Yes, it’s been ages since I posted here. For one thing I haven’t posted much of anything elsewhere either, having been in a non-Internet-friendly mood for the past few years. Also, as our band has spent every Sunday for the past few months recording our second album, I haven’t been going to the park.
I have resumed my practice, such as it is, though Teacher X seldom appears at the park these days; he teaches mostly at other places, and if I could get myself up on Saturday mornings, I would follow his lead. But I’m lazy like that. Little Qin often goes to the park on Sunday mornings, however, and though his style is completely different from that of Teacher X, even though they both studied under the same masters, I enjoy chatting and practicing with him.
Little Qin wasn’t there today, however, which kind of sucked as I’d brought a photobook he’d lent me, thinking of returning it. In any case, I’d come all that way, so I put my stuff down and went through the form a few times, to limber up. As usual, Mr.V and NL Guy were grappling. Mr.V is now apparently teaching, which I find a bit troubling, and said so when Little Qin told me about it. “It’s actually pretty common,” he told me. “You could teach if you wanted to.” I shook my head at this. No way.
Another older student came by, and engaged Mr.V in some pushing as well as some brown-nosing, now that he’s a teacher, I guess, while I managed to keep from rolling my eyes. NL Guy was free, so I practiced with him a bit. He hasn’t changed at all; Oh, he started out supple enough, but true to form kept advancing even though we were doing in-place tuishou, leaning heavily on me. Eventually he got tired of not pushing me over, grabbed me by the shoulders and shoved me to one side. When I remarked on how much force he was using, he denied it, as usual. You’d think I’d have learned by now. We switched feet, and he kept leaning on me, vigorously defending each breach of his defenses with a frenzy of movement and force that reminded me of a cockroach when you poke it.
This went on for some time, longer than I should have let it, and I felt like I’d just done a hundred sit-ups afterwards, such was the effort I’d spent in staying upright. Poor form, I know. My stomach aching and sore, I saw down for some rest, but one of the foreigners who practice in the park came up and introduced me to a large, beefy fellow who turned out to be Thai, who wanted to practice with me. Reluctantly, I said ok, and we began.
This fellow, who was very polite and soft-spoken, not only telegraphed his intentions a mile away, but when he decided to made a move, his whole body went rigid. There was precious little interaction there. He’d been practicing for a few months, so I thought I’d offer some advice on this aspect, but when I broached the subject, he was adamant that he was a supple as fine silk, and he obviously didn’t think much of my opinion, so I just said, “Forget it. You’re very good. I’m going to get some water.”
I went over to work on the sword form for a while, and when I got back, one of the other, older guys from another group was giving him the exact same advice, with another Western fellow providing what I thought was rather extraneous translation, seeing as the Thai guy’s Mandarin was better than his English. This time, however, he was nodding eagerly, happy to receive such wisdom.
As you have no doubt surmised, I would make a terrible tai-chi teacher. Not just because I suck at tai-chi, but I just don’t have the manner for it.
In any case, it was hot, I was sore, and the prospect of lunch at Sababa was beckoning, so I continued my day elsewhere.