Week 5


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April 3rd 2009
Published: April 3rd 2009
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I must add to last week's litany of injuries a broken arm - this came from a guy doing Mantis called Tom who finished sparring last week with "my hand's hurting a bit". He then walked around all weekend and even trained on Monday before his shifu made him go to the hospital to get an X-ray - we were all very surprised and impressed with his broken arm. This guy is seriously hard. Mantis has since gained some respect from the other styles...
This week we've had an influx of new people who have alternately provoked an "ah, being a newbie" response in me and "dammit, they're already better than me".
I've decided that the fact that I run more slowly than anyone else in the academy (I set off first, I get back one of the last) is not a problem. I'm not a runner, I think this has now been established - but that's okay, I don't want to be a runner. I want to be a martial artist. Wong Shifu almost never runs but he does kick a lot of ass. The important thing is that I do everything I can to the best of my ability, and don't give up when it's hard. My favourite phrase at Kunyu Shan is "don't cheat yourself" - it's easy to think "Shifu's not looking so I'll give my arms a rest on this bridge and rest on my head", but why? You're not getting one up on Shifu, you're just cheating yourself of the workout. It's why I'm here - I've paid a lot of money to do it. So no matter what, I'm trying to give it my all.
Power training this week was again easier than it has been in the past, so I have to assume I'm getting used to it. I have a new strategy though - just before training on thursday afternoon I got "5,6,7,8" by Steps stuck in my head, which would ordinarily be annoying, but I found that it helped immeasurably when doing the wheelbarrow. I hate the wheelbarrow (for those who don't know, wheelbarrow is where one person grabs your feet and holds them while you walk on your hands - Wong Shifu has taken to getting us to go up and down a hill) because it puts a lot of pressure on my upper body which is still pretty weak. However, it went surprisingly quickly when combined with the cheesy 90s pop.
On Thursday morning we did break falls and rolls; I'm still rubbish at these and they leave me feeling very dizzy! We were then encouraged to practice kick ups (these are where you lie on your back and kick up with your feet so you land standing up), and somehow Kyle managed to work out that this was going to be part of a group form we would learn where we needed to do a kick-up as part of it. Kick-ups mostly require core strength, and mine has gone downhill since arriving due to a lack of core workout during class and general tiredness out of class. However, I've decided now to attend Sean's nightly "bums and tums" class where he does some core workouts for the half an hour between Qi Gong and Dinner. It's a good class, I must say, Sean would make a great teacher, and hopefully my core will be toned enough for me to be able to do the kick-up before I leave.
I must also mention the new Qi Gong we're learning - with the old form we learned I ended up getting quite a strong Qi feeling in my hands (Qi feeling is when your hands feel hot, numb and inflated) which is fantastic. However, the new Qi Gong is quite different - instead of focussing on certain points on the body where Qi is said to gather, this concept says that Qi flows through all the body, so you don't concentrate anywhere. The meditation for this form is hard - the only aim is to do the stance correctly. This stance is a low horse-riding stance with your hands held out in front of you - this is uncomfortable to begin with, let alone after 45 minutes of holding it. I also have yet to get any feeling whatsoever, suggesting that my Qi is still not strong. However, I will carry on!
I'm also somewhat less skeptical about Qi Gong than I had been. Okay, so I don't necessarily think it could cure cancer the way it is sometimes claimed. However, recently I've noticed that the heart palpitation I get when I'm very stressed has come back when I do Qi Gong. I'm not especially stressed out by Qi Gong, so I asked Guo Shifu whether this was normal, and he said that it was quite common for previous health problems to manifest during Qi Gong, and that if I kept it up the palpitations would go away altogether. So I'm a little more convinced perhaps.

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