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The Family Bandwagon

Our family is spread out across the country and across the world, and what better way to keep in touch than a collaborative digital journal?

Wednesday, 28 September 2005

功夫 - Lesson Two

I had my second gōng fu 功夫 class last night, and I'm feeling sore.[1]

It's so much fun!! We did the basic drills from last week, then a little bit of "monkey" style gōng fu, one of the bā guà 八卦 "eight diagrams" animal styles. The idea with animal style gōng fu is to break old human habits by moving like a different animal -- monkey, tiger, snake, dragon, crane, bear and so on. It's probably where "crouching tiger, hidden dragon" comes from too, so I expect I should be able to fly by the end of the year.

Still waiting for my employment package -- it should be in the mail tomorrow, and I will probably start next Monday. It's so hard to just wait! Once I'm working, I'm getting my own bank account and credit card (we will still keep the joint one of course, but it's nice to have some "secret" money, especially around Christmas and birthday times). If everything is timed properly I will get a home theatre system. I've seen, and want, a Sony with 5.1 channel Dolby Digital/DTS, and it is end-of-stock at Argos so it's half price: £150, which sounds like a lot, but it retails elsewhere for £299 so it's a pretty decent piece of equipment. I just hope it's still there when I'm able to buy it!

I don't need that much stuff, really, but a decent sound system is high on the list. I listen to music whenever I can, and at the moment we've only got the crappy little speakers on this Toshiba Satellite laptop. Music relaxes, soothes, makes the environment that much more pleasant.

I also see that in my absence Danielle got online and posted an entry. Well I'd just like to say that contrary to popular belief I don't actually hog the laptop at all. Sure, I'm on it 80% of the time. Sure, I haven't given her a login. Sure, I lock it in the cupboard when I go away[2]. But does that really constitute "hogging", I ask you?

[1] If you noticed that the hanzi for gōng was different from last time, you're very observant! Looking at a Chinese dictionary, there are two characters for the syllable, and I think it's 功 rather than 工 for martial (i.e. fighting) gōng fu. Actually, gōng fu really means any skillful art that has taken time to master -- did I mention that last time? So that a master chef could be a gōng fu master, or a master painter, and so forth. So I guess I'm really studying to become a gōng fu wǔ shù master[3]! In like 20 or 30 years that is.

[2] Nope, that's not even remotely true. But colourful!

[3] Even the word wǔ shù 武術 has different-but-related pronounciations and meanings. Like that, it means martial arts, but pronounced with a rising then falling tone it is wú shù 無數, meaning "innumerable". And if the first tone is high then it becomes wū shù 巫術, Chinese magic.

PS. Yes, I love all this traditional Chinese stuff. The language is so tricky, completely different to English but just as full of nuances and innuendo. I'd love to do a language course for a couple of years, if only so I could understand what they're saying on Serenity and Firefly! But until then I've got the Internet, and a self-paced course I bought whilst back in Melbourne, so I can at least get a head start.

PPS. And yes, it's only after gōng fu that I get so obsessive that I have to look stuff up. So it's only once a week that your browser will get this punishment! Can everyone see the hanzi 漢字?


  1. only once a week would be how often you publish a post on here isn't it? :)

    i'm looking forward to that hundred year battle between you and damien, i'll have to develop magic or something to make it interesting...

  2. Me too. When he attacks with his sword I'll jump up and land on it, Kill Bill style. (I better start growing a long white wispy beard.)

  3. Heh, I was talking to Cheryl about this. What with the Hokushin Shinoh Ryu being an Iaido style, that is a style in which the cut from the draw (nukitsuke) is so important, and the goal is to take the opponent by surprise in a quick deadly movement, if the fight goes on for more than about 10 seconds, I've lost :)

    On a similar note, I heard a story the other day about a swordsman who would draw and cut, and then put the tip of the blade back in the top of the saya before cutting again.. to ensure each cut had that flicky speed Rurouni Kenshin talks about. That would be something to see.. you'd hate to misjudge the distance, even slightly, considering you tend to hold the saya right at the top to hide your ability from your opponent (but that's another story...)


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