July 22nd - No Masters

Photo By JD, From our days at Maling Mountain

Solo Training~ "Make the most of every day"

I think the fact that my music program recommended me the tag "mood swings" is just a hint as to how things have been here the past few days .Monday we didn't have any masters here because they all went to some other master's wedding in another part of China. It was all, as JD put it, self motivated training where we did what we wanted. Matt and I ran Basics Class by doing Kicks, Splits, and Stances. Josh joined us for Forms Class where we spent the whole hour practicing with the Rope Dart (绳镖). Then, some students went to Xinyi City for some reason which meant that Sanda Class was just me. JD and Philip did their own training throughout the whole day. I was okay with this day because we knew that they might get stuck an extra day so running classes for one day was no problem.

Tuesday rolls around, Master Peng is back. He teaches us all of the classes for that day (even though we really didn't do anything for Applications Class) which was nice. Especially Sanda Takedowns where he taught me a couple of defenses from getting taken down. Even though Master Peng told me he doesn't teach Sanda because its not his focus he still has some skills. Then Today... Master Peng slept in so I practiced basics, did splits, practiced stances, and practiced kicks just so I could improve my "terrible" basics. Forms Class arrived and Master Peng oversaw how Matt, Josh, and I practiced the Rope Dart. He decided we needed more practice with the Rope Dart basic moves. He then taught Shilat, Matt, and I some Sanda Basics on footwork. The class felt like something I had done in Absolute or Karate.

Purpose~ "What for?"

In between classes for all of these days included a lot of solo training, relaxing, and looking at my phone. I can tell that I have been pushing myself this week, which is good, but the thought of, "What for?" is very prevalent in my mind. The fact that some students here call me the "best" here is a major insight into how our school is because the "best" keeps getting told by every master that his basics are bad. So why do I train? Honestly, its just because I like it. I enjoy going out everyday for the morning 2 km run. I love doing the endless circles and laps of kicks and basics. I like seeing the progress that power training and power stretching give me. Feeling the sweat and intense heart rate that comes from Sanda is somethling that is great.

Finding purpose and seeing progress in my training have risen in importance as I've been thinking more and more about what I will do when I head home. If I could just live this kind of life then I probably would but the "real world" will always be pulling me back. I see this in the Masters' own lives as well, strange work hours, traveling back and forth from school to school, using their kung fu skills as a currency in order to learn something else and more. That's not what I want. I definitely don't want to be like Grandmaster Bao who I never see and is always busy with other things.

It doesn't help that many students are talking about heading home. Shilat and Philip want to leave ASAP. JD said he is going to be leaving November/December. Matt in January and Josh in January/February. That leaves me as maybe the last student here as I plan on heading home in February. 6 more months of this wonderful, care free, kung fu life.

How's your life going? Any highs and lows going on?


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