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

Kung Fu in China Weeks Twenty-Six to Twenty-Eight

CHINA | Wednesday, 5 March 2014 | Views [646] | Comments [2]

The weather's getting warmer, so training is increasing in intensity. It's still a little chilly out at times, but much warmer than a month ago. Normally, during power training on Wednesdays, among other things we do one-legged hops, frog jumps, and duck walks up the small hill in front of the school, and we bear crawl down the hill each time. It's not fun. Now that it's warmer, last week we all had to run up the mountain to the temple. Once we reached the temple, we then descended back down the hill partway, and then had to continue from there up and down the hill four more times, which is worse than it sounds. Then we had to do the hops, duck walks, frog jumps, and bear crawls up and down this hill several times. This hill is much longer and much steeper than the hill in front of the school. Everyone was in quite a bit of pain by the end of the training.

Normally on Friday afternoons we go up and down the stairs to Yanxia Cave several times. For the past month or so, I have instead been running to the base of Kunyu Mountain and back. For one, the stairs had become monotonous after several months. For another, I liked going off on a run by myself, just getting lost in my own head. I generally like being around people, and everyone's great here, but it's also nice to be able to occasionally get away from everyone and be in my own world without anyone else around. So, I asked Qu Sifu if I could run to Kunyu Shan instead of the usual stairs. He was fine with that as it's about a 10km/6 mile round trip. Last week, however, a lot of other students chose also to run to the mountain instead of taking the stairs, which in part undermines my pleasure in the solitude of the run. Furthermore, the run was starting to lose it's novelty to me after doing it several weeks in a row, so this time I took the stairs to Yanxia Cave. Like I used to do when going up the stairs, I first ascended in Qi Lin stance the entire way up. I had forgotten how difficult it was. A returning student who was not here when I used to do this saw me and exclaimed, "That's hardcore, dude!" That made me feel good. The reason that I began doing this in the past was to train in preparation for the third Mantis form, which is predominantly performed in Qi Lin stance, and Qi Lin is a difficult stance to get used to. I have since completed that form, and I still find Qi Lin difficult. However, after I had finished my first ascent this past Friday, I realized that it was actually easier this time, and my legs felt less exhausted than when I had ascended in Qi Lin before. Yay, progress! My Qi Lin stace, however, still needs a lot of work.

A couple here from Canada often hosts a tea party for their friends on Friday nights and we sample various Chinese teas. This past Friday I brought along a strategy game called Hive and taught everyone how to play, and it was well-received. Another student brought a game of Chinese chess. He taught me to play and promptly thrashed me at it. It's not entirely unlike western chess, but there are some major differences which make it a novel change of pace if you enjoy chess. The pieces in Chinese chess are more limited in their movement so that it is a less strategically complex game, so I imagine it would get old faster, but again it is a fun change of pace from western chess. Sunday at lunch a student asked if I wanted to play a game of Hive, so we got together outside at 1230 to play, several other people joined us, and we continued to play until dinner time five hours later. It is a fantastic travel game. If you like chess, you'll probably like Hive. Hive, however, is much more portable and weatherproof so you can play it anywhere, and doesn't require the time investment that Chess does as the games are shorter.

One of the Shaolin masters here, Xu Sifu, is not allowed to leave China as he is a fundamental part of China's nuclear power program, having the ability to split the atom with his fists.

Sunrise from the temple

Sunrise from the temple

Tags: china, martial arts



Happy Birthday!!!!

  Kirsten Mar 20, 2014 1:20 PM


Happy Birthday Sir!

I know that we haven't spoken much in the last 8 years or so, but I find myself thinking about you and the time we spent together. Thank you for being you during an important transitional time in my life.

When your time in China comes to an end, let me know if you want to travel around Japan. You can stay at my place, if you like. I hope you know that is an honest offer.

  Brendon Mar 20, 2014 8:36 PM

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