Friday, June 15, 2007

Enter the Hannah

Amituofo! I'm so happy to be added as a part of the Kung Fu Dorks family! Here's how I imagine the conversation went:

Qbertplaya: Anyone else notice that Hannah is commandeering all the message boards?
Mo: Yeah, I did.
Sucheela: Me too.
Qbertplaya: I was thinking we should ask her to join the blog.
Mo: Good idea. It will prevent her from performing some sort of hostile take-over.
Sucheela: I agree. Let's go get some Number One soup.
Qbertplaya & Mo: Excellent.

Last night was a great class, and perfect for my inaugural post because it involved several of the things I'm really working on. And the point of the blog is to help talk about lessons and track our progress. Last night I learned lots of things, but they all had to do with patience.

Sifu was in a really funny mood yesterday and everyone had lots of chi. There was something in the air..I could feel it.. maybe... could it be? Will today be the day I finally learn more Erluquan?


Sifu heard my silent plea, and after nearly two months of watching me screech to a halt at the first pubu, he had Heng De take me to the side to learn the next several movements. Huzzah!

Here's my story with Erluquan: I kept almost getting to learn more. Something always happend. Class would be over, or I would need to clean up the beginning, or there wouldn't be enough people there to teach. I really wanted to start faking my way through the next part as I've been watching people do it for months, but I knew that if Sifu was still correcting my first two moves, then I should do those over and over and not jump ahead, no matter how bored I got, or how desperately I want to learn 5 kicks.

But last night I got to go all the way to the first Erqijiao. So happy! This gives me plenty to work on, and brings me to the next thing that happened yesterday, which was that I felt a definite difference in my Erqijiaos during basics. It's pretty much been the hardest move for me, I always feel tired and short of breath and can't imagine making it to the third kick. I still have a long way to go, but yesterday I finally felt a real POP at the end. I felt like my leg was higher, my arms straighter, my body more extended. I don't know if I was all those things, but I didn't feel like curling into a ball anymore. This just goes to show you are always getting better even if you don't realize it at the time.

My final thought in this very long post is about straddle stretch. I've been a wall stretch gal for the longest time. I started doing straddle recently for a change and now must face what Heng Ji calls my "fear of the straddle". It's true, it's become a monster in my mind. I am scared, scared, scared of letting people pull on my legs in this stretch. I don't like not being in control, and all it takes is one slip of my hands and I'll fall into what I can only imagine is unbearable pain while my groin muscles tear. (I told you, it's a way out-of-proportion, psychological block.) So for me, it's just as much about conquering this mental hurdle as gaining the flexibility. Last night I think I got lower than I've ever been, not just in training but in my life. So I know that with more patience I can get on the floor. Lessons are fun!

So, to sum up, happy to be here at KFDU, thank you Heng De for teaching me, kick and ye shall find improvement, middle splits by next testing!


  1. great first post! we all have mental blocks whether we realize it or not. we have to defy our own minds in many ways & not be afraid to fall here & there.

  2. Wow. How long have you been studying at the temple Hannah?

    That's an interesting topic of whether you should start to fake the forms. Because I mean if you think about erluquan has only a few elements that are not in the basics like the sweep and the side kick. Plus, once you learn the movements someone is going to have to correct it anyway a bunch of times. It seems actually smarter to try to run through the moves than wait 2 months to learn 1 kick that you already could do in basics.

    When I was there I learnt erluquan in 2 months or something. Once I made it to level 2, they didn't even really teach anything other than just go out there and do it. I also began to "fake it" through the new moves because I felt like I could do it and no one questioned me about it not even Yan Ming. So I almost want to say yeah go ahead and "fake it" if you feel you know the moves already.

    That's my 0.02.

  3. I've been at the temple 11 months last Tuesday. There was a period in the middle there when I was working 2, then 3 jobs for 4 months and could only come very sporadically, but it feels like a lot longer.

    I know lots of people who have faked their way through learning forms. I faked my way through learning xiebu and pubu myself. And I was pretty much "taught" the first form by being sent to follow along with others. It is an interesting dilemma, because I feel there is a certain amount of responsibility for your own training expected, but there is also the whole "Don't teach other students. don't ask to be taught by other students" rule. I think it just depends on the situation.

    In this particular instance, I could see that the next part of erluquan was just chuji quantao, (and if it wasn't exactly, someone could just fine-tune it for me later) and I could probably figure it out on my own. I probably would have faked it in the end if I felt like Sifu had just forgotten about me, but he did spend a lot of time watching me do the beginning and fixing things I was doing wrong. So I felt like it was important for me, on this one at least, to not move on until he said to. But, as I am fairly hell-bent on learning the whole thing before the next testing, some self-education might come into play...

  4. I don't see anything wrong with "faking" your way through a form. I was able to do most of the basics from just watching people perform the movements. no one ever questioned me on this or told me not to do them. The cool thing about the basics is they are so basic anyone can really do them. I did wait for instruction on more difficult moves like Pubu chuang zhang whatever whatever.

    By the time I started learning forms I had already seen them first 2 so many times it was like I already knew them. The first 2 forms are basically all stances and basic punches and kicks anyway so I basically knew them already and was able to do them without any real instruction. It was helpful to get a few pointers here and there though.

    Now I am learning Erluquan, the third form, again it was easy to just do certain sections because they were basic kicks and punches. Like in the beginning the gong bu punch zheng ti tui mabu gongbu combo. This is very basic and so similar to the previous forms. I felt there was no need to wait for someone to show me what I already knew. Although, I felt it wise to wait for instruction on areas I didnt quite understand yet.

    I think if you feel confident in the movements and are sure you know them then just go ahead and do it. If you feel like the next movement is too much of a challenge or you dont know it yet then wait. In the end I think it doesnt matter too much. I've see so much variety and variation in the movements and way people do their forms it's kinda like we are all doing our own forms anyways.

  5. Well, I think everyone starts at different levels. I think at first, it's just difficult to do the moves because of the flexibility and the lack of certain muscle strength. But by erluquan I think most people have the flexibility and the muscle strength to do all the moves pretty much. Actually if you can do yiluquan you can actually do level 2 xiao hong quan and da hong quan. All of those forms consist of mainly just gong bu, ma bu, and ding bu with no 5 kick jumps or erqijiao. So wouldn't be too hard on yourself about erluquan five kicks... you're probably already ready for level 2. =)

    But regardless, the real test comes during testing. So even if you know the entire form its not going to help any if Yan Ming doesn't pass you to level 2. You still have some time to go, and usually Yan Ming fails people the first bunch of times. I think only about 25% pass on the first try. It's unfortunate for the older students who get failed a bunch of times yet know all the moves just can't perform them because of their age. I knew one woman who failed 3 times. Major bummer....