We made our second summer trip to YMAA Quebec for a Qi Mei Gun / Long Weapon Basics Seminar and test. The long drive was made enjoyable with coffee, few cars on the road, and lots of greenery while passing through New Hampshire and Vermont.
We had lunch at Polly’s Pancake Parlor in Sugar Hill, NH, a family owned business (since 1938) with homemade food from fresh ingredients. We were in maple syrup land and I couldn’t pass on the pancakes so I tried a sampler. Highly recommended!
Once again, as we crossed the Canadian border we were greeted with rain and unusually cold weather for Quebec at this time of year. However, it was a nice change from the humid heatwave back in Massachusetts.
Most of the students attended our San Cai Jian & Sword Fundamentals Seminars last year (2015 Seminar Recap) but we also met a few new faces. We braced ourselves for a 15 hour staff marathon with some students spending extra time getting checked for the test. It was tiring at times, but everyone pushed hard and the students were extremely appreciative of our efforts. The nearest school to Quebec is more than 6 hours away (Andover), so the students rarely have the opportunity to train with other instructors and students.
After the last session, we had dinner at Pacini. It’s an Italian restaurant chain based in Canada and the best part is: you get to add different flavored butter spreads to your bread and grill it yourself! Brilliant! We stopped by Chocolats Favoris again for dessert. They sell all kinds of products but the highlight is soft served ice cream dipped in fondue.
I requested videos of the students performing Lian Bu Quan a few months prior so they could have more time to practice for the test. Video checks are an experiment. Although there are certain corrections I can point out, written explanations may not be easy to understand and some corrections are more difficult to convey unless I’m there in person. The in-person check was a bit overwhelming for some. They had to break old habits and remember a lot of new details and I can empathize with the struggle.
The big issues I see across the world are the fundamentals. At the Center, we went back to the basics this spring and worked on improving root & stances, body structure & mechanics, power generation, and intent & focus. I would recommend everyone do the same before jumping too far ahead.
The students made noticeable improvements despite having only 2 days to work on their corrections. They didn’t even have much time to practice because of the seminar. They have a lot to work on, but I was pleased to see their enthusiasm for training and courage to test. Most of them had never tested before and some were long time students training the same material for years. We tried to make it as official and nerve wracking as possible to put the pressure on. Okay, that didn’t really work because we’re nice :) It was my first time as an official panel member and as I do with judging, I try to be tough but fair with my scores while being encouraging with the students. Regardless of whether or not you passed, you improved simply by going through the experience.
A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who came and especially to Ethan for organizing and being a wonderful host. Until next time!