Saturday, February 2, 2008


Yesterday, while going down the lines in basics, my chi exploded. A chi-plosion, if you will. To be more accurate, it was more like a build up and then a volcanic eruption. It was amazing and fantastic! I have never felt so much chi before! It was as if every cell and every fiber of my being had just come alive for the first time. Heng Xu felt it too and got out of the way of the flying shrapnel and let me lead line, which gave me another chi-plosion.

Training started pretty rough. I almost didn't make it to temple in time. I was pretty late (11:57am). Yikes! All I remember of my commute was lots of sprinting and wishing the bus/train would go faster. As I walked through the temple doors and said, "Amituofo," I saw a few surprised faces, namely, Ellen and Sucheela's. The night before, I was berating Ellen that she always said she would train Friday morning but she never came. It would have looked pretty bad that I didn't show up while she did. They were ready to pounce like tigers on my egregious mistake. I can only imagine the flurries of IM's and blog lashings they were preparing to unleash from their evil minds. But I made it. Needless to say, I didn't get a chance to warm up.

My muscles felt really tight and stiff from caijiao to xubu, then something happened. During 雙腿屈膝跳 (shuangtui quxitiao), my muscles released. I felt the chi. I began to have an uncontrollable smile on my face a mile wide. The rest of the basics I don't remember so much, except Xu looking at me like I am crazy or have gone bonkers. I just felt the radiating chi exploding from my 丹田 (dan tien). It was one of the few times that I felt my 騰空翻腰 (tengkong fanyao) actually feeling right while I was jumping and twisting.

Of course, once the stretching session came, the chi sort of just started seeping away. During forms, my chi felt low after being so high. Next time, I am going to see if I can keep the chi-plosion going until the end of class. And maybe, just maybe, the chi-plosion will keep going, like a nuclear reaction that never ends.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Combatting aging with training!

Yesterday, the NY Times published an interesting article about the effects of exercise on aging. "Train hard and train often," said Hirofumi Tanaka, a 41-year-old soccer player and exercise physiologist at the University of Texas.

And on our way to soup after training last night, JJ asked Sucheela how old she was turning today on her birthday (yay!), and when she revealed her age, he was surprised and said something like, "Wow, the kung fu works!"

Yes, Train har-dah!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Curse of The Dorks!

Did anybody other than me notice this curse? When you become one of the contributors on this blog, sooner or later you either fall out of your training schedule or fall out of writing. It's as if blogging and training have secret force against each other. So far, only Cheng defies the curse. She trains and blogs so regularly I want to give her Top of the Dorks award.

To support my case of the curse, I give you examples:
  1. Mo doesn't write regularly. So she was able to dodge the curse and trains without interruption.

  2. Ji joined the blog and then got a new job and a baby and trains less.

  3. Qbertplaya and I wrote pretty regularly and then we got knee injury (at different times.) Although we are back training, we fail to keep our posting schedule.

  4. Our latest addition, Leo, joined the blog and then got a new fabulous acting role and cannot train as frequently as he did.

You see????!!!? Now give me chi. I'm going to try to break out of the curse! Arrrrrgggghhh!!!

Instruction Deconstruction

Since Sifu first told me to teach, I have been asked to do it several times, I even had the opportunity to teach in Austria. Yet last night was the first time I was asked to teach a basic. I was always puzzled that the first thing I taught was erluquan and not, say caijiao, but after teaching both xubu and yiluquan last night, I can say teaching a form is actually much less daunting than teaching a basic. What I realized is that, since forms are composed of basics, learning them is more about learning transitions and rhythm than learning a new movement. Teaching an yiluquan I can say, "Next you go into a pubu." and that makes sense. But teaching a xubu, or any basic, you are teaching someone an entirely new movement, asking them to move/hold their bodies in an entirely new way. And if you are bad at articulating an explanation of the move, the student can't possibly be expected to understand it. I now have an even greater respect for the people who taught me my basics and their ability to clarify each move for me as I slowly caught on. Now, I must slowly catch on to how best to teach others.

Another, un-looked for, difficulty in teaching is needing water. I have gotten a lot better about controlling my water intake, and have as yet, never asked for a break. But when teaching, all the talking aggrivates my already dry mouth to a point where my tongue is sticking to my teeth and my instructions are all but unintelligible. Perhaps it will force me to ramble less and be more concise in my instructions!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Magic Mirror on the Wall....

Before training I always try to do a few ceshoufans while warming up, particularly on my left side, to get my body warmed up and break through that initial intimidation before I have to do bawang zakuis in class. Yesterday I moved down to the other end of the carpet so that I could watch myself do them in the mirror. Admittedly, my attempts to watch myself probably threw off my form a little bit, but it was amazing to see how different it looked from how it felt.

Often I see someone not extending or not straightening their leg and I think, "How can you still be doing X after you've been taught a dozen times not to do it?" But then I remember I still fight to have a straight leg in my gongbus and I've literally been doing them since day one. The trouble is feeling something versus seeing it. My leg feels honest to god straight. I feel my knee locking. but when I look in the mirror I see that is not the case, and I see why I'm still getting called at in line.

That is what happened with my ceshoufan. I never thought they were stellar, but I did feel they were improving. But watching them in the mirror I now see many of the sources of my problems and lots of new problems to sort out. Funnily enough, this didn't bother me. Instead it made me happy to have finally been able to identify specific problems in my form instead of hearing the inspiring but often vague go-to command of "Extend!" I'm much more comfortable having things to work on when I can see exactly what they are instead of hoping against hope that I'm correcting something the right way. Hopefully, now that I can see it I will eventually get to the point where I CAN feel the difference and I won't need the mirror anymore to tell me what 's going on.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Dork on Stage!

Our own Leo will be in this show The Moonlight Room next month.

Let's go give him chi!