I started weapon training last week …
… and I was assigned the staff.
- 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. Your hands will get rough by time, and then you will not feel any pain there.” Brilliant! (Note: I’m drowning my hands in moisturizing creams and baby oils every 20-30 seconds).
- I bought a slightly more expensive staff than the rest of my classmates, and I paid an extra price for that: I have the heaviest staff. So everything is more difficult. And naturally, it wears me out.
- I pretend to be Gandalf in the mirror, shouting “you shall not pass!” at my reflection, while stumping my staff against the ground.
- It’s the classic Shaolin weapon, as per my Shifu, used by the monks for several hundred years, and it was their main defense during times of war (and poverty, when they couldn’t afford any other weapons).
- It’s also the classic Amn Markazy weapon (although our riot policemen use the smaller, thinner version), so I’ll know how to defend myself against those. Score!
- You can lean on it when you’re tired during training, especially if the master is not looking.
- If you elevate it between two chairs or tables, you can hang your laundry on it. You can’t do that with a sword (In your face, sword warriors!)
- When I go back to Egypt, and if I ever decide to be a bawab or a fetewa, it’ll be very helpful.
- It’s also very humbling, because it means it’ll force me to go down on my knees in front of my Shifu everyday from now on, kowtow several times as I beg him to teach me to use other cool weapons like —let me see- the SWORD!
Of course, those who know me well will be able to see through all this and have probably guessed by now that this is my version of boasting masquerading as whining.
I’m actually thrilled to be training with weapons, two months after starting here, and for accuracy’s sake, the staff is the one of the most revered and fundamental Shaolin Kung Fu weapons, and everyone has to start with it to be able to move up to slightly more sophisticated weaponry (i.e. the sword).
— Reviewing the staff forms in my room.