The Year of the Little Dragon (Part I)
This is the first installment of “Shaolin Letters,” a travel blog I’m writing regularly for Cairo Scenario, tells the ‘China’ story in chronological order. Enjoy and please share … Everyone called it my Eat, Pray, Love experience; my stomach turned every time I heard that, but I almost always managed to draw a begrudging smile in response, mumbling, “Yeah,...
“Meanwhile, I was discovering why so many of my humble class take pride in their servility and lash marks. I held a state umbrella on high, which meant that I too was marching beneath the yellowish-black guaze cover, red raw silk linings, three tiers and silver spires that signified an official of the highest rank. I belonged. What is a great official without a peasant to lash? A sense of...
Nothing is more dangerous than a voyage inward. If your mind and senses tell you...– Master Li
The sound that few hear
“Ox, at the risk of sounding like a character from the tales of Granny Shu, I will point out that a noise some people hear and others don’t isn’t speaking to the ears. It’s speaking to the heart, and you have a hole in your heart. All young people do. It’s there to catch the wonderful things of the world, and later on it gets filled up by broken things. Forget about...
My Middle Earth moment
My staff was broken today. And no, not by Gandalf. By my Shifu. And no, I wasn’t perched on top of a tower in Isengard promising doom and gloom. But now that it happened to me, and I know exactly how it feels to end up with a fractured staff, I don’t think it’s such a big deal after all. Really, Saruman should’ve just bought a new one. Or fixed the old. That’s what...
I started Kung Fu kicking while I’m sleeping, yup! My knees would jerk on...– I took in a deep breath, and very proudly declared, “Yes, I have!” “Knee jerking waking you up?” he added. “Yup!” I confirmed confidently. It’s almost like a rite of passage, it seems. And I thought I was the only one.
Weapon Training, at last!
I started weapon training last week … … and I was assigned the staff. Cons: I was hoping for a sword. I have the ability to always make it smack me in the face at the end of a move no matter what pattern I’m doing. It’s magical, I don’t even know how I do it. Blisters started growing on my right hand. And to comfort me, my Shifu told me, “Don’t worry....
Revenge is a dish ...
… best served scented with wildwood flower. I have finally found a way to conquer and scare my Shifu: my oh-so-very-soft-fragrant-and-feminine perfume bottle. He came to pick me up from my room this morning so we can run an errand outside of school together, and he sniggered at me for letting him wait for a few seconds so I could wear some perfume before I left my room. He muttered,...
The price my Shifu pays for Ip Man
These days, a typical conversation between me and my Shifu revolves around my choice of Chinese Kung Fu movies. I watch something then I drag him to my room in his rest hours to show him what more I want to learn (as if I can already master what we’re learning here!) Last time, he fell victim to the Ip Man trilogy, loosely based on the life of Bruce Lee’s famed teacher and southern...
Bone Breaking and Shaolin Breaks
I’ve injured two tendons on my thighs, so badly that I was practically screaming when the doctor was massaging them. I’ve also been enduring terrible knee pain. I’ve braved it and went to training sporting knee braces, drunk on pain killers — which turned out to be the biggest mistake you can commit in athletics. The crescendo was last week when I couldn’t bend my...
Chris, one of my favorite guys here (He always comes knocking on my door everyday with hot and fresh Xiaolong gossip and I love him for it!) VS Tobias, the Christian fanatic (He uses terms like “fornication” and “false idols” in casual talk, bullies anyone significantly smaller in size than him and swears like a trucker. I forbade him to talk to me after a recent...
If this movie doesn’t make you fall —head over heels— in love with Shaolin Kung Fu, then I don’t know what will. Seeing some of the moves leaves me in awe of the martial art, and especially of the traditional form they keep repeating: Qi Xing Quan. It does hurt (my mind-body) to see the forms done so beautifully (I know how much effort is put into the practice). We do...
Shīfu (Mandarin) is the identical pronunciation of two Chinese terms for a...– [The title] bears the dual meaning of “master” and “father”, and thus connotes a linearity in a teacher-student relationship. […] a religious personality, and by extension, experts of Chinese martial arts, can be addressed as “master-father” (師父) in all...
Pakinam: I killed a cockroach this afternoon. I'm badass.
Chris: I ate a scorpion last night. I *am* badass.
Voice 1: Tell him you also slayed a dragon.
Voice 2: Or shot a monk.
Voice 1: Come on. Speak!
Voice 2: Perhaps claim you sparred with your Shifu and won?
Voice 1: No, sparred with *his* Shifu and won!
Voice 2: Hiked up Mount Song and down in a couple of hours.
Voice 1: Punched the wall so hard it cracked.
Voice 2: Yeah, the Great Wall. And it cracked.
Pakinam: Yeah, I guess you are badass, Chris.
Voice 1: Bèn!
Voice 2: Erm, that's 'stupid' in Chinese.
Pakinam [inside head]: Oh, shut up.