The Dragon Journals
The Dragon Journals

Journal Archives: April 2001 - June 2001.

5th April 2001

No time to update website! I've had some very kind emails that I hope to share here soon, and am training hard in advance of Dr. Painter's next visit - the weekend of April 21-22!

If you're interested in this workshop, it is a public workshop geared to beginners and newcomers and will take place in Toronto, Canada. Although I am not a true "newbie", this art is so complex that I am sure that a beginners' workshop will still hold plenty for me to learn. Remember, our 'elder brothers' in this Art are fond of saying, 'The fundamentals are the advanced training' (or words to that effect). Unfortunately tonight I have to either train or update this - so, I'm off to train! *grin* as in the Nike advert, "JUST DO IT" or a former employer, ParticipACTION had the perfect slogan, "Don't just think about it, do it, do it do it!" More to follow this weekend ...

13th April 2001

Still no time to update website!

We've had a bit of a challenge this month, as the school rented by the group is not available to us due to a 'support staff' (i.e. maintenance workers) strike. The alternatives are, shall we say, less than ideal? Perhaps I shall have an opportunity to test my fighting skills *grin* ahhhhh NOT.

22nd April 2001

What a weekend!
On Friday (April 19th), the Canadian study group provided the opportunity for students to have a class with Dr. Painter in advance of the public weekend workshop. This 3-hour training session was extremely focussed, rewarding and tiring. I was reminded about how to "round the back" (think about being lifted by a hook, some visualisations required in order to achieve the subtlety required of this). Another reminder important to me, was how to "practise 24/7" (correct postures, movement, "whole body", ...)

The workshop ran all day Saturday and half the day Sunday (today). Both on Friday night and last night it was impossible to sleep immediately - this baguazhang practise seems to keep us awake - and yet I don't recall falling asleep either night. Probably some mental exhaustion and brain running in overtime had something to do with it!

Another personal reminder re: workshop... don't take that extra push into 'tiger' stance when trying to train a 'dragon' stance... ok, I guess you had to be there! What I am reminding myself, is to not try to run before I can walk, since all I will achieve is being able to do neither correctly.

Even now I feel there is "too much" to tell. I started writing notes earlier tonight (I've started keeping a physical notepad for more personal notes) and even then, I realised that since I didn't manage to keep notes at the seminar, individual items will come back to me in their own time, and hopefully when needed.

I've also decided to focus on my health and fitness for the next months. Last week, we started to eat better (more healthy) foods, and I've taken my measurements and plan to slowly incorporate better eating, aerobic workouts (may or may not involve baguazhang), and strength training (definitely involve some baguazhang, and some free weights). I realised that without personal fitness - if I am not both physically and mentally fit - then I will never achieve my personal best in this art. Time to work out! :)

[setting alarm to 6:30 am for morning's quiet sitting...]

24th April 2001

Notable Notes and Quotable Quotes...
'Issue power with every step' - Dr. Painter.

'Whenever you do something, remember to ask yourself, "why am I doing this? what is this movement intended to accomplish?" ' - Dr. Painter

On the subject of kicks in baguazhang:
' "So when can I kick RB in the head?" "When he's laid down!" - story of exchange between Dr. Painter and his teacher, Master Li, Longdao

29th April 2001

On Shoes and other Women's Blues...
Lovely night, tonight. My bloke and I went out for a steak dinner and had a nice evening.

As any normal woman would, I prepared myself by getting "dressed up " and was quite pleased with my appearance. Well, for a while anyway. Until we were standing in the queue at the restaurant.

"Where's your root?" asked my man. "What?" I was a bit distracted. I thought I was pretty solid on my lovely high sling-back heels, pretty yet solid. "Where's your root?" he repeated, giving me a very gentle push - which under other circumstances would have not moved me. Tonight, however... "Try it again!" He did. I was moved again. "Again!" There I went. And so, the sad story of a woman out at night in her high heels, wondering why women are so easily made victims. Hmmmm....

And so yet another area for me to research: what shoes CAN I wear, and still have a root, other than your basic Reebok trainers? ... I'll get back to this issue later! For now, I'm off to stare in disgust at my shoe collection...

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5th May 2001

Happy Birthday wishes to my dad :)

More site updates and bagua stories to follow - tomorrow! Today will be - bagua practise, preparing present, and work projects - plenty for one Saturday...

6th May 2001

Sundays...
Traditionally, this would be (according to my western Christian tradition anyway) a day of rest.

These days, nothing could be further from reality. If we aren't already busy, we find ways to keep busy. Today, for example, was spent in the following manner:
  1. Work, updating various project plans to be emailed first thing tomorrow morning.
  2. Emails, to reply to various correspondance and research some bagua questions.
  3. Some bagua practise, only to discover a potential problem with leaning backwards and a generally frustrating practise (it happens).
  4. Off to mum and dad's, to finish setting up their new computer and to get some supper *grin* as well as visit with an uncle from overseas who is staying at mum and dad's house

Phrain bried! Tomorrow is a new day... still remembering points from the seminar weekend and hope to have one or two photos within the week, hopefully by then I'll have some time to update a bit more. Hope everyone has had a great weekend (we had sunshine here, it always seems to improve the mood!) ;)

21st May 2001

Working out...
Next time I post, I promise to tell you about purchasing new shoes, the bagua way...

Tonight, well, just a quick update. We now own a stationary bicycle and I am disgusted to say that in less than 5 minutes, I can realistically maintain a speed of 25mph, travel just a mile, and collapse quite thoroughly.

Now THAT's unfit. In a pique of disgust I am also offering a new section in my photo gallery, where my "caught on film" moments that may be less than memorable, can be viewed. I call it the "Wall of Shame". Feel free to send me your humiliating martial moments, so I don't have to be all by myself in this category! *grin* Night night!

23rd May 2001

How to buy shoes the bagua way.
A few weeks ago, my man and I went for a "night out". Now understand that for me, this usually means wear the nice jeans (if I have any) and put on some makeup. From time to time, as I did that night, I want to feel like a desirable woman, and at those times, it's hair, makeup, high heels, and a nice dress.

At the time (April 29, 2001) I had posted in this journal "... And so yet another area for me to research: what shoes CAN I wear, and still have a root, other than your basic Reebok trainers? ... I'll get back to this issue later! For now, I'm off to stare in disgust at my shoe collection..." . Soon after that posting, I went on business trip to Halifax in an inadequate (read: falling apart) pair of shoes, and found myself in a shoe store with my Halifax business associates, looking for appropriate business footwear for the suits I usually wear.

As I looked at the shoe collection, my attention first attracted by the Italian leather, high heel black pumps (as usual), one of my colleagues said "Oh, those are cute!," pointing to the most mannish pair of shoes I have ever seen in a ladies' shoe store.

There was NO WAY I was going to buy loafers. I'll wear pumps, I'll wear trainers, but don't mess with Mr. In-Between! ... at least, so I thought. Then I remembered 2 things:

1. Where's my root in high heels? and in what type of shoes will I spend most of my waking hours?
2. They were better than the falling-apart shoes with holes I was wearing at that moment.

So, I tried them on. But if you really want to be sure about the root thing, there's only one thing to do.

"Would you please push on me?" "What?," asked my somewhat bewildered colleague.

"You know, just ummm, just push on me at the side, I'm just trying these shoes you see..."

"Ummm... ok, but are you SURE you want me to push on you?" she asked politely and sweetly before shoving me halfway to Kingdom Come.

"Yeah, I'm sure. That was good thanks. I'm not sure if the problem is me or the shoes. Can you do it again?"

"Ok!" (She was starting to like this I think. Maybe my business meetings hadn't gone as well as I thought).

"Again?" "Sure! I'm starting to LIKE this!" (Ok, no 'maybe' about it. Definitely the meetings hadn't gone well.)

"Right, one last try in these shoes, if you don't mind." She pushed. I didn't move.

"Oh wow, you are STRONG! Don't mess with you, eh? I'm not trying that again!"

(taking shoes to counter) "I'll TAKE these, thank you!"


29th May 2001

What do you want?
Another mile clocked on the exercise bike tonight, and I'm getting ready for bed now.

I've decided what I want. It's the hardest thing in the world, to decide what you want. Someone wiser than me taught me that years ago, getting isn't difficult but deciding ... well, what is it you "really really want" and are you willing to do what it takes to get it?

The next step is priorities. Currently I want to get fit, it's the short term goal that supports a longer term decision to be healthy, truly healthy. Fit to me, means not only freedom from disease, but in good physical condition and able to be both strong and have stamina. The exercise bike is part of that program, the new Saturday morning qigong classes are also part, and I've also decided to stop overeating.

The chocolate, however, remains. Some things are sacred. ;)

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2nd June 2001

Saturday.
Qigong class this morning... The sessions started on May 5th and we are now going follow a sequential lesson plan. We have started to have some new group members, and the good news is that with the new members has also come new ideas to our Study Group Leaders that will be to the benefit of all of us trying to learn Jiulong Baguazhang. For the qigong, here's what's new: Due to the problem of having to always "start at the beginning" each time a (potential) new member shows up, our SGLs have decided to teach the qi gong as a series of lessons, and as a result, after the first few lessons they close the class to newcomers, until the next series begins a few months later. Excellent!

This does leave the Tuesday and Thursday martial sessions open to newcomers, so any new members can still 'see what it's about' if they are truly interested. I must admit this approach appeals to me personally very strongly, especially since I continue to be the 'new person' in the group... perhaps something similar will be worked out on the martial side, as I am aware that slowly but surely our SGLs are introducing positive changes. Yay!

On the strength/stamina training note, I can now manage 2 miles on the bicycle. Still disgusting in terms of personal fitness, but at least it's an improvement over where I was..!

10th June 2001

Sunday evening...
Qigong class yesterday, and the approach is this: we are learning to "slow down" and focus - really FOCUS - on each minute movement we are doing. This I believe is the path to excellence! It is also more draining to slow down, this in itself will improve strength and endurance...

On that topic, this morning I managed to cover 3 miles on the stationary bicycle. I have already discovered the difference that even a slight increase in strength/endurance makes to my bagua training (like this is news! Why am I surprised?) I guess the difference is between knowing something intellectually, and feeling the rewards of applying that knowledge *grin* oh ok I'm no expert... just hanging in there as best as I know how!

29th June 2001

Friday evening...
I haven't felt like hitting anyone in a long, long time. This is a good thing, seeing as I have already injured myself in past years by breaking a few doors and am more likely to either (a) cause myself severe damage, or (b) have severe damage done to me, when I feel violent.

However, I do still get frustrated; it's been a frustrating week. My exercise program apparently works in reverse: I'm gaining weight and have never felt more unfit. Due to work overload my personal finances went berserk yesterday and I rushed home to sort them out only to realise there was no state of emergency. Training or no, I'm never going to be Jet Li. I can't seem to fit in the time to update this website, and I have all sorts of ideas/plans/designs I want to try out. My supposed 'contact person', at the parent company to the company where I work, now acts as though I work for her (and depressingly enough, her job is one I did 10 years ago in a similar organisation). My personal goals need re-setting and I can't seem to quite decide what I want to be when I grow up... had same problems or similar 20 years ago, am wondering if it will ever change?

On the other hand...

It occurred to me that I haven't hit anything lately (usually would hit dense immovable objects and subsequently wonder about excrutiating pain and loss of use of hand, foot, whatever..). Progress! Also have now filed year 2000 tax returns (due to the panic on Thursday) and am therefore up-to-date and awaiting refund. I like my website ideas (even if it takes aeons to put them onto the site *grin*). My boss sympathises with my frustrations with the parent company organisation and supports my decisions and plans. And despite knowing that I will be at work tomorrow yet again (Saturday), I am relieved that both Sunday and the holiday Monday will be MINE. My personal relationship - is fantastic (not saying more, it's personal!) My family is healthy. The pets are fine. I have no complaints ;)


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