Thursday kung fu basics.
I had asked Nemesis to reintroduce a particular short sequence out of Black Crane Two during the strike drills. Man, it was more challenging then I remembered. Ten reps and the muscles on the fronts of my thighs right above the knees were snarling. I guess we ought to be working on that one more often!
Then we went through Sil Lum Tao several times. Not sure why SK pulled that one out today- I was expecting more Dragon and/or Mantis. Surprise!
Then he asked what else people wanted to work on, and Nemesis immediately said "Sparring!" Normally I’m all for that (we don’t do nearly enough sparring), but we were in the classroom on the tile floor- which is not my favorite sparring environment. Also, I didn’t have my contacts in. Ah well. Sparring it was.
Monkey In the Middle. I like to leap on people’s backs and RNC them when we do this exercise, but I get nervous about doing that on the tile floor- since it usually ends up on the ground. Someone is just going to get badly injured, I fear. So my second-favorite tactic is to tap the "Monkey" on the shoulder and then as soon as s/he opens hir eyes, a punch is flying at hir face or an overhand swing is coming down on hir head. Tonight, I also pressed a dry erase marker into service as a makeshift knife. The first person I did this to (JM) was surprised and got totally "disembowelled". The people after her were ready for it. ("I can see we need to revisit weapons defenses next week," was SK’s comment.)
JoE punched me right in the nose- not too hard, but harder than I liked.
When I was the Monkey, someone grabbed the front of my tank top and when I opened my eyes, it was JB grinning and pushing me backward. I countered with one or two strikes, but strike number three somehow turned into a roundhouse slap right across the face. I was horrified and embarrassed… everyone laughed their butts off (including JB, while I was trying to apologize). All I could say was that 1)I wasn’t really feeling threatened in this scenario because she was smiling at me- as soon as I opened my eyes, I could just feel my whole body relax. I told her that if she’d been making a scary face, I would have had a different visceral reaction. 2)I’ve been working on a section in Touch Bridge that involves the exact same slapping motion that somehow instinctually popped out of me (albeit with the opposite hand), and I think that was sitting at the forefront of my brain. SK reassured me that the "Shaolin b****-Slap" could be considered a valid technique in this scenario.
Truly, though, I’m disturbed by what seems to me to be a degrading of my usually fairly-decent level of control. I have accidentally hit JB too hard several times recently… almost always HER, by some unfortunate chance, and I feel particularly bad about that because she is still somewhat timid in her sparring, and I certainly don’t want to make it worse. I wonder if my lapses in good control are related to my Epic Slump.
Individual forms practice. JB, SK and I ran through Catherine Dao three or four times, with a few extra reps of the close, because that’s the shakiest part.
Then I did a little Leopard at Dawn, a few reps of Hurricane Hands, and then a few reps of the first part of Touch Bridge with different breathing patterns, as per CC’s instructions. I tried it with long inhales followed by short huffy exhales (exhausting); then with brief sipping inhales followed by long exhales (same result). Then a few reps with steady, even, deep breaths… results were better than I expected; it felt like I had more energy, and the power of the strikes did not seem overly weakened by the absence of my usual huffy Tiger breathing. After that, I tried to correlate the breathing with the techniques in a more Dragony (as opposed to Tigery) fashion. That was a challenge. It’s really hard to focus on the striking or anything else because I have to think so hard about where and how to breathe. I really need to get this, though…. I do Tiger breathing in EVERYTHING, just because it’s instinctual and it works well for me- but I am never going to progress in the other styles unless I can break myself of that lazy habit.
During the sitting meditation, I was having a hard time focussing even though I could feel what seemed to be extra energy of some sort buzzing around. I put my arms up in the "hug-the-tree" pose, and after a few minutes of that, it solidified some- although I didn’t really try to do anything in particular with it. At the end of the meditation, SK looked and me and said, "Wow, you’re really ON tonight." I raised my eyebrows at him, and he said, "What were you doing?" I showed him the pose, and said, "Just this." He is the only one who seems to be able to feel the energy- or at least the only one who admits it. He *always* seems to notice if there’s anything unusual going on with the energy in the meditation circle. Even JB, who has more knowledge and experience in energy work, doesn’t seem to have that kind of sensitivity. I wish SK could find someone good to instruct him in energy work- he has a truly staggering raw potential in that area. Instructing him in a few basic concepts and exercises is all I’ve attempted, as well as trying to answer his copious questions to the best of my ability.
Later…. I apologized to JB yet again by e-mail- she reassured me, and added:
Hehe, at least it was a slap and not a fist. That punch to the nose you caught didn’t look like fun. =(