Well I just got back from gōngfū, and I love it!
I'm doing a 4 week beginners course, which cost £25 and is 1½ hours on a Tuesday night. It's held in a room in a gym, so there weren't any weapons on the walls like the last place I trialled kungfu in Fitzroy/Collingwood, but was nevertheless what I was looking for -- a combination of traditional training methods, both external (strikes, kicks, physical stuff) and internal (qìgōng, tàijíquán). The sifu seems to know a bunch of stuff as far as I can tell, which isn't saying much!! But we will apparently touch on the animal styles, "bagwa" (that's how it was pronouced, don't know what it is), and all sorts of stuff.
The beginners course was pretty popular, too, with around 30 people turning up. But they only run the course once or twice a year, and it's the only way to get into the "full" class, so perhaps it's no wonder. I guess we will see how many people stick around through the 4 weeks, and also how many want to join the full thing. (I'm pretty sure I will, so I hope there's not a limited number of places or anything.)
The other thing that I find pretty amazing, and very cool, is that there are no membership fees ... at all! Most martial arts will charge something, sometimes quite a bit, but this one only charges £20 a year, and that's for insurance and licensing!! And they give you a nice little record book for your advancement through the ranks. The uniform and any other supplies are bought separately, but that's usually the case with other martial arts too.
This is really great -- I can do the course, sign up for the full class, and then think about joining the gym (for around £13 a week -- pretty expensive, but that covers all classes, all equipment and access to the pool, sauna and spa). At the moment I'm thinking that I will go straight to the class from work, which will give me a bit of time to have a swim or some other relaxed exertion beforehand. Of course, I haven't heard when I'm meant to start work yet -- they want a bank statement with my current address, which is getting sent out to me this week hopefully, before they can continue with the process. So I'm still going to interviews just in case -- I don't expect the bank job to fall through, but it's nice to cover all bases.
We had our walk this morning too. I don't think we're doing too much at once (thanks for the concern however, Damien ;-)) Rather, we're doing the challenge sort of, and doing the walk-jog-walk schedule in the morning definitely. They overlap, rather than adding up. Where the challenge says "15 minute walk, four times a week" the walk-jog-walk fills in the details with "stretch, walk casually for 5 minutes, walk briskly for 10 minutes, walk slowly for 5 minutes, stretch".
So now, of course, I'm tired, but pumped up too. I'm sure it will wear off soon, and I'll drag myself off to bed!
(Today's post was brought to you via the magic of the Character Map. If things look funny, it's your computer, not my irresponsible use of augmented letters. Hey, I could've used hanzi instead! **Glenn does quick google for Chinese characters ** 工 "gōng" 夫 "fū", and 气 "qì" 功 "gōng". Heh, lets see your browser handle that!!)