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Wushu Whiteboy Studying Shaolin, Sanda, and Mantis Kung Fu in China

Kung Fu in China Weeks Five and Six

CHINA | Monday, 30 September 2013 | Views [812] | Comments [4]

After one month here, there was certainly a measurable difference in my flexibility. I believe my strength and endurance have also increased, but these are more difficult to measure. I don't know how much more I can expect before I plateau for a time, but I'm pleased that I am seeing results at this point.

Wednesday of week five I was frequently up in the night blowing my nose and experiencing intestinal fluctuations. I considered excusing myself from training that day, especially since it was power training day which requires a lot of effort, but since that Friday was to be a holiday I chose to train anyways as two days off in a week is too much for my liking. I just let Sifu Qu know that I was ill and may have to suddenly leave to the bathroom. He was fine with this, but I never did have to leave and made it through the entire day of training although I made it a point to take it a bit easy that day. Despite feeling ill I still wanted to continue with my goal of progressing on the temple run, and that week I ran to the sixth break in the cobblestones, putting me a few weeks ahead of schedule. My goal was then to run to the seventh break in the cobblestones on week six. I ran to the twelfth and final break in the cobblestones, leaving only the final stretch to the temple itself, so I continued on to the temple. Although I ran at a very slow pace, I have now successfully run all the way to the temple without stopping to walk. I remember an advanced student telling me on my second week that, if I really work at it, I could run to the temple in about three months. I believe he was being optimistic as he was a particularly dedicated and fit student, but I still did it in less than half the time. One goal down, although I now need to work on picking up the pace.

Last Monday Sifu complimented me on the form I'm working on *gasp!* He said that I'm learning the form very quickly. He also said that I am doing much better at relaxing my shoulders; this is probably because he smacks my shoulders every time I tense them while punching.

Training here and in the U.S. are not terribly different, it's just more intensive here. At the school where I studied Eagle Claw for about 9 months before coming to China, we did much the same kinds of training exercises as we do here. In the U.S. I was limited to an hour or an hour and a half twice a week and here it's at least four hours a day, so we stretch more, exercise more, and spend more time on techniques. For example, in the U.S. we might run once in a given week, whereas here we run twice a day and for longer distances. Power stretching would be discouraged in the U.S. as there is certainly potential for injury, and the instructors there don't hit you. A few months of basics in the U.S. are learned in about a week or two here. A motivated student could, of course, make up for this on his own time and through private classes, but I prefer the structured environment here as it discourages laziness and there are the Sifu and advanced students to correct you on techniques. There are, of course, differences in techniques between Eagle Claw and Mantis, but many of the foundational basics are the same. So while everything here is more intense and the instructors push you harder, what is taught in the U.S. is comparable to here, and training there was good preparation for this.

At one point while returning from the Everything Shop, which is a shop down the road that sells the most random assortment of goods, a couple of Chinese workers waived me over. I went over and they patted the makeshift straw mat on which they were sitting and I joined them. They offered me a bottle of water and began speaking to me, and of course I had no idea what they were saying. We did a lot of pantomime in attempting to have a limited conversation, much to the amusement of both parties. Americans and Europeans are clearly considered very novel here and are the subject of many blatant stares. While four of us were walking to Kunyu Shan, a couple of Chinese students asked to have their pictures taken with us.

Thursday, September 19, was the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. Normally this would be a day off for everybody, but they moved that to Friday so everyone would have a long weekend instead. For dinner Thursday night they fed us a proper meal for a change. It was the most delicious and nutritious meal I've had since arriving in China. Although the food here is adequate in quantity, it is normally inadequate in nutrition and variety, at least by American standards.

That Friday, since we had the day off for the Chinese Autumnal Festival, four of us went to Kunyu Mountain. Near the base of the mountain is an area with a gift shop and some restaurants where we stopped for lunch, after which two of the others continued on and hiked up to the top of the mountain while I and the other returned to the school. On the way back we saw a huge mantis so we decided to have a photo shoot starring said mantis.

Mantis showing me how it's done

Mantis showing me how it's done

Tags: china, goals, martial arts

Comments

1

Nice! It's great to read about your journey. :)

  Kirsten Oct 10, 2013 11:57 PM

2

Awesome pic!

  Crystal Oct 25, 2013 3:21 AM

3

Wonderful! I am beyond happy for you!

  Ramsey Oct 26, 2013 12:10 AM

4

Miss you, goofball!

  Brandy Dillensneider Nov 19, 2013 7:30 AM

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