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March 14, 2007


Chinese Sports
Since we were at a sports university that had 7 gold medalists at the Athens Olympics, Dr. Yen wanted us to take Wushu lessons. We had a tour of campus, which was primarily sports training facilities. We went to the large gymnasium, which we could see from the highway driving to the school, and had our lesson there. Our teacher was a small woman who didn't speak English. We had student translators. She started us off with Tai Chi, which is a slow Chinese sport/relaxation technique which makes you control your breathing and movements. We had to pretend to hold a ball in our hands and push it back and forth. Our leg movements corresponded to our slow arm movements and it was more difficult that it looked.

Then she tried to teach us wushu. It is a sport, which to me, looks comparable to karate, but I'm sure if you asked a wushu major, they would disagree. There are fast movements that are combinations of kicks, spins and jumps. She made us practice in pairs so that she could evaluate us easier. In our pair, we had to do kicks from one end of the gym to the other when it was our turn. It was mortifying. I was horrible, especially in comparison to others in the group who are ice skaters and could spin pretty easily.

We were all pretty bad if you compared us to the others in the room, though.The wushu majors did a demonstration for us, and it was amazing. They used long sticks and knives to pretend to battle people while spinning and kicking. Our favorite was the "Wushu Boy" He was very short, but incredibly talented. He did a routine for us where he pretended to act like an angry dog. He growled and kicked and spun everywhere. It was actually really frightening. The best part was when he did a spin in the air and he was parallel to the ground. I wish we could have watched him all day, but eventually our teacher wanted us to practice more.

Posted by cdesimon at March 14, 2007 04:13 PM