Tuesday, January 26, 2016

What have I gotten myself into?! Kung Fu - Week 1

Day 1: 12/7/15 Monday
After talking with Sifu we decided that Monday, December 7th would be our first day to class.
He said this is the biggest class (great!) and would be the most diverse so I would get an idea of different levels.

Leading up to that Monday I was pretty nervous - I won't lie.  From Saturday to Monday I had a bazillion thoughts running through my head.  Doing anything for the first time is nerve wracking never-mind an intense martial arts class as an adult.  I couldn't understand how as a beginner I would be in the same class as people that had been doing this for years.  More on that later...

Our traditional uniform consists of black pants, matching t-shirt, shoes and a sash - which took me forever to get tied correctly.  I mean, it is about 8 feet long so I have to wrap it around a couple of times just to get the slack drawn up.  The pic below is from a trial run before class (not sure what I'm doing with my hands here, looks like I'm directing traffic.. LOL)

We made sure to leave work in plenty of time to get there and dress out.  Once we got there Sifu did some introductions and everyone was very friendly.  Especially after knowing that Chris was a former student.

Class started right at 6:15 and there were 3 rows of 4 students.  I stood in the last row on the very end. I am assuming this is reserved for the newest student.   There are some traditional bows to begin each class and then we got right to it.

Class begins with a bow to the altar and Sifu lights the incense.  We then start "warm ups"

I use warm up in quotes because this was definitely not like any warm-up that I have ever done before.
It lasted for about 40 minutes and we did everything from straight kicks, side kicks, squats, lunges, and standing on one foot  All of the movements are about feet positioning and breathing.
Of course I had no idea what I was doing during the warm-ups but Sifu was very patient and helpful - often coming around and correcting my posture and feet positioning.

After warm-ups we had a brief water break and then one of the senior students took me aside to start teaching me some of the basic horse stances - which I would later learn is the foundation for everything else.
She taught me the first 4 stances (and the Chinese names for each) and I spent the rest of the class practicing this on my own.  She would come check on me and correct me if anything was not correct.

This is how a beginner can be in the same class as advanced students.  Everyone does the same warm-up and then we work at our own individual pace on the material we are given.

At the end of class we all got back together in our original positions to pay our respects to the ancestors and philosophies that make up the Wah-Lum style of Kung-Fu.

After class was over I felt very energized but to be honest I did have a feeling of "what the heck am I doing here".  I am optimistic that with each class things will get a bit easier.

Day 2: 12/9/15 - Wednesday
Teacher: J.
We arrived at class and did a few minutes of stretches and then we got in line.
Warm-up's opened with 25 push-up's!  We then did some basic warm-ups and finished with line drills.  I can tell this is not going to be a favorite part of our training.
Line drills are just that.  We get in line from the senior students to the beginners.  One by one we go in order and do whatever exercise J calls out.  I think for me it was the hand and foot coordination that got me tripped up.  I'm a pretty good dancer but for whatever reason this was tough for me!
I worked my horse stances and learned a couple of new steps.

Day 3: 12/11/15 - Friday
Teacher: T
Tim's warm-ups are similar to Sifu's but definitely not as tough as J's.

Day 4: 12/12 -  Saturday
Teacher: C
I like C's personality - pretty quiet but a good teacher.  I found out that he's the newest of instructors.

General consensus of the week:  I am proud that I made it through all 4 classes.  I have started taking Excedrin an hour before class.  Definitely feel the joint pains but really want to work through it.

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