Thursday evening kung fu. After hand strike drills, we nitpicked Leopard Fist some more… particularly stancework. I’m happy that we are doing this repeatedly for several weeks in a row, because if we’d only gone through it once, I probably wouldn’t have retained many of the corrections.
Then the Three Step Arrow bit- which is good because I haven’t gone through that in too long. Lots of squabbling over which way the the two "cycle" sets of hand strike sequences rotate- UP towards you or DOWN towards you? Or one of each????
Then individual formwork. JB and I went through the jian form about 5 times. We’ve both let it slide a bit. Next week: Catherine Dao review.
Then Hurricane Hands. Glory Be, we have almost reached the end of the form!!!!! I still need a bunch of reps of the most recent few chunks before it becomes automatic. I’ve been working really hard on the Snake-Strikes-and-Press-Blocks, but they are still not quite right. They LOOK fairly easy, but there are so many little details to focus on!!! OMG!!! If I focus on keeping the strike tempo steady, my press blocks get limp and lack force. if I focus on crisp press blocks, my Snake strikes don’t have the proper "jabbiness". If I focus on good extention with the Snake strikes, my footwork gets sloppy. If I focus on the foot position and weight distribution, I forget to bring my opposite-hand Snake strikes up from below the forward hand. If I focus on sneaking that second Snake up from underneath, I realize I’m doing huffy Tiger breathing instead of hissy Snake breathing. If I focus on the breathing, my hips and shoulders are not oriented in the proper direction. If I focus on where my body is pointing, the first press block is too low or the second one is too high. If I focus on the level of the press blocks, my fingers and/or thumb are drifting apart. If I focus on keeping a clean "Snake hand", my shoulders are hunched. If I’m concentrating too hard on the physical technicality, then I’m not visualizing opponents. if I’m "seeing" my opponent, the physical details start unravelling. And yet if you saw this, it would just look like some head case shuffling along swatting flies.
It still needs soooooooooo much work that I wasn’t going to ask for a new piece, but SK felt that I have most of the gross motor stuff down and I know exactly what needs work and why, so he really wanted to go on. We went through a couple more movements, and he said, "All that’s left is the closing," and I said, "NO, that’s enough!" He rolled his eyes a little, but I know from experience that I do better when I’m careful to not bite off a larger portion of a new form than I can chew. This will be (counting laboriously on fingers)- IIRC- my ninteenth form, counting just Shaolin forms…. not counting Leopard At Dawn (in progress). Next will be Rain, I hope… that’s what DD will be teaching CN and SK in the Wednesday night advanced class. Tiger stuff!! And I have video of CM doing Rain- it always helps a lot when I have a vid to refer to.
Anyway, Hurricane Hands still has a great deal of work to be done on it, and I also don’t want to neglect my "Mirror" forms. Another thing I want to be refocussing on is sparring- haven’t done much lately. I’ll have to ask for some of that at Volunteer Park practice every other Saturday, even if it means getting wet and cold and muddy. I’ll ask CC to work on that with me too, even though his basement is a pretty cramped sparring space. Winter is just a poor time for sparring- we don’t have a good space to do it in.