Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Food for Thought

This past Sunday, after testing, Sifu's comments were that we were getting sloppy and slow. Not exactly the summary one hopes for. "Sifu!" I wanted to cry, "I had the stomach flu! I've barely eaten for 5 days!"

I managed to refrain. my only goals going into testing were to not pass out or throw up. But his words stuck with me, especially as he repeated them to the seven lonely people that showed up for Level 2 Monday night. He added, "No more. Starting today always be strong. Always be sharp."

"But Sifu!" I wanted to cry, "I had the stomach flu! I've barely eaten for 5 days!"

I couldn't bear being a disappointment, but instead of protesting, I shut up and began class. It was awesome and totally bizarre. After ten minutes we were still working on caijiao. By 7:30 we had gotten through three basic moves. By 8:00 we had finished going over 6 moves, all L1 basics.
You can imagine the intensity with which we were executing and fine-tuning the details of every kick. It wasn't at all frustrating but instead rejuvenating to get the tough love and be forced to go back and do those very first basics upon which we constantly build. During stretching, Sifu made a side comment, "Push yourself -- if it was easy everyone would be a master."

By the end of class something clicked. I didn't need to cry my excuse to Sifu because it didn't matter. I should have approached testing with as much chi as ever. Sure I had been sick, but I was kidding myself if I couldn't admit that part of the problem was the week I took off before the bout of illness. Before that I had taken another week off from an earlier bout of flu. There may have been sickness mingled up in there, but I was indulging it and more than the dehydration from stomach flu, the only 2 days of training in a span of nearly three weeks was more to blame. You can only lie to yourself just so much, before you realize your making excuses to make yourself feel better about something you feel guilty having done. I needed some time off; that was fine. But that was my choice and I can't milk an illness to justify that choice. You have to be confident in your decisions and then won't feel the need to justify them later.

So I can't go in and say, "I had the stomach flu!" and then settle for making it through without passing out and throwing up. That's trying to cover the fact that I was not feeling right about my choice not to train before that point. I needed to have gone in there with the highest level of chi I could muster. The same goes for class. I choose to come. As Sifu says, "Don't waste your life. You come to temple, then train harder." So I shouldn't come to training without giving it 100%. Even if physically or mentally I'm not at my optimum place, I can give all of whatever I have. Doing that, I'll have nothing to regret, nothing to reprimand myself for, and there won't be any reason not to be proud of every choice I make. I won't need excuses and I won't to worry if Sifu thinks I'm training hard enough; I'll know I am through being honest with myself and he'll see it. So, to sum up this public moralizing, let's try to do what we profess and train harder.


  1. Does this mean no more skipping class to make pies?

  2. Sounds like it was an awesome class. I wish I could have gone! :) I hope the intensity keeps up!

  3. No. It isn't skipping class to make pies. It's that I am not going to class because I'm choosing to fulfill another area of my life ;).

  4. pie meditation is a fantastic meditation.

    i wish we could do class like that more often...my lower back was numb from cetitui! it was nice.