Monday, 30 June 2008

lessons in discipline and perseverance with a master of Shandong Mantis Kung Fu

After the Tai Chi master returned to Jinan I decided to go to a park where Id heard I could find people practicing kung fu. I saw a couple of middle aged guys practicing Tai Chi and they told me they practiced with a master of Mantis and that he would come tomorrow. So the next day I went to the park at 5.30am and I saw a man in his late 50s doing Qigong. The 2 guys introduced him to me as Xu Jing Yi, the head of the Taiji-Meihua lineage of mantis in Qingdao. The first thing the master Xu asked me was what Ive learnt before and I told him just a little Wing Chun, to which he asked me to show him, so I ran through Chum Kiu, which he laughed at and said it is womens kung fu and that I first need to master Jiben Gong (basic body training) before I can learn specific styles. The 2 other guys told me master Xu also teaches Shaolin Quan and Chen style Taiji Quan.

So first he taught me Ma Bu (horse stance) and Gung Bu (front stance). He told me I must first master these before I can learn the other 6 basic stances and the kicks and strikes. I had to hold each stance as long as I could and once he was confident I could do it, he would show me the next one. This went on for a few weeks, master Xu was very strict and some mornings he wouldnt show me anything new (which meant I had not made progress) and other mornings show me 2 or 3 things. This was very tiring, I had to force myself out of bed every morning and I hated going, as my whole body was aching so much. Especially sometimes when master Xu didnt show me anything new, he would just leave me practicing the same thing over and over and I never got any encouragement. When I asked him how long I need to study basics he just told me "hen duo, hen duo" (a lot, a lot).

Last week he suddenly stopped me mid practice and told me to stand next to him and follow him and he then showed me the opening movements to a basic form of Shaolin Quan, and every morning since then he has shown me 3 or 4 more movements until I finally finished it.

1 comment:

Dave Pickens said...

Sounds like you are having a wonderful adventure! I wish you much success and would like to publish some of your stories on our AAU Chinese Martial Arts New Letter.

It stories like yours that burn the inspiration for other young people wishing to go to China to view the arts.

Warmest Wishes
Dave Pickens
AAU National Chairman
Chinese Martial Arts Division