Day 2 – Friday

Sleeping in starfish position on top of my blanket in an attempt to not sweat was not a success, more like a total disaster, I got only a few hours of sleep and I was covered in sweat most of the time, it was almost bliss when the alarm went off at 5.50. (Never thought I would say that)
My body is surprisingly not hurting as much as I had feared (major win) I could still put on socks and comb my hair without too much pain, maybe some of the training preparation actually worked.
We are starting to learn the basic movements of taichi, I like the calmness and silence during the early morning training (f you don’t count in the screaming crickets) but I am really really bad at Tai chi, I simply don’t have that zen thing needed. Hopefully that will come at some point.
The breakfast is still the same, eggs and bread, good thing its Saturday and shopping day tomorrow. I am happy it at least has eggs so you can get some protein, and there is bread too, even though there are no condiments included. At the old school I was at,power-stretching-pain-scream-kungfu-flexibility-maling the breakfast was thin rice soup and fried cabbage…. Not really delicious at 7 in the morning (or at any other time for that matter) so the breakfast here is actually quite good compared to that.

The next morning class at 8.30 is power stretching. Some of the other students say it is very painful. I am actually looking forward to it, maybe because being flexible is one of the few things within martial arts that I am somewhat good at. We are starting with a run and some light stretching on the bars again. Then we go inside to take the mats outside, it’s a lot nicer to at least have a soft foundation when you are in pain. We are in groups of 3 and there are a set of stretches that everybody has to do and then there are some optional ones you can do if you have the time or take the break to do. The basics in it is very simple, take a pose, e.g. a split, go out as far as you can and then the job of the two others are to just pull your limps further away from each other while you try not to scream out in pain.power-stretching-kungfu-training-china-maling-pain
One of my goals is to be able to do both side and front split by the time I go home, at the moment I am missing some 20 cm in the front split and about 30 in the side split. It should be possible if I train hard on it.
The second morning training is forms. Since I am new and there are 3 new Dutch guys as well we are being taken aside by the shifu and he shows us some basic moves that we need to practice on. There is no purpose in teaching us forms until we know some basics. Very annoying when I want to be a kung fu master now; but sadly I have to agree that it makes sense to learn basics first. Maybe I will even improve my patience while I am here, is that also needed to be more Zen? I might also have to work just a little bit on that arm/hand/leg/foot/balance coordination thing.

I was very determined not to take a nap in the lunch break so I could hopefully sleep in the night, that determination lasted until I sat down. After a 1½ hour nap, still jetlagged and with sore muscles I was far from ready for a 10 km run. Every Friday afternoon, as the last training before the weekend there is a 10km run. It is running to the little village and then a bit further, up a hill, touch the gate at a teahouse and then run back again. As mentioned earlier I am not the fastest runner in the world, even though I really like running, and with the before mentioned issues and 30 degrees I made it a staggering 2.5-3km before I had to start walking and turned back. The shifu was a bit worried for us new students so he had taken the scooter and driven along the route, he sent back one of the older slightly injured students to walk me home so I would not get lost on the way. To my defense, the other new students didn’t make the entire run either, they just got a bit further than me. But okay, one of my goals for being here is to get in better shape, being incredible bad from the beginning just means that I can improve so much more

in the evening we relaxed and watched yet another movie, in two days I have watched more movies than I have in the past three months. It is already feeling incredibly nice that I have the time for that, at home and right up until my departure to china my life was insanely busy. Here, life seems relaxed, calm and easy, a welcome change for me.

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