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October 13th - Death of Kung Fu Poetry

Wonder what this move's name is?

October sure feels like February.

Back to wearing long sleeves, knit cap, and a windbreaker.

This creates an odd feeling while training as you slowly go from cold to hot and then to cold again as your sweat meets the cool air. I've already fought this head cold off, don't need to get hypothermia.

Today marks the beginning of my 剑 (Jian) training. I have thirteen days to learn what is normally learned in two months. Master Bao says it is possible but I need to practice a lot on my own. That means I will be focusing on this sword for the rest of October and beyond. The movements require a lot of 身法 (Shen Fa) which, to put simply, is the movement of the body. The form also requires a lot of speed and precision, similar to the spear. Movement, speed, precision all adds up to be a tiring and sweaty training session. The form I'm learning is 达摩剑 (Da Mo Jian) Dharma Straight Sword which is quite a well known straight sword form coming from Shaolin. 

"眼观六路,耳听八方"

Master Bao told me that when practicing I should keep this saying in my mind. It's meaning is to keep your eyes open and ears aware of what is around you. With the sword you first look at your surroundings and then attack, looking where you attack. Many motions in the form you will see the performer turn the body, looking in a new direction and then bringing the sword in that direction with an attack. After the attack, the performer's eyes are focused on the sword.

Death of Kung Fu Poetry ~ 歌诀

With these elegant moves in my mind I finally asked a question I've been wanting to ask for a while. "Do these moves have names?". I asked this because in the movies the moves always had cool names like, crouching tiger, hidden dragon or monkey steals peach or beat back the tiger. It is part of what I like about Kung Fu culture. I was sad to hear that the moves don't have these kind of names to them, a lot of forms have lost these names. Instead, they just break them down to simple names like, "Horse Stance Punch" instead of "1000lbs Iron Hand". 

Before I came to the Kung Fu School, this was part of Kung Fu that I thought was neat. These crazy sounding names but now I'm learning as Kung Fu is slowly modernized. Things are being changed to be easier to spread. Master Bao and I have talked about this change quite a lot. Training methods are different, what is trained is different, performance vs usefulness, conditioning, and now... the 歌诀 Ge Jue. (Man, I had to go to a comic of all places to find the Chinese word for the poetry names)

Things are always changing.

That's just a part of life.

Hope you are having a good Tuesday.

That PandaVPN deal... Man its awesome.

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