Kunyu Shan and split knuckles

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March 5th 2009
Published: March 5th 2009
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So yesterday we climbed Kunyu Shan (one of the mountains) to get to the Taoist temple up there to do some training. The climb is spectacularly steep and paved with flagstones (which I can imagine are practically impossible to climb when wet) so it was a great workout for the legs. When we got to the temple it was in a traditional Chinese style, inspired by the Forbidden City. Above the temple is carved into the rock a series of walkways, steps and little areas that were paved and set with benches. It's absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. In one of these little areas, we stopped and after the normal warm up did some Qi Gong for an hour led by Master Wong. It was completely different to doing it in the hall first thing in the morning - you could actually get into a meditative state. There are very few cars that go past the academy anyway, but the ones that do have engines that sound like helicopters, and combined with the dogs barking and other students talking and it doesn't add up to inner tranquility. In the mountains there was no sound but birds tweeting and leaves rustling - and you just can't get that in England.
After that we did some arm conditioning (smacking my arm against someone else's arm as hard as I could to toughen me up) and some Chinese tourists walked past and starting taking pictures of the strange foreigners with a Kung Fu Master. They seemed more interested in us than in the scenery.

After lunch we practised Sanda, so we got the pads out and while I was punching them I managed to split my knuckles in 3 places, so I ended up getting blood all over the place, which I'm sure was more impressive and scary for other people than it was a testament to how thin the skin on my knuckles are and how I could really do with some calluses. I still can't do press-ups on my fists (Master Wong always takes pity on me halfway through and says I can use my palms) because I keep using my little knuckles instead of my big ones.

Today we did some sweep kicks, and after watching Master Wong fly around, I tried, and landed on my ass. I'd have practiced more but my muscles seem to have seized up and I'm walking with a slight limp. I have power stretching tomorrow, and then we have to run up the mountain I just described. Oh yes. Tomorrow will be fun.


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