I headed out for dumplings again last night, at my favourite little restaurant opposite Guloudajie station. I stayed quite late, then walked home along the lakes. Round about 11:30pm, I walked through the small exercise park where, on a previous ocasion, I saw someone practising baguazhang – see the video I posted for a view of the park.
Last night, there was someone practising yiquan; he was very good, doing a straight-line, back-and-forth, version of the jianwu ‘dance’ of improvised blocks, punches, and strikes. He was facing two metal poles that were one end of the support for a swing, and from time to time would lay into them with palm strikes – and he hit them hard! The whole structure would ring when he did that. Very impressive. The way he was doing the jianwu also seemed to tie yiquan back to its xingyiquan roots, it seemed to me, and highlighted power from small movements.
There were a couple of teenage Chinese lads watching as well; they were messing around trying to do kicks. There’s another bit of exercise apparatus that has wooden handles dangling at head height (for me) from chains, and they were trying to kick those. After they’d moved on, I gave it a go myself. I managed it with difficulty. At that height, I should be able to kick them fairly easily with a roundhouse kick, but I haven’t been stretching…. Oops.
I watched the yiquan guy practice for a little while longer, and had a quick chat with him before I went on home. He seemed surprised but pleased that a foreigner would know about yiquan, which I guess is natural – it’s not one of the better-known styles, after all. I asked who his teacher was, but I didn’t recognize the name.
All this is really making me look forward to starting yiquan classes next week….