May 26th - New School

The New Martial Art School

I'm not sure how I wanted to talk about this interesting Tuesday. It was certainly a different experience than anything else that we've done. Now that it is all over and done with I'm still not sure if it was a good experience or bad experience. The "experience" was going to another town and helping out with the grand opening of a new martial art school, the school Master Yan will be teaching at.

Resting after our arrival

The way it was worded to us was that we would:

  • Go to the new school
  • Train at the new school
  • Pass out fliers
  • Eat Lunch
  • Head Back

This was the original plan but our day included a lot more than that. Firstly, the drive... man it was a long one. An hour to an hour and a half with many people crammed into a small van. Both ways, to and fro, were uncomfortable. Not only that but we had no clue where we were going, upon arriving we saw that the new martial art school was on the 3rd floor of a super market. To get to the school you had to go through the super market, find the elevator, and then you'd arrive.

The school itself was pretty cool. A lot of space and great mats to train on. The only downside was that there were no windows that you could open so it was quite hot. Also, the bathroom is a bit odd as well as it is a big room for just a single toilet. The decorations on the wall were cool and made the place feel very "martial arty" but some of the signs were poorly translated or misspelled, something that a lot of the students got to laugh about.

He Gou Town - A small Chinese Town

After seeing the school we were then hustled back out to the front where there was a "grand opening" area. Flowers, music, fireworks etc. Two coaches took all of us students out around town to hand out fliers telling people to come check out the school. Handing out fliers gave me some mixed feelings. On one hand, it feels like the Kung Fu movie trope where they'd be hanging posters/fliers to promote their school (and in the movies this always leads to a fight), but on the other hand this isn't what I wanted to be doing. As Raja put it, "...this isn't Kung Fu. Using Foreigners to hand out paper. You know how that makes me feel?", he said this after a security guard told us to go away from a place our coach told us to go hand fliers at.

We all regrouped and headed back to the new school but somehow one of the coaches lost track of quite a few students. It was just me, two coaches, and Bryce walking around looking for the other students. After a bit, I told them I'd head back to the school, grab my phone, and call them. They all followed then and, lo and behold, all of the students were at the supermarket/grand opening entrance. The coach in charge of the students was a bit dumbfounded. Once they saw us I was greeted with the surprising news that me and three other students will be performing! A bit of hasty preparation ensued and before I knew it Master Yan gave me the run down on how the performance would go.

Fireworks, Talking, Perform and done!

Easy, right?

Resting after our training

Well, I thought so because that is how it went by until after our performances Master Tang kept doing is promotional talking and called me up to his side. I was caught off guard and unprepared for speaking Chinese in front of some random villagers but I went with it. I will give Master Tang credit, he's a good showman. Hyping me up to be this "example of a foreigner not only interesting in Kung Fu but also in Chinese Culture and Language". If I was prepared, I'm sure I could've done better than that terrible "self introduction" that I gave but... what can you do.

Let's just say it was really nice to sit down and eat some lunch in a nice quiet, air conditioned room. We finally had time to explore the town on our own so, with full stomachs, we walked around the village streets sampling various snacks and buying refreshing drinks. We were also keeping in mind future places to try out just in case we ever came back here for another chaotic day.

But, the chaos wasn't over yet.

Lunch. Exploring. More Fliers. Training. Dinner Time.

Our dinner was alright, Master Yan bought everyone fast food. It was another relaxing moment but we got bothered by some school kids who were curious about foreigners. Thankfully, none cared about me on this day as I was very tired. Master Yan told us all to get ready to go as the taxi was ready and this is where we met out final challenge. Apparently, there was someone with the village government office who saw all of us and didn't know what was going on so... some talking ensued between the masters and her. They also needed me because I was the only student who had their phone and who had WeChat.

Phones were scanned. Information was entered. My ID was green to go.

I was a bit nervous at the time because... well who isn't nervous around government officials? All I wanted to do was just sit down in the taxi so we could go. In the end we were all good and safe which is nice but... I really don't want to be traveling around anymore.

The rest of the night was spent cleaning up and getting ready for bed.

How is your week going?

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