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May 17th - Slow Sunday

Relaxing Friday Sunset

Weekend Reflections

Today has just been a slow, quiet, peaceful day. I managed to motivate myself to train quite a bit today on various things like Staff Form, flexibility, and Tong Bei Quan (通背拳). Even purchased some training clothes and my Monk Spade on TaoBao today (Thanks Terina and JD) so I'll be able to train with it when the time comes but I should catch you up on the rest of the week first...


...was your typical Thursday at Maling Shaolin Kung Fu School. We did our Meditation/Qi Gong Class in the morning (after a 2 km run) and it was during this class that I had my first good standing meditation session. No cool revelations about myself or the world but man oh man did time go by quickly. For the Qi Gong part of class, we had Master Peng correct us on our Ba Duan Jin (八段锦) so that we could be able to do it better and get more out of the simple exercise. He told Terina and I to start holding the various positions for longer amounts of time so that we could train our breathing.

Master Yan ran us through Conditioning Class where we trained in various new ways. Instead of doing the normal grip strength/hitting sand bags, we instead held various planks with different hand positions in order to condition our hands, fingers, wrists, elbows, and heads. It was tough. Then, at the end of class we just went to our normal schedule of hitting eachother in various parts to condition ourselves.

Lunch went by quickly and after the 4 km run we went to Power Training Class led by Master Peng. Most people fear Master Peng's power training because it is hard and today was no exception. It was leg day so we did 4 out of 5 sets of Master Peng's workout plan but the heavens must be watching out for us because it started raining. So we all went headed back to the school, tired and sore.

麻辣烫 - In Xinyi


...turned out to be quite a special day. First off, it was testing/grading today. This meant that I had to perform my Staff Form and Broadsword Form in front of everyone. The testing went quite well for me as I did how I thought I would, my broadsword form was slow and I messed up the staff form but the Masters said that Philip and I did the best for this testing. Considering most of us are injured and that this will be the last testing for Shilat and Terina, I think everyone did really well.

Later on, Philip and I had to get our visas extended which was good as it let us explore Xinyi City for a little bit. Although getting the visas was a pain, the delicious 麻辣烫 was worth all the hassle of getting a visa and getting asked weird questions. Once we got back to the martial arts school, every student was getting ready to go eat hot pot, which is an awesome experience. Only a few of us had eaten hot pot before so we were the "guides" and got food for everyone else. Most liked it while some others didn't due to various reasons...

It was a really fun night though and my Chinese got tested quite a bit!

(Thanks JD for paying)

"Kung Fu Brothers and Sisters" - Left to Right: Josh (Cut off), Terina, Philip, Shilat, Matt, and JD


... wasn't spent doing too much. Mostly a day of boring chores like washing clothes, shaving, going to the village for groceries, cleaning blankets, and organizing my room. I did stretch as well as worked on my Staff Form but it was for a very short time. In the evening we all watched the Fifth Element after ordering some fast food from a place called Austin's in Wang Zhuang. It wasn't bad but man do I miss a real burger.

Beautiful Flower


Today, I was watching quite a lot of different Taoism and Buddhist videos just to see if there was anything that could get me out of this mental "funk" that I've been in lately. It was while watching, or more so listening, to these videos that I would stretch and train. It honestly helped in some ways and I found I enjoyed the Taoism/Daoism ideas way more than I enjoyed the Buddhist views on things. Which is odd considering I do Shaolin Kung Fu at the moment; which is tied to Buddhism, where as Tai Chi and other internal martial arts are more connected to Taoist/Daoist teachings.

The main idea that kind of got to me was being mindful of yourself and your surroundings. I'm not quite sure how to explain it as I really don't understand what clicked with me and this idea. I just like the idea that being mindful of the small day to day things can improve the quality of your day so much. A simple example is being mindful of your posture throughout the day while a more difficult example is being mindful of your thoughts and impulses throughout the day. Just being aware of these different feelings changes your day completely, part of me wonders if this is why my Sunday was "slow". I felt I had more time to do stuff when nothing really changed at all.

And yet, at the end of the day I still feel this "mental funk" in the back of my head. Its a feeling as if something back is going to happen or that feeling of being frustrated at something. What ever is causing it, I sure hope the feeling is gone by tomorrow.

How was your weekend?


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