July 3: Saturday we started training. DeQing decided that he wanted to train me in the actual Shaolin Temple. I thought it a bad idea right from the beginning. I've already noticed that where ever I go, I'm watched. Photographed. "Take picture with me". Curiosity can be an obnoxious thing. All I could think about was training in the Temple, and being watched by hundreds of Chinese. Great. Instead, DeQing took me to one of the halls in the Shaolin Temple, actually, previously used as a training room, now used as a meeting room. Inside was the Abbot of the Temple, a monk whom I had met on a few occasions before. For some strange reason, this time, he was friendly to me. We sat and talked for a brief while, and after a period of time, he left, bringing his entourage with him. We shut the doors to keep out the tourists, and we trained.
It wasn't the greatest experience. The incense was nice, but the overhead fluorescent lights which they had installed recently was a great bother. Needless to say, after an hour in there, I just wasn't feeling well. Ironically, I was saved by a monk, a Buddhist monk (as opposed to the martial monks), who came in and threw us all out, as this hall was his "station" for the day, and he had people to meet there. Hell, I thought, didn't he know that we threw the Abbot out of this very same hall this morning? Besides, the Chinese had opened the doors and were watching us train. We were definitely far more entertainment than this Buddhist monk could possibly dream to be in this lifetime and his next. Especially my "tornado kicks", which brought much joy to the crowd (a "tornado kick" -DeQing's translation from whatever the Chinese is, involves a running start, and a backward spin to the body, as you jump high, and kick backwards in a circular fashion, well over the height of your head. Why in hell you would want to kick someone who was taller than you, I'll never know). But the whole concept of raising 225 pounds of all American beef up in the air, spinning it backwards, and kicking out an appendage or two, and landing it on the ground without destroying chairs, tables, and Buddha's, was definitely a site to behold. And lots of Chinese wanted to behold it. Well, OK, once, I almost took out the Buddha.
We were out of there, and headed back to my sanctuary. By then my head was not nirvana, and I definitely needed to rest. The early afternoon was spent in bed.
Later in the afternoon, we decided to train as DeQing had trained as a child; mornings in that hall in the Shaolin Temple, afternoons, way up in the mountains. Not bad, especially since a storm was moving into the area, and the usual haze and pollution which blunted the sun was increased by the clouds. An occasional light shower moved through the valley, which really didn't do much to my already completely sweat soaked clothing. Training was difficult at best, as I had absolutely no flexibility or grace to whatever I attempted to do. I really hadn't practiced much of this wushu for the seven months that I had been gone; most of my energy had gone towards dealing with our lovely legal system in the US, and the incredibly corrupt and dishonest attorneys that I had to deal with. I was a sight to behold, practicing wushu in the dirt. And it wasn't a pretty one.
We worked out for a few hours in the dirt, got dirty, had a great time, and eventually returned to the shithole. DeQing returned to his school, and I worked on my web site. I was a sore puppy. Fortunately, DeQing had wanted to use Sunday for a rest day, which was traditional in China. I figured that I would work out on my own, but would primarily use the day to adjust. Regardless, for some reason, I just couldn't imagine what the next day was going to bring.
- Written by: doc
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