March 4th - History Lessons and Chinese Insight

Take motivation from the simple things in life

Afternoon Thoughts

Training was really fun but tough today. Once lunch time hit I had to go change most of my clothes as they were soaked in sweat and smelling really bad. But, Mondays and Wednesdays are my favorites as we go over Basics and Forms.

Today, our Basics class we went over kicks and kick combinations (which included sweeps). I never thought that just kicking in the air could be so exhausting or that holding your arms up could be so tiring. It is. One of the combos we did was all with the same leg; straight kick, inside kick, outside kick which then went into a backwards sweep. Another one was right inside kick, left outside kick and then a front sweep. It was tough and required a lot of warming up, coordination and flexibility.

In forms class I finished learning Shaolin Tong Bei Quan, which is awesome and I'm excited about it but the ending is going to be hard to master. What I liked about learning Shaolin Tong Bei Quan was Master Peng would teach me something additional each time, whether it was an application of a move , telling me the name of something, or in today's case telling me a little history about the form and move.

Wu Hua Zuo Shan

He told me many things; to start out he told me all of the moves have some sort of story to them and the sounds we make (ε“ˆ,ε“Ό,ε–‚,δΈ€) also have stories to them. The move we focused on today was Wu Hua Sits on the Mountain as seeing this is an "iconic" Shaolin Style stance. When doing this stance you are supposed to shout, "Wei! ε–‚!" which comes from a story where a Buddhist God/Guardian sat at a temple that was under attack and did this move. Him shouting caused the bandits to leave in terror. Another story that he told me a little about was the Buddhist Guards Heng and Ha, but I have to go look up that story for myself to learn more. But when we shout, "Ha! ε“ˆ!or Heng! ε“Ό!", we are supposed to be channeling the energy of these characters or at least paying respect to these characters.

It has been a good day of training but man am I already really tired. I cannot give up, I must keep going until the day is done... which means two more hours of class and maybe one hour of reviewing what I have learned previously. Ah man, I paid for this...

Fried Radish Balls

Evening Thoughts

I debated in my head whether or not to go to Xing Yi Quan class today and I ended up going. It turned out very similar to my Baji Quan class, I learned two moves and then corrected one move for the entire class period. At the end of class Master Yan told us a very interesting speech about us having the wrong "feeling" while doing Xing Yi Quan. His speech (roughly translated) went like this:

"At the school we have many kinds of martial arts. Some complement eachother while others are the opposite. Sanda and Shaolin go together very well, Wing Chun and Xing Yi go together very well. Tai Chi is on its own while Baji Quan can go together with Shaolin and Sanda. These martial arts are like different flavors of food, if you threw every flavor in your mouth at once, it will taste bad and you won't know what to taste so you should eat (choose) what flavors you like instead of every single one. You will be here for a year so you have time to try them all out."

Which is exactly why I was debating with myself on whether I want to go to Xing Yi Quan or not. I like it but after a rough day of training Shaolin and Sanda, I really didn't want to go and do it. I enjoyed the class while I was there and practicing because I remembered why I like Xing Yi. But, even though I went to class and enjoyed it, I didn't have the right feel or mindset while practicing Xing Yi. I wasn't relaxed, I was tense. I wasn't centered, I was moving a lot with every move. All that I was feeling was how one should practice Shaolin Kung Fu, not Xing Yi. Imagine someone went to play Golf but tried to play golf like a football player. It doesn't work.

Not gonna lie though, I feel happy that I understood a good 40% of what he said.

Xing Yi Quan Standing Meditation Posture, your toes have to grab the ground and the bad "energy" gets sent out of your hands.
Master Yan did teach us a rarely practiced Xing Yi Quan move which is similar to Tai Chi's Standing Mediation posture. He said when his teacher would teach him they would stand in this for 4-5 minutes every class and stand for 4-5 minutes in the standard stance. The meditation posture is for clearing your mind and relaxing your body sending the bad "stuff" out of your hands. You grab the ground with your toes, hips go forward and head should feel like it is being pulled upward. It is an interesting posture that I might try to practice every once and a while.

Tomorrow is Thursday; Dan was right when he said this time would fly by. I hope that by writing in my journals and keeping up with this blog that I'll be able to look back and remember all that happened on my various adventures. I'm trying to make tracks everywhere I go and hopefully some people will remember what I did.

We are half way through the week, do you feel tired yet?

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