Technically I’m writing this a few days late, but thats okay, since I come bearing gifts. Specifically, wushu videos.
Ruhi had asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday on Friday. My automatic answer was “Go to wushu”, so first thing Friday morning, January 1, 2010, we headed out to the wushu guan to get in a bit of wushu goodness. She was also nice enough to film some of the practice for me, so you have her to thank for the footage.
Today seemed a little more serious than usual. The head taolu coach (who’s name escapes me at the moment) was there and … well, actually he is always there. But today he actually was coaching. But fortunately for me he was coaching the group that I was not in, because he wasn’t taking any prisoners today.
At one point Ruhi heard him ask Xiao Yu, “Who are they?” (referring to Ruhi and I) and she answered “Oh, they’re always here”. Which, I figured he should have known since he saw me there all the time. But I guess today was the first day he bothered to ask someone who I was. But its nice to know that I’ve become a fixture of the team. Sort of like a mascot, I guess.
Basics were split up between the northern group and us southern folks. Here is a video of some combination work. You can sort of see me working on my horse stance in between the two carpets. I try to do a few lines of these each class, usually while they are working on nandu. But today they didn’t do specific nandu training, so I fit it in during lines of combinations. For those of you who have trained with me in the U.S. you will notice that my horse stance is finally getting to a respectable depth. Trust me, it took a lot of work just to get it where it is. Got a lot more work left to get it just right … Especially during a form where I tend to come out of it more than I’d like.
Anyway, after basics and combinations we split up and the southern folks, along with a few northerners (whom I like to call the “A Team”, for lack of a better designation) went to the NorthEast carpet (for lack of a better designation) while the “B Team” worked out on the NorthWest carpet.
I took a look at the schedule for today. 8 half sets! Holy cow! It was going to be quite the challenge … and as it turned out I was only able to squeeze out 4 of them before the end of class. My sections were 3-4, 3-4, 2-3 and 1-2.
Before my last half-set, while I was sitting down and getting a drink, I noticed an older man in the wushu guan. He didn’t look too familiar, so I walked over to Yuan Ming and asked him who he was. It turns out he was the head coach for the entire wushu team. Basically they guy that everyone else who does wushu or coaches wushu reports to. The Wu Bin of the Shaanxi Team, if you will.
And of course he comes and stands next to Coach Zhang just as I’m about to go up and do my sections. Ruhi heard him ask Coach Zhang who I was and asking him what was up with my stomach (i.e. “Why is he so big and what is he doing here?”)
Well, I guess he liked my wushu okay because after I went he walked over to Ruhi and started talking with her. Then, after a while I went over too and he introduced himself to me. Song Bin. He was very friendly, actually, and spoke with us for a good 20 minutes while the rest of the athletes were doing some conditioning and stretching. He talked about the phrases written on the walls, about using my waist more when I did wushu and he even exchanged phone numbers with Ruhi so that he could pass on some information about a traditional shadow puppet show for us to watch.
It was a little surreal.
After class I did a bit of stretching and then we headed off. But like I said, Ruhi took a lot of video so I’m going to show a few of the highlights here.
She also took some footage of my wushu training, so I’m going to stick that in the “members” section of wushuzilla.com for anyone who is interested.
Zhang Yang – Spear: I like her long fist, but for some reason she was practicing spear today. But thats okay. You can still check it out.
Changquan: I feel bad because I can’t remember this guy’s name, even though I’ve been told it a couple times. I want to say his last name is Zhao or Zhang, but I’m just not sure. Anyway, he is definitely the best long fist guy currently training with the Shaanxi Team so I asked Ruhi to be sure and get some of his stuff on video.
Long Weapons Practice: A few of the athletes practicing some long weapons. I just grouped these together since I wasn’t sure of their details and it wasn’t really long enough to make 3 individual videos.
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