Kung Fu: an update

Well, tonight was the night I came back after a two week hiatus, where in lieu of training I was sick with the flu, busy with work, or being tired. I hoped to rehash a little on the Small Tiger form I have completed, as well as the first staff form bits, because I am afraid I have already forgotten them. I am always told how great my memory is, because I pick up these techniques quickly and remember them easily, but if I don’t use it often enough, I’m fairly sure my brain goes “it must be useless, trash it.” I call it “going the way of the Taekwondo patterns”—I’ve pretty much forgotten all of them (that and half of the Tai Chi I ever learnt) …

The night I came back to Kung Fu, I somehow got put in between two old school members for shin conditioning. For those of you uninitiated in the theories of “strength through pain,” shin conditioning is where a line of students stand in horse stance (imagine having to sit on a horse, except the horse isn’t there,) each student alternating the direction they’re facing so that everyone’s legs are locked, pressed shin to shin. Then imagine the old school tough-as-nails guy to the left of me grinding his knife of a shin into mine, not content with just pressing against me. He actually wants to maximise the area in which he is hurting me. Brilliant, I think, I chose a great spot to stand in line.

After that, it was stance training: I think something moreso for the beginners than the advanced students, this is to drill correct stances into a student’s brain. Bend that knee more, don’t lean at that point, turn that foot to this angle, turn those hips to that angle. That sort of thing. I have to say, holding all those stances, along with holding the horse stance for shin conditioning, along with holding the horse stance for regular arm conditioning, really hurts my feet. My sports orthoses act like large stones in my shoes, digging in at that right point. I’m complaining, aren’t I? Oops.

The next bit is the only part I would call fun, and it certainly does make up for the beginner’s stuff before it: sparring. For some reason, I always have to get partnered with my sparring buddy Spike at least once a sparring session. It’s like Sifu really, really, really wants to see me get pummeled. He’d probably say something like “it’s good for you—what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” But what if it does kill me?

Sparring with Spike is fun, because he’s damned good. Whenever you think you’re moving fast enough and reacting fast enough to match him, he simply ups his speed, always staying that one notch faster, better and more skilful than you. Which is a good challenge, although sometimes disheartening. Whenever I get told to spar with him, I always say “jeez, don’t you have someone better to spar against? Someone closer to your level?” He smiles and replies with “Nah, you’re good!” right before smacking me in the face. Then he finds a pace in which to hit me, before going “damn, you’re faster than that,” and steps up. He has a lot of steps with which to step up above you.

All in all, not too bad; my injuries are mostly superficial—a bruise to the left of my left eye, scrapes and bruises along my arms, a sore knee, sore shins and sore feet—though I did make his arm bleed. I wondered how that happened, then had the thought that “perhaps he cut himself when his arm smashed into the stubble on my chin. Or maybe when he hit me in the teeth.”

I wonder how my Orthodontist would like that thought, after all her hard work …

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