Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Gentle Reminder

Class tonight felt pretty good. A lot of the usual dorks weren't around, but we had good chi overall. I managed to get through basics without feeling like dying, which was nice.

During forms practice, I started off by doing my usual cycle of chujiquantao followed by yiluquan followed by erluquan. And I'll admit it -- I've become kinda robotic/thoughtless about the second part of class. In recent times I've viewed it more as endurance training as opposed to refining and polishing.

Today, though, lucky for me, quiet Khalid showed up for Level 1. Now, I don't know him very well having not trained in Level 2, but we're Facebook buds and all. In his thoughtful, understated kind of way, he approached me in line after watching me do erluquan in its entirety. He recommended that instead of pounding through erluquan over and over again, as I've been doing, that I ought to break it up into segments and work on strengthening by practicing smaller parts. Details versus big picture kind of stuff. Like straightening my leg during the sweep kick, or dropping down into a deeper pubu.

And so I did -- for the rest of class, I took his advice and didn't feel a need to do erluquan in its entirety again. I did five kicks times five.
I practiced sweeps (which I had avoided overdoing since injuring my knee doing a sweep).

Of course, this process is what we do when we are learning the form. Do you remember going over bits again and again? I needed a reminder that it is just as important to break things down and finesse it as it is to finish things.

Studying Shaolin kung fu is a lifelong process. It is not an urgent race with a foreseeable ending. I shouldn't be so focused all the time on getting from point A to point B. The actual path of the journey is crucial as well.

So now that I won't be testing erluquan for another six months from now :P, I'll have plenty of time to work on the details again. And that's really beautiful.

1 comment:

  1. This is what I did when learning it. Remember, you've been thru the first half twice as many times as the second half--the nature of learning a form, plus you are more tired in the second half and by definition will lose detail because of that. I still do that with new forms I am learning. Thru the parts come the sum. Chi! :-)