The Yiquan Academy, day 2

Wow, I am going to HURT in the next few days. I got to the Yiquan Academy at around 10, a bit earlier than yesterday. Master Yao was talking to someone in his office, so I got started with a bit of revision.

The guy with the scars I mentioned yesterday seems to be the senior student, and he showed me a new exercise. Shortly afterwards, Master Yao came out, and invited me into his office. I paid up for the first two modules and the first book, and after a quick chat I got on withthe exercises again. This morning, I covered:

平步平推试力 EVEN-STEP EVEN PUSHING TESTING FORCE
平步拨水试力 EVEN-STEP PLAYING WITH WATER TESTING FORCE
走步磨擦步 FIXED FRICTION STEP
定步磨擦步 MOVING FRICTION STEP

Note that I’m cutting and pasting these from the curriculum on the web page, but the curriculum I’m actually following has the moves in a very different order to what’s on the web page.

I’m already starting to feel that my brain is full! They’re pretty simple movements in themselves, but I’m finding them very tough – the fixed friction step in particular. It really highlighted the lack of strength and flexibilty in my ankles…. They also stretched a lot of the muscles in my gua, and at the top of my hips. In fact,some of today’s big take-aways have been to notify me that at some point over the last year or so I started to neglect my gua, and they’ve really tightened up. I was very glad when we started the moving version – motion is so much easier than holding a static position! This, however, highlighted some issues I’ll have to address regarding my skeletal alignment… Between the two (and Master Yao’s demonstration of them), I also started to get a very clear idea of where yiquan’s power comes from, and of how these exercises develop full-body power.

At 12, we took a break, so I headed back to the Vineyard Cafe for most of the afternoon. I was under the impression we started again at 4pm, and was there a little early… but the place was dark… Not empty, though! The live-in students were sleeping in the dormitory, and snores were the only sound… One was awake, though, the older guy who speaks some English. He came out and we chatted for a while. I decided to pop down to the Friendship store at Jianguomen to pick up a Straits Times. That took a bit longer than I expected, so I got back around 5:20. There were a lot more people there than in the morning; lots of younger guys practising, sparring and chatting, as the senior student reviewed a couple as they went through exercises, and Master Yao moved around correcting here and advising there. It really felt like a traditional wuguan! Master Yao and the senior student separately got ready to teach me more moves, but I explained that I would like to learn in the morning, and review in the afternoons, and they both seemed to think that was a perfectly good idea – so that’s the basis on which I plan to move ahead. If I can move at all, that is! Wow, but my feet and ankles hurt!

I took my leave at 6:30, a bit early, as I had things to do. Looking forward to tomorrow!

Cryptic note to self: always keep the water in mind. Don’t forget the springs.

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