Seeing stars

I’ve just come indoors after a session of zhan zhuang, shoulders aching…

It’s a lovely evening again; we’ve had a few in the last week. The sky is clear, and the stars are out, bright and clear. At the moment, Venus and Jupiter are visible, outshining everything else in the sky. As I stand, I can hear the waterlogged soil groaning and shifting; the warm sunshine has started it into a slow motion, rising and stirring the plants into spring growth.

Last week, I planted a Snowdon Queen pear tree, and an Abergwyngregyn damson tree – heritage Welsh varieties that should be well adapted to the damp climate. I’ve planted two climbing roses, both very fragrant varieties; one flowers in early summer, the other in late summer/early autumn, so we should get scent for a good half of the year.

I’ve had a few practice sessions with my new Weaponedge shashka now. The video I posted, Dance with a Shashka, has led me to adjust the way I hold the handle. In Beijing, I got into the habit of holding the handle high, right next to the pommel; the pommel effectively became the pivot as the sword swung around. After watching ‘Dance with a Shashka’ closely, though, I saw that she was holding it much lower, at the base of the handle where it joins the blade. Copying this, I’ve found that a finger on the ricasso becomes the pivot, with my little finger occasionally using the pommel to guide the movement. Doing it this way, I’m finding it easier to do a lot of the moves, and the sword swings much more freely. However, I still need to practice much, much more – even this evening, I managed to hack my leg just above the ankle, drawing a little blood. Good job the shashka is blunt! The other day, I even managed to smack the back of my head with a glancing blow…

Anyway, swinging the shashka, and transferring it from one hand to another, is really showing me that my shoulders have tightened up a heck of a lot over the last year; that’s the tension from work… I don’t have the endurance in zhan zhuang that I did, either. It’ll be easier to practice now that spring is coming, though – I’ll be able to stand outside in fresh air at last! Thank goodness for that, I’m so tired of winter!

1 Comment

  1. Hi, I noticed you were in Beijing for some time. I was wondering if you could fill me in on some info about the martial arts school here (specifically in the Chaoyang Dist).



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