Monday, June 12, 2006
Sunday after noon 功夫
I have not spent a Sunday afternoon shooting guns in Texas, but I have spent a Sunday afternoon doing martial arts in Taiwan [editors note: "in China" would make that sentence much cooler, but its hard to justify. The cultural connection between China and Taiwan is deep, but it just feels silly to call this place China since we don't live in the PRC's wet-dreams...hmmm...that sound is this blog getting blocked away from 1.3 billion people...]
I was invited to kung fu class to hang out with some of my master's pupils for most of today. First thing noticeable, they are all hilariously similar. My master is a big dork, albeit a lethal dork, but his dork qualities are apparent. You can see a photo of him on this entry. He is very shy, so he did not exactly smile for the camera. He has a big goofy smile; he loves to do beautiful, deadly, and incredibly fast things and then beam a huge smile, like a dweeby scientist might beam after showing off a chemistry trick to a class of elementary students. His real students follow in similar vain. The two main pupils and master alike wear black pants up to the belly button, and rock white wife beaters for shirts (sorry if wife-beater is not PC, I am a red state native and not sure of the real word).
The actually activities were great. This class focused more on actually fighting then previous ones. We did very tiring drills. For example kicking a pad or kneeing a pad over and over. A minute and a half of which can be shockingly tiring if you are giving it your all. Our master would always point out that when he was young, he had to do far more of these then that (for instance kicking the pad for thirty minutes!).
It was also a cool thing to see a new side of master Ruan (I believe that is his name, it may be Luan, sadly I am not sure). I have always seen him with new students, or older students. In both cases, he is far more kind than he is to his young but trained students. He made fun of, although in his very kind hearted way, his two pupils training in his absence ("you are only doing this for a minute? Didn't I make you do this for five minutes before").
We then busted out the wooden katana. We took the katana and broke blocks until we broke the katana. It was the first time where I could really feel that how I apply force has changed (you can really feel that the more you relax, the more power you produce). I am proud to say I sliced some blocks real good. We also did sparring for the first time. It was interesting for me, because it showed me what I really need to improve. Of course all in attendance were so beyond my level it was not really a competition, but I did learn a lot. Also, we got out the old fake gun, and master Ruan taught ways to get a gun out of someone's hand.
The day was really fun. I made friends with the talkative pupil, who was very engaging and generally cool. The other pupil mostly smiled and said maybe three sentences the entire day. Next time I meet up with them, one of them should teach me the meaning of white, and let me tell you, its about time I got this white thing down.