When last we left my training adventures I was anticipating a week with the professional Shaanxi Team athletes who were back from their post-All China Games hiatus.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Monday I was pleased to see that Wu Ya Nan and a group of new athletes in the wushu guan. Among them were a few of the athletes I had taken pictures of during the pre-competition training session. Specifically, this girl (who’s name I don’t know). But based on what I saw, her wushu skill is pretty good (even though she looks 12 years old).
Wu Ya Nan introduced me to the main nanquan coach too. I was prepared for a tough workout, but instead of anyone working out or doing warm ups together, it turned out that it was more of a free-form training session. The next day they would all be leaving for the Traditional Wushu Games in Jiangsu Province so they were just using this practice as more of a social hangout and last-minute walk through for the forms they would be competing with.
I also got to meet Yue Xiao Yu, who was their sole nanquan representative at the All China Games. Here is her nanquan footage from the competition:
Interesting thing was that for the traditional games she was practicing taiji jian (sword). When I asked Wu Ya Nan why she was going to compete in Taiji sword considering how good her nanquan is, he shrugged and said “she likes Taiji”.
Some other guys were practicing Ditang Quan, and some others were doing a variety of other traditional styles. But for the most part it seemed like they were just sort of having a good time being back home and hanging out. Of course, this meant I didn’t have much of a workout, but I didn’t let that stop me from doing something productive.
Around 4:30 most of the athletes had wondered off. WYN told me that they would be leaving the next day so he wouldn’t see me until they got back the next week. Well, at least I would still have the same folks to train with as the previous week, right?
So in the end it was just Yue Xiao Yu on one carpet practicing taiji sword and me on another carpet doing conditioning exercises. I did 3 sets of frog leaps, 3 sets of 10 burpies and a bunch of wall sits. Also a few jogs and sprints in there too. I left around 4:55, but YXY was still going through her taiji when I was leaving. I guess she really
does like taiji!
During the class WYN had called up the administration office to find out what I should do about payment for training. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) they weren’t in so he left a message. He said that if they called back before the end of class then we would go over and talk to them, but since they didn’t call back he said not to worry about it for the week and that we would deal with it when they returned from Jiangsu.
Yay! Another week in limbo!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
The next day I showed up to practice at 3:00 PM. However, it turned out that not just the main team members had left for Jiangsu. In fact, almost
everyone had left, and the only people left to train were a few kids or random people. I ended up training with some of the teen boys and the girl from Zhejiang. But there were only about 15 of us in the whole training hall.
We started off with a keep-away soccer type of game for about 30 minutes (not much of a warm up, to be honest) and then we did some lines of random combos, like forward rolls and some ditang basics. Of course, I couldn’t do a lot of the ditang stuff so I would work on whatever I could, but it was fun to see them trying to do whatever they could.
But before too long it basically deteriorated into a free for all of randomness. Case in point, this video:
The only saving grace was that at the end of class the guy in charge (who couldn’t have been more than 18 years old) had everyone run sprints cross-ways across the hall (around 100 feet), 15 times in a row. Now for someone like me, that was a bit much, but I did manage to get 12 sprints out, even though I didn’t finish until the rest of them had already been sitting down and stretching for a bit.
I had thought I would stay after and do some conditioning, but it turned out they were going to lock up the wushu guan so I had to head out of there. Ah well, at least I would get to practice another day …
On my way out I took this video of some of the gymnastics girls running their laps at the track. It is both scary and inspirational.
I had to run some errands on this day so I couldn’t make it to class to train. Since no one was around who would notice, it didn’t seem like such a big loss.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
It seemed like even less of a loss when I came to the wushu guan and found out that the group I had trained with on Tuesday had not even been there on Wednesday. Even if I had shown up there wouldn’t have been a practice.
And it seemed that would be the case on Thursday too. When I got there no one was there to train with. Some of the kids from an earlier group who were finishing up at 3:00 were still there and one of them, Qi Peng Hui, really wanted to hang out and talk with me. He’s trying to teach himself English, so I thought it would be good to give him the opportunity, since there probably weren’t a whole ton of native English speakers hanging out in this wushu guan on a daily basis.
It turned out he also wanted me to teach him the intro to my nanquan form. He went on and on about how unique and interesting my choreography was and how he “hadn’t seen anything like it before”, which is either his nice way of saying that my stuff is just bizarre and weird, or maybe he actually likes my choreo. Either way, I at least got to do a little teaching of my form, so that was good.
To be honest, my form isn’t all that unique. Many parts of it were taken from other forms I had learned over the past 15 years, but I guess I might have arranged them in a unique way or something. Or at least in a way that current athletes aren’t doing. In any case, its always fun to trade wushu with someone.
I took a video of him introducing himself to everyone, but I don’t have that video with me so I can’t upload it for you all to see. Next time though, I promise. He was a nice kid. He even went over some of the Chinese for a few nanquan techniques with me, since I never really learned the proper names for some of the stances and movements.
And, sadly, that was the last practice I’ve had in the past 2 weeks. As I was leaving I saw a bunch of the kids I had been training with some back in a taxi from what looked like a shopping excursion. They seemed very surprised to see me. Sort of like “Oh crap. Didn’t anyone tell him we weren’t training today??”. It was kind of funny, actually.
The next day I didn’t train and Friday I was running around trying to take care of my visa extension which I couldn’t get. Which meant I had to run down to Hong Kong to renew my visa. And what happened after that was a whole ‘nother adventure, including blistering heat, snow storms of the century, and a brush with the Swine Flu. I’ll save all of that for another blog entry though.
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