my wushu story the halcyon days


Okay, ham-ish title, and it’s not like it Wushu West is bad now, just me and my motivation.

As I explained before, the first year or so of wushu I was a wushu craving lunatic. I spent a lot of spare time at work searching for clips, which at the time were hosted on and then moved to I’m not sure why I don’t watch random wushu clips now, maybe its because youtube has taken all the work out of finding something, but I really take for granted how easy it is today to find any style you want. So I’d watch clips at work, then either go to Wushu West (from Dublin by the way) or head home to practice the basic combos.

Things were pretty exciting, and since October of 2001 I have constantly had sore legs every all week long. I remember the first night of practice Lynda was teaching me the basic combos and she had warned me of two things:

  • Drink water, if you are thirsty when you walk in the door, you are already dehydrated

  • you WILL BE SORE, soak in hot water.

The next day I could hardly walk up the stairs to my cube farm at Legato, I was smiling the whole way up though. Within the first month I had received my first injury, and it was a fractured elbow. Like ALL of my wushu related injuries, they are never really cause from wushu itself. It’s always during a game, or warm up. This time, it was while we were jogging around the class and my long pant leg had slid underneath my shoe while turning a corner. Like a clown slipping on a banana peel I went down hard, and cracked my forearm bone (i’m not a doctor so I wont pretend like i know it’s called the ulna or something). For the next few weeks Patti had me focus more on stances and kicks, which are still my favorite things to work on.

First class picture I have, just a few months after I started

In the beginning, progress was quick, it was easy to go from not being able to touch your toes to touching them, then the floor, then palms flat on the floor. After the first year or so, I was involved in my first Wushu West open house where I led the beginners in a group form. I cannot recall what its called, but it’s the first real for we start off with, in between the five-stance combo, and the old school compulsory.

It was the first time I had seen the advanced students perform, and Wil’s emce-ing was pretty entertaining I think my favorite comment was right before Colin did his chain whip set:

Normally a 9-section chain whip is used, Collin however, has to use a 7 section

I remember how nervous I was, but I didn’t mess it up and then I got to spend the rest of the time watching everyone else, including Patti. That gave me goosebumps, I had never see a china pro in the flesh.

I’ve always looked forward to demo’s, and while I occasionally slip up here and there, I think we all pull it together as a group and put on a good show. I dread the thought of competing, and a big reason why eventually competed (once, lets point that out, I’m not totally over it) was because of a blog entry Mark had made. He said that since wushu is all about making yourself better, and you should not shy away from doing something because you are afraid of it or you are not good at it. Thats the reason why you SHOULD do it, you can’t always just work on that jumping front kick you are so good at, but work on the high horse stance, or compete if you are afraid too.