Brian’s yearning to study authentic martial arts eventually caused him to leave Toronto in the summer of 1972. Hoping to work his way on a boat towards China, he hitchhiked across Canada, all the way to Vancouver, British Columbia at the age of 18. His lack of worldly experience was expressed through the absence of a Canadian passport or travel visa, which brought his dreams to an abrupt and disappointing halt at Vancouver’s mountainous harbor front.
Dejected, and uncertain where fate would take him next, Brian headed back on the road again. Brian accepted an invitation for food and rest at a small farm located about seven miles south of Prince George, British Columbia. He later discovered that the farm was used as an outreach center, and was run by Arnold Ihlen who founded the Caribou N.E.T (Natural Environment Therapy) Society with his wife Cathy. The overall focus was on self knowledge and healing through introspection. This is where Brian was introduced to a large number of ideologies pertinent to personal growth, The I Ching, and Taoist philosophies.
The arrival at the farm turned out to be a fortunate twist of fate for the 18 year old. With fondness, he recalls this period as being a real turning point in his life, allowing him to focus and train at deeper levels than ever before. The 113 acre farm was a very unique and rustic experience, almost like homesteading for two years straight. There was no running water or electricity on the farm, wood stoves were used to cook with and airtight heaters were the only source of warmth on cold winter nights.
During the years at the farm, Brian continued learning martial arts, this time from two different masters who originated from Hong Kong. As luck would have it, they also were living in Prince George. One taught Choy Lay Fut Kung-Fu and the other specialized in Hung Gar Kung-Fu. Brian spent time with them, and had a number of lessons from each master.
Brian was also fortunate to have the time to delve into theoretical studies as well, beginning with a book called “Kung-Fu and Tai Chi” written by Bruce Tegner. It was using this book that Brian discovered one of the quickest ways to orient the human body with amazing precision. These “orientation aids” enabled him to quickly master what he calls “Spatial Placement”, “Spatial Movement”, and the replication of physical processes, thus setting the stage for his entry into formal training.