Last Thursday while I took my belt test in Kung Fu, my new bike waited patiently in the back of the Jeep.
During the test, we demonstrated our knowledge of the 64 form, all the animal forms and arm locks. Sifu held the pad as we kicked and punched dozens of times while he yelled “HUP”. We did the required number of tiger presses and held the leg lift for extra long sets, ending with the horse stance.
When I got back to the Jeep, my green sash tightly tied around my waist, I dreamed all the way home of the quiet, smooth ride I would enjoy Friday morning on that new bike.
My old bike is a beautiful, red Specialized model. But it is just that……old. The guys would see me at the bike shop and say, “Look at that old beauty!” and I knew they weren’t talking about me! The pedals were what cyclists call rat traps because you could get your foot stuck in them and topple right over, which I have done on occasion.
The guys at the shop showed me how to twist out of them and sent me off with the promise that it would only take a little practice to get the hang of that twist. They also smiled when they told me “Don’t worry, everybody falls”
I fell four times.
Friday morning, I took my bike to a large, church parking lot and set about practicing the twist. As long as I kept moving everything was fine. But when I practiced twisting out at a quick stop, I toppled right over.
After the second fall I jumped back on determined to get the hang of this. After two more falls, I was afraid I was going to wreck my pretty new bike so I put that bike and its funny looking pedals back in the Jeep.
As soon as I began Saturday morning’s run, I felt those falls all over again. I obviously had a bruise on my bum. We counted the bruises; four on my knee, two on my bum and two on my elbow.
Four miles into the long Sunday run, I was feeling the effects of everything from the week before – hours of the horse stance, the extra long sets of leg lifts that caught my abs a little off guard, the kicks and punches and now the bruises up and down the right side of my body. It was a pretty miserable run.
This week I’ll start practicing the butterfly kick – I know it’s coming next. And, Sifu has already told us to buy ourselves some punching gloves so we can begin free sparring, which includes throws. I am determined to perfect the twist so I can ride my bike to class Thursday night.
There are also two 3-mile runs, two 7-mile runs and a long run of 14 miles on Sunday at a 3/1 pace (3/4 run slow and the last 1/4 slightly faster). Now that I know I can stand still for 15 minutes at a time, I’m going to start standing meditation again. Sifu has encouraged us to do this every day.
Although I don’t want to lose the strength I’ve gained, I can’t honestly say yet how many tiger presses or minutes of the horse stance will make it into this week’s schedule.
These may remain optional a little while longer.