Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Dec 29 2009

A couple of sessions

It being Christmas and all, I forgot to post about last week, so I’ll write up the last couple here now. Last Sunday, the 13th, held wonderful weather, perfect for practice with sunny skies. As I walked up and put down my things on one of the many stone stools situated next to trees, a guy I hadn’t seen before wanted to practice tuishou. He was middle-aged, looked to be around 50. Although we started slowly, he was soon sweating profusely, and I could feel his heart racing in an alarming fashion. Our practice went from standing to moving as he practiced the same moves over and over, in almost a rote fashion. His energy faded and then came back when he got a second wind before calling it quits. Probably a wise thing to do, I thought. Mr. V and NL Guy had been grappling since I arrived.

Teacher X called and said he couldn’t make practice as he was attending a wedding. By noon, nobody else had arrived. I went through the empty-handed form, feeling more cooperation, connection, hints of an assembly line of movement sculptured into a direction of force. It felt good.

Mr. V and NL Guy continued to grapple, not resting in over two hours. They weren’t going at it with the usual fervor, making me think it was some kind of endurance contest between them. Nearby a kid played with his father’s sword in the dirt, earning him a scolding.

I went through the sword form, which also felt very nice, with the sword feeling more of an extension of my arm than before. Little Qin hadn’t come either, which was too bad, as he always has an interesting thing or two to say about swordwork (couched in military terms, no doubt). Perhaps he was at the same wedding, if it involved a member of the martial arts circles he and Teacher X move in.

By the time I left, Mr. V and NL Guy were still locked in their stamina contest. It made me think of how our paths have diverged, even though we’re still training under the same teacher in supposedly the same style.

This last Sunday was not ideal, weather-wise, cold and windy, with an occasional sprinkle of rain making it through the sparse canopy of leaves above us. I helped Little Qin film his swordfighting with an older teacher, using a little DV camera that was so light it was hard to keep steady. They went at it over about ten minutes; the guy was good, but I got cold due to lack of movement, as I’d taken off my jacket to practice the forms and grapple with a new guy Teacher X had been instructing. The new guy was all force and no subtlety, but his incessant efforts, while ineffective, were tiring. Teacher X admonished me to take the initiative more, but he also recognized that I was pushing to a certain point, a point where the engagement had concluded in all aspects except for the actual pushing over, and then releasing my opponent. When the opponent doesn’t realize this, however, he thinks that I’m not pushing at all. Little Qin and Little Mountain Pig do this a lot, pushing up to the point of complete control and then releasing.

The sword master wanted me to film his bout with another guy, and this one was a lot more active, so I circled around the two, trying to keep them in frame. Little Qin said he’d like to put them on his website.

posted by Poagao at 11:56 pm  

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