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Published: March 18th 2009
At the weekend a group of us headed to Yantai which I must say was great fun. We ate at a nice Japanese restaurant (the food here isn't spectacular, I often crave fresh fruit and vegetables and food that tastes different to what we have day in day out) and then went to the "cake shop" which has a good reputation at Kunyu Shan. I must say it did not disappoint; next time I go I'm taking pictures because this place was like it was out of Faye's dreams.
I've decided that I need to do some training at the weekends - I haven't so far and I don't entirely regret this decision as I've needed the rest to recover. However, at this stage I'm getting fit enough so that I can manage an hour or two of extra training at the weekend, and I'm also finding that I need extra time to practice things that we don't have time to keep going over in lessons. I never thought that training all day every day would ever leave me feeling that I needed more time to train, but this is what's happened. In addition - the weekends kind of drag. I am severely missing books at the moment as I only brought one, can't buy more (they're all in Chinese) and no-one else here seems to read much. As such I'm trying to condition myself to sitting for periods just listening to music or doing seated Qi Gong but there's only so much I can do without reading. This isn't a problem during the week - I have maybe 3 hours down time a day, but with the weekends being wide open there's a tendency to just...drift.
At the start of this week, Wong Shifu told Catherine and myself that, essentially, our grace time as new students was up, and from now on he was going to be as hard on us as he is on the other students. In my head I punched the air and said "Yes!" I'd much prefer to be pushed and beaten with sticks to being treated with kid gloves. Fantastically, he has not disappointed. We've now started our second form - Tombei - which we're learning alongside practice for 5 step (5 step will be graded on the 5th April; Tombei hopefully on the 25th). Yesterday he decided to practice kicks in Sanda and this means a lot of leg stretching first, and when I had my supporting leg bent slightly for a "one foot resting on a highish ledge and leaning into it" stretch he hit me with his pole. I felt so included.
Since Monday, the weather here has taken a radical shift for the better. Whilst it was so cold you'd be training in 4-5 layers a week ago, it's now become so warm I'm getting sunburnt. This is great as we're now training outdoors, and this was lovely yesterday doing Sanda barefoot outdoors as the sun went down. It felt like we were at the beach. If you were training kicks at the beach with a Chinese man walking around shouting "Power!" "Faster!" "Kick him!"
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