Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Knee Update

I'm healed!

Not exactly but my knees don't hurt constantly anymore. I still can't run down the subway steps without scrunching my face but at least I can run.

Looking back to all my knee injury posts, I can't believe this day is here. All of the sudden, I can go to consecutive classes and jumping around without that sharp stabbing pain in the front of my knees.

Of all the things I tried, I wonder what did it.

  1. Keep training - maybe I got stronger because I didn't give up training.
  2. Sensible shoes - I got rid all my high heel shoes (all except two.) I walk around in sneakers 75% of the time now. The other 25% I still drag flip flops and flat flat shoes around. Not good, I know. But I'm a girl after all.
  3. Stretching - I stretch my legs and back regularly even a couple of minutes while I brush my teeth or before going to bed.
  4. Massage and foam roller - when my legs hurt I either ask somebody to massage me or I do it myself with a high density foam roller. It feels good even if it doesn't do anything.
  5. Psychosomatic - I read this book called The Divided Mind which suggests that pain that occurs for no particular reason are caused by the mind trying to distract your body from emotional/psychological problems. The book also suggests that for some people once they know about it, this trick doesn't work anymore. So maybe this was my case, I learned about it. And now this mind trick is not working.
  6. 4th floor walk-up apartment - maybe walking up and down four flights of stairs everyday helps.
  7. All kinds of vitamins and supplements - I stopped taking them a long time ago. They are expensive. And I'm not convinced they helped with anything.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Brief Interlude

In a fit of nostalgia I spent this evening cruising through the Kung Fu Dorks blog archive. It's almost embarrassing to see how hard I used to train and look at myself now. My training over the past year or so has been haphazard at best: a couple months of every other week training punctuated by a three-week frenzy of kung fu hysteria. Sometimes I am working like a maniac, others I am just plain lazy. But every time I go back to Temple I am reminded how much I love kung fu and how much it has meant in my life.

I stopped blogging- why? I'm not sure. All us dorks are still around; maybe the internet has finally lost its novelty... Blogs are not so hip, if they ever were hip? I guess in the end I thought I had run out of things to say, and I'm not especially fond of when my posts became "Dear Diary" moments. Reading back though, I am realizing that this blog was good for helping me anchor my training in consistent reflection, even when we were talking about Chuck Norris Action Jeans. It's easy to train without thinking and lose the thread of your journey. Blogging didn't make me train more, but it did help me get more out of my kung fu by doing some cyber meditation at the end of every class and getting to share the saga with my compatriots.

This post is quick and dirty and not especially articulate or insightful, but just throwing down this bit of fluff makes me feel tapped back into training - and I haven't even been in three weeks. Sharing our thoughts through the blog, even though it is just with the same people we train with every day, helps magnify the amazing community of friends and Shaolin family the temple has provided. Possibly no one will see this post because the blog is all but dead these days, but it's nice to breathe a little life back into it, even for a moment, and know that the rest of the dorks are out there carrying on. So to sum up: yay kung fu dorks and yay memories. Amituofo, kids.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Battle for the Soul of Kung Fu

A great article on the current Shaolin Temple and Shaolin Kung Fu. Does anyone know anything about the people in this article? Yang Guiwu, Hu Zhengsheng, and Shi Dejian? And the new temple that Shi Dejian built? I'm really happy that not all Shaolin wisdom has been lost to the new touristy-side of the Shaolin Temple in China.

Watch the video and look at the picture slide show too. Pretty amazing!!


Friday, February 25, 2011

Dumb, but fun!

Maybe some of you are old enough to remember the '80s classic, "Gymkata," a dumb action movie starring gymnast Kurt Thomas, who sports a cute almost-mullet.  In this scene, he wanders into the town square where there happens to be a pommel horse type structure that he employs to defend himself against a crowd of attackers.  I remember enjoying this movie when I was a kid.

Watch his technique -- aside from the unbelievability of having a pommel horse right there, do you think his gymnastic manoeuvres would translate well into actual fighting?  Obviously he's a strong guy, but can his kicks be that effective without getting his full body behind them?  And what's up with those random backflips?


(Thanks Wawa & Dave for the video.)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Faster and Higher

As my 4th year anniversary of training at temple approaches, I have been reflecting lately on what these 4 years have meant to me. I have changed so much these 4 years and I have also changed very little. My chi and stamina can be extraordinary at times and other times, like last night, very lackluster. I am still inflexible. I still haven't achieved a middle split or a side split and I definitely haven't kissed my toes. I am afraid to acknowledge it. There is a 4 year plateau. Who am I kidding? There's a daily plateau. How do you break through that ceiling and climb above? Many have quit or left the the temple to pursue other endeavors, training, and start families. Why do I choose to stay? How do I reconcile the many hours I spend a week kicking and jumping? In my mind, it is the best form of exercise; the best form of meditation. Relationships, love, and friends have come and gone from my life. Only One thing has remained constant - my dedication to training at the USA Shaolin Temple. I stay not because I don't have anywhere else to go. I stay because there's so much more to learn.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Keeping Track of Oneself

One of our fellow dorks found this video review on YouTube of Shifu's book, The Shaolin Workout.  I like whoever this guy is -- a former military guy who wanted to get into shape and stumbled across the book randomly and had some thoughtful things to say about it.  He comes off as quite a regular dude.

"vonhismean" says the following at one point:

I'm tired of feeling out of shape.  I'm back to doing this every day, and that's kind of the reason I'm doing this YouTube video....and when I tell people I'm going to do makes me keep track of myself and I feel like other people are watching me....Maybe I'll tend to do better.

Is that perhaps why we sometimes blog?  It's a way to think things out and be accountable to each other, and more importantly, to ourselves.

Anyway, check out his video:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hells, yeah!

Last night an aerial saved my

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Life continues

At the end of last night's class, in addition to the triple Amitoufu's we got a little speech that I thought was a good reminder to myself. It went something like this:

Today is October 12. Tomorrow will be October 13. You can go on crying, saying that you hate yourself, that you are not good. But your lives continue. So move forward and keep laughing.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kung Fu is Everywhere!

Reading an article about the influence of China in India in the Financial Times this morning, I saw a great photo of a young Muslim girl from the Indian city of Hyderabad learning kung fu:

Here are a few more from the same photographer, Krishnendu Halder of Reuters:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Temple. New Life.

Almost four years ago we moved the temple a couple of blocks down Broadway. With all the help from students and disciples, we finished renovating the space within a few months - almost all DIY. During those months, I spent a lot of nights learning about construction and myself.

Last week we bought a piece of land in the town of Fleischmanns in Upstate New York. The place came with a few run down wooden structures, a big grassy field and a huge forest. This is to be the site of a new Shaolin temple - a place to practice Chan Buddhism and to train Shaolin martial arts.

Over the weekend, I had a glimpse of what is to come. We spent two beautiful days cleaning up the lawn and a couple of buildings. I am looking forward to many more amazing days making the place our own temple.