France Summer Camp

The YMAA International Camp was held in Bordeaux with well over 100 students from around the world. The camps are open to anyone and it was nice to see a few non-YMAA students take part. The best part, as usual, was the people.

Misadventures in Bordeaux (Photo: Paul M.)

Misadventures in Bordeaux (Photo: Paul M.)

I enjoyed the week but I was kind of distant at times. I don’t know if it’s just my personality or if training at the RC has anything to do with it. It was mid-August and I was itching to get back to my normal schedule and normal meals. I took some time out to train on my own. There was a party pretty much every night, but I often stayed in to find the peace and quiet I missed. I assisted Nicky and Jon in the Shaolin classes so more students could work at their level and receive individual attention. This I enjoyed, but it made me feel a little detached from the other students.

As a someone who is both a student and teacher, the most beneficial part of camp was helping students work on their stripe (period/testing) requirements. The foundation needs to be there to reach the intermediate levels. It’s not enough to make a general correction for the group to hear, we often need individual attention so we can identify what we need to improve on. More on this later.

I haven’t been blogging as much as I’d like. I want to put time and effort into each post, but I end up starting a bunch and shelving them. In an effort to post more often, I decided to make lists like the “Remember when…” lists I made when I went to camp as a kid.

  • dalloyauBest macaron stores visited: Laduree (since 1862) & Dalloyau (since 1682)
  • Best macaron flavors: rose petal, pistachio, coconut, almond
  • The French students had trouble understanding the French Canadian student’s accent. He could mimic their accents but they couldn’t mimic his.
  • Sticker shock: It costs 10to take the Metro from Charles de Gaulle airport to the center of Paris (Zone 1)
  • I thought wearing comfortable (non-fashionable) clothing and sneakers would make me stick out while on the streets of Paris, but I blended right in with the other tourists.
  • 4red wine from Bordeaux tastes pretty good.
  • Finally eating some good French food on field trip day!


    Duck confit at L’Agneau à la Braise in Bordeaux

  • Having to eat at CREPS again for the rest of the week -_-
  • (Paraphrased conversation after Dr. Yang watched an Irish student practicing Qi Mei Gun) Dr. Yang: Who taught you? Student: I learned a little from everyone. Dr. Yang: Who taught you? Student: I just finished it yesterday… (trying not to get anyone in trouble). Dr. Yang: It’s pretty accurate, that’s why I wanted to know who taught you. (Everyone within earshot looks relieved :p)
  • Blast from the past: Macarena multiple times over the week
  • YMAA International students party all week long. The Portuguese will ignore your protests and drag you to the dance floor :)
  • Pushing Hands training (specifically Listening and Following Jing) improves your dancing.
  • Victor Marques became a disciple after 20+ years of dedicated training and teaching. Congratulations!victor_ceremony
  • If you need anything, call Victor, but don’t make his head this big!


The Portuguese photo ambush :)

The Portuguese photo ambush :)

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