Monday, February 11, 2008

Happy New Year... again

Yesterday was the end of the Chinese new year celebrations and while we missed the parade, after class a bunch of us had fun frolicking with the party-ers in Chinatown. So technically (only not actually) we could say today is the beginning of another new year. So technically we could make resolutions. Well ok, that's not what Chinese New Year is about and we can make resolutions any old day. And they mean more if you actually keep them day to day instead of needing a specific start date. But, I thought I would take this moment to step back and assess my resolutions at least as far as KF is concerned.

Resolution 1. Stop making resolutions... train harder.

Ok done. Seriously, I'm not trying to be clever. Friday night I got to learn more Xiaohongquan and consequently one of my favorite moves in KF. The one where you rotate your arm around your head sort of like you're brushing hair out of your face or something. I always thought it was a really beautiful move that was so Shaolin but not. Like it doesn't look like kung fu per se because it isn't like a strike or a kick, but consequently it is very Shaolin because it shows how learning forms is about more than learning fighting moves, it's about expression and movement and whatnot. My point being, I had looked forward very much to learning this move, when it really has no bearing on improving your skill in kung fu. Now that I've learned it, I haven't gotten any further in improving my ceshoufan or jumping higher in my tornado, or kicking faster in my 5 kicks. I sure haven't done a kip up. Those things don't come from resolutions about "I'm going to learn X, Y or Z." They come from training harder every day until finally you've built the strength and coordination to do them. And SAYING this year I'm going to hit my middle split, is silly when I can just keep training and eventually it will come. So as always, I am going to try to think less and train more. And try really really hard to get the kip up..... :P


  1. Just wanted to suggest that you might want to try doing the kip up on your bed. It's actually not a hard move at all. Just requires the right amount of timing to clench your ab muscles once you have fully swung out your legs forward (not downwards, thats common mistake). The reason why you want to try on bed is it'll give you enough spring and height to figure out the timing of when to clench your muscles. Thats how I learnt how to do it.

    I just wanted to ask how much conditioning you guys do outside of class. Seems like you guys don't do any conditioning at all. Although going to class is helpful, it's the same routine over and over again. I mean if you want to see great improvement its probably not a bad idea to vary certain exercises that will increase your ability to do certain moves. Also conditioning ankles, knees, etc is going to make your joints less vunerable to injury. I find that often people at USAST do not condition at home and seem to believe exercising only in class is good enough. Just like you guys are saying, kung fu is life. You eat, sleep and drink everyday. Shouldn't you guys be doing kung fu everday?

    Just my two sense.. Xin Nian Kuai Le...

  2. I recently started taking a yoga class in my neighborhood. Does that count as outside conditioning, Mr./Ms. kung fu?

    I think people do whatever they can, given their busy schedules. If they have time to do conditioning in addition to training at Temple, that's beautiful.

  3. I can't do kip ups on my bed, sadly. Not enough room. But thanks for the tip. I know the kip up is a matter of getting the timing/coordination down. I'm getting closer every time... It taunts me...

    I do condition outside of class and I know many other people who do as well. Don't write about it much on here because it's kind of boring. Lots of folks do yoga or gymnastics. Lots of people still hit the gym. Several people are in PT :) In fact, I'd say I know more people who do stuff outside of class than don't. Aside from my training 5-6 times a week I also get to class an hour early to work on problems I've been having. (Ceshoufan ceshoufan ceshoufan) though lately I've been focusing on stretching. I can't wait till spring so I can go back to running in the park and doing some serious biking. But conditioning outside of class is not for everyone. Depends on your goals. But I think everyone will agree that if you want to improve more rapidly, then working out more and in different ways, will definitely accelerate that progress.

  4. PS -- Mr./Ms. kung fu --

    Making statements like "Seems like you guys don't do any conditioning at all" and "I find that often people at USAST do not condition at home and seem to believe exercising only in class is good enough" is kinda tough when you don't really know us personally (or do you?). I find these blanket assumptions of yours about us a leeettle annoying, but I don't know you (I don't think) so I won't assume that you're trying to generalize in such a charming manner.

    Just my two "cents."

    Amituofo, or Namaste (I learned that in yoga class recently)...

  5. I guess I'm the slacker of the group. I lift light weights most days, shadowbox, and occasionally run through my forms.

    Some folks train at the temple 6+ days a week.

  6. I exercise my heart and my soul.