Pavlov’s dog, and dead birds

Thursday kung fu. CN was there, which is quite a rarity these days.

I was wearing my green wrap pants, combat boots, and my fox-ears hood. SK told me that I looked like an anime character.

Started with Black Crane drills. I thought I knew these pretty well- Lord knows we’ve done them a zillion times- but the last couple (the long ones) were a little fuzzy.


In the one with the double eyestrike- the eyestrikes are Viper’s Tongues. News to me. That was hard. My fingers do not like to make Viper’s Tongues.

The one with the corkscrew punch- the fist stays in one place once it’s struck the hypothetical target, and the ELBOW rotates around the axis. Extend the punch fully. It’s okay if the shoulder hunches up a little.
Also- when you go back into Black Crane guard at the end, arc it up and then down a bit.

The one with the over-the-shoulder throw- the double corkscrew punches… the foot that is at the REAR, that is the side that the fist should be on TOP.

The one with the Tiger claw opening- the side that you kick with is the side that the grab BEGINS on. The subsequent Crane’s Beak strike is with the other side.

Then some Kiu Two. We repped side A several times, and side B a lot more since people are still struggling with the flurry sequence. Toward the end of this, I felt like I finally- for the first time- had enough of a grasp on "what comes next" to try to focus on extending the strikes and letting them rebound back and flow into each other- in other words, trying to actually put the *Snakiness* into it. There were three or four reps where it was like putting on my glasses in the morning- the vague fuzzy world just abruptly snapped into sharp focus and I could see everything. It was AWESOME. I hope that wasn’t just a momentary brush with that particular experience.

A couple reps of Sil Lum Tao.

Notes: the axe hand drops down but NOT in. CN made eye contact with me when he gave that correction, so I’m pretty sure I was the transgressor. Eep!

Don’t forget the one-forearm-over-the-other move after the Crane’s Wing eyestrikes and right before the elbows-together guard going into the throat stabs. The pose looks just like Jeannie’s little magical move, only without the nod (yeah, how many of you young whippersnappers have any idea what I’m talking about?).

A bit more general Wing Chun followed. CN made reference to the Fuk sau (that’s promounced "fook"; so get your mind out of the gutter). I bounced up and down and pointed- that was the back-of-the-wrist parry I referenced in my blog after Sunday’s class, as the one whose name I couldn’t remember. I then pointed to SK and said, "YOU called it a wu sau on Sunday, and I KNEW that wasn’t right!" He copped to the error. CN asked another question about hand position, and I smoothly rattled off the whole list by name (in Chinese!) with demo: Wu sau, pak sau, ton sau, gon sau, bon sau, lop sau. CN’s eyes lit up and he exclaimed "Very good!" I felt about twenty feet tall for a second.

One of the apps we touched on (pun intended) was the "dead bird hand" from Sil Lum Tao. CN has wholeheartedly adopted "dead bird hand" as our group’s official name for that tecnique. I’m glad I can keep him amused. It totally DOES look like a dead bird, I swear… you do a circular wrist release and then the hand flops down limply from the wrist like it’s been shot, and you draw it up to your chest like you’re mourning its demise. The way CN demoed one application, it teased at a connection in my mind which I had to grope for, then managed to eventually connect with the circular bouncing bridge in Hurricane Hands.

We split up into pairs and came up with apps for one section of Sil Lum Dao… I deliberately picked Nemesis; I’m being pretty disciplined about that. After the Sil Lum Tao bit, we did a "turning the corner" parry-and-strike with an added cat-stance element. The toe is supposed to go inside the opponent’s foot, and the knee on the OUTSIDE. It sets you up for a plethora of attacks, and robs the opponent of both openings and mobility. I played uke for Nemesis first; and then the staff showed up and kicked us out of the room so that they could close ten min early- so I didn’t get a turn. Bummer.

Other notes for Wing Chun- remember that there is a fist’s-width distance between your guard hand and your chest.

Also- rememer to move from the center. (THAT’s a timely reminder, with CK’s imminent visit.)

You may notice that it’s been a while since I’ve complained about the Carnal Carpool. Well, that’s because 1)We’ve been carpooling less often now that I’m in Seattle early for Lindsey’s class on Sunday, and 2)For months now, I have painstakingly orchestrated for one or the other of the offenders to be driving every single time I have both of them in the vehicle at the same time.

Besides being a Bandaid on the problem, my big-picture plan was to keep them separated long enough to ease them out of the "cued conditioning situation" we seem to have found ourselves in. You know how some people, whenever they sit down in front of the TV, that’s their cue to snack? American Idol= potato chips. Bell= drool. Kitsune’s Jeep= tonsil hockey.

So tonight I let it slide for the first time in months. Dang- talk about getting right back up on the horse. They were already plastered against each other and emitting mortifyingly audible slurping sounds before we’d even dropped the other riders off. In the past, they have waited till it was just the three of us in the car before the temperature really started spiking in the backseat (don’t ask me why they imagine it’s okay to grope each other in front of me but not in front of the rest of our classmates). Instead of easing off the cued conditioning, they attempted to make up for lost time- striving to make medical history by becoming the world’s first pair of unrelated Siamese Twins.

Back to plan A.

(pic- Glenn)

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