Genuine practice of my long staff form has effectively been eliminated, and I’m having trouble taking that in stride. Since being prohibited from self-training on open floor space during classes that I’m not attending, I’ve had just two choices: self-train in the basement or take weekday upper sash classes and practice staff during the form rotation.
The problem with basement practice (aside from the additional stress on the joints from pounding against a concrete floor) is that every other move of the long staff form is to vertically spin a stick that’s taller than I am. Literally half the form can’t be executed at all downstairs, because the ceilings are too low!
The problem with limiting staff practice to the form rotation of upper sash class is insufficient time. Of the four weekday classes, two are dedicated to sparring. There’s no form rotation in them. In the remaining two, twenty-five minutes are allocated for forms. Even with only one other person in the rotation, I wouldn’t get more than a whopping twelve minutes per class for long staff. Less than half an hour per week!
I have, therefore, opted for self-training in the basement, during which I skip some vertical staff spins and execute others by dropping both my body and my arms down, to avoid smacking pipes and breaking light bulbs. The result is that in nine days of this new reality, the timing of steps to spins is off. It’s not by much, but it doesn’t have to be.
Precision is crucial in this art of ours. It’s the difference between correct or not. That’s why I’m having trouble taking this all in stride. It’s also why the search for my own affordable space continues in earnest.