Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ceshoufan Craziness!

Sometime last summer, I somehow tweaked my right arm/shoulder rotator cuff area. I'm not entirely sure how I did it (perhaps practicing kung fu, carrying luggage, or monkeying around), but it's one of those nagging injuries that keeps hanging around because it's pretty impossible to avoid using whatever muscles/tendon(s) are inflamed, kinda like the infamous Shaolin Butt Sword. Anyway, pretty much at the end of last year, I decided to put a personal moratorium on ceshoufans, figuring it wasn't the best thing in the world putting all my weight on a gimpy shoulder while doing a cartwheel.

My progression through learning the Level 2 basics since the beginning of November finally came to a point where I could no longer avoid doing ceshoufan. I had put off learning Bawang Zhaikui (jump with backwards punch and cartwheel), but it then became the last one on the list. So, after a few times of awesome Eric working on loosening my arm muscles and being faced with having to learn Bawang Zhaikui if I ever wanted to start learning Xiao Hong Quan, I bit the bullet. I then did my first shaky cartwheels of 2009 this past Monday. Scary!

And it paid off -- at the last part of class, during forms practice, Shifu sent Lukas and then Carlos to start Xiao Hong Quan. Emboldened by having done Bawang Zhaikui earlier in line that evening, I asked Shifu if I could join them. He first asked if I had finished learning the basics, and I could honestly answer yes! So he allowed me to join the new Xiao Hong Quan-ers, and I triumphantly ran across the carpet to start the new form.

During last night's energetic Level 2 class Han had us do Bawang Zhaikui as well. But she added a nice challenge, which the competitively friendly bunch ate up -- if we did the ceshoufan with both hands, we had to do 10 v-ups (kinda like sit-ups, but you're lifting your legs too). A one-handed one required only 5, and if you did the holy aerial, i.e., no hands, then no v-ups! Man-oh-man! People were giddy, trying to avoid doing all ten v-ups. I found the chi so infectious, I went right into it without too much thinking, figuring my gimpy shoulder wasn't really doing all that much in terms of weight distribution anyway, so I kept that hand off the ground. And it worked! I did my first one-handed cartwheel (albeit wobbly) ever! I tried it again, and succeeded once more on my third try.

This is probably the first instance where I can think of an injury actually helping me achieve something. Maybe I'll have to screw up my other shoulder just to get the aerial. =P

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I've been thinking a lot about how every time I tell Shifu about an injury he just says "no problem. train harder." I know that we are supposed to work through the pain, accept it and use it to make us stronger but most times it still distracts me.

I'm still dealing with my shin splints. They're getting better by the day but there are definitely days where I don't warm up enough and they really hurt. It's the kind of pain that seeps into my subconscious and affects my confidence. The other day I got sick of the pain holding me back. I was so frustrated I felt on fire! It was my turn to do Xuan Feng Jiao. I took a deep breath took my strides and launched! I have no idea how well I did the kick but I felt on FIRE!! I could feel my Dan Tian pulsating! I had energy in every part of my body! I was relaxed but had an incredible desire to move! My turn came again and again and again. I didn't want to stop. Then we stopped jumping and moved onto the next move. At that moment I realized that my shins didn't hurt anymore. Shifu was right!! I trust Shifu's advice implicitly but I don't usually understand it until much later. In the immortal words in Rick Moranis in Spaceballs "when will then be now!?", I wish I got his lessons a bit faster. Now when Shifu yells "FIRE" at us I'll let loose the nitros and CaiJiao until I puke!

Everybody Hurts