Monday, June 8, 2009

Forkin' Around on a Monday Afternoon

Today was supposed to be the start of a new program of physical fitness, organization and self-improvement, but it got off to a late start.

I fully intended to get up at 5 a.m., the same time my wife gets up for her job, do my workout before my son wakes up, get him ready for a thrillin
g summer at the Boys & Girls Club before getting to work.

But I was just too damn wore out over the weekend. Actually, between family and social obligations the past three weekends, with work commitments during the week, I needed the extra two-and-a-half hours of sleep I got this morning. It would have been more, but Frannie does not believe in having a lazy master.

Frannie, a German shepherd/Florida red wolf hybrid

By noon, I had completed pretty much everything I intended except for the workout. I used it as an opportunity to challenge myself once again in a noontime Florida sun.

Like I do most Mondays, I started out with a full-body s
tretch. That's my Monday ritual. I try to do it at least twice a week. I find that if I don't, I tend to suffer from greater neck, knee and back pain. By keeping things flexible, I find I usually avoid it altogether.

Following the stretch came the hard part. I had a limited amount of time to workout and still be able to have lunch and do all the things I needed to do this afternoon, including posting this workout.

With little more than a half-hour remaining to train, I set
a kitchen timer for 15 minutes. In that time, I did eight runs of the Tung Jee Kuen, the first set of Yau Kung Mun Kung Fu. Like most Yau Kung Mun sets, Tung Jee Kune is short, fast and agressive. There's also several times when you drop to one knee and block a strike. Those knee drops take a lot out of you if you aren't properly warmed up.

Feeling the burn, I then challenged myself more with five runs of the Hung Gar Dai Pah (Great Fork) set. Some Hung Gar schools won't teach that set until the very end of the student's training. It's easy to see why. Though it only has about 25 to 30 moves, it is one of the heaviest, most physically challenging weapons there is. In my experie
nce, it is right up there with the Kwan Dao for the most strenous weapon set.

I managed to push myself through those five runs, again in less than 15 minutes. I needed the extra break time between runs, which is why I gave myself 15 minutes. I closed with a run of the wooden dummy set.

POSTSCRIPT: Remembering Shek Kin

With all the hoopla over David Carradine's passing last week, it was easy to miss the news of the passing of a true giant of the martial arts and cinema.

Shek Kin, 96, was best known as the renegade shaolin priest, Master Han, in the Bruce Lee classic, "Enter the Dragon." However, he has a history of martial arts teaching, training and performing that goes back almost 75 years. He was a sifu of both Eagle Claw and Choy Li Fut styles of Kung Fu. One of his most famous students was Choy Li Fut master, Lee Kune Hung.

It should be noted that Shek Kin would have to have been in his 60's when he shot that classic fight scene with Bruce Lee in the hall of mirrors. Considering how well he could still perform his martial skills at that age, it's no wonder that Lee respected Shek Kin, calling him uncle.

Shek Kin continued working in cinema well past 90, making him one of the oldest, if not the oldest, working actors of his time.

I think that speaks volumes about the health and longevity aspects of the martial arts.

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