|Javi and Pat striking the posts|
Here’s the continuation of yesterday’s post.
Our second day’s afternoon testing began with post striking. We had built a small area by digging holes into the ground and putting some cut down trees in them to make posts. Each post was wrapped with some cloth, some bubble wrap, some foam, and was eventually secured with duct tape. This way it would start soft and get harder the more we punched it, conditioning our hands, arms, legs, and feet. The posts were put together in three rows of three, forming a small square of nine posts. The idea was that we could use them to train and get used to three different distances. Two posts directly next to each other would be for short-ranged combat, two diagonal from each other would be for mid-ranged combat, and two nearly opposite from each other would be for long-ranged combat. Our test was to continuously strike at these posts for 5 minutes, using punches, filing, elbows, kicking, knees, etc, while keeping good root, good power, and good body structure… as usual :P
|Santi punching bags|
After post strike was back punching for 6 minutes. This was pretty much the same as post striking, except now we had more targets, and they would swing back at us. This required us to be more alert and aware of our surroundings.
When we finished with the striking exercises, we moved onto staff fundamentals. This started with solo practice in which we had to mix all the basics we knew together for 3 minutes. Afterward, we had to do the same thing again for 90 seconds, but with blocks on the ground, simulating opponents. Once this was finished, we had 90 more seconds of performing staff in the bags. We had to avoid getting our staff caught while being able to strike with good power. This was trained to raise awareness that your weapon can be caught by surrounding obstacles and how to try to avoid this problem.
|Jachym testing staff basics|
|Pat using TJQ techniques on Javi|
Staying in the outdoor gym, we decided to test Taijiquan applications next. We went up one by one and had to perform four techniques for any posture Dr. Yang gave us. Each posture required one of each of the four fighting categories: striking, kicking, chin na, and shuai jiao. I was partnered with Jachym. He had to perform Embrace the Tiger and Return to the Mountain on me and in return I did Play the Guitar on him.
|Me log running|
After Taijiquan applications, we moved outside to the log running course. Our test for this was similar to the previous day’s stump running test. We had to run from one side to the other as fast as we could four times.
|Javi on the trampoline|
Following log running was trampoline. We had bought our trampoline to help with our tumbling practice, to teach us how to be more comfortable with aerial maneuvers. Since then we’ve been learning how to flip around and try new tricks. Most of us have gotten front tucks and a few have gotten back tucks. We’ve also tried flipping sideways and off axis. The trampoline helped us a lot in being more aware of our bodies and our surroundings while in the air.
As our day came to an end, we only have two more things to test: candle punching and reaction. For candle punching, we had to stand so that our hands were about half a foot away from the candles. We had to perform three strikes of our choice and had three tries for each strike. I found it a little weird because I usually train in horse stance. This time, we had to test by shifting into mountain climbing stance (or forward stance). I wasn’t used to the shifting and extra waist turning and was thrown off a bit. I guess I’ll have to start practicing this way from now on.
|Dr. Yang setting up some candles|
|Frank about to spar|
|Jachym and Frank sparring|
Our final exercise to test was reaction training. We had to randomly draw for our partners and had three two minute rounds each person. I was paired with Pat first, Frank second, and Javi last. For my round with Javi, it was mostly a stand still. Both of us were more defensive as we were pretty used to each other’s movements already. He knew what kinds of attacks I liked going for, and I knew which ones he liked. There weren’t many strikes thrown, but both of us were hit once each. It was interesting because with each other, by judging the distance and body language, we would already know which attack would be coming. The two minutes would passed by quickly each time and before we knew it, our testing was over. Year three complete!
And to today’s schedule… cleaning. Lots of cleaning. We’re getting ready for summer seminars. Tomorrow? Same thing :P Hopefully we’ll be able to rest soon :)