Day 6 Wudang Shan

Table of contents for Eric Lee China Tour 2009

  1. Day 1 Chicago
  2. Day 2 Beijing
  3. Day 3 Wudang Shan
  4. Day 4 Wudang Shan
  5. Day 5 Wudang Shan
  6. Day 6 Wudang Shan

I woke up after a good night’s sleep and got ready.  I spent time packing my suitcase and gathering my things, since we would not have time after breakfast.  Today was our last day training with Zhang Shifu, and I was not sure how long it would take us to learn the remainder of the Tai Ji set.  We ate breakfast and gathered in the courtyard of the hotel.  We had been scheduled to go see another temple on Wudang Mountain, but we were really only interested in training and completing the Tai Ji set we had been working on for the last few days.

When Zhang Shifu arrived we got straight to work. We began learning at a very hurried pace. Some of the members had some trouble keeping up with the accelerated pace of information and we ended up progressing more slowly than if we had kept a slower but steady pace.  I was afraid we would not be able to finish the form, but we all pushed on and it was not long before we reached the end of the set.  It was a great feeling to complete it and I think Zhang Shifu was just as pleased that we made it.  We spent time practicing the entire set for a while to try and memorize the patterns so that we could continue practicing it on our own.  When I felt fairly comfortable with the movements I approached Zhang Shifu and asked if he was able to bring some video of him performing the Tai Ji set, so that I could have a copy for future reference.  I had asked him the previous day for the footage and copies of the pictures that he had taken of us training during our stay here.  He said that he had brought it so I ran upstairs and grabbed my netbook from my room, racing up and back down the 5 flights of stairs from the courtyard to my room and back.  I copied the pictures and video over and Zhang Shifu showed me several sets of pictures that he had of himself performing various sets.  I watched the video of him performing the Tai Ji set and he kept telling me that it was not a good performance.  His movements were fluid and powerful and the performance was great, but he was very humble and any pictures or video he showed me he assured me his postures were bad and his performance inadequate.  If that is bad form, then I hope to be that bad someday. He explained that the announcer in the video was saying that they thought that this particular set of Tai Ji had been lost and that it was a rare find that Zhang Shifu knew this set.  After we looked at the pictures and video, I asked Zhang Shifu to write down the names of the movements of the form for me so that I could retain the information for my journals.  He asked if I wanted him to write it in English and I assured him that writing it in Chinese was fine and that I would translate it later when I returned home.  He asked me to go through the form and as he watched me he wrote the names of the movements down.  When that was complete many of the students were practicing various parts of the form or had returned to their room to finish packing.  He asked if we would like to learn some drills with the swords that we had purchased.  We enthusiastically agreed, and since I knew our time was short, I once again raced up to my room and brought down both of my swords.  Since Zhang Shifu had not carried his sword with him today I offered him one of mine first and he began showing us a few drills with the two-handed straight sword.  The exercises were lots of fun, and the weapon is heavy enough that it really makes the shoulders burn after a while.  The exercise incorporated Bagua style footwork coordinated with the movements of the jian overhead.  We all moved fairly clumsily trying to quickly pick up these drills while observing Zhang Shifu’s fluid grace and effortless manipulation of the sword.

Soon our guide came down and asked us to gather our belongings because our bus was coming soon.  I went back up to my room and brought down my suitcase and gathered my things together.  Traveling with two two-handed straight swords made it a little awkward to lug everything around.  We gathered outside of the Tian Lu Hotel and took a few more pictures with Zhang Shifu who was going to ride with us to the base of the mountain.

The day had turned overcast and suited my mood.  We rode the bus down to the base of the mountain where they were constructing the tourist center, riding the winding road back down among the lush scenery. We got off of the bus and walked through the vendor area and were immediately assaulted by vendors vying for our attention.  Some of the group wanted to stop in and look for other trinkets but I was ready to move on. Once we made it through and started waiting for our bus, the tailor, who had taken our measurements from the day before, arrived with our uniforms.  She asked us to try them on, so we each got our uniforms and tried on the tops.  They fit perfectly and the material and workmanship were really good quality.  I was so pleased with it that I offered her extra money, since she had done such great work and had turned around all of our uniforms in a day’s time.  While everyone was trying on their uniforms and paying, I spent a few moments speaking with Zhang Shifu.  I spoke with him as best I could in Chinese, telling him that Wudang Shan is very beautiful and that I would miss being on the mountain and miss studying with him. He told me that I learned very well and that my students were very good. I asked him if I could share the Tai Ji set that I had learned with my other students and he assured me that that was fine.  He told me that maybe someday he would get to come to the US and visit and that if I practiced the form frequently that I may become very good at it.  He told me I was welcome to return to Wudang Shan any time to train with him and I felt very honored for the invitation.

We said our final good byes to Zhang Shifu and boarded the bus that would take us back to Seng Feng city.  When we arrived in Seng Feng it was in the early afternoon and we stopped at the same restaurant that we had visited the last time we were in the City.  This time there was a wedding being held in the lower level of restaurant and it was really loud.  We could hear the music and speeches from outside.  We got a few looks as we walked upstairs to our private dining room.  I was not terribly hungry so I did not eat very much.  Before long it was time to get back on the bus and head to the train station.

We gathered our belongings and made our way into the train station.  At the entrance we had to have all of our belongings scanned and they check all unsealed containers.  I put all of my items on the conveyor belt and retrieved them on the other side. I situated everything and began to walk toward the others in my group who were waiting and a security guard began screaming at me in Chinese.  She was gesturing at the swords I was carrying, but speaking too fast for me to know what she wanted me to do.  Our guide was with the group and it took her a few minutes to realize what was happening and approach me.  Finally the guard grabbed the weapon out of my hands and I thought they were going to confiscate it.  Our guide finally came over and began explaining things as the security guard unsheathed the weapon to check it.  Her only concern was that it was a live blade and sharp.  We assured her it was not and when she was satisfied she returned the weapon to me and waved me through.  The others who had bought swords came through after me and our guide explained that they were all the same type of weapon and they were all waved through.  As I approached my group a few more attendants saw my bottled water.  They asked me to take a drink, to prove that it was water, I drained the rest of the bottle and the attendants laughed and waved me through.

We went through the station and lugged all of our belongings up to the second floor looking for a place to wait among all of the other passengers lounging everywhere.  We found another secure area and then were told that our tickets allowed us to use the nice waiting room on the first floor.  We drug everything back downstairs and went in to the first class waiting room.  It was much more comfortable and I was tired of packing around my suitcase.  Some of our group went to a small shop to buy some snacks for the trip and I lounged in the comfortable chairs waiting for our departure.

Our train arrived and we managed to make it through a horribly slow boarding process. Thomas, Anton and I shared a room again and this time there was no fourth person so we had one extra bed in the sleeper car.  We have been lucky so far that no one has claimed it at any of the stops.  I hope it stays that way until we reach our next destination.  We all settled in to our rooms and it was not long before Michael and Anne stopped in.  We spent most of the evening watching the video that Zhang Shifu had given us as well as going through the pictures we had taken so far on our trip.  Afterwards we spent time just talking and goofing around.  With all of us crammed in the small sleeper car it felt sort of like a slumber party and after a while I think we all got a little slap happy.  I was feeling pretty tired and after all of the rushing around and packing our luggage all over the place, I was not the only one.  We all decided to call it a night early.  I am hoping that I sleep a little better on this train ride than on the previous one.

Comments  2 Comments »

  1. King Bird - January 4, 2010 12:01 am

    I thank this valuable information and all new Oasloni
    I would like to come to you to China Are there any easy way to come.
    Thank you very much

    • Matt Talbert - January 4, 2010 2:32 am

      Da Shi Xiong Matt Talbert

      It is not too difficult to travel to China. The easiest way if you are touring is to use a tourist group. They help take care of setting up all of the tours and hotels and dinner. This makes the trip very easy and relaxing because you do not need to worry about anything. If you would like to study martial arts then I recommend researching and picking a school that you would like to study at and then contact the school. They will be able to help you with the registration process. If you have the money and time to travel in China then really you just need to apply for the visa and once accepted you can be on your way. I highly recommend traveling to China it is a beautiful country with a great culture.

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