Mantis Season 08′ – Training day 4

1 08 2008

The weather was good today whilst I was out running errands. Traditional I do the appreciation certificate for the elder at the seminars. Today was no different I needed to find some frames. after that had been taken care of along with buying some nice paper to print it on, my out side errands were done for the day.

Around 4:00 pm I started my walk to the train station. Today my student was to pick me up at another station and we were trying another route to Campbell , Ca where Eng Shifu school is located. It was good choice, the traffic was much much better. So good in fact we arrived at the school 1 hour before the session was to start. I thought it was perfect. I picked a spot in the corner and sat in meditation for 15 min. Then did Tai Chi Palm , which is our Sigong’s developed Tai Chi and particular to our style. By the time I had finished that people were arriving so I went outside to practice Tai Chi Palm sword ( gim/jian). Ahh I was warmed up now and ready to practice the external stuff. A review of Kun Luk was in order. My memory for the order is better today not perfect, but much better. My student had asked me to go over the two person drill with her, so that was next on my plate. We went through it a bit, but as she did not remember well it was difficult. One of the younger students of Eng Shifu asked if he could review with us. I said yes. He remember one move I had missed. That was a big help. A bit after that point I practiced with him as my partner. That was really helpful, we could work on the whole drill and develop a rhythm. That help all the pieces click for me with my student it was not clicking because I had to help her. The kid I was working with, his brother came and he and my student went through it together. It was a good exchange. I helped them yesterday they helped me today.

The session officially started. Everyone bowed in and Sihing lead us through some warm ups, stretching, kicks, punches and stance drills before we spilt into two groups where Sibak, Sifu and Sisook took over our section. Sibak had us do some more punches and kick combinations, some of which were jumping, kick, combinations. Not the high flashy one like from Northern Shaolin but low Mantis kicks combinations. We had done some of those in the past workshops because we re a northern style, but not today, other than the kicks warmup kicks.

After a group review of Kun Luk we went back to Mantis. We really put time in on that today, demoing for Sibak in pairs and solo, until he felt we knew it. Myself and a couple of other students from Sisuk’s school already learned it before so we had a bit of advantage on the overall form. But Sibak was correcting us on detail, balance , footwork, angles, hand position. Nice! it was work but nice!

lastly on the the applications. First a review of the seven from yesterday. I did pretty well in remembering, There was only one which I had out of order. Which in reality did not matter, I recalled the technique. When using it there is no order. Then Sibak gave us the final three. Seems odd if thinking about off hand, for the length of the form there are only 10 application. However some of the parts in the form are pushes, and punches and basic strikes. The 10 application within the form give the heart of the Mantis.

1. Praying Mantis catching cicada & Single pressing palm

2. Grabbing-hand with face-striking palm

3. Under arm needle and leading the Goat

4. White Crane spreads its winds and elbow breaking strike

5. Left elbow pressing and hooking hand with waist chopping palm

6. Left split palm and Mantis hook waist strike

7. Outward block followed Mantis hook hand

8. Golden plate holding the moon and groin kick

9. A crane launch to the sky and double punch

10 Praying Mantis neck hooking claw and waist-chopping palm

It is nice for me to have some official name and techniques rather than just trying to figure them out. That also works, but this way one knows they work. One thing different about Seven Star and Tai Chi Mantis is Tai Mantis techniques sometimes have to be de-coded. They do not translate directly sometimes. Meaning from the form and the application there are a few hidden movements or modification that need to take place in order for the technique to work.

Phycially I am doing well. I ache a bit here and there, some of it maybe from age, being over 55, some of it just from the workout. My legs are less sore than I thought they would be from all the crouching and twist stances in the Mantis. My arms/shoulders ache a bit, and my back, but nothing enough to be of concern. Pain is always part of training and life. One learns to deal with it, these are minor discomforts. Sihing came in from working outside with the Horse Cutting group groaning a bit saying something about getting old. I laughed and said you do not even have any grey yet. He said oh, there are a few here and there. I replied not like mine. Another Sihing, who’s late father was 8th generation, laughed, and said you seem in good shape. Tell us your secret. I replied, being a vegetarian and kung fu.

Actually I did not give much thought to my condition. I did get a little stiff I noticed when I sat in zazen position during a long break. I figured that was normal, after a minute or so of stretching I was good to go again. I did not get too out of breath doing the drills and recovered fairly well. Sisuk surprised me by saying I was in good shape after he watch me do some drills at the end and said he was proud of me. One does not hear that often at my age. I hope to be in as good condition as Sisuk is when I am 65 like him and Sifu is at over 70 even with the way he smokes. I am unsure of Chiang Sibaks age , at least around Sifu;s age but is also in great shape, and limber, his kicks get up there. These are good people to have as a model for senior age, as I see the beginning of the path

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