Thursday, January 28, 2010

Still Taming the Tiger

Despite some minor setbacks, I managed to get in a couple of good workouts since last week.

I missed practice on Monday and Wednesday due to running errands and having to look after my son when he had early dismissal yesterday.

Tuesday was still a pretty good one, even though I only did one run each of the Gung Gee Fuk Fu Kuen (Taming the Tiger set) and the Dai Pa (tiger fork). However, I stressed a lot of stretching, which is crucial for keeping all my joints, especially my knees, in good working order.

Today, I returned to Lowry Park as the temperatures returned to the 70's. Bringing along my tiger fork, my new white oak staff and a quart of water, I chose an open area near some picnic tables to start on my forms.

I did four runs each of the Gung Gee Fuk Fu and the Dai Pa, totaling eight runs of forms altogether. Both sets are very demanding and require a lot of strength. But, by focusing on them, I build attributes that will carry over into tournament training for this year. (More on that later). Those attributes include strength, flexibility, a good root and good stance work.

Stance work is crucial in pretty much any martial art, but especially in Hung Gar and especially with the Dai Pa. As one of the heaviest weapons, if you don't have good root, you will fly all over the place. You will also not be able to use your entire body strength, and most likely end up using too much arm and shoulder strength to control the weapon.

I closed by using my new oak staff to practice a blocking and thrusting combination from the Luk Hup Guan (Six Coordinate Staff set) from Yau Kung Mun Kung Fu. My goal was to do 108 reps and I succeeded, even if I had to break it into four sets.

Being that it is the start of the new year, with the Year of the Tiger to begin next month, I am eagerly awaiting to see what the tournament scene brings. Of course, I'm especially interested in whether the International Chinese Martial Arts Championship in Orlando, scheduled for May, includes a Southern Style Grand Championship, or (dare I dream?) a Wing Chun Grand Championship.

There's also the Chin Woo Legends of Kung Fu, to be held in Dallas in June. If I can raise the funds to travel there, I have a couple of friends from church who've offered to let me crash on their couch. Texas has long has a reputation for blood and guts in their martial arts competitions, but I've always wanted to go for the Wing Chun Grand Championship at Chin Woo.*

The International Chinese Martial Arts Championship also has a tournament in San Francisco in July. I know that if I were to go to that, I could crash with my parents in Vallejo. I'm sure they'd welcome the chance to see their grandson while I compete. Of course, San Francisco is pretty much the martial arts capital of the continental United States. If I did go, the competition would be the fiercest I have ever seen.

And, Nick Scrima, the promoter of the International Chinese Martial Arts Championship, is organizing an all-internal martial arts and push hands championship in St. Petersburg. I've got a few Xingyiquan sets in my repertoire, but I would need to learn, or create, a shortened Yang Taiji hand or sword set. I also hope I can persuade Bret Bumgarner to help with some Bagua and to line up some push-hands partners.

Equally important, as I get news on the rules and registration of these events, will be finances. Hopefully, this will be the year that I either get a real job, or I make enough at freelancing to support some tournament action.

Stay tuned, folks!

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