The first couple of practices in the park this year were following rainy days, turning the usually dusty area into a big mud puddle. Most of the practitioners relocate to the amphitheater nearby in such cases, but some stay and just avoid the puddles.
The weather this morning was wonderful, however, and the dust wasn’t too bad either. I went through the forms, trying to keep my knees in the right position even though some felt awkward. Stretching will help with that; knee territory is always a bit iffy for me due to the old injury. As I went through the empty-handed form, Teacher X gave me tips and advice. While I welcome this, of course, it’s a little depressing to find that I’m only scraping the surface of all the movements within movements in even the smallest part of the form. Like learning a language, it’s a bottomless pit. A foreigner came up to me at one point wanting to know what style we were practicing, but I referred him to Teacher X, who can explain it better and was looking for places to practice his English as we always speak in Chinese.
The old guy who I filmed swordfighting with Little Qin came up to me and asked if I was done studying in the south, obviously mixing me up with some other non-ethnically Chinese person. Teacher X suggested that I practice tuishou with him, and I took pains to not be too combative, as I guessed from his remarks that he might be one of those people who wants to make sure everyone knows he’s Really Good. Sure enough, after about 10 minutes of pushing, slowly testing each others’ strategies, etc., he gave a quick shove, proving that he was Really Good. “See how heavy my hands seem?” he said as we practiced. I said yes. “Not like your hands, which seem very light, with hardly any substance at all!” I smiled at that, inwardly wondering if he knew that his hands were telegraphing his intentions as clearly as if he were saying it out loud. Before a quick shove, he would tense up and change his stance. He put a lot of stock into the quickness as well, part of his Japanese martial arts training. Later, when he was swordfighting with Little Qin, there was not a little Japanese swordwork in his style.
I really have to get some more suitable pants for practice; the traditional kind have too few pockets, and jeans are too restrictive. I should go to the supply store and have a look around, I suppose.