Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Mar 08 2009

At the park on Sunday

It was raining pretty hard yesterday, so I didn’t attend practice at CKS Hall. After spending most of the day inside working on photos, I decided I needed to get out of the house today and make up for my laziness by going to the 2/28 Park, where our group practices on Sundays.

I’d never been to a Sunday practice before; I’d assumed that it would be just like the one on Saturdays before, but I noticed immediately as I exited the subway station how many more people were there than on Saturdays. Not only were there more people; they were a lot more aggressive than the Saturday group. Our group was somewhat scattered; I saw Yang Qing-feng practicing with a stranger in black nearby, and Mr. V with another stranger in another spot. I asked him where Teacher X was, and he pointed at the horse statue a ways away, where Teacher X was teaching a group of new students.

I found Little Mountain Pig not far from our usual spot, and decided to put my things down there and find a place to go through the forms, despite the fact that everyone else in the vicinity was wrestling, pushing or downright fighting. After I finished I spotted Little Qin, which was unusual; I hadn’t seen him at practice for months, so I went over to say hello. We practiced for a while, and as usual I learned a lot from him; Little Qin always has a different perspective on things, both physically and mentally. It’s too bad he has so little time to come to practice; he also teaches students at the military base where he’s stationed. As we were practicing, the sun came out for one glorious moment, raising the temperatures noticeably.

A large circle had been scratched into the sand nearby, and guys were using it in sumo fashion, trying to push and/or knock each other out of the ring or on the ground, their clothes covered in dirt and their arms and necks red from all the grabbing and twisting. As I went through the sword form, I noticed a guy watching me very closely. He was dressed in dark clothes and carried a sword of his own. I tried not to let it distract me, but I was ready for all kinds of criticism when I finished. Instead, he just clapped. I’m sure it was insincere, as I was just doing the first warm-up form and wasn’t really into it yet.

I practiced with LM Pig a while, going through the usual drills with him; I have to say they help a lot, though they’re a little monotonous. Then Pig pulled me over to the group of guys who had been wrestling rather violently before, and before I knew it I was practicing with them, one by one. The first guy wasn’t nearly as big of a challenge as I’d thought he would be. He kept looking for chances and I wasn’t giving him any. The second guy, a short fellow with protruding teeth, did better and forced me over a few times. Then I was practicing with an older guy whom the others obviously looked up to. He played his cards close to his chest, pushing tentatively, advancing slowly and taking his time to understand how I moved, becoming slowly more aggressive. All the while all of the guys were complimenting me on my form and my “softness” which they said was a hallmark of Teacher X’s students. I knew better than to take their words seriously, though; they were just being polite. Finally the older guy stopped, and another man who had been very complimentary stepped up. This, I gathered, was their leader and possibly their teacher. He demonstrated his “softness” to me with a few moves where his arms were completely rigid. Maybe he was alluding to some strange definition of “soft” that I’ve never heard of before, but to me he was anything but yielding. In fact, none of them were really yielding at all and seemed very rigid to me.

It was approaching 3 p.m. by that point, and I was hungry for lunch, so I took my leave. It was a very interesting and educational experience, and makes me wonder if perhaps I should try to attend more Sunday practices at the park.

posted by Poagao at 9:49 am  

1 Comment »

  1. Wow…it was like a Wu Lin Da Hui! Sorry that I have to use Pinyin. 😛

    Comment by Daniel — March 8, 2009 @ 11:41 am

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