I arrived just a bit behind the approx start time, due to a late start and some phone issues. Again Fong Sisuk was there, I guess he is making it a regular monthly stop now. Nice. When I arrived they were already working on the Wooden dummy training partner. Fong Sisuk was showing the difference between doing the application on the training dummy and doing it with a live person. Most of it had to do with “closing”, as in closing the arms or hands. How the skills are directly transferred with a small adjustment for because working with a movable person.
Even though I brought along my weapons bag, I just watched and absorbed what was being said instead of practicing my weapons forms.
After a while he went into knife defense. He stressed how the knowing the application is only a small part of doing the technique when dealing with a knife. It is the accumulation of training that makes the techniques work, Strength, timing, etc. things that come from working with multiple weapons, partners, etc. KNOWing one’s style’s basics and being able to perform them well. It is NOT just about knowing a few knife defense applications. After that, we went through several defense technique stressing not only hands positions, but footwork and body placement. Knife work is a high art not to be taken lightly, you get one chance to make it work…
After a few rounds and explanations of training, we broke for food and chit chat. In the past when Sisuk visited, he would take off about this time, these days he has been staying and hanging with us. Sharing some stories about Sigung and his own training history with him. even though Eng Shifu is his elder, Fong Sisuk was with Sigung longer and spent more training time with him. Fong Sisuk is regarded as the youngest Shifu of the 8th generation the Northern Shaolin Tai Chi Praying Mantis style. So it is always interesting to hear his memories of the grandmaster.
Usually we go home after eating, tonight Fong Sisuk starting talking about various weapons, that Shifu had there at the school. He mostly gave a demo and some history on the spear halbard and tell of how dangerous a weapon it was. Not a interesting form to learn or see, because it is all in the application.
With some other chatting on misc topics, Sigung’s intense training session in his later years. His stressing knowing the qualities of Mantis in combat being likened to the I-ching and it’s changing dynamics, being able to flow and adapt with those changes. Soon we ended the evening as it was getting late. There is a certain ego coolness, and responsiblity in being a Shifu, but it there is a fun factor that comes in when just being a student and hanging out with classmates. Perhaps more pronounced to me with having few friends, and none to just hang with regularly.
I was pleased after it all that I only have a 45 min drive now instead of and hour plus, even late at night. Sweet! No more sessions until after the holidays. This was the last Friday Fu until 2010.