Thursday, May 14, 2009

You Got Me!

Three days ago, I wrote about the importance of setting aside time for your workout. Treat it like a chore that must get done. After all, good exercise is important for good health.

It's easy to say that you're not going to let life get in the way of workouts. It's quite another thing to put into practice, especially when faced with simultaneous computer and car repairs, as well as babysitting my son and nephew, and getting my son ready for his violin recital at school.

So I'm determined to get in a good workout today. At least, I've got two mini workouts on my agenda.

In addition to my resolve to set aside time for working out, I have another resolution for the month of May. I'm going to focus on my broadsword training. It's not my favorite weapon. I'm partial to the Wing Chun butterfly swords sets, both the Yip Man and mainland Chinese versions, the Yau Kung Mun butterfly swords or the Taiji straight sword.

Earlier this week, I studied my treasured Yau Kung Mun/Hung Gar sets DVD to get back up to speed on the single broadsword. Today, prior to my workout, I studied the double broadsword set and transcribed the first third. I've found writing them down is a good exercise to help remember the sequence of forms.

Since I had some business in that area, I decided to treat myself and head down to Lowry Park to practice. The grass was freshly mowed right around my favorite spot under the trees. The water from yesterday's thundershowers seem to have cleared the air. My allergies feel better than they have in weeks.

It feels very peaceful to practice outdoors, especially near the Hillsborough River at Lowry Park. It's one of those things that makes me glad to live in Florida. Not only because of the warm weather and the beautiful scenery, but because of this state's lenient weapons laws. In my former homes in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and California, I'd get arrested for taking my swords outside.

I started with six runs of the single set. It felt pretty good. I still remembered the sequence and it flowed well. The well-maintained fields at Lowry Park make for a nice training area, unlike my yard which looks like a sandbox as a result of the ongoing drought.

Following a short rest, I broke out my double swords and the written instructions for the first third. It's pretty simple. There's only six moves going one way, you repeat them going the other way, then I added a false close.

Weapons work is not easy. Whether you're speaking about any of the Asian or European versions of fencing or stick work, it takes a lot out of you. A sword may only weigh a few ounces, but it'll take a lot out of you, especially after doing the same set five to 10 times.

One of the strongest girls I ever knew was a baton twirler at my high school. That was her sole form of exercise. As she pointed out, the baton may only weigh a few ounces, but after twirling it for several miles on a parade route, it feels like it weighs a ton.

I could sure relate to that today. Following five runs of the single sword and 10 runs of the double-sword subset, I was winded. Inspired by Don's recent posting on his own Yau Kung Mun blog, I decided to do five runs of the Say Mun Bagua Kuen set.

After all that sword work, I could only do four runs of SMBK before I had to quit.

But I felt pretty good when I checked my watch. I got all of that done in less than 40 minutes. I rewarded myself with a half-pint of fried rice, returned to my computer and sat down to plan my afternoon strength training workout.

Stay tuned.

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