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March 10th - Being Like Water

My Office

 Afternoon Thoughts

Today's classes were surprisingly fun. I usually don't like Jumps and Rolls or Applications class because the moves we practice are too advanced or complicated for me but today I could almost do the moves in Jumps and Rolls and the Application was easy to remember today. Master Peng Er Lang (彭二郎) taught us Jumps and Rolls today. We reviewed some simple forward/backward rolls, some falls, and even cartwheel types. Then, we went into combinations which is either the best part or worst part of practice. I'm talking about; forward sweep into spinning back kick into a fall while going into the "dragon kick up". Things like: tornado kick into spinning back kick into a cartwheel... and many more cool moves. Things the Masters can do easily that we really struggle with.

After that it was time for Master Yan to teach us some "Applications" which are more like self defense class sort of things. Today was someone pushing you, some one grabbing your arm with both hands, some one grabbing your hair/head from behind and in front but before our applications were actually practiced we do our normal warm up of "tag sparring" and "感手练习" or "Feeling hands". Feeling Hands is similar to certain Tai Chi partner exercises but it goes like this:

You and your partner are facing each other and are close. You lightly put your palms together and relax your whole body. Once the exercise begins you move your hands in circular motions, keeping your hands touching, all while planning on when to push your partner's hand/hands. By simply pushing their hand/hands you can knock them off balance if they are not relaxed or if their body isn't working together in unison (协力). You are not using your eyes or brain to predict when to push or react, you are using the feeling of your opponent's hand motion to determine when and where to go. If you have a hard time not using your eyes or brain, simply close your eyes.

My Window, where I hear roosters from and see the sunlight everyday

It is an interesting exercise that feels a little silly but most Chinese martial arts have some form of this exercise. This is when Master Yan explained to me what 协力 (xie li) was by saying some pretty familiar examples. He started by saying:

[Rough Translation]
"Your body is supposed to feel like water. [Punching a Dummy] This isn't 协力, when you hit him it all falls backward. If you hit water it moves but it all stays/returns together, this is what your body is supposed to do. When your opponent pushes you, you adapt to his energy. Don't just send the energy to your heels or you will fall. Send it through your shoulders, into your spine, down into your hips, to your knees and ankles then; simply return back to your stance. If you put water into a cup, it now has the cup's shape, if you put it into a bowl it now is the bowl's shape. This is what you must do with your body."

At the end of the exercise I was told my issue was me stopping the energy at my hips and back. My knees and ankles wouldn't be helping me absorb the energy of my opponent's push, so it is something for me to keep in mind while I'm here.

I've been feeling a little off and on throughout the day, my stomach still is not the best but it has been getting better. Because of this I didn't attend "Sanda Takedowns" today as my thought is I will be here a long time so I need to take care of myself and if it is some sort of cold or stomach bug that others could catch, I don't need to be wrestling them.

I'll be studying and stretching the rest of the day.

What are your plans for this week?

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