I am truly the worst student in the class (such as it is). Every time I’ve practiced the sword form in recent months, I’ve felt like I was being watched by the little fellow who got so nervous when he was doing pushhands with me. A few weeks ago he borrowed my practice sword and went through the form. Obviously he is better than I am, and his style is somewhat different as well. I knew, of course, that he was not just borrowing my sword; he wanted to show me his sword form.
Last Sunday he came over and offered to “re-teach” me the form. “Let’s do it together!” As we talked, I gathered that he felt I was just so awful that it was an embarrassment for the entire sword tradition, and a slight on his master, who was also Teacher X’s master, making the guys a kind of “Teacher Younger Uncle” a la Little Qin.
I didn’t know what to say; what would Teacher X think if he saw me studying with this guy? Probably nothing; Teacher X is really cool like that. However, there’s something about the guy that bothers me, so I hemmed and hawed, made excuses, and he eventually left in a huff.
I know I suck, but I consider it a sort of personal triumph that I still actually remember the form and go through it several times a week. Still, this is going to make things awkward at the park. Teacher X is in the US attending his sister’s funeral, but I suppose we can talk about it when he gets back.
In any case, there’s not much of a “class” left at the park. NL Guy and Mr. V, Qingfeng and the UPS Guy show up occasionally, but not often. Mr.V actually went to a pushhands competition a while back, but it had a huge negative effect on his technique. He got nervous and rigid, and his need to “win” put him in the antithetical frame of mind for the activity. It was kind of sad.