A Costly Game of Basketball

By Wednesday lunch, a number of things had come together for me at the kung fu school.

Firstly, since the weekend, my kung fu teacher finished teaching me all the moves to the form I was working on. Having spoken to him on the previous Saturday, it was clear he understood my desire to learn as much as I could with my time there. It felt good to see that come together.

Secondly, after my realisation about the importance of ankle flexibility in my training, I spent most of my spare time before, in between and after training working my ankles and calf muscles. I managed to see some impact, because I can now officially do an asian squat. Whilst there’s a long way to go in maintaining a straight back for the purposes of kung fu stances, it shows some progress in the space of a few days of concentrated efforts.

To celebrate my achievements, I joined the rest of the students for a game of afternoon basketball. I hadn’t played basketball since school days and I was keen to test out the new and improved me.

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It’s all in the …

Leading up to last weekend, I began to get a little frustrated at the kung fu school. It was down to a combination of two things. Firstly, feeling the lack of material progress in my kung fu. Secondly, not being taught moves in a new form (set of kung fu moves) I had started learning. I wasn’t throwing my toys out the pram over a one day thing, but after a week of no progress, it definitely impacted my confidence and I didn’t know why.

It felt like my time at the school was running out and there was something I was missing. I was being told “yidian” (little by little) and “mingtian” (tomorrow). I was doing countless laborious movements 100s of times a day, every day and had worked hard on extra training.

It didn’t feel like the reason behind not teaching me anything new was malicious, but I couldn’t understand what why. Even if there was no time in the lessons to learn, there seemed to be time during the breaks. These were breaks I was happy to forgo, when the other students would mess around and choreograph kung fu fight scenes, I was stretching my hamstrings and repeating the forms I had learned. I know the students here have a different attitude to training – they have no issues skipping odd training sessions – bumps on a life long kung fu road aren’t as important for them as they are for me.

As for my progress in the basics – in the first month at the school, I had felt my hips loosening, my legs worked hard and my back get stronger. I was pleased with the way I learned the Pan Gen form. But in the last two weeks, I had none of that, even though I had kept my head down and concentrated on learning as much as I could. I wasn’t sure if my body was fully reconditioned or if I just wasn’t pushing myself enough. If it was the latter, I didn’t know where. Although I had built up strength, I wasn’t able to get myself into the stances in the way they described but I wasn’t able to see how I could progress into it.

 

 

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