Friday, February 15, 2008

Singles Night-Shaolin Style

I will admit I went to training last night with low expectations. I knew a lot of people would be taking the night off for Valentine's Day and I already had a list of folks I knew wouldn't be there. Nonetheless, I was looking forward to enjoying a low-key class with the few and strong who showed up. Funny how things never work out as you expect....

Class was outstanding. At 14 people it wasn't huge but it wasn't the anticipated ghost town either. Randy was there providing his characteristic inspirational chi, and that set the ball rolling for me. First he helped me work on kip ups for half an hour before class (inspired by Mo's success I am soooooooo close), then Huan arrived and we messed around with tornado kicks till class started. Class itself was great, everyone was in a fun mood and it filled the room with energy. At stretching I was able to sink my straddle lower than ever, and even allowed them to give me a little push....

Maybe it was the Valentine's sugar I indulged in, but I felt so peppy the entire class and it went with me all the way home. I missed not having the usual posse there, but it was great to find the chi with other people and celebrate the holiday doing what we love. Hope those of you who didn't make it had a great Valentine's!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

When do you retire your Feiyues?

I usually retire mine when they are less than perfect, i.e., their soles have started to chip, the front has started to gape open, the color has started to yellow (just kidding).

But seeing this picture from
Richu's blog changed my perspective about Feiyue's life expectancy completely.

How did they do it? How did they train in those shoes?

I went home and picked my old Feiyues with a little hole under my left big toe from the trash. I wanted to see how far I could go training with a hole under my foot.

It wasn't far. I couldn't take it. I couldn't bear my toe having direct contact with the carpet - especially the sweep. It's ticklish. It feels naked. And the final condition of my Feiyues is no where close to that of those shoes in the picture.

When do you decide it's time to retire yours?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Family Victory

Thanks to the pre-class kip-up training initiated (and encouraged) by Heng Ji, followed by the targeted corrections made by Heng De during class, I finally landed Liyu Dating tonight, not once, but twice, and not just the first kip-ups but also the head-flips.

I credit all of us with the victory. I was really surprised when I landed solidly again and again. And though I'm sure it's not the most graceful looking thing-- one must walk before one can run after all-- I know refinement will come.

For now, I'm just going to enjoy the happy feeling I have about moving forward, taking a risk, using momentum, pushing a bit harder, not over-thinking, and landing on my feet. I can't wait to try it again on Friday. Thanks for all the cheering! Amituofo!

Vote for Zhong, Part Deux!

Our Temple brother, Heng Zhong aka Rick Seedman, is at it again for G4's American Ninja Warrior Challenge 2. Despite missing the cut last time, like a true Shaolin warrior, Zhong worked hard at improving his submission, and consequently made the second round of competition. Hooray!

His video, as shown above, has been selected as one of sixteen video finalists, and the top six vote getters will be flown to LA to compete. So here is where he needs your chi! Go here to support Zhong in his quest to become the ultimate NINJA WARRIOR! You will need to register to vote asap!

Update 2/19: G4 announced the finalists tonight, and Rick made it through! He will be competing in LA in March soon. Congrats, Zhong! We'll be watching and rootin' for ya!

Mystery of the Missing Muscle

On Monday we did a lot of kicking and I knew the I'd be feeling it on Tuesday. I did, but not at all in the way I was expecting. Last night, I felt it as soon as I started warming up. Each time I cetitui-ed on my right I felt my hip sort of pop and click back into place. It didn't hurt exactly (thought not particularly comfortable), it was just a totally bizarre feeling that each time left me trying to figure out what the heck just happened. What it feels like, is that there used to be a muscle on the front of my hip socket holding everything in place and suddenly it isn't there anymore, and the joint is just popping around however it pleases. What's going on in there? Wondering if anyone else has ever had this. Is it a sign that all that kicking extension has pushed me to a new point of flexibility? Or is one of my hip flexors on vacation someplace? I guess so long as it doesn't hurt, I wont worry. It sure gives popping a whole new meaning. :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Last night was the first N'ou Level 2 class I've had since coming back from vacation. I can't believe it's been over 3 weeks!!! I like Level 2 training because with different people teaching the classes are always a surprise. I like mixing it up. Being back in a class with N'ou was great, and he mixed up the order a little from the one we had settled into.

Usually we do bawang zakui after most of the basics. We hit it around 7:40 or so. How do I know so accurately? Because I kind of dread doing it and waste a lot of mental energy trying to psych myself up for not blowing my left handed ceshoufan. Lately they've been getting better actually. I've been doing a fair amount of ceshoufans before class. But for some reason I still occasionally choke. Something's off with my timing. So when N'ou called out "bawang zakui" at 7:20 in the middle of basics, my stomach did a flip flop because I was totally not expecting it.

Happily, though, I did it fine, without choking, even when we had to do two in a row. Plus, it cleared my mind from worrying about it for the rest of basics. I'm a worrier. We've established. So it was great to have that particular worry cleared from my mind. Hopefully I will now be able to let go of it in the future. I just hope I don't unconsciously replace it with some new ridiculous fear.........

Monday, February 11, 2008

Happy New Year... again

Yesterday was the end of the Chinese new year celebrations and while we missed the parade, after class a bunch of us had fun frolicking with the party-ers in Chinatown. So technically (only not actually) we could say today is the beginning of another new year. So technically we could make resolutions. Well ok, that's not what Chinese New Year is about and we can make resolutions any old day. And they mean more if you actually keep them day to day instead of needing a specific start date. But, I thought I would take this moment to step back and assess my resolutions at least as far as KF is concerned.

Resolution 1. Stop making resolutions... train harder.

Ok done. Seriously, I'm not trying to be clever. Friday night I got to learn more Xiaohongquan and consequently one of my favorite moves in KF. The one where you rotate your arm around your head sort of like you're brushing hair out of your face or something. I always thought it was a really beautiful move that was so Shaolin but not. Like it doesn't look like kung fu per se because it isn't like a strike or a kick, but consequently it is very Shaolin because it shows how learning forms is about more than learning fighting moves, it's about expression and movement and whatnot. My point being, I had looked forward very much to learning this move, when it really has no bearing on improving your skill in kung fu. Now that I've learned it, I haven't gotten any further in improving my ceshoufan or jumping higher in my tornado, or kicking faster in my 5 kicks. I sure haven't done a kip up. Those things don't come from resolutions about "I'm going to learn X, Y or Z." They come from training harder every day until finally you've built the strength and coordination to do them. And SAYING this year I'm going to hit my middle split, is silly when I can just keep training and eventually it will come. So as always, I am going to try to think less and train more. And try really really hard to get the kip up..... :P