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Goodbye Shichahai

Today was our last day of training at Shichahai, which makes me an unhappy monkey. We’re repacking and consolidating our things tonight, because we’re leaving Beijing early tomorrow and heading to Xi’an, and then we’ll be off to Tai’an a couple days after that. It *is* cool that we’ll get to see other parts of China outside of Beijing, but we could’ve easily spent the whole trip in Beijing and had plenty of things to do… and more awesome training, of course πŸ˜‰

I’m very, very glad that I did this now, at this point in my life, because I don’t know that I’d have held up as well, even one year from now. I had a fairly normal run of soreness on Thursday and Friday, but on Saturday’s practice, my hip flexors were all-but-dead. I couldn’t go as low in drop stances, my crescent kicks weren’t as fast, and cartwheels… eugh. Trying to do too much on any hip-opening moves still aches like nobody’s business. It’s a rough reminder that, athletically speaking, I’m not exactly the springiest of spring chickens.

It’s definitely motivation to train harder at home, though. I’ve surprised myself with how much I’ve been able to keep improving, even as I approach the dreaded 3-0, and I guess I still believe that I haven’t reached my peak yet. Β And, just yesterday, I saw Zhao Chang Jun doing a crazy squat drill in the weight room, and then I was informed that he’s 31 years old and still competing among the best that Beijing wushu has to offer. Sure, he did have a 15-year-or-so head-start on me with the training, but it’s a glimmer of hope, nonetheless.

This was most definitely worth it, pain and all. It’s been educational, and it was the extra kick in the ass I needed to keep going. I hope I can come back here later (hopefully, not *too* much later), and for longer, when I’m both wiser and stronger.

Me on China carpet! (thanks go to Goo for taking the shots of me)

After doing southern fist for all of our other practices, I surprised our teacher by doing my old intermediate long fist form on my last day. Combo X FTW πŸ˜‰

Goo is faster than a speeding camera!

Our teacher for our practices at Shichahai explaining a move. (even though it looks like she’s going for a nose pick)

One of the other students from my school works on eagle claw.

Taken as I passed through the doors of the Shichahai lobby for the last time. πŸ™

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