Just to keep you up to date with what’s happening…
The school’s website mentions that they teach Shaanxi xingyiquan, of the Song family lineage. Tom from the Rum Soaked Fist was kind enough to fill me in on the style and its background, and mentioned that it’s the form of xingyi practised by Alex Kozma – who I know from attending a bagua workshop he put on many years ago in Singapore. Much water has passed under the bridge since then! Still, it just goes to show that the world of martial arts can be small indeed…
I’ve been to two more classes: Thursday and yesterday (Saturday). With Vladimir on holiday, both were run by Dima.
On Thursday, there were the same other two students as on Tuesday, ie the two of them plus me plus Dima. We ran through a dizzying variety of exercises: the five element fists, dragon and tiger movements, spear-shaking, stepping, partner forms… Almost all of this was entirely new to me, so by the end of the lesson, my brain was in full meltdown!
Yesterday, in the school gym, it was just me and Dima, and we covered pretty much the same material. He spent a lot of time correcting me on details, but once again it was a lot for me to try to absorb – especially the partner sequences, which for some reason simply won’t stick in my my memory. He also demonstrated a lot more of the the spear steps (6, I think) and more from the 12 animal forms.
We had time to chat; him recalling very rusty English, me trying some faltering Russian. He told me about his time as a conscript soldier; he was sent to Mengistu’s Ethiopia as a ‘military advisor’, where he (if I understood correctly) was radio operator in a combat unit. Now he’s in the construction line, possibly a roofer, though we couldn’t quite find the right word. He told me about being attacked by an angry monkey while he was in Ethiopia, and how that’s deepened his understanding of the monkey form 😉
Basically, all I can say at this stage is that these guys really know their xingyi. This looks like it will be interesting.
Image credits: Angry Long Tailed Macaque – Penang, Malaysia by user Crystal Patsalides on Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons license.