One thing I remember when I watched those classic Kung Fu movies of yester year, was that at least one fighter was using their fists in an immitation of an animal. Whether it was a snake to strike the opponent’s throat, or a Tiger claw to rip out their rib cage. Dragon. Snake. Tiger. Leopard. Mantis. Eagle. Crane. The animal forms are a big part of Kung Fu and I was thrilled to be learning more about them here. My nickname has been Tiger throughout my life for a multitude of reasons; I bare a striking resemblance to golfer Tiger Woods, I’m born in the Chinese Zodiac year of the Tiger…and…erm…I like the cereal ‘Frosties’, so it is fitting that I start to live up to the name by learning a form in Baji called ‘Hei Hu Quan’…Black Tiger Fist!!!
A wise Scouse man once told me when you wake up you should “start your day on a 10”, meaning always be optimistic. Begin the day with enthusiasm, drive and positivity at its maximum, so that if it decreases you can still have something left. Alas, I woke up on the Monday, tired as hell, missed Tai Chi, missed breakfast…and that Monday was a grading day! Oh Lordy…I think I started my day on 2!
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Nearly 3 months in and finally the time was upon me…A chance for the Masters to view my forms and give feedback. Unlike gradings I have done in karate (back in the day), the Shaolin system here at the Maling Shaolin Kung Fu Academy takes a different approach. It isn’t about obtaining belts in colours to suggest your rank, but a chance to get feedback to continuously improve. It’s a refreshing take on learning since it doesn’t say that you are of a certain level, which can make you complacent so you stop there, it makes you constantly review your learnings and have ongoing improvement.