chapter 15

21 Oct

Shaolin Kung Fu Part 1: Real Power

So, up to this point, we’ve been seeing me act normal in crazy situations. I don’t know what happened to me when I was 16, but I suddenly became crazy as hell. Crazy as in, “I can make wushu work in a fight”, despite the guy telling me it is just for show. To be fair, the shaolin monk never tried to make what he did anything that it wasn’t. He was a great dude if you were in to what he was doing, and the nicest guy on the planet. These following chapters are going to invariably focus more on my stupidity/insanity than theirs.

I show up to the Shaolin place. It’s a giant building, next to a ballet studio. A little unmanly, but it’s ok, because Shaolin monks are manly enough to make up for 5 ballet schools. I walk in to find a very short asian man watching Saturday morning cartoons. He greets me; his english is poor.

The class starts, and we do some running. He puts on some music; I was expecting something cool, but it was some kind of chinese kids music. I can’t really explain what it sounds like, but it did not make me feel pumped up. It made me feel the opposite of pumped up.

We do kicks, butterfly kicks, tornado kicks, stretch kicks, your standard assortment. I’m about 195 at this point, very little of it is not pure lard, and I’m not flexible. I am that overweight guy who was trying tornado kicks. It’s sad, but that’s who I was.

After the warm up, he starts to show us a hand form. Alright! I’m finally learning real Shaolin from a real Shaolin monk. This is one of the proudest, happiest days of my life. We finish learning the form, and that’s the end of class.

For them, at least.

I go home and practice the hell out of the form. My brother and I dissect it during the week, trying to pull out the secret applications. After we feel we have a sufficient amount of fighting techniques, I decide to invite over a few guinea pigs. Napoleon, and various other friends come over.

Now, we’re all relative wusses. We don’t want to get hit in the face. My dad has fencing helmets from when he did fenced, so we don those, and put on boxing gloves. They are going to get pwned, and hard.

I begin by taking on Napoleon; the battle is long and hard. My flexibility issues render most of my kicks that aren’t below the waist useless. I’ll have to rely on my hands to do the majority of the business.

Napoleon uses a sloppy boxing style; the standard for people who have seen it, yet never trained it. My plan is to wait for him to punch, then I’ll grab his arm, pull it above my head, then step through and punch him in the stomach.

He punches, but I’m having a hard time grabbing. Not to mention while I’m grabbing, he’s punching at me with the other hand. He lands a few hits, so I start using palm up blocks (beauty looks at mirror) to bide time while I gave up the grab. I throw some random palm strikes, then I go for the gold by palming with my left and kicking with my right. I kick him pretty hard in the thigh, and he goes down.

Now, I would’ve finished there, but quite frankly I felt I won because of kickboxing, and not Shaolin. I ask my other friend; he’s about a full foot taller, maybe more. He uses a similar sloppy boxing, but his reach is so long he just sticks my face the entire match. I let Napoleon and Tall boy fight while I try to figure out why my Shaolin sucks. I’ve been practicing the form, but my techniques have yet to materialize. I decide that I need more forms until I can officially use shaolin; I’ll have to keep my style under wraps until then.

While I try and learn the forms, I’m also doing the tornado kicks and such outside of class. I become heavily involved in what’s called, “Tricking”. Tricking, for those of you who don’t know, is how people who do wushu/tkd justify their doing so by performing acrobatic feats. It is incredibly hard, and I have utmost respect for them and what they do.


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