kung fu

Why You Should Keep a Dream Diary

Soon after I landed at the Wugulun Kung Fu School, I blogged about how doing something small but significant every morning has been suggested to materially positively affect your life. After finding myself dreaming more often in sleep, I took up an idea from a friend of mine called a dream diary. Those with attention to detail of my past photos, would have seen it noted into the new schedule I wrote up a couple of months ago. I didn’t want to mention anything until some time had passed.

If you haven’t already guessed it, it’s a record of the dreams you have which you write down every morning as soon as you wake up. I did this because I thought it would be a great idea to see what my subconscious mind was thinking about and any enlightenment that might bring. Thoughts, feelings and fears. i wouldn’t turn my nose up at a few lottery number premonitions if they came about either.

In this blog I explain what I found in my own dreams and how you could go about keeping one yourself.

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Moving from a Small Town to the Big City of Beijing

By Monday night, my time at the Wugulun Kung Fu school had come to an end. Two months there had flown by. I can’t emphasise enough how much of a good experience it was. What I learned about myself, understanding the benefits of the repetitive traditional kung fu training, discovering the fundamentals of mastering any martial art and meeting such an open and loving bunch of guys. Before I left, I bought some gifts to give out to the students – sweets for everyone and for the students in my group – a badminton set for the young ones and some bracelets for the senior ones. When it was announced at the dinner line-up that I’d be leaving the following morning, 30 sad-looking faces turned to face me followed by questions like “tomorrow?” and “you come back?”. It didn’t last too long (realising there were sweets up for grabs) and I had a precession follow me back to my room after to find the sweets. The most senior student had them all line up outside and each one stepped forward to take the sweets, thank me with a hug and fall back into line.
It was a far cry from the initial culture shock I felt when I landed at the school. It’s amazing how things change. How much will I miss it? I’m not sure – but time will tell. 
After a two hour cab ride to Zhengzhou airport, I caught my flight to Beijing. Even at airport, I began to feel the changes moving from a small town like Dengfeng to a big city. […]

Learning About Yourself

When I told people that I’m going to China to spend 2 months in a kung fu school, most people would imagine a purely physical experience. They assume that you’ll learn to fight, perhaps learn a few party tricks, overcome pain barriers and finally come back wanting to wear a kung fu suit every day.
For me, one of the important aspects of my time here, was to learn more about myself. I wasn’t quite sure how that would happen here, but a leap of faith told me that it would. The gut feeling was that the most traditional teachings of something extremely deep was the key.
Now, coming to the end of my time here at the school, I look back and feel that I’ve learned a lot about myself. It’s by no means the answer to everything, but a big step in terms of understanding. The process feels like noticing, questioning and peeling back layers in my thought process one by one, exposing important truths underneath. It’s difficult to put a price on it, certainly at this stage.
In this post, I explain how I think the time here has allowed me to do this, what I’ve learned and why I think it’s important. […]

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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