Week 4 - the road to recovery


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March 27th 2009
Published: March 27th 2009
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Cathedral in BeijingCathedral in BeijingCathedral in Beijing

A Christian Cathedral in Beijing where there was a bridal photo shoot taking place. Those flowers were all fabric. Just behind them was a tiny little boy who refused to pose for his mother because he was too busy staring at me. Very cute.
Week four has been a relatively uneventful one in many senses. That is to say, it's Friday and I have no major injuries and no immense pain in any part of my body to report, so it's quite unusual in that sense. My torn ligament seems to be repairing itself happily enough, and after a week of not stretching or kicking high with that leg it seems almost up to full strength again. We'll see. However, there is exciting news in the form of all the photos I've taken since being here being uploaded! I've tried to upload some videos of me doing Tombei and 5 step poorly, but it's been an hour and a half and it's not up, so I'll try again with the next blog.

Monday and Tuesday saw a nice, uncomplicated couple of days consisting of mornings of basics and forms, and afternoons of Sanda. My round kicks are getting much better; they're far higher than they were and there's quite a bit of power in there. We work on round kicks quite a bit though, and my side kicks are still pretty weak, so I may have to practice those in my spare time. Also, my sweeps seem to have gone backwards since I practiced them last, so work must be put in. Tuesday, however, also saw snow, which is irritating after such glorious sunshine last week. Because of this on Wednesday we did Qi Gong and conditioning at the Academy rather than in the mountains, which is a shame because I always look forward to Wednesdays because of the jaunt into the mountains. It's rather beautiful. Wednesday afternoon was more Sanda - I hadn't realised but apparently this much Sanda is abnormal - the other groups do one or two sessions a week. But I suppose we have got China's Sanda Champion 3 years running as our Shifu (this is more impressive when you consider the size of China and its reputation for martial arts...)
Thursday we had a nice session of applications and then sat on the mats in the sun and talked to Wong Shifu about his life which was interesting - at some point I'm going to make a separate blog about Wong Shifu because he is the awesome. Looks absolutely hard as nails but is a fantastic teacher - even when he gets annoyed and hits people with a staff
Forbidden CityForbidden CityForbidden City

These are the original lions that practically every Chinese building in China and in the west copies. The male has its paw on a ball representing the world (I think) and the female on a cub representing the lineage (I think).
you know it's coming from him caring. In the afternoon was power training, which consisted of the plank (being done with your feet on the windowsill) bar bell chest pushes (bar bell against chest, push horizontally out to full arm extension, pull back against chest - it's hard), frog jumps, duck walks and wheelbarrows (your legs in someone else's hands, they walk, you walk on your hands) all up and down a hill, and then punches and kicks against pads up and down a hill. Now, either I'm getting used to this, or this was a softy session due to sparring the following day - I'm going with the latter but others think the former - because I didn't find this horribly cripplingly impossible. In fact, I ached no more than I do on an average day.

Today though was sparring, and there has been a buzz about sparring for over a week now, with loud and pointless debates around the dinner tables about which is the best style and who will be sparring who. I was told I wasn't sparring, which was a disappointment as I'd have liked to give it a go, but I can see where
Me in Forbidden CityMe in Forbidden CityMe in Forbidden City

I got a Dutch lady to take my picture. My bags felt very heavy after walking around with them for 5 hours.
Wong Shifu is coming from. I'm not experienced. I asked if I could spar next time and he said in English: "Maybe. Practice." His English is limited but to the point.
Nevertheless it was fascinating to watch, and I have some pictures and videos. Injuries sustained include a badly bruised knee, a badly bruised foot, 2 bloody noses and a dislocated shoulder; the latter was the only serious one and he was taken to hospital and is now back smiling happily because he's doped up on painkillers. It was good to watch it all though because now I have an idea what it all means, whereas in the past fights and sparring just confused me with the violence. Sparring here is different to karate sparring back home though. There's far less emphasis on health and safety.


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Tiananmen SquareTiananmen Square
Tiananmen Square

It's less exciting than it seems.
Soldiers in BeijingSoldiers in Beijing
Soldiers in Beijing

I found it really random that soldiers were marching around into undergrounds and things. The soldiers were mostly very young, and their uniforms rarely fitted them.
My room at Kunyu ShanMy room at Kunyu Shan
My room at Kunyu Shan

This is what my room looks like from the door. Actually, this is what it looked like when I first arrived. It's now considerably messier.
Me and the mountainsMe and the mountains
Me and the mountains

If I look tired and sweaty it's because I was halfway through my first mountain run!
Me and the mountains and templeMe and the mountains and temple
Me and the mountains and temple

I look kind of like Spiderman with those shadows...
Me and the pagodaMe and the pagoda
Me and the pagoda

Yes. To my right IS a sheer drop. Awesome views though
The whole vistaThe whole vista
The whole vista

This is my desktop when I get back.
Morning stretchingMorning stretching
Morning stretching

Stretching is Julian, being stretched is Adam. This is a daily morning thing, and is very effective.
Sham & MayakSham & Mayak
Sham & Mayak

The guy in the middle in grey is my Shifu, Wong Shifu; and the girl is Tracey, one of the better translators.


1st April 2009

Awesome blog. I'm going to Yantai this summer, so it's nice to find a student's perspective on it.

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