Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Friday, November 30, 2007

A New Phase

Five months ago, I began training at the Wu Style Academy in Ann Arbor. On that first day, I learned the opening movement of the Wu 108 Standard Form. Last night, I learned the closing movement.

I’ve been concentrating on learning the correct sequence, remaining relaxed, and keeping my weight 100% separated.

The way classes will work for me now: the first 30 minutes is group warm ups. Word has come down from HQ in Toronto to really work these as they help develop the flexibility and looseness required to do the form well. They also drill the real fundamentals of all the movements – keeping the weigh 100% on one foot or the other, turning from the hips/waist, being relaxed, and so on.

The next hour that had previously been spent learning the sequence of the form will now be spent on form refinement.

The group will do the form together, then the intermediate class begins. As posted at the Wu style website, the intermediate level consists of push hands, break fall training, power generation, and some applications, in addition to ongoing form refinement. As new material comes up, I’ll post what it is I’m learning.

In my first intermediate class I learned the first of the twelve types of push hands that is practiced at the school, the most basic one. This is a cooperative exercise between two people. At the other end of the spectrum is free style, where you're trying to push the other person over.

At the end of class, I sat while the rest of the students then did the 54 Competition Form (which I don't know yet, hence my sitting). As opposed to my "square" form, this one is very round; that is, it looks more like what you'd expect Taiji to look like with respect to one form flowing into another. They also did it very quickly. I don't know if this form is technically a "fast" form, but they really flew through it. I guess in competition, you have very limited time for your performance.

Stay tuned. The adventure continues ...


Zen said...

Congrats of the closing, now the real work begins :-)


Zen said...

Yes in tournaments there is the time factor. Another reason I do not care for them, having that rushed feeling. However adapting is part of training ne!

Rick Matz said...

Just doing the form with the group is a big change from doing it on my own. The speed is different, and the spacing between people is something to contend with too.

It's all good.