Wu-Shu in China

I could tell by the look on Sifu’s face that something was up.

Once again, we stood in formation and waited on whatever China could throw at us. I started weaving my mental defenses as fast as I could.

Again, we were told that no one can leave the grounds on next Sunday as well. Here it was, seven days before the one day we all look forward to, and now the icy fingers of despair were taking that small pleasure away from me. So soon?

The good news did not stop there. He became serious for a minute and gave us all a stern warning.

“Be prepared for the hardest training,” this week he said. The reason cited was a school-wide competition that takes place the first week of October. That seems to be the #1 priority for all the sifus lately, as they have been pressuring everyone to extend for it. Tempting, I am set to spring this place on Sept 27, but I declined. No, thanks. The instructors added an additional 30 minutes of training to our days, at the expense of our afternoon personal time, and have been stepping up the pace.

Harder training? WTF?! You mean, I have been doing the easy stuff so far? Even the school field trip of running up the mountain made me sore, and that was mandatory fun. No doubt about it now, my body is toast.

The icing on this bitter cake came with his final word of advice. “Don’t be afraid to be tired, don’t be afraid of the pain.” Lovely. Just lovely.

I have survived 25% of my time allotted here so far, but I’m afraid that my body is 50 percent used up. I have two serious, festering blisters on my feet, a strained groin muscle, a right shoulder that pops in and out of socket on demand, and a knee that won’t cooperate. If the training accelerates then the numbers just won’t add up. Sure enough, I am destined to join the bandaged masses that sit grimly on the sides of the training hall, while the rest of us, the fortunate ones, practice our kung fu.

I am not afraid. I might leave here in a wheelchair, but I will be solid.