Saturday, July 12, 2008

No clever title - just glad I'm blogging

I almost didn't make it tonight. I hadn't been to L2 in a week and a half, and a riotous end to my workday made me feel more like finding the nearest bar and drinking myself tight (which at this stage would take approximately 2 1/2 beers...). I knew I would be sans most of my dorks as well, and even as I was on the carpet stretching I contemplated claiming illness and going home to pass out in the park. Around 6:50 Leo pointed out to me that I was essentially the most senior person present and that I would potentially have to lead class - Xu had already showered and changed, though I am fairly confident she would have thrown her robes on rather than the ludicrous option of having me to teach L2. Luckily, or maybe through circumvention, N'ou appeared at 6:55 to get us all sweating and panting appropriately.

There were only ten of us in class and a large proportion of newer L2 folks, so I think N'ou took pity on us/was appalled by our basics, because he spent a lot of time stopping/slowing us down to work on execution and technique for our basic moves. Funnily enough, this was just what I wanted. When the brief and unlikely idea was proposed that I might have to lead class I thought "what would I do?" I quickly decided that rather than act under the pretense that I was advanced enough to provide qualified corrections, that I would lead us all through basics and then spend the second half of class doing a "technique workshop" where everyone would have the chance to just pound away at various basic moves. Thankfully that task did not fall to me, but N'ou trained us in a similar vein. Level 2 is not like L1 where you spend a week learning one basic and you spend a year getting kicked back to KFK if you start messing up, so it was definitely nice to have a class where we were simply grilled through our sloppy habits and reacquainted with our pop and extension.

In the end, I was glad I came if only to get a two-in-a-row this week. I am trying very hard to get back into the correct training and blogging groove, but in spite of post-class happiness, getting myself there initially has been a struggle. I know once I get on a roll it will sort back out; starting the roll is the tricky part. Probably blogging at 1 am is not conducive to my rolling into class tomorrow though...

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!

More Chi! More Fun!

I would like to think that because of the last post, we had a lot of people showing up last night both for training and dinner, including a new student - Cyril - who just started training on Wednesday. Last night also marked a second anniversary of the our own super chi dork - Heng Cheng.

At the head of the lines, we had the old-timers Khalid, Han, Eric All Night, De, and Doctor Dan. Followed them closely with equal chi are (used to be) long hair Christopher, Leo, Cheng, Rob, Shi, Ellen, Ra (Jin) and me. The lines moved very smoothly and quickly despite a big class with lots of new students.

I love it. I love training. I love training with a lot of people. I love training with a lot of people with a lot of chi.

I'm so super happy. Can't wait to train again this Saturday!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

the Importance of Being Oldest

At dinner last night after the class, we talked about how a lot of people don't show up to Level 1 classes anymore after they passed to Level 2. And how much more fun and more chi the class is when older (Kungfu age) people train.

I think with the style of Kungfu that we train, students become better, movements more natural, the more and longer we train.

This is why it's always a treat when people who've been training for a long time show up to train with us in the class. They are inspiring and full of chi.

But since we are not monks, living in the middle of nowhere, we have other obligations in life as well. Some of us physically moved. Some moved on. Some just have to deal with life vs. training schedule.

For those of us who are still training, I just quit my job and won't be working for a while. You'll see me more regularly at the temple. :)