No brain, more pain

I think it’s about time I updated you on what’s been going on this year so far.

Mostly, it’s been hectic. Yes. Kung fu has dominated, pretty much, which is the way it should be. The title of this blog entry, in fact, came from my kung fu brother Dolan, who coined it when we were training one Thursday. We had partnered up to practise what we call knocking arms, a strengthening exercise which leaves wrists bruised if you do it correctly. It requires no brain power (once you’ve worked out how to co-ordinate your hand movements) but it bloody hurts after a few knocks, so when Dolan said ‘No brain, more pain,’ I instantly asked him if I could use it as a blog entry title. So here it is. Thanks, Dolan!

In January, I took my third pattern grading. I hadn’t graded for at least a year, and usually it terrifies me (it terrifies everyone), but the longer I sat waiting to be called up, the calmer I became. It was odd, because usually that would have the opposite effect, but I went up (with three others) nearly last, so by the time it was my turn, I just wanted to do it. My heart was still beating significantly faster than normal, but not nearly as hard as it has done before, and so I wasn’t afflicted by the shakes. Weird, but no bad thing, as yesterday I found out I’d passed. Yay! So in patterns class last night, I was taught the first few bits of fourth pattern, otherwise known in Chinese as Shi San Tai Bao. Whenever I watch people do fourth pattern in class, it looks really cool, which is always how it goes, I suppose, as when I was learning second, it was third pattern that looked cool. (Of course, they’re all super cool, but when you’ve been practising the same one for a while – I started learning third about 18 months ago – you start hankering after learning something new.)

And as things are a bit weird at the moment (for reasons I shan’t go into here), I can’t train as much as I’d like, so Dave said I’m to do each pattern seven times every night, to practise and strengthen at the same time. I’m trying to discipline myself every evening, but sometimes it’s hard when there’s so much else going on. Still, I respect Dave a lot and trust him implicitly, so I do my best to practise what he tells me.

On the 28th of January, we had our club Chinese New Year dinner in our adopted restaurant in Chinatown. This was the first time I had been able to sit on the same table with friends. Before, being vegetarian, I was relegated to the veggie table and had no option (they use a lazy susan for each table, so it’s done for practical reasons) and for the Christmas dinner, I vaguely knew only one person on the table. This time, there were five I train with all the time and consider friends plus one person I see at events like this one and camps, etc. On top of that, another of my kung fu sisters was on another table right behind me. It was a good chance for Laz to be able to really talk to some of the guys from my class, because at other events, there’s not always been the same opportunity; at least at dinners like this, we’re all on the same table and can talk properly.

I’ve had to buy a new laptop as my old one died a death (refused to come on at all), so I bought a mini one, that’s much lighter and smaller to carry around, which is, of course, the general idea with laptops. I’ve downloaded a free trial version of Scrivener onto it, because MS Office costs so bloody much and I only need it for word processing. Scrivener is a writer’s tool developed by a writer, so it does what writers want. Consequently, this is my first blog entry written with Scrivener, which I shall be buying before my trial period expires. (Thanks to NaNoWriMo, I can also get a huge discount – win!)

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