Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pondering Caijiao

For the first time Shifu had me teach Caijiao today. I took it as a compliment and an ultimate validation of my training progress. Think about it. This was the awesomest Heng Li's job. And for one class, I got to do it.

Although I don't think I was as good a teacher as he had been, I'm still feeling giddy.

Watching my two brand new students kept trying, I was reminded of how my Caijiao must have looked like when I first started. And I found a new appreciation for my training progress.


But now thinking about it while writing this post, I start to doubt myself. Why do I need any validation from Shifu to appreciate my own progress? Why couldn't I realize that for myself? I mean I train hard and I like training. Why can't that be enough?

OK. I guess it was enough. I am happy with my chi. Outside confirmation is good. But the only real confirmation is from myself.

This is difficult.

I guess I'll just train harder and stop thinking. For now.


  1. I know what you mean about worrying about giving more weight to the importance of external affirmation than to your own affirmation, but I am learning more and more that both go together-- two sides of a mirror.

    I think the balance and the good feelings-- the happiness-- come when both sides of the mirror are the same. Your confidence and good feelings inside are reflected back by Sifu's confidence in you to teach one of the core building blocks of our Kung Fu foundation.

    When you trust one, you can trust the other-- otherwise you will end up doubting both, and it's way too awesome to do that! I'm proud of you too! You are awesome inside and out!

  2. I think it is important that your sifu do give you feedback about your skills. This is why you have a sifu because you go to him to seek knowledge in the martial arts. Otherwise you are just going to gym class where you mindlessly do exercise to get into shape. Kung fu is both an exercise of the mind and body. That is you need to learn something more than just a movement, you have to also be learning a skill. Furthermore when your sifu criticizes you, it makes you humble. It makes you realize where your skill levels are.. where you came from and where you are going with it. Having a strong relationship with your sifu is incredibly important to your kung fu. But of course there has to be your good attitude and willingness to learn from your end to really make the magic happen.

    What I found useful to learn caijiao correctly is to look at what the martial application is . My sifu always stresses the martial application first followed by then expressing the beauty of the movement. Because the root of all martial arts is the martial aspect. Otherwise you should just be taking dance lessons if you do not know what the martial application is. Before when I used to train at USA Shaolin Temple, I did not know what the application to caijiao was. Its kind of a strange movement. Usually a front kick is used to kick someone's groin. But in caijiao you are kicking fairly high so I didn't know why that was. Secondly you are slapping your hand with your foot. At first I thought it was to strengthen your hand but its more than just that, it is also an attack. (Its hard to explain without showing) It was only till I went to another sifu did he break down the application purpose of the kick. Once I understood that, I understood why i was doing it incorrectly. It became much easier to fix the details always keeping in mind the application.

    I hope that became some what informative or at least a point of debate.

  3. teaching itself gives you a lot of confidence and understanding, i've found.

    so even though you're not always doing forms for the whole 2nd half, you will still learn a lot. It's always interesting seeing different people and their ways of thinking and reacting and stuff, and how you react to them.