The air quality was bad yesterday, so I didn’t try to get to the hills in the end… Pity, the day before was beautiful, sunny with blue, blue skies and a cool wind; I’d got quite excited about getting away from the city…
Anyhow, I went on to the yiquan class, and was really glad I went.
I’ve been working for a while on the mo ca bu stepping; trying to engage the kua as I step.. I think I’ve got it working fairly well now, at least in the slow shi li stages. I notice that when I get it right, I’m really rooted on the back leg, so the forward foot is both weightless, and slides naturally along the curve that Yao Lao Shi shows us.
There are a couple of German lads visiting; they train with Yao Lao Shi’s student who’s set up a school in Austria. There were also a few young Chinese lads, whom I’ve seen before but not for quite a long time.
The tui shou session was great. First, I trained with one of the Chinese lads, who was very good. He landed a few slaps and punches, but I delivered a lot more, I think. Then, I went straight on to partner one of the Germans, who was a bit better than me, but not by a lot. He managed to turn me and uproot my a couple of times, but on the other hand I was able to slip through his defenses with punches fairly easily and often.
So, in review: both of these guys were much younger than me and train harder than I do, but I think I acquitted myself well enough. My rooting is generally pretty good, and my defenses are strong. The German, as I say, turned me round, but I think I know what I did wrong. My use of my kua is good in the slow testing, but I keep forgetting to do it in the heat of tui shou; once I can remember that, I’ll be better placed to use fa li. I’m getting much better at staying focused on my partner’s centreline, and at redirecting force away from mine. I’m a bit too passive, and tend to just stay on the defensive.
Not a bad position to be in, and I have some clear areas for improvement.
Master Yao asked me to write an article about my experience of being a student at his school; it’ll go on his web site, and also in a magazine that will be published soon (not sure exactly what that is). Yikes! I need to think about what’ll be the right tone and approach to take for that….
After the class, I went to Beihai Park instead of the hills, and mooched around for a while. I hadn’t realized how close it is to my apartment if I cut through the hutongs! I finally saw the famous nine-dragon screen…
I took one of the shashkas and found a quiet spot to practice some more with that, alone except for the impassive gaze of an old man and his caged songbird….