I think I’m developing impostor syndrome.
Last night was Master Yao Chengrong’s birthday dinner. It was held in a restaurant in Xinjiekou, and pretty much everyone from the school was there. I find it very difficult to believe that I deserve to have been there 🙂 Surely it’s just luck that I’ve stumbled into being a student of this school, and got to be invited to an event like this!
As a dinner, what can I say, it was a typical Chinese celebration dinner – piles of food, lots of speeches: Master Yao first, giving a “State of the Yiquan” speech, then lots of students honouring Master Yao as their Master. One by one, the tables went up to Master Yao’s table to pay their respects and toast him, then Master Yao went around the tables one by one to chat and toast them. There was a cake, and what can I say – Master Yao is a genuinely nice and humble guy; no sifu who takes himself too seriously (and you know the type I mean) would have spent the evening wearing a cardboard crown like that…. Heh.
There were a smattering of foreign students – German, Taiwanese, Japanese, Russian… I was sitting at the same table as Shanti, the French student I mentioned before. He told me some interesting things. It seems that his month-long visit to train in yiquan isn’t entirely in a private capacity; he’s here as a representative of the French Kung Fu Association. It seems that they want to develop Réunion as a centre for martial arts expertise, and they’ve allocated a substantial budget to get it done. That’s very French: come up with a grand vision, and fund it. Anglo-Saxons would come up with a half-assed idea, subject it to a thousand cuts by committee, underfund it, and come up with something that didn’t work for which no-one could be held responsible. So, look to be hearing a lot more about Réunion. If I got him right, they’ve already had taiji and bagua masters holding residencies there, and they’re looking into getting Master Yao out there. Wow. Sounds very good to me; I’d dust down my schoolboy French for that! I wonder if there are any universities there that need business lecturers…
(Hmmm: Réunion is one of the French Departments, ie, it’s regarded as an integral part of France… My EU passport gives me the right to live and work there… hmmmmm).