Red Queen

Wow, I’ve been busy lately. Definitely feels like I’ve been taking part in the Red Queen’s Race. Hopefully I’ll have a bit more spare time in the next few weeks and can train and blog more!

I did get to yiquan class on Wednesday morning. There were a group of lads up from Hong Kong, staying for a week and training intensively. I met some of them last year, when they did the same. Very nice guys, and some of them very experienced in yiquan. It was great engaging in tui shou with them; in that class we we practising Pi Fa Shi Li, and at first I simply couldn’t hold them back at all, nor could I break through their guard. They helped me out, though, and explained in English where I was going wrong, and what I was missing; for example I wasn’t pulling my palm back far enough when I was pressing, so I wasn’t getting maximum force at the point of contact. A very good lesson; I really enjoyed it. Don’t know they’ll be here this weekend; I’ll find out in a few hours!

My yang-style taiji sabre has been languishing in my office since I bought it, propped up in a corner. Due to problems with our computer system, I had to unexpectedly cancel a class yesterday and I decided to use the free couple of hours to take a look back at the xuan xuan sabre form I learned from Nam Wah Pai in Singapore. I’m very rusty, but I have a video of the form on my iPhone, and muscle memory still seems to kick in, so I made a bit of progress – though of course it’ll take time to be any good at it again. It was very interesting to note that, although I was taught this form using a normal dao, the hand positions are absolutely right for using the yang-taiji dao. The copy of Zhang Yun’s book that I bought in Singapore is going to be useful, I think. Spring finally seems to be reaching Beijing, so it’ll be easier to train outdoors. I haven’t worked on taiji for quite some time, and was a little taken aback again by the difference in the experience from yiquan – taiji giving a much more general, diffuse sense of energy activation; I noted that every cell seemed to be tingling with a gentle warmth, my skin seemed to be suddenly expelling toxins and my mind was much calmer, straight away. I think I do need to devote more time to the taiji.

I’ve signed up for a basic tuina course, as I want to develop at least some basic capability in a healing art, and this seems like a natural match with the meditation and martial arts that I’m already engaged in. It’s going to be two hours per class, two classes per week for the next month. Only eight students are allowed per class, so I’m hoping it’ll be a useful experience! First class is next week, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

I went to see the new 3D version of Alice in Wonderland last night. I must say, I was underwhelmed. I enjoyed the earlier part, which stuck fairly closely to the original setting, but then it turned into a generic fantasy action adventure, which didn’t seem faithful (IMHO) to the nature of the characters, especially the Hatter. I enjoyed the sheer over-acting of the White Queen, but was surprised at the severity of what happened to the Red Queen, which seemed excessive. The dance scene seemed to have been dropped in from another film altogether…. Two stars out of five.

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