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Showing posts from June, 2020

June 29th - Travelling in Xuzhou

"Waiting for me with McDonalds..."
My short journey began on the 25th of June, which was the start of the Dragon Boat Festival in China. A holiday of eating Zong Zi and racing boats all while remembering a tale of a noble who died... or if you're like me you take the opportunity to travel. Though I may not have gotten far from the Martial Art School, its far enough for me to forget about my constant training, sweat, and soreness for a little bit.

As I laid back on the thin, creaky, train bed I thought about how odd this trip really is. I'm going on a vacation from my vacation. I'm going from learning Kung Fu all day to relaxing all day. Taking a moment to appreciate, and cherish, the opportunities life has given me really "connects" it all for me.
The long hours at a potato factory, dealing with the cold and clogged machines. The hammer mill that would start to smoke because of some "genius" idea to run craisins and practically sawdust together.…

June 22nd - Catching Up

Today ~ Training and Thoughts Today, I sat down after playing some Gauntlet and forced myself to write this blog post. My mind was kind of "fuzzy" because of how the end of last week was but today it is more clear. Training was just Shilat, Josh, Matt and I. JD is injured and Philip's knees have a problem. Only Matt and I did the morning/afternoon 2 km run which gave me "flashbacks" to running by myself in Wisconsin. Basics Class was ran by Master Peng (as all the classes are) which focused on flexibility and kicks. The first half hour was just the front split, Matt and I made huge progress. Master Peng thinks that if we keep training like this everyday for this week then we'd both be able to touch the floor by the end of the week... we will see.
Forms Class was focused on the spear. Wednesday, we will start learning the actual form. We all drilled the various combinations that we've learned until we were sweating. Training is definitely more relaxed th…

June 17th - Change is a Comin'

Start of the Week - Grading The days are blurring together recently. So much that I forgot about grading this month. No one was prepared for it and only three of us graded something. Matt and I did our staff form (阴手棍) while Raja graded his bull whip form. It was one of the quickest gradings that we've done, and it was the first grading that Master Bao and Master Tang watched (but they didn't seem too impressed).

Before Grading, Master Bao "ran" the Basics Class which was in some extreme heat. All of us were soaked after a few minutes of warming up. It was a strange class as Master Bao kept asking me and Fei Yu (a Chinese Student) what we normally do for class. The Grandmaster asking us what to do just felt odd. We worked on stances and various Wushu (武术) combos. This did make me realize that I enjoy doing the Wushu combos even though they are only the 花招, showy tricks, for Kung Fu.
After Grading, was Lunch where I ate a small amount due to me not having an appetite. I…

June 11th - Filming

Meditation was difficult today, not only because it was hot, but also because my body was aching. Really, I didn't "get" anywhere with meditation but practicing Qi Gong felt way better than usual. These ideas of Meditation and Qi Gong are fickle things as sometimes they help me and other times they don't. So, if someone were to ask me, "Does Meditation/Qi Gong/Tai Chi help/work?", then, I'd have to explain to them that you have to try it multiple times in order to see if it helps you or not.Things really have changed around here as now the students are able to do this class on our own. We all go to a different spot and meditate or do Qi Gong or just relax. Some choose to meditate the whole time while others practice more on the Qi Gong forms. For me, it changes based on how I'm feeling. Another class that has changed a lot is Sanda Class as it is "run" by Coach Qian. I put run in quotes because he really just watches us and will give the o…

June 9th - Busy Weekend, Busier Week

Morning Mumblings Another early morning on this Kung Fu Journey. My weekend was packed full of exploring, eating, and relaxing. This week, so far, seems to be packed with new and exciting challenges; one of them being learning the Spear (红缨枪)!
Monday - Spear and Tricks Training
After a grueling Basics Class of kicks, kicks, and more kicks, Master Peng during Forms Class began teaching us the Spear Basics while the Chinese students studied Lian Huan Fist (连环拳). Feedback about the spear from other students is mixed but I really enjoy it. It's hard not to feel cool while practicing the spear. Everything from the shining spear tip, waving red tassle, and shaking of the spear at each powerful move makes it so fun to practice. Later on, Master Peng told me what form we would be studying, Shaolin Competition Spear Form (少林竞赛枪).
Sanda Class recently has been run by Coach Qian due to the shortage of Masters so class has been very different. We start off by warming up all the joints and the…

June 4th - Shaolin Chan and Wisdom

Morning Meditation
Meditation without Master Ning, I knew this was going to be interesting. Roll call happened and we were a few students short due to them being sick/injured, I ran 2 km and witnessed some farmers start fighting each other, and I got back to the school, waiting to see who would guide us in meditation. Master Bao wasn't here again so Master Peng said he'd watch us meditate and teach the Chinese kids. It wasn't long until Master Peng saw a couple of us not concentrated on meditating,  so he talked to us.
He explained that meditation is learning how to control yourself. You focus on one thing, maybe its breathing or maybe its a problem, but you focus on that until you feel calm. Sure, the Chinese students made noise while training, but don't the birds as well?

After that short discussion, we started again. During this sitting meditation, I only focused on my breathing. No deep insights, no cool daydreams, just bugs crawling on me and my breathing. It was…

June 3rd - Chinese Students and Review

Peaceful Morning...
I woke up today feeling healthy, not sore, and refreshed. To me, this signifies that i haven't pushed myself hard enough this week. Its weird when feeling healthy is an off feeling; now don't get me wrong, during classes I'm pushing myself until I'm tired and sweaty. Being here has taught me that sweat doesn't always mean a good workout. Sore muscles, exhausted body, tired tendons are the signs of a better workout. Being here has also taught me that, along with the ups and downs of life, some weeks will be harder than others, I should just enjoy these "easy weeks" as a time to recover and focus on improving my weaker skills.Following the trend of last week, this week has been very different every day. Master Bao has been teaching us and... the 5-6 new Chinese Teenagers that are here. Before, I heard a lot about Master Bao's really tough training. How he will test us, how we will be tired and sore, but so far the training has been ju…