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.
All the students walked up the road to a local court. Once we got there, it was clear someone has decided to use the court to store their corn. Whilst I’ve seen my fair share of food produce, flowers or brick stores on the sides of the road, I hadn’t seen something like that before. In my mind, I was thinking the game was off or we’d have to find somewhere else to play.
I underestimated how industrious the Chinese are. The most senior student barked a few words in Chinese and students started moving the corn. Only couples of minutes later, the stack of corn was migrated to the side of the court and the game was back on.
The students were split into four teams, Team 1 playing Team 2, Team 3 playing Team 4. Winner of each match playing in the final together. Being a newbie and “strong”, I was given made captain. I returned the privilege with plenty of pivots and outrageous attempts to score. Although our team did well winning the first match and getting to the final, although we lost the final itself after a tight game.
After the game, and the adrenaline wearing off, I felt the sole of my foot a little tender. After inspecting I found thisâ€¦.
A pretty big blister on the pivoting ball of my foot that had unfortunately already burst. I NEVER get blisters. The round patch of skin you see was nicely (painfully) sitting separated.
I was hobbling by the time we got back to the school and very cross with myself. Given our kung fu training completely revolves around stepping, twisting and balancing on your feet, Thursday was shamefully deemed to be a write-off for me.
Worse still, with only a week and a half left at the school, I had planned to run my half marathon on the Saturday. Remember, it was one of my targets whilst at the school and I was aiming to do it in barefoot running shoes. I had spent the weeks leading up to then gently increasing the mileage to 16km for a final 21km run.
Will the wound heal up in time for Saturday?
Now where are those wound closure strips I packedâ€¦..