Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sources of Inpiration

Thanks, Cheng, for your inspired call to action! I've been half-writing this post in my head for a bit now without committing any words on my keyboard, but now your poem compelled me to push it out... :)

Anyway, now that I've been training for a bit over 2.5 years now (and still stuck in L1), I am not learning anything "new" per se, so I strive to improve what I already do know by trying to make things sharper, doing actions faster, and so forth. Something that has been sort of a nemesis to me is trying to avoid taking steps in between kicks. Shifu has called me out on it so many times, and it really hit me hard this past Spring. I think I've made some progress in erasing this terrible habit of mine through a long process of almost having to re-learn by observing others, by changing my sense of balance, and by reminding myself that it's not about doing it fast, but doing it correctly. Constant evolution!

Recently, at the 100 day ceremony for Heng Ju, I saw Niederwelt's 5 year old niece Nina spinning cartwheels like it was nobody's business -- she effortlessly did one after another without any pauses or steps across the green carpet much to the amusement of herself and others. It really was ceshou-fun!

The next week I attended a day class and while we were doing ceshoufans during basics, I heard Xu call to me not to take extra steps. Buoyed by my memory of Nina a few days earlier, I tried it out, and wheeeee! boy, did those ceshoufans come whipping by faster! In fact, I felt like I was moving so much quicker that I almost lost my sense of balance and came tumbling down. I guess like with everything, I'm just gonna have to readjust and recalibrate. Oh, and maybe attempt ceshoufan again from the other side...yeahhhhhhh.......

Speaking of observing others, in recent classes I attended, I have noticed a new young fellow who has yet to learn all the basics, but does the most wonderful tenkong fanyaos. I don't know his name (yet) but I am inspired by how fluidly he leaps into the air and rotates. He is gazelle-like and strikes me as a dancer. I shall have to study his movements more and hopefully something will seep into my own labored tengkong fanyao.

It goes to show that you never know when you'll find something from which to learn.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Wispy Participation

Because Summer is busy, it's true-- I haven't been around too much, and I miss my regular 3 or (that wishful) 4 classes per week. And because Cheng cared enough to write a rhymy poem, I wanted to participate in our blog with some non-rhymy musings.

Tonight's class was great. I'm easing back into it after "maintaining" a saddening 1 x per week "schedule". It's more like catch as catch can while work is so busy, and while weekends camping in Vermont are beckoning. I used to feel guilty when I couldn't make it to class, but I don't anymore. I love training when I can train, and while it is of personal importance to me that I maintain a balance in my life, Temple will always be a part of that balance.

To wit: Last week I learned something interesting in a Buddhist workshop that Cheng and I attended: Guilt can be transformed into what they called Intelligent Regret. While guilt eats at you and drains your sensibilities, intelligent regret is steeped in mindfulness and helps guide your future choices toward a more elegant outcome. Intelligent regret highlights the misstep as a lesson to be learned instead of bogging you down in the unhelpful darkness of self-admonishment.

It made me really happy to train tonight, to be back, to see everyone, to move my body, however sluggishly. The choice I made to prioritize training is reinforced by the way I feel when I train. Coming to Temple is a self-perpetuating cycle of awesomeness. If I could insert a checkmark here, I would.

Oh man, a checkmark would just be so perfect.