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Published: March 6th 2009
So yesterday afternoon we had power training, which consists of an unrelenting series of weight lifting, frog jumps and punching and kicking the pads for an hour and forty minutes. There was something serious in Wong Shifu's eyes when we came in, and he didn't disappoint. Even though he took it easy on myself and the other Catherine, we were still pushed hard. Frog jumps are particularly tough - we jumped what consists of maybe half a football pitch 6 times. This seems to have destroyed my quadriceps completely. So much so that when I was doing Tai Chi later than afternoon I was completely incapable of the graceful movements I'd managed a few days ago - I was barely able to stiffly lift my leg and swing it around to drop it heavily. Eventually Sarah (one of the girls who's been here for a while) saw me struggling and my distress at the struggle, and suggested I ask Guo Shifu if I could finish early. I heard the translator giggle as she explained that I'd had power training earlier that afternoon.
I then returned to my room, and burst into tears. I can't really explain why, the only thing I can come up with is that I was crying out of sheer exhaustion. There was no emotion involved; I just started crying.
This morning was power stretching, which I'd been dreading and looking forward to in equal measures. Power stretching consists of a stretch, which is then pushed beyond normal human boundaries by the master, who ignores your screams of pain and begging for mercy. We went round the group, and Wong shifu left us until last, which fills you with some terror when the big guys you've been training with for the past week are screaming in pain while a smiling Chinese man stands on their legs when they're half-way into a straddle split. It's like watching people you know and like being tortured and the torturers making you watch so you know that you're next.
Finally it came to my turn, so I lay on my back, Catherine grabbed one leg and held it flat, and Wong Shifu grabbed the other and pushed it towards my head. It's surprisingly painful, and was held for 30 seconds, but after that it's not so bad. Unlike power training which left me crippled for days, power stretching loosened me up quite nicely; overall if I had a choice I'd stick with the power stretching over the power training any day. However, Wong Shifu did say that he was taking it easy on us because it was our first week and next week we'd be able to stretch further...
Finally it's the weekend though, so a full 2 days to rest the muscles, do some shopping for some essentials and chill out. I think I've earned it.
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