Winter Break: Part III

Because this is a combined post, we have color coded our sections: Jon – Red, Michelle – Purple.

With the new year, we decided it would be fitting to have new haircuts. For some odd reason Michelle trusted me to cut her hair, and for some even stranger reason, I trusted her to cut mine back. (It’s only hair :p) Here’s what we ended up with:

Mohawk vs. a nice shoulder-length cut

Free haircut, why not? Jon even added layers and thinned out my very thick hair. One part was a little uneven, but I was otherwise pleased and we got a few compliments. If martial arts doesn’t work out, he could be a decent hair stylist and with practice, it won’t take an hour next time :) I wanted to shave an arrow on Jon’s head so he’d look like Aang, but he wouldn’t let me. I also meant to make the mohawk more narrow but he had already been sitting for over 45 minutes and got antsy. Sadly, he didn’t keep the mohawk.

October 2012 marked the 30th anniversary of YMAA’s existence. To celebrate, on January 5th, the Andover branch school hosted an open house event with the support of the Amesbury and Boston schools. All three New England based schools worked together to organize a program of performances and workshops lasting well over three hours long. Good job team :)

Students from Andover, Amesbury, and Boston mingle before their performances
YMAA Andover’s lion dance team setting up

Our demos are usually silent or have some mediocre background drumming. This time, I wanted to play music and I went with almost every cliched martial arts/training montage music known to man. I figured it’s so cliched that it’s probably never been done before. It amused the audience members and I saw some smiles on unsuspecting performers. Some have asked me for the playlist so here it is:

  • Kung Fu Panda – Hero
  • Tai Chi Master
  • Mulan – I’ll make a man out of you
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – Night Fight
  • Gabe Trieu – Fearless
  • Two Steps From Hell – Firenation
  • Survivor – Eye of the Tiger
  • Wong Fei Hong Theme
  • Kung Fu Fighting (remix)
  • Watergate – Heart of Asia
  • Rocky – Final Countdown (instrumental)
  • Super Street Fighter IV – Guile’s & Chun Li’s themes
  • Fearless OST Ending Theme
  • Karate Kid – You’re the Best
  • Ip Man (hip hop remix)
  • Vengaboys – We’re going to Ibiza [not MA related, but a theme among Demo Team]
  • Rob D – Clubbed to Death (appeared in “The Matrix”)
  • Bonobo – Kiara (used in Kung Fu Body Conditioning DVD Trailer)
Photo courtesy of Gateway Taiji


After Andover’s open house event, we drove up to Portsmouth, NH to visit our friend Bill at Gateway Taiji. It was my first time visiting his studio and I was very impressed. He had separate sections of the room devoted to the different practices taught at the studio. The first part of the room was set up for Taijiquan practice with a lecture board, weapons rack, and angled mirrors. After a soundproof divide, the second part was surrounded with structures that put you at ease and posters with various yoga postures printed on them.

When we finished our tour, Bill invited us back to his place for a delicious dinner that his wife had prepared for us. We began with a quick snack of chips with Bill’s homemade salsa before moving to appetizers. Bread with butter and fresh salad were the perfect warm up for wild rice, salmon, and asparagus.

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