Or so I was called by one of my readers (mentioning no names, Carlos) for not posting more often… Guilty as charged!
So, what’s been going on? Well, my lofty ambitions for the year are on hold. This is a busy time of the year… I guess as well, I’m acculturating: the new year doesn’t start on Jan 1 for me any more; it’ll start when the Year of the Ox arrives in a little over a week! That’s when I’ll make my resolutions anew; the first couple of weeks of January have been a rollercoaster, and I need a bit of space to re-evaluate my priorities.
However, that’s largely off-topic for this blog. I’ve been to more yiquan classes, and as always I get some great insights every time I go. This weekend, we were working on some of the “testing force” exercises, and for the first time I really understood the ‘six harmonies’ principle. I was trying to synchronise the generation of power between my hip joints and my shoulder joints, and finding it difficult. Not in principle, only because I’m so stiff. Well, that can be remedied by practice, but at least now I’m aware of it.
I’ve also got to work on stiffness in my legs. I couldn’t work out why my knees were hurting so much. Eventually, I realised that it was because as I tried to stretch my hips to generate power, the stiffness in my legs was rotating the knees too far outwards. Also contributing was my weight distribution: it was centred too high. The solution was in the mind – I focussed on relaxing my leg muscles, and on breathing from the dantian, and everything just fell into place, problem solved. Now to integrate that into daily life, not just in class…
I also noticed that during this process, when I was clearing my mind in order to sense what my muscles were doing, I got snippets of memory popping into my mind; memories of things that happened long ago, and that I’ve not consciously thought about for a long time. This is what happens when I’m meditating; if you remember, one thing that originally drew me to investigate yiquan was that it seemed to offer a method that really combined martial training and meditation in a way that worked for me. i emphasize that last point, because of course I realise that the same could be done with other martial arts; bagua and taiji in particular, but it just so happens that I haven’t been able to get quite the same results from them. Horses for courses, and all that.
As for the bagua, not much to report just yet. I had intended to go as often as possible to the Liang bagua school as often as possible during the last couple of weeks, but circumstances prevented me from going. I actually have a little bit of a dilemma here. As you’ll have realized from my accounts of my lessons there, I really like that school: the teacher, the environment, and the other students. I certainly intend to keep going. However, I had lunch last week with Master Liu Jing Ru’s disciple Kong Cheng, and he told me that Sun Ru Xian lao shi had been wondering where I was! Total communications snafu. I would like to continue training with him as well! Apart from his skill, he’s a really genuine and generous person. In addition, I went out for drinks last Friday with Jose and a few of the others who’ve come over with Frank Allen and Tina Zhang to train with Liu Jing Ru. Apparently Sun Ru Xian had come up in conversation during a class there, and Master Liu had described him as one of his students who’s the most interested in actually fighting. I can well believe that.
Well, I did say that in 2009 / the Year of the Ox, I intend to really devote myself to improving my wushu. After CNY I’m flying to Wales for a couple of weeks. When I get back, I’ll have the timetable for next semester, and I’ll be able to plan out my training around that.
Oh, and one other thing – when I met Kong Cheng, he mentioned that someone from Singapore had visited Beijing to train with Master Liu Jing Ru. Apparently this person knows me… Who was that? Come on, ‘fess up! And if you know me, why didn’t you let me know you were coming? 😀