Wednesday, September 12, 2007


As I mentioned recently, testing is October 6th-7th, and time is a-ticking. So I am inching my way forth in erluquan, a good number of moves past five kicks now, and some tell me I am oh-so-close to completing it. I have avoided focusing on the end, preferring to work on what I'm being taught at that present moment. But as the days draw closer, I am forced to ponder it some more because it is becoming more apparent that I'm really not that far. It is do-able...right?

Part of my reluctance to look too far forward is a desire to learn it right, meaning, waiting patiently for someone to teach me during class, in Temple. The natural progression of things. But that also means sometimes going through an entire two hour session without learning something new in erluquan if I'm not called upon to work with someone. So, I've found myself trying to study the folks ahead of me as they do erluquan, hoping to pick up the next move or two. I am not confident in my ability to 'fake' my way through, however.

So, is it cheating when I ask someone outside of class for a pointer or two in refining what I've picked up myself? Am I breaking the rules, specifically, #16, which states that we ought not ask other students to teach us? (Although, a loophole would suggest that these are rules of conduct during class, thereby making anything outside of class okay -- I'm such a lawyer!) Or, is that part of the game too -- using my own eyes and brain and body, and pushing myself to learn versus just being passive and waiting?

I am conflicted. My primary goal is to learn erluquan correctly, and it should be done regardless of whatever deadline is looming in the future. But, such a deadline can be useful if it serves as the impetus for me pushing myself to train harder. And it's not about being competitive with others, but with myself.

In tossing this all about my head I am also wondering if my hesitation is due to a fear of failure. If I don't push myself to complete erluquan, I therefore will not be able to test for it and will therefore fall back onto another six months of Level 1 training. While another six months of training would do a body good, I don't want to think that I'm somehow tricking myself into forgoing this opportunity to advance by being complacent -- by hiding behind the idea that whatever happens, happens.

Instead, this is how I think I'm gonna approach the upcoming weeks: no matter what, I want to learn erluquan because it's been long enough, dammit. I can totally do it, and I will (I hope). And I'm not gonna give up on executing it as well as possible. Even if I don't have the entire sequence of moves down, I don't have to forget about being crisp and sharp. Whether I pass or fail is irrelevant to my desire to push myself and train harder in attaining the end of erluquan. But I will do it, to give myself a chance.


  1. Here's what I think: I try to pick up as much as I can because someone is going to teach it to me eventually (and probably really fast before testing) so anything I can do to make that easier I'm going to do. This doesn't mean I am going to neglect working on what I've already learned. But for testing, I have my certificate for the first two forms so I really just want the pleasure of testing something new. If I have to stay in L1 for 6 months refining it, that's cool. But I'd like to get to the end for this go around.

  2. These feelings are too familiar. I just try to train has hard as possible and hope the rest takes care of itself. Everyday is testing!

  3. I find that the more I repeat the moves, the easier and more natural I feel.

    But sometimes I caught myself getting sloppy - like not following my hands - not locking my back knee - not being completely balance and in control before the next move - especially with Yiluquan which I feel I got it down - repeating the form so many times over the course of 2 year (almost).

    So I think focusing on what we know is as important as what we learn.

  4. easy for you to say you finished ;) but I know what you mean, yesterday I suddenly started falling over in fanyao. I have no ideawhat was going on, I lost my balance every time I rotated. I must have been doing something sloppy, I guess. Back to basics.

  5. I think there can be a huge benefit in watching others and trying to work it out for yourself. I ended up doing this with Yiluquan a few weeks ago, and it's been very informative to have pointed out what I saw wrong (things like palm position, when to chamber, and so on).

    I'm sure there's a tradeoff, but it's been instructive. I know more about how I watch other people do forms, which I think will be very useful in the long run.

  6. Qbertplaya, I've struggled with this very episode that you are struggling with. I thought that I wasn't going to learn the rest of erluquan (right around the cartwheel) until the very last week. I started getting nervous that I won't be able to test for erluquan and thought to myself, "Oh well, if I don't learn all of erlquan, Train Harder!!"

  7. I think you should focus on chan philosophy a bit more. Or, you know, not. What are rules, and why are these rules there? Why do you want to move to level 2?

    Of course, the same could be said of me, as I'm currently feeling pretty bummed about not learning any part of any new form in the last 1.5+ years. I could see being bummed about that if I cared about learning new forms, but learning forms is really very much not why I train. So, maybe listen to what I say, but know I'm a hypocrite when I say it :-)

  8. As I said in the previous post, I train for how it makes me feel, so if I never learn another new move, yes, I could still enjoy training. But, learning new things is fun, and so it's always exciting to try and get to the end of a form. For me, I want to make level 2 so that I can come to class 7 days a week. :)

  9. I don't care about finishing erluquan anymore. I just want to eat No. 1 soup.

  10. hmm. if qbertplaya or anyone wanted to learn something they were not being taught, they can always ask someone ahead of them. i agree that if this occurs outside of temple, it's probably a loophole if this is a concern. while at temple, yes we have to watch one another to see how our form/movement is in comparison. we can always learn something from watching. some of it is logical sequence so is it really faking? it's up to you? if you know you go down the carpet then eventually turn around & go the other way & you do both directions because you know the one direction, how can that be cheating?
    yes learning something new is fun. quan tuo (soon to have a new name) reminds me that refining is also fun & exciting. how can we move on when our knees are still unlocked or foot isn't completely on the ground, etc.
    there are many ways to learn but the key is to practice - over & over & over. i agree with richu - tesing is every day!
    more chi!

  11. The way I was taught was that you only learned more of the form when taught in class. A year ago, almost to the day, I was 3 moves away from knowing all of erluquan. I saw everyone else doing it and could have faked my way through it for testing, but did not. If shifu had wanted to teach me, he would have(like jeremiah said...chan buddhism). There was a good reason why I was not taught, whether I understand it or not. There were many benefits from waiting to be taught 1- I learned the correct move 2- I was able to increase my flexibility and strength 3- my cardiovascular capability improved. More on point 1- If you just try the move and then begin to repeat, your muscle memory is going to learn it the inncorrect way. It will make it much harder to go back and re-learn it when/if necessary. Point 2 & 3- there are a lot of complex moves in L2 that if you have not prepared for properly in L1, it is going to be VERY difficult to do(some people probably can never do them). So you may get ahead now but then hit a wall very quickly in L2.
    I am glad I waited otherwise I could see myself being very frustrated right now. Of course the choice is yours but remember 'The devil is in the details'. oh yeah... and that CHI thing.

  12. did somebody say ATTAINMENT?


    so yea u probably heard this but at one point a disciple learned dahongquan by watching others and tested, he passed, and asked shifu about it later and shifu said you shouldn't do it. so he gave the certificate back.

    so i'd stay away from trying to learn things yourself. you won't pick up the little nuances of each move if you do too.

    everyone made some good points. i never had any of these concerns myself, i started in may, passed chuji and yilu in august, finished erlu sometime in the fall like oct or nov, tested and failed for it in december, passed the next april. so remember even if you do finish it doesn't mean you'll pass. looking back on it, i feel i wasn't ready. like quan tuo said, you need to be in good shape for a lot of the level 2 moves.

    just keep training, don't worry about it. everything will happen as it needs to.

  13. wow, de! sounds like back then, testing occurred more frequently than every six months.

    well, i looked back in the blog, and i started erluquan on feb. 27th -- so by the time testing happens on oct. 6th, it will have been just over 7 months.

    regardless of whether i finish erluquan in time for testing, i am pleased at my progress. i may not be the fastest learner by any means, but i am well ahead of where i thought i'd be in terms of learning the form. i thought for sure i'd be on it for almost a year, so it makes me excited right now that i am so close to the end!

  14. I agree with Quantou and De. L2 training has a great series of moves and jumps that are difficult. I felt at that time when I was struggling the situation at that time, I thought to myself, "If I don't pass, then I'm not ready. So more Qi and train harder L1!"

    I'd also like to add that everyone is different when it comes to learning. Everyone has a different pace in training and in life. :)