Omigod, Omigod, Omigod, Omigod, Omigod! Loving life so much, I can’t get it out of my head in all its forms: Oh. My. God. Sometimes it’s necessary to search for the up side in a so-called bad experience; at other times, the positive effect from the negative cause is glaringly obvious. And that’s where I am today.
I could never have imagined that having Sifu eliminate my self-training time and space, erase my teaching schedule and impose what amounts to probationary status would feel, in less than a month’s time, like one of the best occurrences of recent years – but it does. As a result of all of the above, the following is the new state of affairs.
I’ve found a convenient, affordable place where I can practice staff forms whenever my schedule allows. All practice rooms that are available to me have well-maintained wood floors that are significantly easier on my battered, cartilage-lacking knees than the rug-covered concrete floors of the guan’s basement. Additionally, all rooms are kept at a temperature of at least 70 degrees. The basement of the school is probably 55 on a warm day; and the first class of any day of the week is no warmer than 65 degrees at best on the main floor. I spend significantly less time warming up the beleaguered joints and muscles when at the gym and can practice longer on the gentler floors. The result: I’ve gotten better – in a week!
The breadth of space I have enables me to practice a complete form without having to shorten steps and movements for lack of space. The greater continuity has made my long staff form faster without sacrificing the precision of the moves. It just doesn’t get any better than that for me in martial arts land. But wait; there’s more!
I’ve also been able to improve the open hand form I came to dread because of the stress on my knees and back. When I did the open hand (Lian Huan Tui) during Saturday’s class, having practiced it more than a dozen times over the last week with warmer joints on softer floors, it was the best it’s been in ages. I didn’t do it well enough a month ago to compete with it in the Florida tournament, but I will be subjecting it to judgment in next weekend’s competition.
Those are just the physical improvements resulting from what was a gut-wrenching experience that put my whole family on edge. I’ll get to the mental and emotional ones next time. While I ponder and appreciate them a bit longer, everybody enjoy the rest of whatever day you’re in. I know I will. 🙂