Training Schedule

No matter where you are or how much time you have, it’s not easy to plan a training schedule. Everyone has an opinion on the most efficient way to train. We have different backgrounds, body types, strengths, weaknesses, and interests. Training different skill-sets require different intensity levels and recovery time. We can jump ahead too soon without a strong foundation for basics. We can stay at the same level for too long and training can become stagnant and frustrating. Our training partners’ time, abilities, and well-being must also be taken into consideration. There is no perfect formula.

Our training schedule has undergone a more drastic change this semester. At Enrico’s suggestion, we’re alternating between high intensity and low intensity days. Previously, the Taiji Partner Drills (Centering, Pushing Hands, Peng Lu Ji An, Yin Yang Symbol, Rollback) were trained in the mornings and Shaolin Partner Drills were trained in the afternoons. By the end of the day, our energy was usually drained and our forms suffered. We were trying to cover too much at once and we needed a more efficient way to train. Now we alternate topics.

We’re still figuring out how to train all the necessary drills. I’ve made adjustments to fit my goals and schedule. Rather than Tumbling, I focus on White Crane & Taijiquan in the mornings. Other students alternate between Shaolin & Taijiquan sequences from 14:50-15:40. During Taiji Sequences, I train the Taiji Fighting Set and Shaolin sequences (and save the Taijiquan Long Form for the mornings).

2016 Fall Schedule

Long Term Goals

  • Finish learning the Long Fist and Taijiquan curriculum and learn as much White Crane as possible. Five years is insufficient time to learn everything, but we have our lifetime to practice.
  • Favorites (so far): Sword, Short Rods, White Crane sequences & sparring, Taijiquan Long Form & sparring

Semester Goals

  • Long Fist – Er Lu Qiang (Second Way Spear), Spear vs Saber
  • White Crane – Shan He, Shang Xia Zhi (basic, complex, hooking, linking), Qi Xing
  • Taijiquan – Polish Long Form with Jing

Conditioning 11:00 – 12:00 (5-6 x per week)

  • Bags (strikes & kicks)
  • Bars (pull ups, leg raises, dips) or Vertical Rope
  • Core (mix of iron board bridge, planks, & various dynamic exercises)

Other Conditioning

  • Rooting on bricks (during White Crane Qigong)
  • Heavy weapons (during Sequences)
  • Jumping
  • Candle punching
  • (I’m working to include other conditioning drills)

The schedule doesn’t mention that I’m often busy during break times, until at least 9pm on weekdays, and for most of the weekend.

As always, I’m searching for a balance between training, working (for Shining Link, other projects, personal projects, teaching, side job, career planning), cooking & other chores, administrative duties for the Center, rest & recovery time, and personal time.

“If you can’t recognize your faults…

…you’ll never improve.”

This past week, we did a demonstration for Mei-Ling and her family members who were visiting the Center. I chose Taijiquan because I really enjoy training it and performing it in front of an audience makes me uncomfortable.

If there is something that makes me uncomfortable, I’ll usually do it as long as it’s relatively safe and builds a skill I want to have.

This is especially important for Taijiquan because I should be as soft and relaxed as possible and performing can bring me to the opposite state. I have to be physically soft and mentally centered not just for performances, but also if I’m ever in a situation where I have to use it.

I performed Shuang Jian (Double Short Rods) first and after 2 sequences, I was up again. (I planned the order so I’m not complaining. I guess I wanted it to be more challenging.) My body had to go from a very Yang state to a calm Yin state, which didn’t really happen. That’s okay, I would’ve been nervous and tense no matter what. At least my hands weren’t shaking as badly as during previous tests.

Self Corrections:

  • Too tense/stiff
  • Not enough Fa Jing (發勁) – strikes don’t extend or pull back enough or in a straight line (thus reducing whatever little soft and soft-hard power I could have generated)
  • Not enough Hua Jing ()
  • Not enough Yi (意)
  • Not enough root
  • Alignment is off
  • Not enough power generation using the entire body (ground to feet, legs, waist turn, spine and chest bows, arms, hands)
  • Need to have postures checked for accuracy

It was my first demo with Fa Jing and at a slightly-faster-than-slow speed. It was pretty much a blur and there are many other corrections if I want to think about them.

Dr. Yang later said I “improved by not a small amount.” I hope he never says, “It’s good.” From a story he told us, if a teacher says that to you, it means don’t intend to teach you. From my experience as a Chinese-American, the best compliment you can hope for is, “It’s improved” or “Not bad.” The phrasing is very specific and reflects the sometimes humble culture. If I hear anything more positive than that, I usually innately shut it out.

Dr. Yang’s correction (which he’s said before and will continue to say forever):

  • My Fa Jing isn’t crisp. I need to pull back more to get that soft penetrating power.

He could have mentioned all the other corrections, but I’ll take that as the most important one to work on for now.

I thanked him and acknowledged that I have ways to go. That’s when he smiled and said, “Good. If you can’t recognize your faults, you’ll never improve.”

White Crane Taijiquan

I am aware that our style of Taijiquan is mixed with our White Crane training and looks different from other practitioners’ forms. Why?

“Once in motion, every part of the body is light and agile and must be threaded together.” – Taijiquan Classic by Zhang, San-Feng (張三丰)

Dr. Yang’s interpretation: “The body should be a coherent whole, with all of its parts connected and unified by the energy (Qi) moving within them, like ancient Chinese coins connected by a string.”

In other words, use the spine wave. Without it, it’s very difficult to fully manifest Jing.

That’s his interpretation. He’s my teacher. This is my explanation and it doesn’t mean our training is the only “correct” way. I’m not here to start any arguments.

This is a snapshot of my training for all to see. Onward we go. Thanks for reading.