Musings on motivation

Master Sun Ru Xian is out of town, so I didn’t have class with him today. I did plan to get up early as normal, and just practice solo, but I woke up feeling lousy and decided to stay in bed. The headache’s lasted all day, I hope I’m not coming down with something.

There’s building work going on just outside the university walls. Typically, no-one warned us that the water supply would be affected. The block where the staff laundry is located has had no water for three days now. My block is OK, so my bathroom still has water, but there are some staff living in the laundry block, and they’re suffering. For me the worst of it is that I’m handwashing all my clothes in my bathroom. It’s not my forte, no matter how much I visualise Once Upon a Time in China II….

I did get out to practice this evening. After 20 minutes of zhan zhuang, the CMC-37 set must have been one of the best I’ve done so far. Today, the standing practice didn’t hurt at all, instead just striking the right balance of resilient softness… I’ve had a bit of a breakthrough on Snake Creeps Down, and have made adjustments so that it doesn’t pressure my knees so much. I followed that with a set of the xuan xuan broadsword, but my mental blank with that is still around. No worries, it will pass eventually – I’m confident it’s all still there in muscle memory, I just need to empty my mind enough to tap into it.

I spent most of the next hour working on Master Zhou’s wuji set, and I think I’m making good progress there; it’s coming back reasonably quickly, although many details remain fuzzy. I finished off with a bit of work on the ba da zhang, topped off with pan guan bi.

I attracted the attention of a moth again. What is it that they want? Do they like the salt in perspiration, or something?

By this time, it was past 9pm, and I was feeling pretty low on energy. My favourite dumpling shop outside the west gate stops taking orders at 9:30, so I hopped on my bike and went straight there – no time to go home and change, as I normally do. My arrival with broadsword slung over my shoulder, then laid on the table, caused a bit of a stir – more than I’d anticipated. The younger waiters all wanted to play with it. I really hadn’t expected it to be so strange for them – perhaps I’ve been spoiled by my experiences in Singapore! No matter what else I might say, it was a wonderful thing to live in a really old-school part of “Old Singapore”, full of wuguans (is that right?), temples, and so on, where the sight of people wandering around with swords and spears didn’t raise an eyebrow. I rather suspect that by the time I get back in August (for a visit only, my plans have changed…) a lot of that will already have gone. Singapore is losing its roots, sigh….

I spent some time this afternoon revisiting Tabby Cat’s older blog, the one describing his intensive yiquan course last year. This is the same that I hope to take a year after him – August 2008, compared to August 2007 for him. I’ve learned a lot since I originally read this, and have met Master Yao, so I am seeing different things this time round. Like Tabby (or should that be TC? No, then I only see childhood cartoon characters… Top Cat… heh…) I’m a firm believer in soft over hard; the CMC-37 set was the first taiji style I learned, and it’s still my favourite… I’ve seen for myself that the atmosphere in the Yiquan Academy can be pretty macho; not really my preferred environment… and yet I really think there’s something there that I can use to improve my taiji and bagua, as well as the inestimable value of the yiquan itself… I hope it all works out – fingers are crossed…

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