There will be a training camp in Caloundra on the weekend of October 26-28, 2012, for Black Belts and Candidates for Black Belt Grading.
The camp will review all material up to 1st dan, including Technique Combinations 1 to 10, Basic Forms 1 to 3, Formal Forms 1 to 5, Bassai Ee Cho, Hsing Kwan Ill Dan, Nihanji Cho Dan, Jo Form No. 1, and Section 1 of the Yang Style Tai Chi Long Form.
Much attention will be given to basic technique and kicking, with an emphasis on partner work in 3 step and 1 step format.
There will be no restriction of food and while free time will be minimal there will be plenty of opportunity to rest with 14 hours of training commencing 6:00 pm Friday evening and finishing at Midday Sunday.
Registration for the weekend must be confirmed by payment of $150 by 23 september 2012. Further information contact Kyo Sa Nim on 0416 120 482.
The best thing I found in Shanghai was Mojo Cafe and a nice cuppa tea. Had a look around and got pestered, harangued and rained on. Made my way to the airport wanting nothing more than to be already home.
Free wifi at the airport but too restricted to allow me to access mail or the internet. Only allows download, no outgoing. Outlook mail, Firefox and Explorer are the only software allowed. Not much use for a mac.
Good flight to Sydney, no trouble getting swords through customs which surprised me a bit. Then, would you believe it, I’m not booked on the flight to Brisbane. That makes 3 out of 3 flights home that failed.
So....... A couple of trips between China Eastern and Qantas and it’s sorted. Definitely flying Qantas next time.
Home only 2 days six hours and 20 minutes after leaving the hotel in Hangzhou.
If you remember the movie you can guess how the day went. Total shambles trying to come home and have been stuck in Shanghai overnight after an adventurous day lugging about 40kg of bagage across China. I enjoyed every bit of it despite nothing going to plan.
The morning was mostly packing and saying goodbyes to other teams at the hotel. The pan was to fly Hangzhou - Shanghai - Sydney - Brisbane. Not a great plan but it was best available when I booked.
Caught a cab at 11:30 to the airport to find my first flight didn’t exist.
So.....Got instructions in chinese on paper to get a bus back to the city, and buy a train ticket to the airport in Shanghai. How hard can that be? keep in mind that for todays journey I am carrying an over sized suitcase about 25 kg, a backpack, and a bundle of swords about 1.5 m long weighing about 15 kg.
The bus was no problem but then it was a walk for about 30 minutes in the sun following a chinese guy who didn’t know where he was going an was having more struggle with his luggage than I was. The train station was very busy and it took about an hour to by a ticket and find the train with the only english assistance being a sign for the ticket sales area and numbers for platforms and trains.
The high speed train trip was great. Definitely using that again. Got off at my stop OK but it was the wrong airport. About 100 km from where I need to be. The written instructions from the Hangzhou Airport staff were to go to the domestic airport.
So....There was a subway and I found that ticket vending machines have an English option and touch screen of where you want to go, too easy. The trains have active display of where you are and english announcements of upcoming stations and which side to get off. About an hour and a half and two peak hour trains later I’m at the right airport, it’s 6:30 pm, still 2.5 hours before take off.
The only problem now is the flight is overbooked. The airline gives me some money in a long process and tells me to find a hotel and come back same time tomorrow.
So......Made a hotel booking at the airport where there are a series of booking kiosks, and caught a bus into the city, 50 km, then a taxi to the hotel and checked in about 9:30 pm.
Will try again tomorrow.
This morning Meng Chunming invited me to accompany Master Li to the National Tea Museum to attend a private ceremony inducting 6 new 6th Generation Disciples, some we had met in December. It was quite a gathering and much more elaborate than the ceremonies we had on the Sunshine Coast, but basically followed the same procedure. Everyone was very happy. They made a big deal about me winning gold at the competition and Grandmaster Meng hung them around my neck.
After the ceremony and a million photos we went outside for more photos and then fortune smiled again. The new disciples performed the first third of the long form and then Grandmaster Meng gave an impromptu lesson on technique and application. After quite some time someone stopped him to get him out of the direct sun.
We moved to a shady spot and a series of Masters performed various forms. I was enjoying video capture of awsomeness when suddenly I was put on the spot. I thought the nerves were bad at the competition, but this was real pressure. I managed not to fall over and Grandmaster Meng kindly said I had progressed well since December.
Then it was off to the restaurant at the Tea Museum for a feast and much toasting. I saw many familiar faces from December and some new ones.
On the way back we stopped at the stadium, where the teams events were in full swing, to pick up a third Gold medal for the sword form. Master Li is so excited that I won all three events, and the work I did with Master Chen during the week had a great deal to do with our success.
There is a party at the hotel tonight then it’s on the plane tomorrow to arrive home on Tuesday.
Somewhere between pandemonium and chaos is how the competition works. People everywhere, all sorts of costumes and weapons, random practice in all directions. Hot and humid like you wouldn’t believe. The arenas are air conditioned but the access isn’t, and that is where most of the congestion is. International competitors have reserved seating which is great. I met people from Canada, Malasia, Korea, and USA. It is on the opposite side of stadium and on a different level to the arena my events are on. To get there is trip outside around the stadium then under through a jam packed event checkin foyer, no air con, takes about 1/2 hour and a litre of sweat. Our translators/hosts are great, keeping everyone organised to be in the right place at the right time and making the whole thing pretty easy.
First event was short form, I was quite nervous as it began but settled as it went on. Not my best performance. A bit surreal, 5 or 6 people at a time in a small space, most doing the 24, all at different pace, I’m doing something entirely different,trying to stay out of the way. The people waiting for the next event were full of praise fr my performance and I had a newspaper interview as soon as I came off the arena then TV straight after that.
As I was leaving the area I ran into Lao Tao. Master Li arrived soon after. He and Master Chen were with me all the time from then, taking me into areas where most people can’t go. We also spoke with Grandmaster Ding, one of the remaining 5th generation disciples of Niu Chunming.
More than a few random people stopped me through the morning for a photo and told me how much they liked my performance. I didn’t think it was that good.
Next event was the traditional form. I had intended to do the 40 form, but master Li said at the last minute to do the 81 (in 4 minutes?), "just go slow and stop before the time is up". Less nervous this time but no idea how much time passed. Turned for return tiger to mountain and have another guy in my face. Modified and continued. When I was the only one left I stopped, at the end of the first set of repulse the monkey. Again big praise from the people at the edge of the arena.
I watched Lao Tao do a couple of events (video on iphone), he really is good. He also moves slow and smooth, nothing like others in his events. He won everything I saw. Some one told me I got 3rd in the short form. So we went to check the results. First one we found was First place in the traditional form, Master Li was so excited he collected the medal and trophy, we got photos on the dais then went to a restaurant to celebrate. When we got back we checked short form results and that turned out to be First also. Haven't collected medal yet.
A bit later I went down for the sword form. only 3 minutes so I went a little faster but still stopped short of the end as every one else had finished. We left straight away as Master Li had somewhere to be. I’ll find out the result tomorrow.
This afternoon I moved across town and checked in to the Zhejiang Grand Hotel. There was an army of volunteer helpers with good enough English, and Master Li and Master Chen were there to help me so I chatted to the only other team from Australia, 5 competitors and four followers from Sydney who were using the competition as an excuse to visit China. I received my registration credentials for the competition and am sharing a very nice room with the only competitor from South Korea.
This evening we all (3 coaches) went out for dinner (a typical Chinese feast) in a big hotel function room. My new friends from Sydney thought it was like a big wedding. The pic is just part of the room behind our table. The feast was fast though, no speeches, just ate and back on the bus to the hotel.
My event schedule is choice. Arena 15 for all three events, out for 20 arenas spread over 4 areas on two levels. I start with the short form at 8:52, 7th of 17. Then the long form at 14:30, 3rd of 16. Finishing with the sword form at 19:10 in the evening, 1st of 9. From the program there are 278 teams with 5450 participants.