Friday, May 18, 2007

Shaolin Inches

Last night, I did wall stretch with Heng Mo and Niederwelt. When we were stretching Mo out, she asked me to move her leg back two more inches. I guess I was a little overzealous and pulled her right leg back more like five inches. When she said, "Hey, that wasn't two inches," I replied, "Shaolin inches."

Those inches can mean so much. Either we push harder and go farther, or we maximize what we do in the space that we use. For instance, Quantou reminded us to go to the End of the Carpet every time we train last month in his guest entry. For me, I learned this lesson yet again last night when Shifu sent me to the side for taking too many steps in between my waibaituis. This was not the first time he has warned me against doing too many steps. I heard it both times in his evaluation of me during the two times I tested. I've been busted before for the same thing during lunbi caijiao.

Why do I take too many steps? It's not necessarily me doing kicks sleepy style and trying to waste space. Most of the time, I am stumbly. Part of it, I think is due to my flat feet, but mostly it has been my eternal struggle, learning how to control my body as I try to kick harder and higher while going faster and trying to maintain balance. I know I can't be complacent with the status quo hence the constant adjustment.

So I got bopped to Kung Fu Kindergarten for the first time in ages, and while doing basics again for Shifu on the side, he pulled me out with a few others to work with Heng Li on lunbi caijiao. I was a little surprised, but not upset. When Li watched us do our caijiaos and then lunbi caijiaos, I was pleased because he did like that I remembered to keep my head up and foot extended light as a feather, unlike when I first started at Temple. But I did need to work on a few things like not hunching over and returning my body and shoulders facing forward after rotating my arm and kicking. And I think I am finally getting what it means to pop, although still lots of fine tuning to do. Always.


  1. We're growing to improve ourselves each time we train. :) I think of it metaphorically as if we're building the foundation from the roots then the trunk to the branches and to the leaves. Awesome!!

  2. Shaolin inches.... reminds me of this expression in Thai - Mountain people's kilometer - my mom always uses it whenever we have to walk longer - way longer - than we think. Do you have similar expression in English?

  3. you & i are on the same wavelength. i wrote about the same!nice metaphor, easter!
    i don't think there is an english equivalent, sucheela, oh & have a great time away!

  4. "Kung fu Kindergarten." I like it. I was talking about it with the other Hannah, in a way I like it when Sifu sends me back because it lets me know he's watching me, even though sometimes it seems like he's not. He sees when I'm slipping, and bringing me to the back is his way keeping me from falling.

  5. Incidentally, for anyone who is contemplating a pair of "street" feiyues (a seperate pair for walking around town), it is awesome. It's like carrying around your kung fu chi all day. *disclaimer* Do not wear them to work as I did today. It is pretty much impossible to keep yourself from doing kung fu. At my desk, in the hall, by the coke machine...

  6. "Kung Fu Kindergarten" -- that's all Mo's coinage.

    Actually, at first I got demoted to kindergarten, and then pre-school when I had to work on lunbi caijiao!

  7. awesome idea!

    feiyues for casual friday!