Thursday Kung fu basics. No CN. Small class- it was just SK, Nemesis, JB, ES and me.
After hand strike drills, we worked on Leopard Fist some more. I hope I have just about repaired all of the niggly little errors in this form, as well as incorporated the techniques that have been CHANGED to "more advanced applications".
Then we did the Tiger Kick Drill. SK was motioning me up front, and I was just like, "No, no… please, really, don’t make me go up there." That was inappropriate of me and I should not have done it. But I am just not in a good mental space right now to be attempting to lead/demonstrate kung fu. He didn’t make me lead, but as we were going through it, there just seemed to be something wrong. I was going to just let it go and keep my mouth shut, but he kept stopping and looking at me questioningly. So finally I said, "There’s something wrong- I think you’re winding up the Dragon Rides the Wind on the wrong side." The others disagreed with me, and I’m just not feeling confident enough with my kung fu right now to be able to say for sure, "No, you’re mistaken, I know it’s THIS way". I’ll have to go to the gym and just run through it several times with my brain switched off, and see which side it’s REALLY on. If I’m really F’ing up such basic Tiger material, I’m in an even deeper hole that I thought.
Individual formwork time. JB, SK and I went through Catherine Dao several times. Luckily, JB’s amazing talent for retaining formwork meant she remembered the corrections from the weird end section, so she was able to help SK and me with that part.
Hurricane Hands- I got a few footwork and strike-aiming clarifications from the most recent piece, then the close. The close is a very odd throw that is also going to give me some challenges, I think. But we’re at the end of the form now, so now I can focus on repping and fine-tuning. I feel pretty solid about the first two thirds of the form. I didn’t specifically show SK my Snake-strikes-with-press-blocks tonight, but I whipped out a couple of them just as a transition into the following section, and he mentioned later on the way back to the car that they were visibly improved. That is gratifying, as I continue to work hard on them and continue to struggle with them. I’m trying to add in the breathing now- just where to inhale and where to exhale, not to the hissing stage yet- but it will come.
SK asked me how things were going, and I was still frustrated enough about the Tiger Kick Drill to reply "Everything sucks,"
"What do you mean everything sucks?"
"Doesn’t that pretty much cover it? It is an unambiguous statement."
On the walk back to the car later, I was walking ahead and he caught up to me and pressed, "So what’s this about everything sucking?" Since JM was out of earshot for the moment, I told him in a low voice that I’ve just really been in a hole lately. That I don’t feel that I’ve progressed in a long time, and that even my basic stuff seems to be DEGRADING…. so I’m not just spinning my wheels, but actually going BACKWARD. He said, "What rank are you at now?" I told him, and he said, "Yeah, I had one of those at exactly the same stage." He thinks it’s about getting to a stage where you are comfortable enough with the physicality of the material that your mind is freer to step back and start noticing all sorts of little errors and imperfections that you never even suspected were there. He told me that he hasn’t noticed a slump in the APPEARANCE of my work in class (which was a relief… I was certain that
my suckishness was sticking out like a neon sign). He described his experience as having the exact same symptoms that I described. I said, "So you think it’s just a perception problem, and not that my work is actually getting worse." He said yes. I asked him how long his slump at this stage had lasted, and he said about a month. Mine is about that old now. I hope that means the end of the tunnel is in sight. I have never had a slump this long. I also hope that the general shift upward in my work which usually follows such a slump is not only present this time, but on a par with the severity of the slump!
I am so ready to put this in my rear-view mirror. Dealing with the unravelling of my kung fu training
on top of the layoff on top of my household breaking up is just two too many crises to cope with at once.
It was a relief to get that perspective from SK… I miss the discussions we used to have in the carpool. Although I like JM very much, I just don’t know her as well nor as long as I’ve known SK, not to mention that SK and I are significantly deeper/further into the MA journey than she is…. and there are things that I’d discuss with him that I just don’t feel comfortable discussing in front of her. But now she is always there, and I literally never interact with SK any more as an individual- you can’t interact with HIM any more, you can only interact with THEM. I do sometimes miss HIM.