This week the schedule for training changed a bit. They swapped a few days around, as well as a few of the activities. This week’s afternoon schedule (the morning is always just wushu training) was supposed to be like this:
*Thu: Running (Sprints)
*Sat: Running (Long)
But actually today (Wednesday) they swapped the morning and afternoon, so they didn’t train in the morning and we had wushu forms training in the afternoon. That was good news for me, since I wanted to do forms training and not have another day off. Later on I would find out why they switched it…
I also spoke with Coach Zhang about my training schedule. Work is pretty busy right now so I let him know that I would only be able to come to class 3 times a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He said that was fine. My main concern is that if next week is the same schedule as this week, then Wednesday afternoon they might not have class. I suppose I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
Before class started I saw the familiar groups of little kids training. Usually I just watch, but this time I saw one group of them practicing a beginning long fist form so I thought I would snag some video. Keep in mind that they have only been training for a few months to maybe a year. The starting point of every professional athlete out there today.
The class was similar to Monday’s class. The athletes seems to be in pretty good spirits today, and for some reason my legs felt really good. Usually it takes me a good 15 minutes to get my horse stance stretch going, but today I was able to drop down in to it almost immediately. Also, my endurance was improving so I was feeling pretty good during basics and even got a few low jumps in to the mix.
But I noticed that there was an older gentleman pacing around on one side of the room. I asked Yuan Ming and he said that he was the head of the team. ”Teacher. Number One.” he said, which I took to mean that he was the team manager or head coach (or both). I had never seen him before, but he might come to the morning class all the time for all I know.
Anyway, after we had been practicing combinations for a while one of the other coaches that I sometimes see in the wushu guan came in with some guy I hadn’t seen before. He sat with a few of the coaches in front of the Taiji athletes, and then sat for a while in front of our group. Then, after something was said by the head coach to Coach Zhang there was an immediate flurry of activity. All of Chu Feng Lian’s kids grabbed their coats and headed in to the weight training room and shut the door. Most of the older athletes in my group started getting ready for jumps and I was told by Yue Xiao Yu that I should train on my own on the side for the time being.
It turns out that the guy was a coach for the Army Team (解放军队). For those of you who don’t know, the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) also has a wushu team, but unlike the other teams their athletes don’t train together at a central facility but are recruited from various regional and provincial teams where they live and train. I suppose the host team gets some monetary compensation for training the Army team member, which might be good motivation for them to have some of their wushu athletes get recruited for competition by the Army. (Thats just my speculation though.)
In any case, it looked like this guy was here to check out some athletes. And here he had been watching me do combinations in front of him! Yikes!
The jumpers in our group started practicing their nandu combinations while a bunch of us went to the side to work on stretching or stances or whatever (basically looking busy on the side while watching the crazy jumps of these athletes). After about 15 minutes of that we switched up and started doing sections cycling through using the two carpets on the east side of the room.
Yue Xiao Yue said it was okay to work in to the rotation as they were done with the nandu demonstration for the visiting coach, but I still felt like keeping myself a little more distant from him. I rotated through the farther carpet and didn’t go to the carpet next to him so that he could pay more attention to the Shaanxi Team athletes, which is really the reason he was there; not to watch some foreigner pretend to do wushu.
I managed to get 3 sections out, which wasn’t too bad considering how long it had been since I had done any full sections. I really like training like that: basics followed by form combinations followed by full sections. It helps me build up a work on specific problem areas of my form.
After class I did some stretching to make sure I didn’t stiffen up too much. Friday it is back to the wushu guan, this time for some more power training. 加油！
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