela Wilson

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      1. sabine miller says:

        Thank you, Don and Kathabela. A pleasure to read.

      2. Robert kingston says:

        As if someone opened the window and allowed in the light. A well conducted interview, both illuminating and rewarding. Thank you Kathabela, thank you Don!

      3. Nan Rae says:

        Don Baird is truly a universal man who deeply knows the things of the spirit….what matters, what remains.

      4. haikutec says:

        A really nice interview with Don Baird. You might spot him around San Francisco taking photographs.

        warm regards,

        Alan, With Words

      5. Lynne H-Crick says:

        Thank you for sharing this interview with Don Baird. I knew Don as an excellent musician especially playing clarinet but to hear some of his compositions in music as well as read his poetry, I’ve learned a great deal more about his philosophy of life than I ever knew before. What he has to say is something needed to be said to show more how important the arts are as part of the core curriculum in schools and should never be cut as our present lawmakers are trying to do.

      6. Alice Pero says:

        This is truly inspiring. Thank you Kathabela and Don. 🙂 !!

      7. Elsa F. says:

        As many definitions of poetry / poet, as there are poems. Good. It means no one holds a monopoly on art like in certain areas of human endeavor. And we can go on with our search.
        Delighting in the word.
        Thank you, Kathabela.

      8. Toti O'Brien says:

        Wonderful focus on a wide vision, Kathabela, once more… I don’t know how you do it… We are all becoming better artists through this tapestry you are composing… I didn’t know Don Baird… Thank you!

      9. susandiri says:

        great to listen to your heart’s messages, Don! great to read your igniting questions, Kath!

      10. Susan Dobay says:

        Dear Kathabela,

        I enjoyed your interview with Don Baird,
        Reading his philosophy gives an assurance of the continuity and growing to a higher awareness of the collective human spirit.

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