Tuesday, 28th, September, 2010. The alarm woke me in the dark morning and I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth. My body was tired and aching because yesterday was quite a rigorous day of training. Sonic tooth brushing away I looked as my dim reflex ion in the mirror and was pleased to see that my left arm was looking pretty beefy, in fact very beef indeed. I flexed it and it stung slightly, it felt so big that I could not even bend it to a proper flex. I noticed it was a bit shiny and red as well. I compared it to my right arm and it was much bigger than the right. I t must have swollen but I could not understand why, I then noticed that my right shoulder was bulging up. With my awakening eyes I saw that I was lop sided with a shiny taught shiny bicep, like a balloon filled with too much air and a hunch back like right shoulder. It didn’t really affect my training but when I got back home my arm had ceased up and was now frozen and unable to bend. I felt retched. Bad knees, bad arm and shoulder what the hell was going on? I managed to drag myself to the park in the evening to do some Taiji, carful to dress up warm. I have set myself a goal to remember all my weapons forms again and also learn from an online video the Xin jia yi lu form over the next week. After a bit of slow and relaxed training where an old man came and watched me train and I felt pretty at piece and not auquard
I sat at a small outside noodles stall and drank the hot soup and noodles. An older couple came and sat at the stall as well and the man, a tall pock marked thin faced man started speaking English with me. He was a middle school teacher in Xin zhuo. His English was very good and he told me about when he used to live and work in Sichuan province. “Our school had exchange programs and we got a teacher from Switzerland, He was very young, only 20. All the teachers went out for a meal and we drank a lot of bie jiu, the boy from Switzerland got too drunk and he had found out that day that his grandmother had just died, “I want to kill myself” he screamed when we got back to the flat and he almost jumped out of his 4th floor window but we stopped him. The next day I got a text from him saying, Chinese alcohol is too strong”.
We both laughed at this and I wondered how many people have underestimated how strong or how much they have drunk and have suffered fatally for it either through alcohol poisoning or just doing something stupid. It was getting much colder and the tarpaulin make shift roof was doing nothing to abate the rising dust storm whipping around me. I bade them farewell and went back home to sleep.
Monday, September 27, 2010. I didn’t sleep a wink last night and then my alarm went off, I turned it off thinking it would be a waste to go to school as I was unrested, to my surprise I watched me self get out of bed and get my clothes on, Some inspirational demon had flew in my nose hole and was pulling the strings. I watched as I walked to school and absolutely tore the training session to shreds with enthusiasm. Imagine at 6 in the morning as a huge deep red sun rises behind the running track seating stands bathing everything in magic light, imagine hundreds of Chinese students heads down half asleep jog trudging in military unison like a great single machine and then imagine a long legged red faced westerner with head wipe lashed back from sheer unthinkable speed looking at the fading stars disappearing in the milky dawn, over taking these poor morning unappreciating fiends.
Don’t even get me started on the basic exercises I was on fire and was feverishly and unceasingly trying to put myself out by twizling and squatting and jumping back up again in all the leg strengthening moves, I wondered if our undercover spy Catzu! had slipped some ancient Japanese zing zang into my water this morning. Alas the brightness of whatever I was possessed with be it the zing or the zang was short lived and as I sojourned home my true tiredness paid an unwelcome visit. Bie Hong rong trotted up behind me as I was making my way home, diablo in one hand a large bag slung on the other shoulder. “Where where you yesterday? I brought you a moon cake but you where not here”, she asked earnestly, I regaled my story about my dickey knees and she umed sympathetically. Then she got out her English text book and asked me how to pronounce some of the words. I am always very surprised and hold a lot of admiration for Chinese student who have the courage to walk up to a total stranger and a foreigner for that matter and begin forming a relationship and trying to learn English, It’s incredibly brave! I am afraid my festivals (testacies) aren’t quite big enough to do such things, the mere thought of approaching a strange Chinese person and whipping out a Mandarin text book and asking which tone this particular character has sends me dashing to the loo with fear. Our short 10ish minute walk home covered two pages of well spaced out words and I even learn some Mandarin as well “See you tomorrow” I said. “WATCH OUT, BE CARFULL THERE IS A CAR” she cried suddenly. I had stepped out into the road and a car was screeching round the bend rather uncontrollably and was heading dangerously close to me. I hopped back up on the curb and waved away her worries and then set out again with more caution.
I stayed awake all morning and only succumbed to sleep when I was reclined on the bed reading and the warm sunshine made me drowsy, it’s a killer. I woke up again at 2:30 and almost didn’t get up but I did and arrived at school to find the place littered with new wrestling waist coats. Up until now I have only been doing the bare chested wrestling and now it would seem we where starting the wrestling more like judo with thick sleeveless jackets. It’s a completely different game and one I don’t know very well but I can tell I will like it a lot. It’s more advanced as there are more throws involved. After a dozen throws of which I sailed over my opponent back over his head and then landed smack on my back I realized that a lot of the waist coat throws are much more areal and therefore more impactful than what I was previously used to. You see when you have something substantial to grab on to like a thick waist coat then you have far more grip and pull to send you opponent flying around the place. There was one particularly hard throw to execute where you reel them in towards you until they are staggering into your throwing area then you yank down on their coat and then yank up, you twirl on your feet balls and in a snap second are now bum to groin with your opponent and then you sort of flick him over you back and it had the incredible effect of sending them arching over your body and being deposited with a loud satisfying smack in front of you. I had a wrestle with an older wrestler who was pretty strong and my long arms came in handy and I managed to slam him on the floor a few time with brute force. It you cannot execute the feet ball bum to groin over the head throw then just grab both shoulders and push back sharply then pull forward even sharper and hopefully if your brutish enough( and I was barbaric!) then you opponent will find himself on sore knees and hand before you.
As we were all warming down and I was inspecting the bruises under my finger nails from all the grabbing I had an urge to try a head stand and I bloody well did it first time! I was upside down on my head, body erect (another one for you Chriffstoff) with my elbows as supports. This got the immediate attention of the other wrestlers and they all followed suit. Upside down human trees growing and then swaying unsteadily and felling themselves. After another attempt my cranium felt uncomfortably dense so I ceased from the head standing and watched with pained amusement as coach Ma was bouncing up and down on a young wrestlers hips while he was in the splits position, He still had at least 4 more inches to go to complete a full one and Coach Ma was pressing down on hip and shoulder forcing the young boy down. At first the boy who must have only been about 12ish found the pain funny and he laughed and winced but as the weight mounted and coach Ma’s cauliflower ears dismissed the poor boys cries of “ ok that’s enough its really painful” his smile began to quiver and turned from whimpers to giggles to crying to hysteria. Coach Ma Zen like on his human perch laughing at the mixture of pain and laughter. Eventually he stepped off and the boy collapsed sideways and began crying without the laughing probably in relief and of course excruciating groin pain.
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