Exploring the world of Chinese Martial Arts

T-Minus 2 Days to China

T-Minus 2 Days to China

So, this morning I taught my last wushu class at Wushu West before heading off to China to train for a month.  The class itself was pretty good.  I had Chase leading the advanced people on one carpet with basics, jumps and combos, while I lead a nanquan basics workshop on the other carpet.

At first I was just going to work on nanquan with two folks, but then a lot of the beginners asked to learn it too.  So we had a long line of people learning nanquan basics, which was pretty neat.  Basically 90 minutes of nanquan basics and combinations.  In the end I put together 5 or 6 of the techniques into a string of combinations.  It was fun.

Although, truth be told, I’m not nearly as ready for China training as I would like to be.  I am usually in better shape and more prepared.  Thursday’s class I did some sections and they felt good, so I at least feel like I should be able to work on some stuff while I’m there.  But it is a good thing I’m only doing one class a day this time around.  Twice a day would really do me in.  I think the last time I trained at Shi Cha Hai in this bad of shape was 2006.  That summer I was in pretty bad shape and had kind of ballooned up a bit.  Here … you can see in this picture how bad I was faring:

Johnny, Mike, Yang Bei Bei, and Mark
Training Nanquan (L-R: Jonn, Michael, Yang Bei-Bei, Me)

Might be a little hard to see, but my face was pretty bloated.  Of course, by the fall I had gotten in shape (relatively) again with my fall training in Shanghai and the November 3 weeks in Jinan with the Shandong Team.

This is also the first time I’ve trained there since the big Foreigner Office fiasco of 2006.  In a nutshell: After a quick trip to Korea I went back to join in on training again.  I paid for my meals and training, of course, but after I left for Shanghai I was told by my friends that the Foreigner office had “blacklisted” me from training at Shi Cha Hai in the future because they said I stole food and training from the school.  Apparently another coach from the U.S. heard this from the people in the foreigner office (what they were telling HIM for, I have no idea), and he decided to blab it to everyone he could that knew who I was.  Naturally he didn’t check with me to find out if it was true or not.  Gossip Mongers rarely care about the truth — they just like passing juicy gossip around. Apparently, he said that they had video footage of me stealing things, but if anything they had video footage of me PAYING for things, since I would pay on a regular basis.

It comes down to simple logic really:

First, I was working for Jet Li and I was Hao Zhi Hua’s student.  That alone gives me enough social pressure at that school to not even want to J-Walk near it.  If I’m representing either one of them, let alone both of them, why would I make them look bad by doing something like that?

Second, at the time I was making more than enough money to pay for double the overpriced training rate, so why would I care about a few RMB for a meal?  I could have taken the whole staff out for a meal in that cafeteria.  I mean .. it was only 10 RMB!  $1.25 isn’t exatly the Ritz.

And third, I was friends with the staff in the cafeteria.  I knew them by name and they knew my name.  I would seek them out to make sure I paid for the meal so that they would know I was taking care of my responsibility.  Anyone could have just asked them if I had paid or not.

So, yeah, long story even longer, since that whole issue, I haven’t been back to train.  But according to Patti, she has talked to them and I’m okay to train there.  I don’t really know why it is okay now (and to be honest, as much as I like training there, I’d kinda rather go to Jinan (shhhhh!  Don’t tell anyone!) just because there are less foreigners, it is much cheaper, and the food is awesome.

So, even given all of that, I’m still looking forward to the trip.  It will be nice to get down with some training.  The first week is going to be really painful, but once I acclimate I’m sure I will enjoy it quite a bit.

My personal goals for China:

  1. Finally finish my nanquan choreography
  2. Come up with a new nandao form
  3. Create a tiger form

I wouldn’t mind doing some nangun too, but I don’t want to pile too much on my plate.  I’ll focus on nandao the second week (7/6-11)  and tiger the third (7/13-18).  I’ll review the forms the last week just to make sure I don’t forget anything or need to tweak some movements.

T-Minus 41 hours!

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