Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from September, 2020

September 22nd - Jumping and Rolling

I still can't do an aerial but I am getting closer.That's what today's morning classes were all about Jumping and Rolling under the guidance of Coach Qi. What I learned is that my jumping basics suck and I have very little control of myself while I'm in the air. Every move from my single knee jump, tornado kick, and even my butterfly kick all needed the same problem fixed! Jumping up and not forwards.What I liked about Coach Qi's approach to teaching was he told me, it is going to take time to change these problems. I just needed more and more practice.Other than that, Master Bao and Master Peng are still working on some videos for the school so I didn't really see them at all today. I did Forms and Power Training (legs) in the afternoon. Once the evening arrived I spent my time watching The New Shaolin (2011) which was fun.Yesterday, I had a good talk with Master Bao on a variety of things but today what stuck out to me was him saying how much Shaolin has chan…

September 21st - Fighting Monkeys

Weekend
The weekend was interesting.Saturday was spent training and watching Kung Fu movies.Sunday was spent training with a trip to Maling Mountain.Master Peng invited me to go with him and Master Bao to Maling Mountain for filming. We were there for a while as Master Bao's "brother" took us to various locations in the park, including some hidden locations. While we were filming the Straight Sword, something interesting happened. We saw a monkey climbing a tree. Then he started screeching.The Masters started to laugh and joke about the weird sound the monkey was making but the only thought going through my head was, "He's searching for some one". We started to walk down along the bridge to go film the spear and next thing I hear is Master Peng shouting, "Oi oooooooh!" while backing up. The other monkeys had arrived, a male, a few females, and some babies. What proceeded next was frantic backing up where I somehow got put in the front of everyone. …

September 18th - End of Another Week

Another Friday.This week has been a good week of solo training for many reasons. I've learned many moves for Da Hong Quan, started my side project, gained some weight, and kept posting to my various sites. Friday also means I'm steadily getting closer to leaving the Kung Fu School. After this place, its another stop to Shanghai where I will spend the holidays before heading home.The thought of leaving this place gives me a bitter-sweet feeling. I understand that it is my time to leave as I'm the last student here. The enjoyment that I get from such a simple life is just hard to leave. Training for most hours of the day, having food made for you, reading, learning, working on videos and more is just so free spirited. That's the "sweet" to bitter-sweet. The bitter is all the problems that I've talked about previously (and that the Cripple Crew would know) which are subject for my end of the year review on this place.On the subject of Shanghai, I really don&…

September 17th - Discipline

"So do not lose the courage that you had in the past. It has a great reward. You must hold on, so you can do what God wants and receive what he has promised." -Hebrews 10:35Wake up.Make a protein shake.Adorn myself in the clothes of a Shaolin Monk.Eat Breakfast.That is how my day begins. Routine is what helps me pass the time while the clothes motivate me. Even when I'm feeling down or unmotivated I still have more than four hours of my day planned. I don't feel any closer to "zen mastery" but I know my discipline is still here.I had a buddy contact me and asked if I ever felt demotivated or down. The conversation didn't go anywhere, it just made me realize the difference between him and I. What I told him was I use a combination of discipline and motivation to get me through obstacles. To that he replied, "Why not just take it easy?".Because taking it easy sucks. There is a time for relaxing and recovering, a time for "smelling the roses…

September 16th - Mental Break

"Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm." -Ephesians 6:13Nothing changed.Yesterday was just hard for my mind. Master Bao was hungover so I practiced Jumps and Rolls on my own, trying to get more air for my cartwheel. The next class was me reviewing my rope dart as I had just watched a "rope dart motivation" video. The third and final class of the day I spent working on my cartwheel some more as I really want to be able to do an aerial before I leave. It sounds like I did a lot but to be honest, those 4ish hours of training were a mental slog. By the time Power Training arrived, I had burnt out my mental state. I decided to take a break for the rest of the day, skipping Power Training but not skipping Protein O'Clock. The Bible quote above is from this daily devotional that I have, looking back on yesterday's passage it makes me think …

September 11th - Recovery and Siji

My first week of one on one training is over. My right knee has been out of action all of today so I only attended morning Power Stretching. To my surprise, the class was lead by Coach Qi. He's one of the younger coaches that comes and goes. He's been doing martial arts for 11 years and is on his way to joining the military... just like the rest of the coaches that pass through here. "With events constantly changing around the world, one of the certainties we can hold onto is our daily routine. I encourage you to use your workout as your refuge. This simple action will improve your life and those around you." -Shi Yan LeiIn the morning I decided to do the rare activity of checking my email. In it was mostly garbage (though there was a nice update from my pal, Shaolin Smiddy) and a few martial art themed messages. Normally I would trash most of it but today I decided to open one and read it. What was inside didn't help me at al…

September 10th - Master Bao's Meditation

Studying with Master Bao has been a different experience, not because I'm the only student here, but because his ideas are slightly different to the other masters'. Today is Qi Gong day which means meditation and breathing exercises. The first thing he asked me was;
"What understanding do you have about meditation?"
I was surprised then thought for a moment. My understanding isn't that deep as I mostly use it to relax or sort through problems so I told him the two ideas that Master Peng and Master Ning have taught me. It's a way to clear your mind and a way to feel your surroundings.
Master Bao nodded thoughtfully and began to explain his idea of meditation which, due to my poor Chinese, can only translate to the best of my ability. Step One ~ Body and Mind The first step is the "basics" of meditation. Clearing your mind while relaxing your body. In the beginning, your mind will be confused and full of thoughts, instead of going from a lot to…

September 7th - New Master, New Style

“拳打千遍,其意自现”
Practice ten thousand times, the meaning will reveal itself.
This was a sentence that Master Bao wanted me to remember during Forms Class. That is how day one of Master Bao's training went, a lot of talking, a lot of basics, and a lot more corrections. The main correction was: relax. Punches. Stances. Jumps. Every single move I did had the same exact correction... relax. Also, my basics need work which isn't surprising since I've been hearing that since I have gotten here. So what needs work? That's what we spent a lot of time talking about.  There are many theories and common ideas in Chinese martial arts. One of them is the "Outside Circles/Connections" while the other is "Internal Circles/Connections". “手与足合,肩与胯合,肘与膝合。
心与意合,意与气合,气与力合” This idea is key to making your moves coordinated and balanced. It is also key for generating power (Called 发力 in Chinese). The power generated in our style of kung fu isn't raw muscle strength. Inste…

September 6th - A Tired Body

Sleep.I've been getting plenty of it. This weekend has been a weekend of crashing out on my bed in the quiet afternoons. When I wake up, I'm fully charged and ready to go. I believe the Spanish call this a siesta. To me, it feels lazy but I couldn't help it. I'd be there writing or watching videos then, next thing you know, I'm waking up covered in sweat an hour later. It must be from the additional hour of training that I'm doing a day but... man. I didn't expect it to beat up my body this much. Even today, my "recovery day", I spent the day stretching, kicking, kung fuing, and even more stretching. You'd be surprised at how tiring stretching can be and those Kung Fu forms... exhausting. I'm wondering if the additional protein shakes are helping me. If they're not, I'll still drink them because they taste pretty good. (Can't miss Protein O'clock)
Walking around Wang Zhuang I was asked the same question many times:"Wher…

September 4th - Sleeping and Recovery

Corn Moon
The third day of this spectacular full moon sets the backdrop for my night of thinking. Sore triceps and a bruised back are the constant reminder of this week's training but that isn't what is weighing heavy on my mind. I'm content with being at the school. The challenge of solo training keeps my mind motivated. A new master brings new possibilities. This feeling of content is what is on my mind. Its been a long time since content and I have run into each other. There is a chance I feel this way because my plan is still going the way it was originally laid out. Although the road, that is my plan, was laid out in a very unexpected way; the end result is still the same. Me going home in January. These constant reminders that "Everything is going to be okay" are quite calming to my mind. I'm sure Kunming (昆明) would have been a blast and I'm sure many adventures could stem from there. My gut kept telling me otherwise like Kunming would lead me to s…

September 3rd - Turn of a Page...

翻脸比翻书还快... a face changes faster than the turn of a page. Can refer to something/someone that changes quickly. I think this phrase suits this week quite well because things are changing fast around here. The weather. The school. My schedule. My Master. I believe its all to prepare me for the challenging conclusion to the first chapter of my kung fu journey. September 2nd, a storm rolled through...
Training this week has been on my own. A familiar feeling but still something to get used to as I enjoyed the company of other "Kung Fu Brothers/Sisters". The days that Master Peng has watched my training he has given me some deeper advice for improving my Kung Fu. One bit of advice that I loved was: "You should be able to practice in the space of a cow laying down"This is straight out of the Kung Fu books I read before coming here but to have a master say this and then elaborate on it... was a memorable moment. It's not just being able to train in a small space but b…