Exploring the world of Chinese Martial Arts

Wushu Wanderings in Xi’an, Beijing and Seattle

Wushu Wanderings in Xi’an, Beijing and Seattle

So, now that I’ve arrived in Austin, Texas I thought I would share a bit about my recent wushu wanderings in China and the U.S.

I’ve been going through quite a bit of reverse culture shock since leaving China a couple weeks ago (has it only been a couple weeks???). But before I get in to the amazement I feel when I see toilet paper in a public restroom, let me share a bit of my last week in China.

Xi’an, Shaanxi, China (July 4 – July 8)

Training with Ma Chao

Training with Ma Chao in Xi’an

I probably don’t need to remind you, but I was able to train with Ma Chao, former Beijing Wushu Team member, who just opened a school in Xi’an.  You can get the full report and information on his school and my experiences in this blog entry.

Meeting Wu Ya Nan in Xi’an

Meeting Wu Ya Nan

As I mentioned in my previous e-mail, I was going to have a meeting with Wu Ya Nan regarding his Taiji training project. I have to say that it is going to be a pretty amazing project and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it develops. I’ll post up more details and information related to that later on, but for now I’ll just say that it is going to be like no other Taiji training program you’ve ever seen.

Wu Ya Nan is currently in Shenyang, Liaoning preparing for the All China Games in just 5 weeks from now, so best of luck to him and the rest of the competitors as they gear up for what I’m sure will be an amazing competition.

Beijing, China (July 9-11)

Training at Shi Cha Hai

Hou Hai Lake next to Shi Cha Hai

I visited Beijing (again) for a couple days on my way out of China and was fortunately enough to train with Yin Laoshi, the Nanquan coach for the Beijing Wushu Team. It was sort of a good news, bad news situation.

Good news: I was able to train with some of the Beijing Team’s up-and-coming nanquan athletes as well as the Ukranian Wushu Team (super strong!). Plus Yin Laoshi really, really knows his stuff with nanquan so that was fantastic.

Bad news: The day before I had a fever and the stomach flu, so I probably shouldn’t have been training. In fact, 20 minutes in to the workout I started to get dizzy and the room was spinning. It probably had to do with the fact that I hadn’t eaten yet that day, and most of the food in my system didn’t stay in my system for very long.

So, I’m sure I looked like a total wimp to everyone there, but honestly I was just super happy to be there training back at Shi Cha Hai. I learned a lot by watching the other nanquan athletes train and took a lot of mental notes for future reference.

Andrey from the Ukranian Wushu Team — yes, those are his real back muscles…

I also got to see a lot of old friends who were there at the same time, as well as meet some new ones. I’m going to post up a blog entry with more details, photos, videos and information, but here are a few highlights:

Australian Wushu Team: A shout out to the Aussie’s who were there training for world’s. It was great to meet you guys, even though it was a quick conversation.

Liu Xiao Lei: I haven’t met this wushu icon in almost 5 or 6 years, but it was fantastic to see her again. We reconnected and shared some stories about what we’ve been up to. She spent the last year in Hong Kong working on her Doctorate in Education. She’s also been working as a coach, part time, for the Hong Kong Team. She was in Beijing to help them out during their visit.  But next year she’ll be back in Beijing at B.S.U., so if you are there you might get to meet her. 🙂

Liu Xiao Lei in Beijing

Gao Song: A former pro athlete from Liaoning turned Hong Kong team coach, I haven’t seen Gao Song in about 3 years when he helped me train with the Hong Kong Wushu Team in the Fragrant Harbour. He’s a super nice guy and it was great to reconnect with him.

Gao Song in Beijing

Luo Ya Qing: Hong Kong team athlete and coach, and He Jing De’s wife. I saw her at their home in December, but it was nice to see her again. Especially since I thought she’d be in Shanghai with He Jing De. A very pleasant surprise!

Hong Kong Collin: I haven’t seen him since he left Shi Cha Hai a few years back. In fact, the last time we hung out was in Binzhou during the last All China Games in 2009. Since then he’s gotten a world gold medal for Duilian, and he’s back again to compete in Malaysia this fall. Good luck!

Mark and Hong Kong Collin

Colin Cook: A lot of you know Colin, but it was nice to spend some time with him over these few days. I gotta get this guy on the podcast — he knows a ton about physical therapy and strength training.

Luo Hong: The rest of the A-Team were out of town doing a demo in Macau or preparing for the competition in Shenyang, but Luo Hong happened to still be in Beijing for his own training. He’s super nice and I had a nice time chatting with him.

Pam Litton: Of course, it was great to see Pam and meet a few of her friends like Alex and Amie. We had some good training together and ate a delicious roast duck too.

Mark, Colin, Luo Hong and Pamela

On the last afternoon before leaving China I hung out with Wu Di who had just returned from a film project in Taiwan. As a bonus surprise, his mom was in town too, so I got to have some of her delicious cooking. He drove me over to the home of Chris, an old friend of mine and a good friend of Wu Di’s too. It’s always nice to reconnect with people after a long time. Hopefully it isn’t too long before I’m back with them again.

Me and my chins with Wu Di in Beijing

Seattle and Spokane, Washington, USA (July 11-29)

Northwest Wushu in Seattle

A student training at Northwest Wushu

When I got to Seattle, I was barely even off the plane when I made a b-line straight to Northwest Wushu where Li Tian Yuan from the Shanxi Wushu Team teaches. Whenever I’m in town I try to make sure and drop by. I was only in Seattle for 2 days before heading to Spokane (to visit my mom), but I managed to train with her twice. I even got to help out a bit with some nanquan basics training.

Granted, I was still getting over the stomach flu, and my jet lag was pretty fierce for those evening classes, but I still had a great time.

Hanging out with wushu peeps from Seattle

I took a 10 day trip to Liberty Lake, near Spokane, to spend some time with my mother and step-father.  I had a great time hanging out with them, doing laps (endurance training!) in their community swimming pool, working in the afternoon at the local Starbucks, and just adjusting to being back in the States.

After 10 days the three of us drove to Seattle where I spent some more time with them and also trained two more times at Northwest Wushu.  One evening, while hanging out with Li Laoshi and Jose, we came up with the idea of creating a composite form comprised of all of the styles we know.  We’re going to call it 百家拳 (100 Families Fist).  Look for it at a wushu guan near you soon. 😉

Hanging out with Li Laoshi and Jose in Wallingford, Seattle

So, where am I now?  Two days ago I flew in to Austin, Texas and met my wife who flew directly over from Xi’an.  We’re staying here for a month and I’m going to try and sweet talk my way in to some wushu training with a few of the local folks here in town.

That’s right UT Austin Wushu Club! I’m heading your way! Make way for the southern storm! (well, more like a southern low pressure zone … ).

I have a lot (a TON) of stuff to write up and prepare for wushuzilla, including a bunch of videos to produce and podcasts to record, so thanks for your patience while I get through everything. (Seriously … you should see the list of blog topics I’ve built up over the past half year!)

In the meantime, if you have any questions or want help figuring something out, please send me a message or post up a comment below. I know a lot of you are preparing for trips to China (or you’re already there training) so have a great, amazing time and I hope you get in some wonderful training and experiences. I’d love to hear all about it when you have a chance.

One Response

  1. Mark,
    It’s Laura, from Oakland, you know Laura from WushuWest that left all her stuff in your apartment, while I lived in Mexico, Laura!
    Hi, I don’t have your direct email, and I am sure that I could get it from Laoshi Patti, but just drop me a line when you get a break from your zilla reporting!
    We are still just doing taiji at wushuwest, no exciting world-wide adventures. Maybe when the kids get a little older?!
    Best,
    Laura
    lunawu@yahoo.com

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