By John Powell – GlobalTV.com
Sifu knew his time had come. As a veteran martial artist in Yang-style Tai chi, Sifu was able to ‘feel’ his fellow contestants auras, their energy fields and he understood that his time in the game was coming to a close. Sifu narrowly missed a seat on the jury but despite that he isn’t bitter or disappointed. He is grateful for his Survivor experience.
John Powell: How are you feeling having watched things back now?
Sifu Alsup: Today is a roller coaster of emotions. Getting a chance to digest it all and then see it on TV is different. I’m excited that I got a chance to play this amazing game and definitely feeling the loss but I understand that I’m moving forward and I love it! I love this game!
John Powell: Why you didn’t play your shot in the dark or the fake idol you made?
Sifu Alsup: So my full intention would have been to do both of them if I could but I had left my bag, just like Drew did, back at the camp and that will do it! I wouldn’t say that was a major defining point but it’s definitely a highlight. It’s definitely a big one for me because I spent some time on that fake idol.
John Powell: How did the fake idol come about and how did you put it all together?
Sifu Alsup: I felt on the outs for sure. At a certain point I was like: ‘There’s got to be some contingency plan’. I know the potential that a fake idol could draw attention to me but it also has the potential to deflect. I put this item together. So, here I am at night and during the day when people are talking and walking, I’m over here: Okay, let’s go together! It was elaborate, for sure! These big, beautiful shells and beads and whatnot. It was worth it as a chance in the game. You’ve got to play the game! There’s so much uncertainty in this game. So, it led every single person to believe I had an idol, which is great.
John Powell: We saw the dynamics at Reba. It seemed like you just could never climb out of the bottom. You were always playing from behind the 8-ball. What were the dynamics there and why you just couldn’t break through any of that? It must have been really frustrating.
Sifu Alsup: It was Kumbaya for a while on the beach. We were enjoying each other’s company but one moment for them was me getting caught (looking for the hidden immunity idol). They were able to utilize that. ‘Hey, let’s just put it on Sifu. He was digging around or he’s searching.’ I just went out there as a big kid playing and I enjoyed it! I had a great time! It was easy to put me on the bottom but there was nothing outside of that behind the scenes or anything that would have caused any animosity or anything.
John Powell: For people who are not into that world or don’t know, you detailed over and over how you could just feel something was ‘different’. It was some Bruce Lee s—t that. Like, “flow with water” and all that kind of stuff. He is one of my idols but explain to people how you felt the energy of others.
Sifu Alsup: So, in those moments, even if I seem oblivious, I’m definitely reading the room. I definitely understand because there are different feelings to each and every person. We’ve all been through something different. We’ve all experienced something different. Everybody has a different perspective and experience in their life.
I can understand what makes you tick. What you you do when you’re mad. What you do when you’re happy. So, I get the whole array of emotions. That’s how I connect and I can feel this presence from each person, whether you’re with a genuine feeling, an uplifting feeling, or whether you’re coming to me with this kind of a suspicious outlook. I can see right through you! I can see right into it! Whether I decide to act oblivious or whether I decide to go another way, it’s truly up to me. The game definitely allowed me to full-fledged feel different energies and also mine.
John Powell: We saw how dedicated you are to Tai chi and the beliefs that come with that. What brought that into your life?
Sifu Alsup: As a young boy I would watch my father in the front yard do Tai chi. He never forced me to do any competitions or anything. He never forced me. He just purely influenced me by being a great man and doing it in front of me. From there, I picked it up. My father fought in the Vietnam War. He did a lot of great things in his life and he’s still with us today. He’s one of the people who have influenced me to take up this art and teach the world a piece of it, if I can.
John Powell: What would your be your advice to kid about learning a martial art? I know it is great for the focus and the discipline but why is it important, especially for younger people to get involved with this?
Sifu Alsup: You nailed it with the focus and discipline but more important is to define who you are. A lot of people will typically address or refer to their job or something about them. Who you are is found through martial arts. Having your own individuality, like delving deep into what it takes to persevere in the fire of fighting or training or even doing stances that may hurt. You get to understand…Can I do this? Am I capable of this? What is next for me? I think that every young person should at least try to meditate, try to do some Tai chi, try to do some boxing, something that gets them moving more and so they can figure out who they are. Then, they’re part of a system. They’re part of something that’s growing.
John Powell: Is there anything about your journey that you wish viewers got to see?
Sifu Alsup: I had great moments of understanding people’s story. Every single person gave me their story. We talked and I got to see them truly for who they are outside of the game. There were tears shed about many things. I got a chance to share that I lost two of my best friends, people that meant the world to me: Dustin and Doug. These were my band-mates I grew up with and we played music all over but they aren’t here with me now. I got a chance to really share that and use that fuel and that fire to just keep pushing every day. I want everyone to know that my story doesn’t end here! I’m going to keep fighting! I’m going to keep pushing! I’ve got everything in my toolbox to do so!
John Powell: You have been able to watch everything back now. There’s a lot you didn’t get to see. What’s the thing that most surprised you?
Sifu Alsup: The evolution of Emily was interesting. I stood there on the barge and we’re all: ‘Hey, we’re here!’ and then…Did she did she just say that with such animosity? You paint this picture (in your mind). She’s going to be a hothead. These are the things that you’re thinking. To actually meet her I’m like…How? Wait. What? That doesn’t even make sense. To watch it back, that was a great evolution. She was one player who was beautiful to watch transform.