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

Kung Fu in China Weeks Nine through Eleven

CHINA | Sunday, 3 November 2013 | Views [9304] | Comments [2]

There is stance called Qi Lin which is rather strenuous to maintain, and it appears frequently in some Mantis kung fu forms, so I tried a little excercise to get myself accustomed to it. During the hike to Yanxia Cave on Friday of week nine, I tried ascending while remaining in Qi Lin stance. Of course, I promptly regretted my decision to do this, but having committed myself to it I continued this way until I reached the cave at the top. The following Monday my legs still felt a bit exhausted. I did it again the following week, which was also rather tortuous, but the following Monday I found that it was easier to do the stance during forms training. The Friday after that I did it again, and it was still strenuous, but this time my legs didn't feel like jelly after the ascent, so that's progress.

On week eleven I sparred in Sanda for the third time. It's generally a small minority of the students that spar, but this time there were only three pairings total. My opponent, Gertjan aka Gertie from Holland, had prior boxing experience and more reach but it was still a pretty even match. I managed to pull off a leg sweep when he tried to kick me, resulting in applause from the audience.

There is a tailor in Mouping, and many of the students here order custom kung fu pants from him. There are three particularly popular styles of these pants at the school: one is of red material with black dragons all over it, one is of black material with red dragons, and one is black material with black dragons. I ordered a long-sleeve kung fu uniform of the all-black dragon material. I also wanted to design a uniform with green mantises on it but the tailor had no such material, but he could embroider a mantis on it, so my roommate suggested an alternative of a single mantis. I gave the tailor a mantis design for him to embroider on the leg of the pants. The roommate and I both ordered a pair of pants like this; I also ordered a sleeveless kung fu top to go with it. Two weeks later we picked up our orders and wore the pants to training. We both received numerous compliments on our pants from other students and even from some of the Chinese translators, and one of the other mantis students promptly ordered some pants with the same mantis design. If I don't do well in kung fu maybe I'll consider clothing design.

I'd like to learn a flexible weapon form here, as I think this would be a great form of exercise. I find flexible weapons such as chain whips, rope darts, and nunchakus aesthetically appealling, but according to malegislature.gov, MA General Laws Part IV, Title I, Chapter 269, Section 10 states that the following are illegal to own, even in one's private residence, in my home state of Massachusetts.
    "...nunchaku, zoobow, also known as klackers or kung fu sticks, or any similar weapon consisting of two sticks of wood, plastic or metal connected at one end by a length of rope, chain, wire or leather, a shuriken or any similar pointed starlike object intended to injure a person when thrown, or any armband, made with leather which has metallic spikes, points or studs or any similar device made from any other substance or a cestus or similar material weighted with metal or other substance and worn on the hand, or a manrikigusari or similar length of chain having weighted ends..."
Nunchakus would be the best for exercising due to their weight and compactness, but they are explicitly forbidden. Rope dart is certainly allowed as it is weighted at only one end, but it requires the most space of the three. Chain whip would be my preference, but I'm uncertain whether or not it would be covered by the above definitions. If anybody is aware of any provisions MA has for the use of such weapons for legitimate martial arts practice or any precedent indicating the prohibition or allowance of the chain whip, please direct me to where I may find such information. I would like to be able to practice outdoors as there simply isn't enough space to practice with any of these indoors.

It is getting chilly here. The dorms inside are often colder than the air outside where the sun can mitigate the chill somewhat. Apparently there is a very specific schedule at which they turn on the heat in China, regardless of the actual temperature, and that time is not now. I try not to be a spoiled Westerner and I enjoy the simple living here, but I really am a wimp in the cold, so I purchased an electric blanket which I warm up for a few minutes prior to going to bed. On the upside, the school is now serving daily what they call ginger soup to combat colds. It's a very strong ginger tea, slightly sweetened, and it is lovely.

Punching each other in the face on Friday, eating dumplings together in Mouping on Saturday.

Punching each other in the face on Friday, eating dumplings together in Mouping on Saturday.

Tags: china, martial arts



Glad to see that the training is still going well. Looks like you're making good progress in strength and conditioning as well as technique. All that stance training will probably really help with your stance and footwork for two-sword :)

  Chris Farnsworth Nov 4, 2013 8:02 AM


Damn.... guess I need to clean out all my weapons before the cops coming knocking ; ) Looking good Korric.... I still miss you as my cube mate.... the new one just isn't tha same.

  Christina R. Nov 8, 2013 7:32 AM

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