I was tired and still a bit shore in the arms from doing some boat stuff a few day ago. We also had some rare visitors from out of town stop by that day. Yet I did not even consider not going to class with Shifu that night. The Tourny was last month but before that I had missed 3 months of going due to teaching some sailing classes. So I was going.
This was one of those night where I had not planned on doing anything but practice. Even though I can stay home an practice, it more motivating to practice at the school. I an also seeking help if there is something I forget.
I arrived shortly after class had started. There were a few students there already there including a couple of my Shixongs ( Sihings). One from San Francisco and from one Campbell, who does not always make it to the Friday night sessions. It is always nice to come to class and everyone says Hi Sihing with a bow, that always feels like welcome home. So much different form the Kyudo school were only a couple speak. On the other hand I have been part of the Kung Family for many moons and we have much training history.
After the greetings I settled into a corner in the parking lot to practice. First Tai Chi Palm, Shigong, Tai Chi form. That is always a good warmup and gets the chi flowing.
Next mantis staff. I went through that several times as I was getting a bit stuck in a couple of part. I recalled them but it was not as smooth as I wanted. I did not notice it at the time, but the next day my shoulder sockets were quite sore from that practice.
Next on my agenda was Tai Chi Jian. A bit backward in the line up because normally Tai Chi sword would be done before and external form like staff but that was the way I wanted to roll that night. So I drilled the sword several times. There was something that was not right in a couple of parts but I was not sure. My Shixong from SF was outsode now with another student , maybe his. HE was the one who showed me the Sword set and came over to give me correction. Nice! Afterwards he give me a few fine detail adjustments. That was perfect, just what I needed.
Next up I wanted to work on my hand set. My favorite Mantis form Lan jie. It had been while since I wen tthrough that so I was really rusty. Again Shixong came to my rescue. is was a bit different from what I learned, not in major point in a few minor more subtle moves and extra small technique. Rather than try to relearn the whole things, I just worked on about half. Next month I hit him up for the rest. Many of Shigong forms have two versions. With small differences. He taught for many year in Viet Nam when he was younger, then for many years in Hong Kong when he was older. Some of the flavors changed from one eras to the other. The refinement is different in some cases, maybe a few extra moves added, like in the case of Lan jie. Which I think make it much cooler.
After a few round so practice with that, I watched Shifu go over “small door” a two man drill with a couple of students. I asked about the kicks that were done when the Walnut creek school did it. He said that is the advanced form. But the kicks are nothing. I do not really see the point of having it as two forms and the kicks really change the flow of the drill, they are nothing special, just basic front kicks. I do not agree with the way it is setup, but I go along with it because that is the way they teach it in the seminar. It is nothing you need to be concerned with adding. Shixong from S.F. was there also and agreed. Shixong is my Elder brother in Mantis, but he is also my Uncle in Shaolin. He studied Northen Shaolin with Shifu under Wong Jac Man, Shigong ( the Bruce Lee fighter), so he is Eng Shifu’s classmate, but he also studied Mantis, but with another instructor who is the younger school mate of Eng Shifu.
Afterward I went in the office and chatted with my other Shixong from the Campbell school, Shifu’s son showed up a little while later. Shortly after that, we all gathered, in the workout area for a late meal and a talk about whatever. Sometimes we catch up on misc stuff, sometimes it is quiet. Tonight was a mix. Shifu usually gives me a shot of Cognac when I come down. It is one of the few hard liquors I’ll drink . Tonight he gave me a drink of some very smooth coqanc given to him from Raymond Wong Sisuk, of the LA school. He teaches Lost Track ( Myjong Law Horn) and TCPM . He was one of the founding partners of the Tai Mantis school in LA, with Shifu’s Kam Yuen, & Paul Eng, back in the 60’s. He vanished somewhat for many years, then started teaching again.
It was a good evening. I left, content.
(videos from hong Kong)