published on in Wushu

wushu west 2009 04 14

Tonight was Mark’s last class before he leaves for Idaho for a month. Last week, he joked that he wanted everyone to still be recovering when he gets back in June… He tried his best to make that happen, and I think Patti bailed us out in the end :)

We got some time to warm up for a few minutes, I think he wanted us ready by 7:20, so we jogged around for a bit and did some light stretching. Mark went around to assist us, which always helps out, but its a tad painful. Ahh good ol’ pain, its such a gift. Then I think Mark rubbed his hands together, muttered “Let us begin…” and cackled…

Tonight was all about basics, so our first drill was simple: keep your arms out straight, palms flat, and do a series or 20 front stretch kicks. The trick was, is we would do a round of kicks, using a bit of our momentum from the previous kick, to really get it up there - head to toe if you can. The alternating set was to NOT use the momentum from the previous kick. So you would kick, and stop immediately on the way down, wait, and do it again. Doing it this was is a lot more difficult, and its great because it really strengthens your leg muscles more, and you end up working your core more as well. Between those, and I think we did around 100 kicks, we still had to keep our arms up. I’m happy to say I never wussed out and took a break, but as of Saturday, days later, I can still feel it in my forearms and shoulders.

The next drill was normal front stretch kicks, and we were broken up in the three typical groups. Simple, but the trick this time was Mark wanted all of us to synchronize our kicks. Since we have a few people that always like to march to their own drum, this can take a while to get right :) So its always hilarious when people are getting frustrated after the 5th or 6th try and still hearing Mark say “Almost, but not quite, again.” Felicia is yelling at people, Eli is ready to quit, everyone is throwing in their two cents on who should follow who and who needs to slow down :) Its funny I tell ya.

This lasted an hour, and I think Mark wanted to work on more basic stance work but Patti suggested we all work on weapons. This was good, because my quads felt like they were pulled off, they were so exhausted that I think they detached themselves and walked off, giving me the finger on the way out.

Mark had us alternate between a group of long weapons (which I was in, staff), and then a group of short weapons (straight sword/broadsword). We did basic stuff like figure 8’s and reverse flowers for a full minute, switching out groups. After doing that for a while, Mark had Johnny and myself work on some nangun basics. Now, most of what I’ve learned has been from one seminar 4 or so years ago when the Beijing Wushu Team came out. I’ve practiced this one form from video clips over and over again, and when Mark worked with me on some of the basic moves, it was like learning it all over again. It really breathes new life into things when you get to correct the simple moves. I’ll have to make sure I get more from him in June.

After class, we went to Diamo’s to eat, and I stayed until midnight :) we had a lot of fun, and some good conversations.