Tuesday evening kung fu.
While waiting for class to start, I ran through Frolic a couple times (to make up for forgetting it last week!), then Five Points (Mirror) and Leopard Three (mirror) since I had had trouble with those at the campground. A bit frustrating how many kinks remain to be ironed out of Five Points, in particular… I feel like I’ve been working on this for a long time. It still feels like a valuable project- but it’s taking more time and effort than I’d anticipated.
I also worked on the parts I could remember from JoE’s Southern Mantis. And the Leopard At Dawn piece.
Class started with a few run-though’s of Bung Bo and Little Red. I’m probably being unfair- since some people have only recently learned both- but I am getting frustrated with having to continually pause the forms and wait for people to catch up. FLOW is one of the main things I need to work on, especially in Bung Bo (and FLOW in Dragon forms is the main POINT of Dragon forms). The teachers like us to try to stay together, and I can see that, but I feel like it’s impeding me right now. Tonight I just didn’t have any patience for it, so I did the forms at my own speed and then just stood there and waited for everyone else to get done. I won’t be able to get away with that all the time, but tonight I just was not in the mood! Some other people are not practicing much (or at all) outside of class, I know for a fact. But as the slowest student in the group, if *I* put in enough time and effort to get it down pat, sometimes I get exasperated that others obviously didn’t do their homework.
Then we did a few run-throughs of the Northern Mantis Bo form. After that, we split up into pairs and worked applications of that form 1)against unarmed opponent(s)- me vs JM, 2)against opponent(s) also armed with bo’s- me vs JB, and 3)Snake dao (I have no idea why Snake Dao got tossed into the mix tonight- how random!)
Doing the applications, I found myself getting a little defensive because I was feeling like some people were expecting me to instantaneously mentally map out ten apps and execute them all perfectly on the first try. They can do that. Sometimes I want (need) people to just attack me in different fashions in slo-mo while I experiment and see what comes out. Sometimes the experiments don’t work well… I can’t think of anything, or what I try backfires (tonight I tried a parry that ended with me clunking my own self on the head with my opponent’s bo). Sometimes I come up with stuff that I totally didn’t see at all, which is really cool when that happens. I just need to physically play around; isn’t that the whole POINT of this drill? Anyway, I feel like some people get confused and impatient with me when I’m doodling around trying stuff- I had to explain at one point that I expressly DO NOT HAVE A PLAN IN MIND…. no, I can’t explain what I’m trying to do, and no, I don’t want you to jump in with suggestions on what you think I’m trying to do, I just need to play with it a bit.
The Snake Dao was very interesting. I recognized it as the opening sequence in a form that I’ve seen SK do enough times that I knew what it was supposed to look like. CN walked JB and me through it, and I picked it up immediately. CN had a few small tweaks, but just minor and easily-adjustable ones. It felt very natural. That was unexpected and wierd because it was a complicated technique, and also I am used to doing Chen Dao- which is as comparable to Snake Dao as yellow is to whistling. CN told me that it looked "amazing". I thought, this is what I wish my MA was like all the time. There was none of that period of helpless cluelessness, followed by clumsy stumbling, followed by grind, grind, grind, grind, grind… which characterizes my process of learning ANYTHING new. This was a different experience: I was shown a technique and I then simply proceeded to do the technique. This is how I imagine my quicker classmates learning stuff. is this what it’s like for them? Wow.
I’m not sure why that happened that way, but it might have something to do with Hurricane Hands. Working on Hurricane Hands really did help me understand Snake better, I think. That was my objective in asking to learn that form, so that’s good. Even though the class has learned two other Snake forms (Leopard Fist and Snake Vs Five Animals), Hurricane Hands is different.
I felt bad for JB, who was having a crappy night- exhausted and coughing a lot, and she had a great deal of trouble with the Snake Dao. I told her that I thought having been brainwashed with Chen Dao made this more challenging for her and me than for the others, who were starting with clean slates. She was frustrated and discouraged, though.