Summer Intensive Training 2016   week 1  week 2  week 3  week 4  week5

Saturday, July 16, 2016, 1:00-5:00 pm: Amituofo! Today, we came back for week two of the Summer Intensive Training Program, 2016. This year, we are intently learning Lohan Quan, while also improving our fundamental techniques, stances, intensity and spirit.

Shifu is joined by several new students this summer. Among them is 19-year-old Ryan Kahrimanian, who joined our school several months ago. Ryan already feels the benefits of his training, explaining:

As I started taking classes, they slowly gave me confidence, helped me eat healthy, not to get mad, to let things go, not to get angry, and to keep a peaceful mind set. Most of all, the school has helped me to make friends, and to learn more about myself, including how I feel, what makes me upset, and what makes me happy. It has helped my life all around

For the physical, the school has helped me to have more stamina and flexibility—I always wanted to be able to do a split and now I have fulfilled that wish!!

I use to fall asleep on the train and I couldn't stand for very long. Now, I can stand on the train, andsit without falling asleep.

Sometimes, I used to get angry and upset with my parents, but now I am respectful to my parents and others. Training at Shaolin has helped me to have a better relationship with my family. Now, I notice what I do wrong and I am able to say I’m sorry and not do it again.

Ryan’s insight reflects his personal growth, and the strength of his commitment.

We began the day with our straightforward Shaolin warmup stretch, before moving to sets of straight, outside and inside kicks, followed by technique drills.

After about two hours, Shifu gave us a preliminary discussion regarding the fundamental stances of Shaolin, and how they were related to the eight fundamental methods that we had studied last week.

Next, we moved on to our studies of Lohan Quan. We repeated the sequences that we’d learned previously, and then moved on to the next, which involved moving from empty stance into bow stance with double palm strike, then sinking back into lower stance, followed by springing forward and upward, into double fist strike while leaning into rooster standing on one (right) leg.

When training, I have found it beneficial to focus on executing each movement in the moment. There is no prior kick or punch, nor a next one, there is only what you are doing in the present.

After the group had repeated the new Lohan Quan sequence enough times to begin to encode it mentally and physically, we ended the day with onearm pushups, jumping slap-kicks, and some pictures. Looking forward to seeking everyone tomorrow at the park!

Sunday, July 17, 2016, 8:00-11:00 am: It’s morning session of day two, week two, Summer Intensive 2016.

We started our training day with a run, covering about 1.75 miles. The teen students well outpaced the adults, with Thompson, David, Jason and Matt leading the pack. The rest of us finished strong, working up a good sweat along the way.

Shifu led us in a group stretch, then proceeded into our Qi Gong practice, as we faced the brilliant rising sun. After over an hour of slow, focused breathing and stance work, we moved on to the gymnastic rings to do pull ups. When we’d finished several sets to failure, we took pictures of us doing more pull ups!

Shifu then transitioned the group into leg training, and we proceeded to do more than a hundred one legged park bench jumps and stadium bleacher seating jumps. We ended our morning outdoors by one-legged hopping and bunny jumping up stone steps, and then crawling back down them.

We regrouped at the training center for the afternoon session. As expected, everyone was sore, stiff, and tired. Shifu got everyone moving and stretching again, as we prepared to continue our Lohan Quan studies.

We had learned three Lohan sequences up to this point, each of which we repeated five more times. Then we were ready to move on to the next sequence, which transitions from the side kick double punch, to a full rotation into standing on right leg, with left leg locked behind, right arm chambered and left arm blocking above head, with your body turned like a willow to the right. From this position, stepping back with left leg, while simultaneously looking rearward, bringing left hand to chamber and executing a right knife hand block. (Yes, time to come to class, you cannot learn kung fu from a book!)

After everyone had pushed themselves to their personal limit, Shifu gave an expanded lecture on stance fundamentals, and their application to the eight methods of martial arts, that we had studied in week one.

We concluded our training day with three sets of 35 pushups, and almost 100 vee-ups. Everyone was happily exhausted, as we took our week two group picture. Another great week behind us, and week three to come. Amituofo! Joseph A. Bondy

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