Friday, July 11, 2008

Many Happy Returns!

Last night was my Shaolin two-year anniversary. Hard to believe. I remember when I began and seeing the people who had been training for two years and thinking "Wow, I hope I can stick it out that long and be even half that good. They are so hardcore..." It's weird to imagine that I might now be that person in the eyes of people just now starting their training journey; I generally still feel like such a beginner. Last night, though, I felt everything come together in a remarkable way.

To begin with, it was a big class just like the good old days: 36 people! Maybe it was the size, because I felt like training was easier than usual. Or maybe it was the heat giving us a break, or that I was chock full of sugar. My endurance was up, nothing seriously hurt- anniversary chi? Certainly part of it was the great people training beside me. Not only were many of my fellow dorks there in force, but several of the old guard, who usually only show up to L2 were there as well. Xu was teaching, Han and Khalid both turned up, and I felt exactly in the right place: the middle.

Two years is no small feat for me, and though I hope to have many more ahead, in taking stock of my training I felt very satisfied. I could sit and list all the moves and forms I've learned, list my weight loss and muscle gain, tabulate out the total amount of $$ spent on tuition and uniforms and countless feiyues, the hours spent in Temple, but none of that would really convey what has happened in the last two years. Training has given me so much perspective on myself, taught me so many things beyond kicks and stances, and provided me with a new path in my life.

I like to think that even if I had to leave tomorrow I would be able to continue to cultivate what I've started there, but I know it would be hard. Coming off of several busy weeks of being in and out of town and having house-guests, I haven't been able to train my usual schedule, and it was hard to get my lazy bum to class last night. As soon as training started though, I felt 100% better and everything began to slide back into place. So maybe it will take a few more years before I am genuinely carrying the temple everywhere. Until then I am simply thankful for how much I've gained, the opportunity to gain even more, and for the ability to share this time of my life with all the amazing people I've met there. Amituofo!

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