Happy holidays

For those of you in the West: happy Easter! To those in the Chinese cultural zone: happy Qing Ming!

This is my third Qing Ming in China, wow. And I only planned to be here for four months….

It’s an auspicious weekend: SPRING has finally arrived! At last! (Cue manic laughter and many exclamation marks). The trees around the lakes at Houhai are starting to put out flowers; soon we should see the first faint fuzz of green, and this unusually long and bitter winter will slip away into memory…

Only one of the Hong Kongese guys was still around yesterday, not one that I’d trained with on Wednesday. It turned out to be a really good session. The second hour was all tui shou again. First I partnered with a new person whom I haven’t seen before. He’s obviously trained in yiquan before, so he must normally go to one of the larger group classes. Chinese, young, pretty strong but not yet subtle. He was pretty keen to have a go and attack, which was ok with me. I didn’t have too much difficulty deflecting his power and spinning him, but there were times when he was pressing hard, and I was soaking up the force in my qua and the tendons of the arm…. and he suddenly took his arm away; with his force released, my arm just sprang forward, so he got smacked in the mouth. Going to have to watch that…

Afterwards, I partnered a German guy – also young and very strong, plus much taller than me. I was pleased about that, because as I posted recently, I rarely get the chance to try out tui shou with people who are not my own height or shorter. On this occasion, we were fairly evenly matched.

Oddly, after an hour or so of vigorous tui shou, my muscles weren’t acheing. Even today, there’s not really any stiffness… Maybe it’ll hit me tomorrow…

Master Yao ended the class by reminding us how the yiquan training system works: first you work on the standing techniques, thinking about what you feel. Then you practice the testing-force exercises on your own, mentally working out the applications. Then you train with a partner, to see whether you were right, and identifying where you’ve got things right or wrong. Then you go back to the beginning.

After class, I took my sabre and cycled down to Zhongshan Park. I forgot to take photos, doh! It was a lovely spring afternoon, with quite a lot of people about. I found a quiet corner looking across the moat towards the red walls of the Forbidden City, and practiced my taiji. I worked on the first quarter of the sabre form, going through that about a dozen times, and also on the ZMQ-37 set, doing that five or so times. All I’m going to say is that it was great to practice on it outside, and there is significant room for improvement!

A good day.

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