Wow, my body aches so much! The training here can be intense but it feels great to engage in something so physically demanding again. My body hasn't hurt this much since I began Special Forces training the military. In five days I've had a five combined acupuncture/cupping sessions to release the tension stored up in my back for the last year. Each one hour session only costs approximately £3, so it's incredibly cheap but very effective.
We start each day at 6am with 5 Animals Qi Gong, which is very different to my previous training. Here we practise Dragon, Tiger, Leopard, Snake and Crane and it's an early but energising start to the day.
The food here is of a decent standard and plentiful without being overly exciting. There's plenty of rice, noodles and steamed/fried vegetables on offer but one night a group of us went in to town and ate at a dumpling (gao tze) restaurant and had 25 dumplings each for about £2!! Amazing!!
After breakfast, at 8.30am, we begin our classes. I am studying the Tai Chi 28 Form, which is beautiful and, from what I understand, is a creation of Master Yuan's. Before we start our practise we stretch and warm up with some basic upper body Kung Fu movements, Tai Chi walking and/or standing meditation.
After lunch (and maybe a quick nap) we strecth and warm up with basic Kung Fu kicking exercised before returning to our individual practise. This Kung Fu training is a great surprise and I love it! Watching the other students practise their 'Bagua', 'Basic Fist', Sword or Bow techniques is so cool!!
I'm very happy with my own progress. It's demanding and exhausting, both physically and mentally, but I'm always excited to be taught the next movement and it's Martial application. It's great to be a student again.
On Wednesdays we have an exhibition day where our instructors display their own Martial prowess and the more senior students show their progress in their chosen Form. I'm excited to see it and hope to post a video or two in the coming days.
This is such an incredible experience and a wonderful opportunity. I'd like to thank the people at home without whose support this wouldn't be possible. You know who you are.
Stay tuned next week! I intend to give you a feel for the local area, as I continue to explore outside the school walls. I have also just booked myself two days at an active and very isolated temple called The Five Immortals Temple on White Horse Peak. There I hope to learn more about 'The Way' or Taosim and experience their daily routine.
Keith Playful Dragon