The Training Path – Shifu

2 03 2008

Friday Fu with Shifu.

long weaponsIt had been 3 months since I had been down to Shifu’s. I missed all the Holiday gatherings from both schools because of work or travel or family. Now I am re-programing my life pattern again so time to get back into the cycle. I did not remember if I had told anyone I was coming tonight. It did not matter though.

I got off early from work so I had a bit of time to relax before making the 1 hour min. drive. Traffic turned out to be pretty good, although I did leave on the somewhat late side, about 6:45pm. I arrived@ the Campbell studio around 8:00pm. I came in paid my respects and greetings to all, and started to warm up. I was expected. I was told vegetarian fair was added. One of the things we do on the Friday night practice is eat afterwards. The class/ workout is very loose format. We work-on practice whatever we want and ask any questions on anything. We exchange ideas, clear up questions on application.

I first went through my Tai Chi Palm, after some stretching and horse stance practice. Next went into Yang 24 Tai Chi. I had a couple of question on application of a move in Tai Chi palm so I asked, Art Shixong . He was there as usual practicing. He runs a group in S.F. and is a classmate of Shifu’s in Wong Jac Man Shigong’s Shaolin Linage, as well as being senior student to Fong Shibak ( elder uncle) another of the 8th generation Chuk Kai Tai Chi Mantis Linage. We went through a couple of things, and also with the added input from Shifu , my questions where covered. With Shifu’s added comment after a discussion grew from this being; “this is why it is important to explain what the movement is doing, not just how to do the move. This is how the student understands.”

It is interesting seeing the differences in teaching styles with Shifu and Shisuk they are completely different personalities and styles. Shifu taught compact skills to the Rangers in Viet Nam. Shisuk grew up in Hong Kong and Shanghai not from a wealth family. They are like Yin and Yang, Fire and water. Both can kill or be helpful.

rackMy next practice section is with Tai Chi sword. I had been working with Art Shixong on this, however I have not been practicing and needed review badly. That is what we did for the next 30 min, review. The main parts I remembered but there were connections I was missing in the form. It was good to repeat. I declined going further until I was better with what I had.

Around this time dinner was ready. Part of the Friday night gathering is we have food afterward. Either BBQ done there at the school or people bring stuff. It the bonding time, food, beer, Cognac. We talk or do not talk, depends. Shifu tells about some history or we just speak about misc stuff, chat.

Generally afterward it is usually late and I take off. Tonight I stayed later. I got one of my brothers to show me a grappling drill I had missed from the seminar, but had seen them practice. We went through it a bunch. He told me Shifu’s explanations from how it is done in the real world and how it is done in class and flow is maintained. This is something I have been wanting to give my students to work on. Since I do not have any new students, I can give my group more advance things to work on now. The group that I have now, will be the ones who will carry my line when I go to Nihon.

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