Testing started on Monday. Actually, it started 3 weeks ago. Dr. Yang was disappointed in our last demo (Mental Beat Down) so he’s had us perform 2 sequences each for the past few Mondays. It keeps us on our toes and saves time during testing week. After each performance, we stand there and anyone who has any corrections or tips points them out.
My mindset is pretty different compared to the last two tests. I’m much more relaxed overall, but I still get a little nervous if I’m testing something I’m not familiar with, or when I did centering with Dr. Yang. Now I get it when they say, “testing is just for a record.” Dr. Yang has already been watching us all semester so he has a good idea of what level we’re at. We already focus on our individual needs and interests. We already keep track of our own progress. It’s not a big a deal as it once seemed.
Speed (5 minutes)
Continuous light contact sparring, upper body only. It’s improved, but still has a long way to go. This is more endurance rather than sparring/reaction training because I’m constantly punching or blocking even if I’m out of range. This makes me tired faster and it becomes more difficult to react, but the point is to push myself so I’ll fare better if I don’t have to continuously punch/block. Some of the seniors are adding kicks.
Soft White Crane Qigong (20 minutes)
The time was split into: solo, with partner, with partner and different hand forms, with jing. If we chose to, we could use weights up until we changed hand forms. We had to use hand forms that corresponded with our targets. I don’t usually train distance/reaction with a partner, so we need to train this more next semester. I’ve also never applied jing with a partner (even though we were mostly out of range), so that was pretty terrible.
Taiji Saber & Sword
Both need a lot of work as my emphasis has been on improving my bare hand taijiquan long form first. The seniors performed at a medium/fast pace with jing.
Short Weapons Basics (5 min solo, 5 min partner)
Solo basics were tested for body structure, body connection, and techniques. The 5YP students did stationary four corners partner matching x 2 partners. Instead of four corners, the seniors sparred for 5 minutes.
The seniors went with Dr. Yang and each 5YP student was paired with a senior, except for me. I went with Dr. Yang because I’m a girl. I understand there’s the potential for guys to be uncomfortable pushing or sparring with a girl, so that already changes the way they would practice with me. Some guys have no problem pushing me as if I’m another guy, others may go lighter (consciously or subconsciously). It’s no matter, it is what it is and I’m still training and improving myself regardless. I am actually glad I went with Dr. Yang. Even though he made me more nervous, he knows what to look for and he only goes with us during tests so I got a rare treat.
Shang Xia Zhi
I went out of order with hooking moving, hooking stationary, basic (simple x2 and complex), and linking stationary. We switched partners a lot because everyone is at different levels in terms of hooking and linking and some are stationary or moving. Linking was a lot less polished than hooking since I had only done it a few times. I decided to test it anyway for fun.
This semester, the guys with no YMAA background started to become more familiar with basic and I started hooking. It was confusing and really sloppy at first, but I really started to “get it” when I realized the blocking side starts to do the complex strike and the hooking side hooks to prevent it and creates an opening for the next punch. When the blocking side starts that little movement (and shifts forward if rocking), it makes so much more sense. On the 3rd, 5th, and 7th punches, the idea is that the punch has a faster pull back (probably a fake), so that the blocking side doesn’t have time to start the complex strike, and therefore the punching side doesn’t need to hook for those. This is all pattern for training purposes and it’s eventually broken. These are now one of my favorite training drills and I’m looking forward to making hooking and linking more smooth and faster.
San Cai Jian – It was probably one of my better ones. I’m getting more power out, but I’m still missing a lot of it, especially connection from my legs and using my second hand. But I’m feeling good (not in a content way) about my progress with sword.
San Lu Pao – It’s a new sequence and testing made me nervous so I blanked out part way through and struggled with some spots, but when I knew what I was doing, it wasn’t terrible.
Qi Mei Dui Gun – It’s wasn’t bad, but we need more power (and not be so nice to our partners) and more body connection.
Beng Bu – I had a lot of minor timing corrections, but I’m feeling better about this form. It’s short, sweet, with explosiveness.
Shi Zi Tang, Yi Lu Mai Fu, Gong Li Quan. I actually focused mostly on those 4 sequences above this semester so I had to re-polish Shi Zi Tang (intermediate level). My San Lu Pao (advanced) practice helped it a lot. Yi Lu Mai Fu (intermediate below Shi Zi Tang) wasn’t as good, but I know I can make it better if I review it more. Gong Li Quan was much better than it has been and Dr. Yang even said I’m getting more power out. I can really feel the difference now, too. But, it’s never a finished process.
I haven’t been consistent due to focusing on sequences, applications, reaction, doing one drill more than another to train similar skills, and injuries. I tested what I felt like doing for the record. Bars (4 pull ups and 17 dips), staff wrist conditioning (3 minutes, left hand only as my right one is recovering from being hit in the same spot almost daily), leg speed, pantherwalk/push up variations (2 minutes), staff dan tian conditioning with a partner (I wanted to burp so that was not so good), and iron board bridge (plank 3 ½ minutes, back training 5 minutes). For iron board bridge, I could’ve held the plank longer but it was the end of the day. For back training, 5 minutes was the max.
And then it was time to rest and what did I do? Wrote this post and baked cookies.