Shi Gong Grading Part 3
(Part 1 was Hall of Fame Panel in August, Part 2 was my technical grading in front of our Wu Zen Dao instructors, with 10 various demonstrations of advanced Shaolin, Weapons, Grappling and Tai Ji)
Physically I expected this to be the easiest. Shi Xiong Richard selected a particularly challenging hilly 7km route around Marshall and Nursery Roads at Holland Park.
My goals were simple, keep a slow and steady pace, concentrate on my breathing, and try to do the whole run without stopping. This I accomplished, but I didn’t prepare sufficiently for the wracking heat and humidity of the late morning. I should have run with a water pack or left some water along the route as I was pretty drained by the time I finished. Unexpected were the mind games that plagued me early in the run, heaps of negative thoughts about lack of preparation, injuries, tiredness, heat, etc. etc. Thankfully, I quashed them all with some positive reframing and even used this billboard as inspiration at one point!
By the time I got to the top of Marshall Road (nice long incline thanks Shi Xiong!) I was feeling pretty good and by the time I got to the surprise steep incline at the crematorium I literally lol’d out loud and tackled it head on. “Just 5 more minutes” was my mantra for the remaining km’s.
Push Ups and Sit Ups (225 of each)
This went better than I expected. Was really happy with my push-ups as they’ve never been my strongest suit – I’m not even sore in the shoulders and pecs today! Sit-ups and core were certainly pushed to their limit (note to self – do more work on my lower back!).
By far the most grueling part of the grading was the stances. The first was Horse stance for a time greater than our Glory Board requirements! Then followed that with the other 7 stances. By the time we got to the 4th stance, unicorn, my legs were cramping and seizing up and I was shaking uncontrollably. A few times I had head spins and nearly blacked out once. I was trying to stay as low as possible and not collapse so I’ll be interested in seeing the video record to see for myself the standard I achieved.
After a short break and lots of rehydration I couldn’t put off the inevitable any longer. 10 rounds of various sparring. 3 were stand up sparring rounds which I was reasonably happy with. I had to stay efficient and use minimal effort to conserve energy but that didn’t stop my opponents (Shi Peter, Shi Xiong Vince and Shi Xiong Richard) from pushing me.
2 solo grappling rounds I survived, but both Thomas and Daran proved formidable duifengs (opponents). Thomas evengot a good submission early on, and then I was able to hold on.
The round of knife defence went about how I expected, a few
wonderful takedowns and disarms and a few botched attempts where I received ‘cuts’ and ‘stabs” from Shi Xiong Vince.
One round of vigorous Push hands with Shifu Kevin took me back to early days of training. Shifu Kevin also took it upon himself to massage my legs regularly which I was extremely grateful for!
The grapple against 2 opponents went awry straight from the start as my right calf cramped badly almost immediately taking away my main strategy of tying up Katerina with my legs. As a result I was pinned for most of the time and had to resort to ‘dirty tactics’ such as trying to choke Iryna with her own pony tail. Thanks for participating ladies!
The 2 on one spar and 3 on one spar were (obviously) the hardest. I tried to use individuals as shields and tried attacking the directions I wasn’t looking towards however I was inevitably overwhelmed. But it was never about trying to win, just prevail as best as possible and dig deep to continue when your reserves are spent. So while I was given a bit of a hiding I did at least manage to keep on going. Thanks to the supporters and spectators for coming along. Many thanks to my duifengs for using control and leaving me bruised but not broken. Much respect to you all.
Yours in Ming,
(Shi Gong) Jason