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Published: April 7th 2009
At the weekend two of the newer guys, Paul and Greg, decided to go to Muping by bus - which was certainly an experience (although the experience being an hour standing pressed up against chinese men and women for not much less than a taxi ride - one I don't intend to repeat). Greg had a "wonder open-eyed at the market" view of China, which I must admit I hadn't looked at since I'd arrived. Apparently, the Chinese eat chicken feet, chicken heads (you eat both whole) and skewered baby chicks (skewered whole - about 3 to a skewer) as street food. Greg tried some of the less exotic stuff on offer, though I demurred and Paul opted for what he described as a "greasy Chinese pancake", though it tasted more like pretzel bread.
The weekend was sunny and sunday was a lovely day of hanging out in front of the academy with everyone else, practicing forms, watching Louis play with his Diablo and generally enjoying the sun after so long of cold. Greg also taught me some techniques to help me learn faster (he works as a kind of motivational coach and knows quite a bit of psychology, though he tends to couch it in terms that I find irritating).
On Monday was my basics grading, which I wasn't too nervous about because I know the stuff. Overall I think it went fairly well; I had it videoed and although there are places where I could have done better (I had to restart one sweep because I slipped half-way through and my stances in my 5 step could have benefitted from being lower) I'm pleased overall with my performance. I asked Lois what my score was (she's not supposed to tell us, but she's not difficult to convince) and I have 7.69 - a fairly random score and I'm not sure whether it's out of 8 or 10 as Lois wasn't sure, but from what I've heard from others who asked about theirs, mine was a high one for the day.
Since then it's been very warm, and for some reason Wong Shifu has insisted on us training outdoors in the sunlight when everyone else has either been indoors or in the shade. Fortunately I've plastered on the sun tan lotion so I've not been burned, but training outside in the blazing heat is tough going. What is fantastic weather at the weekend is horrible to train in.
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