In the midst of my first wushu taolu class, I asked myself, ” Why am i doing this again? Oh right, I wanted to torture myself! ” The first few poses reminded me of yoga, except my thighs were not used to that kind of intense stretching. I could imagine my muscle fibers stretched out like coconut strips. After a few kicks ( or attempts) they were crying for mercy. Our tormentor a.k.a instructor was determined to make us martial artists like him. (Ummm, probably not in in this lifetime ) He was to me, the male version of Chun Lee, agile and graceful. However, he looked more like a cute anime character rather than a streetfighter. He would ask us to bend lower than our backs would normally allow or kick higher than Cancan dancers do. He doesn’t directly ask us of course, but his demos would compel us to do so. Well, he probably started at birth so, it’s best to just observe when you know your limits hehe.
The Chinese melodies in the background did little to relieve everyone of their agony. But instead of “ouch” you’d hear people laughing their frustration and intimidation away. I was laughing too, thinking to myself, “This is ridiculous!! Seriously, are we really going to do that move?. I couldn’t help but notice drops of a guy participant’s sweat dripping on the floor that someone had to come and mop it off. It was hard labor. It was discipline. But amazingly, the mood was light. Maybe it’s because nobody was dreaming to be a Jackie Chan or Zang Ziyi. We knew that this was more of a workout rather than self defense. We looked hilarious trying to modify the moves to the angulation that our joints would allow. If only you could see us, you’d be amazed at how high our spirits were in contrast to how low our kicks were. Some people have been joining the class and were a quite ahead in doing the forms.
For me, at first, it was hard to focus at coordinating my arms and my legs to the right position. I was thankful for yoga taught me to balance myself though it didn’t teach me how to come up from bending down that one leg you’re standing on. But, I was quite impressed by a lady in a red shirt who was able to do the split after attending this class for about a month. Wow! And she was friendly too, telling me that eventually, I’d get the hang of it. Maybe, if I have audacity to come back next Sunday for round two of my brain vs. my muscles. As I walked down a flight of stairs, I can feel those muscles rebelling about what I did to them. I could just imagine what soreness tomorrow brings.
I walked down Session road with a candy melting on my mouth, feeling as if I just made a Kung fu film. It felt good trying something new and interesting. I was oblivious to the raindrops and passersby. Perhaps it was serotonin kicking in. I think it was from laughing my butt off rather than the wushu. =)
* Note: This was written when I was still living in Baguio City.