It’s a counterclockwise kinda day

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I only felt like going counter clockwise this morning. Usually I start with counter clockwise, then go to clockwise after a time, then back and forth. However today was only one direction for the morning. This makes sense as it is an old practice to do it like this. I will have to make sure that I go the other direction just before bed. After about half an hour of counter clockwise I tried to go clockwise and it just didn’t feel right. Needless to say I decided to save that direction for later. I should probably include the prayers/meditations with them as well if I’m going to do it this way though.

Happy shoulder trumps learning how to fight better

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This evening during class John was encouraging me to use more force and power in my Zhaquan striking. I was purposefully holding back as to not make my shoulder worse (rotator cuff is still messed up pretty badly). He insisted I do it anyways. He said no excuses. Well I have noticed over the past few months that when I don’t do Zhaquan my shoulder gets better, and when I do do it my shoulder gets far far worse. My shoulder was progressively healing for several months, until I overdid it with some Zhaquan over and over a few times. I having been only doing slow and gentle Zhaquan just so I can keep it memorized. Needless to say I walked out of class today. Since I have done this twice before in the past two years John wasn’t surprised at all and just headed on home. Apparently his teachers would push him past injuries and all is well with him today. However I decided I have a choice; I don’t mind muscle pain, but I now draw the line at pain that worsens and injury.

I then came home and practiced for half an hour to get some of the Daoist Bagua stuff in.

I’m still pretty bummed out that John and the other student that was there at meetup striking the pad actually hurt quite a bit when I hold it… always feels like my diaphragm gets whacked. I’m thinking about perhaps just doing the health aspect of Bagua and scrapping the fighting bits, at least until my body is much stronger.

It was hiking day yesterday :)

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I took the BCMC instead of the Grouse Grind, since well the BCMC is a nicer trail and no cranky people on it, unlike the Grind. It was raining and cool out, which I actually enjoy since I don’t overheat as easily. The hike was much much easier than usual. I’m not sure if this was due to the fact I took 3 weeks off and let my body recuperate, or the cooler weather. The hike was difficult, but not torturous in a cardio sort of way like usual. Believe me, my cardio has not improved any, so I’m guessing it was my leg strength and the weather.

Didn’t get any Bagua in as I woke up just trashed, and felt pretty trashed right up until I left for the hike.

There were nachos and discussion afterwards, and I got my new Columbia base layers for winter. They are sort of like a pair of really thin long johns, with emergency blanket technology thrown in. However they are still breathable, as they are more like regular activewear. They look sort of space-age on the inside. We all made jokes about wearing them inside out to the clubs ;).

The trick is to enjoy the practice

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At least for me that really helps get things working and flowing. Of course there are difficult bits and painful bits, but hey I also enjoy climbing up mountains, and it is difficult. I have found that when I just get into the flow of things and really enjoy my practice is when it comes together more. The handy part of this is that I really enjoy practicing Bagua! 🙂

I have found that to get nearly every single bit of daily Bagua practice I want to in, with just a few repetitions takes an hour and a half. With the stuff I left out, I figure another half an hour. So I’m guessing you just alternate exercises and days or something; however I want to do most of them daily! It’s not that I don’t have 2 free hours instead of only an hour and a half, its more that I get completely exhausted at about the hour and a half mark! Fortunately I can add the other stuff in later in the day.

Lately John has been saying to put more power into my Bagua. That is excellent advice and makes my Bagua that much stronger and actually I even do the form more accurately. However it also wipes me right out for a day or two afterwards!

Ooh, a nice achilles stretch with every single mud step!wi

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When done without shoes anyways. I’m not sure how it would work with shoes, unless you were taking very long steps. Since your heel doesn’t come up, boy does the back leg and foot get a goooood stretch! I wonder if this helps with my running any? It still hasn’t seemed to have helped my snake creeps down yet though…

Bagua Kicks Ass :)

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We focused a lot on kicks during meetup this week. Some strikes too, but mostly kicks. I used to hate doing kicks while sparring, and now I know why, because back then my balance sucked! You need some semblance of balance to pull off a kick without your opponent, or perhaps even a strong breeze, toppling you over!

After class, I bombarded John with a series of questions. He is so patient with all of my questions… since they are more like arguments disguised as questions half the time LOL. Such things as “why and how is Bagua and Zhaquan similar?”. “How can you say Bagua is limited?”. So how come you don’t you teach that spine whipping stuff like they show in the Yin Bagua videos, does our system have that?” I think he knows that I just want to understand though, and never just take anything as truth without either experiencing it for myself, or seeing a lot of proof. Sometimes he says just go practice, which is fine with me :). But for the more important questions he does answer. Also the fact I practice daily probably helps “I did already” lololol. Is the reason martial arts people take on students to learn patience and understanding? :> I’m very glad that I can help John with this aspect of his training….

Oh and after some talking and going around in circles with the conversation, yes it did come down to the fact I’m still too newbie to be taught the spine whipping stuff, darnit! John was nice enough not to laugh when I showed him what I meant, and said like this but done properly and better. Apparently there is some in Zhaquan though, I just sorta missed it somehow.

I can flip a 260lb tire! :)

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Which in itself isn’t all that amazing since well lotsa people can flip tires that large. The amazing part is being able to do that without weight training or tire flipping training :). OK so perhaps my arm strength isn’t quite as terrible as I thought!

Video tape everything!

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Here is my advice to any and all newbies… if you learn anything in martial arts that you aren`t going to be practicing every single day, video tape it! Video it no matter how unimportant it may seem, or especially if you think you will never forget that. You will forget it, and quickly. There are two exercises I had completely and entirely forgotten from my training in California last year, but watching the videos reminded me. Fortunately the teacher had me emphasize the most important bits, even though back then I didn`t know they were the most important bits, I was too busy trying to remember the movements!

Also, you learn so much with martial arts, and there is no way you can practice everything you learn, that would take 8 hours per day everyday, so things can get forgotten, or important details, so best to video tape it all. That said, I think I should video tape my Zhaquan while it is still very fresh in my memory.

Knees, speak to me!!

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The tops of my knees are killing me! I’m not entirely sure which Bagua exercises are bringing this about. A friend of mine said when he started Bagua that his knees were pretty messed up from a car accident. Well Yang Guotai said that’s fine, circle walk. Oh they hurt? Circle walk more! Eventually they stopped hurting. I’m hoping for that day. So I used that logic today, my knees hurt so much I could barely walk (last night they hurt so much I just didn’t get up much, and had to take naproxen just so I could sleep), so I figured hell why not, I’ll get some Bagua in! I think the circle walking helped them, however the other exercises I’m not so sure about. I guess more experimentation needed ;).

The circle walking is starting to make more sense. John has told me to put more intent into it (basically), so I’m working on that. I’m also focusing more on some of the stuff the Daoist Bagua teacher taught me, to do with energy stuff; it is helping as well.

Only 1 hour of practice today so far…

Only 3 more years to go until I become a tiny bit good at martial arts ;)

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That’s what John says, to not be too hard on myself, as it takes 5 years before someone is even a little bit good at stuff. That makes sense. He also informed me that there is no way the kid I sparred with had only been doing stuff for 1.5 years, since he was able to pick up the use of stuff more quickly than a newbie. So I don’t feel so bad about my terrible sparring in class :>. Also apparently I did pretty good according to John! It just sometimes feels like there is no improvement because it comes at such a slow rate…

Class tonight was awesome; we covered the crane step, and balancing on one foot. I used to love to watch the cranes on the quiet beach when I lived down in a small beachfront town in the US. They would just stand there on one leg for hours, silently. It felt as though my one foot would sink into the ground as I would plant it down to balance, it was kinda neat. It also felt as though I suddenly weighed only half as much.

I showed up half an hour early to practice, but was distracted by severe shoulder pain. I also practiced for half an hour this morning.