Take a Hike!

Ok…sorry. That was mean. “Take a hike” is an idiom for leave or get out of my presence. DON’T GO!!! I have things to share!!! HAHA! Anyway, the reason for the title is because I actually went on a hike through the Shaolin mountains yesterday!!! It was such a beautiful day and the weather was perfect for a hike. Plus, who wants to train on a Saturday afternoon. Not me! Hiking up the mountains to a nice mountain spring for a swim was the ideal Saturday afternoon, don’t you think? Here, let me take you on a mini tour around the mountains 🙂

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To start off, I should probably stop calling it the Shaolin mountains. The proper name is 嵩山, Song Shan. It is pronounced “Soon San” or “Sōng Shān”. Now I’ll take you through the path:

Mount 1 Mount 8

The path from my school to the mountains was about 3 or 4 km long. Long walk, but totally worth it! I love looking at the mountains on clear days like these! 🙂

Mount 5

Oh and for all of you whips or just plain lazy, there are cable cars that will take you up the mile high mountains. I actually have no idea how high I climbed yesterday…sorry, I was too ready to jump into a mountain spring! I’ve never swam in a spring before! Still, what I do know is that the highest peak is about 5000 ft!! Of course, I didn’t climb that high since it was an afternoon trip lol.

Mount 9 Mount 8

 

Anyway, I just want you guys to admire the view! It is better in person, but still…nature is beautiful.

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Well, this was the final destination! The mountain spring! They called it Wu Long Tan, or 5 Dragon Spring. Not going to lie, I do think these springs have some magic powers or something. I took a dip and all of my aches, soreness, and pains just went away. The cool mountain air mixed with a cool spring on a hot day, #Perfect.

Mount 4

By the way, have you guys ever heard of Tallulah Gorge in Georgia? Well, if you have these reminded me of the sliding rocks there!! It is like a mini waterfall were you just slide from pool to pool!

Mount 3

The other good thing is, the water was so clear!

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The swimming hole!! It was a lot deeper than I though. Lord knows how deep, but again I am thankful for whatever magic was in the water that helped heal my body! Anyway, after a fun weekend I’m ready to start the week off right by training hard tomorrow! You guys do the same! Train hard, work hard, and play hard! Thanks again for all of your support 🙂

 

The Coach!

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Hey everyone! Today, I want to introduce someone who is very close to me here at Shaolin. My coach! I finally got a decent picture with him, so why not share a little bit about this guy! Well, I’ve trained under him for the past 4 times I’ve been back to Shaolin. He knows my every strength, and he pushes on my every weakness. He pushes us to our limits during training, but he treats us as though we are his children. He hangs out with us on our breaks, a great father and husband on his breaks, and just fun to be around on any break! He has taught me numerous forms and techniques and even handed me his own special form, the drunken fist! Though he is a great teacher and a great coach, he is an even better friend. Though for majority of the year I’m in the states, I come back to Shaolin every time to find my coach ready to train me harder and to make me better than I was last time. Shen Jia. My coach, my teacher, and my friend. I always look forward to working with him over the summer!

Shaolin Food

Hey everyone! I know this is a very random post…food? Well, people always ask me how is the food there in China? What is different? Are you used to it yet?

Well, honestly… despite how long I’ve been coming back to Shaolin, no, I’m not really used to the food. I’ve been living off of bananas, apples, bread, and hard boiled eggs for the past few weeks. I guess, I just don’t know what to get right now, but I have been slowly getting used to it. Here’s what I’ve been living off the past few weeks:

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1.) Like I said..hard boiled eggs and bananas! Haha!! Eggs for protein and bananas for a sweet potassium boost! At least, I’m pretty much free from getting cramps, right? 🙂

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2.) Sunflower seeds and Pocky!!! Well, I’ve always loved sunflower seeds and pocky is just an awesome snack! Normally, you can find pocky in chocolate and strawberry, but did you know they have green tea pocky? I was very skeptical about it at first, but now I’m just a little obsessed. Not exactly the healthiest two choices, but whenever I need a snack, they are satisfying!

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3.) I said before, I don’t like soda or energy drinks, but this drink sure pumps me up for some odd reason! Milk Tea! I love this stuff. It is super sweet, and a warm cup of milk tea in the mornings is a great way to start of the day! Again…it is full of sugar, so not exactly the healthiest choice, but still it keeps me running. If you can’t run on caffeine like I normally would back in the states, then sugar is the next best option, at least for now. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you probably missed my post about “My Addiction.” No problem! Just click here to view it! 🙂

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4.) Looks pretty weird right? Or do you actually think it looks good? Well, besides the occasional dumplings, this is the only real food that I eat when I’m really hungry, which surprisingly, that’s like once a day..dinner. Anyway, rice is under it, but this is a combination of potatoes, pork, chicken, and carrots. I can’t really explain it, but of all the vegetables in the world, carrots are my favorite. Potatoes? Great source of carbs. Pork and chicken of course for my protein.

shaolin food

In case you were wondering, that bowl is in the shape of a giant mug. I don’t understand why we eat out of those, but I guess it is what people here at Shaolin do things.

Well, that’s it for today! I apologize for not posting as much as I want to! The internet here is absolutely terrible and sometimes my VPN doesn’t work or is ridiculously slow, but I am trying my best to keep posting. Also, I want to thank you all for the support! Please continue to share and follow my blog, and if you are on Instagram or Facebook please follow and like my page!

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We Resent in Others the Flaws We Ourselves Possess

“We most resent in others the very flaws that we ourselves possess.” 

First of all, I would like to point out that I have no idea who said this quote, but I got this quote from an SAT essay prompt. This quote actually popped in my head after class today, and of all the topics given in SAT test prep books or the actual SAT itself, this quote means the most to me. So, I was put into a little predicament where I was coaching a guy in kickboxing earlier, and my coach called me out on being a little hard on him because I do the same thing. Here’s what happened:

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“So, we were just doing a few punching and kicking drills, and well I kept trying to correct the student’s form. We will call the student Jason. I told him to relax, punch straighter, and turn your hips more when you kick. I got a little frustrated after a few times because he kept making the same mistake over and over again even though it was a fairly easy fix. I started to raise my voice a little bit. When I did, my coach came over to see what was going on. He then told me how Jason is doing fine, and told us to switch places. So it was my turn to perform the drill, while Jason held the pads. Well, after perform the drill a few times, my coach got on to me for the same flaw! I wasn’t punching straight and I wasn’t relaxed when I’m punching. I was relying on force verses technique.”

So, as you can probably see, I wasn’t being fair. I was embarrassed, and I apologized to Jason. Anyways, this is a quote that all teachers, coaches, and other students should remember. Don’t be hard on another student if you do the same thing. It is hard for a person to accept his/her own flaw unless seen in another person.

It’s a Stretch…..

Hey everyone!! So, normally the phrase “It’s a stretch” is used as an idiom to describe the unlikelihood of something happening or falsifying something. For example: “It’s a stretch for pigs to fly” or “It’s kind of a stretch for me to fly like a bird.” You guys can probably come up with better examples, but the reason I chose to use this phrase as my topic today is because I was an idiot during training today, didn’t stretch, and pulled a little muscle in my leg! “It’s a stretch for me to get hurt. I’ve been training for a while, and it will be fine!” said the little martial artist. *Sigh* I guess I learned my lesson…for the 100th time. (Haha, yes. Feel free to judge, give me a hit on the head, or whatever. I deserve it. lol)

Anyway, I’m making this post to remind all of you to always stretch before any physical activity!! I don’t care if you’re going on a run, playing tennis, golfing, or even bowling!! STRETCH!! (ok, maybe not every physical activity. I mean, let’s be real. Who stretches right before they go walking or biking. Don’t take this phrase too literal. I mean activities that require long periods of being active) So, here are a few stretches that I should’ve done…

1.) Simply, just putting your leg on a high surface to stretch out the hamstrings. You can also use this stretch to stretch your calves. Just pull your toes back. Your goal? Try getting putting your head to your knee! Oh, and obviously, do both legs and start low then work your way up!

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2.) The common butterfly stretch, a great stretch for the groin muscles. What I like to do as shown below is to put my elbows inside my legs and push them down for a better stretch. Your goal? Try to put your knees on the ground while keeping your feet in! Also, try to kiss your toes too! This stretches your lower back!

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3.) While you’re on the ground, try this! In Chinese, this is called Pu Bu, or English translation: the long wing stance! Yes, it is a common stance used in many forms in WuShu, but it is an even better stretch! Just take one leg out then sit back on the other. This is another great groin and lower back stretch, but the main objective of this stretch is to loosen up the inner thighs and in a way it targets the inside of your knee where your ACL is located. Your goal? Try getting to the point where you can put both hands on your feet and stretch all the way as shown below!

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4.) Speaking of stances as stretches, how about Gong bu? Gong bu is like a bow stance. It is common in a lot of WuShu forms, but also Yoga! Well, this stance stretches your quads, waist, and groin muscles. If you lean back a bit, it can stretch your back too! Your goal? Well, try to get your back leg straight and far back. Also, bend the front leg to a 90 degree angle as shown below. Additionally, I like to put my hand on my waist line to push down my back leg a bit for a better stretch. The front hand on my quad is for balance.

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5.) Ok, enough leg stretches. You need to stretch your upper body as well! This stretch is a little weird, but it gives your shoulders, back, and triceps a great stretch!! Now get against the wall, put your hands up, feet spread apart like a cop is about to search you, then bend over like you’re about to twerk. What you want to do is try to put your armpits against the wall. I know it is weird, but it is a really good stretch!

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Well, that’s all the major stretches that I do, or I should say “Should Do”, before WuShu training. It targets all the major muscles that are going to be used in forms and in the oddly long stances. Well, that’s all for today folks! Keep training, stay awesome, and please REMEMBER TO STRETCH!!! You can accomplish great things if you just stretch like so:

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Throwback to Basics..

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Hey everyone! A mini update: training is going great!!! I’ve got over my sore stage and I’m pretty much at full recovery to train full out! So, I guess you can say the real training starts next week for me! In the past two weeks here, I’ve been just getting back into the groove. We’ve been doing a couple of flips here and there, but mostly it has been reviewing forms, basics, and a lot of workouts.

Anyway, today, I just want to discuss something that every student and teacher should not shy away from. Basics. Take the time and think back to when you first started martial arts. Weren’t you ambitious to learn the cool advance moves that you see the older guys and upper belts do, but your instructor would always say, “Learn the basics first”? No? Well, that’s what my instructor did. I guess all styles have their different ways of teaching, but still you should still practice your basics. Why you may ask? Well…..

  • Probably the most obvious reason is that basics is the bases of everything! If you don’t know you to throw a punch correctly, could you do a kata correctly? Could you fight without hurting yourself? Probably not.
  • Mastering basics can help you generate proper techniques! I cannot stress this one enough! What is a form without proper technique? What is a kick without the proper chamber and striking surface? Almost nothing.
  • Ok, say you have proper technique, but can you generate power with it? How about rhythm? Timing? Well, you have something to work on then. There is always something to improve with basics.

See! Basics are important!! I know they are tedious and practicing them can get boring, but it is a much needed practice. Heck, even I don’t like them, but there is so much to practice with basics. My basics aren’t perfect. Sometimes when I kick I don’t chamber right or I don’t sit all the way down in a horse stance. So, don’t shy away from basics, and keep practicing! You guys rock! 🙂

A Proud Coach

kent

 

Hey everyone, I would like to introduce you guys to my friend, Kent. He is a French martial artist who has been training for quite a while. This was his second year at Tagou School of WuShu, and maybe his last. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to meet him and teach him one of my signature forms before he left. The Tiger Fist was the first animal form I learned, and for years I’ve kept it as my own form, but my coach wanted Kent to leave with something special. So, for the past week, I took him under my wing as my first WuShu student. Though it was a rough start, in just a week, Kent was able to perform Tiger Fist with little to no problem. I’m proud of what he has accomplished in his past training, but I’m more proud of his progress with a form that took me about 2 months to perfect. I wish him the best of luck in the future, have a safe journey back to France, and keep training! 🙂