James Strider – Fulltime Training Blog Wk1 2019
Having been living in Rizhao for the past 7 of the 9 months since leaving Perth, it’s high time I started my blog again!
My intention is to give you a weekly update of my training regime and all things Practical Method in my life, along with a taste of what it’s really like living here in Rizhao.
Having arrived in spring for the International Competition on Daqingshan, then down to coastal Rizhao for the summer and now into deepest winter (very cold for this acclimatised Ozzy boy!), I feel I’m starting to get a handle on what Fulltime training is all about!
My daily routine involves waking up at 5.20am in the cosy studio apartment that my fiancé Colleen has been provided by the Rizhao Experimental High School (where she teaches Conversational English part time), throw on as many layers as possible whilst still being able to move (most mornings are around -6c plus wind chill!), and jumping on my very butch e-bike to ride the deserted streets for 3k’s to the Rizhao Chen Zhonghua Taiji Academy to start training for 6am.
In winter the routine is to start with 3-4 Yilu’s to warm us up, followed by, then back to more Yilus until 7am when we break for breakfast. In the summer, when it’s freshest early morning and late evening, we may train outside, usually in the Olympic Square around the corner or outside of the Academy, watching the city awake as the sun rises.
I then shoot off on my Mean Machine to the Hotel Inn Plus (our recommended place of stay), 2 mins ride away, for an excellent breakfast consisting of an unlimited Chinese buffet and very decent coffee, all for ¥30.
When Master Chen is in town he frequents the very same hotel, which means we get to have a catch up and discuss upcoming plans and events, as breakfast is included with your room! These informal chats are often some of our most productive and if I’m lucky he’ll pass on some of his worldly wisdom.
Around 8.30, refuelled and on the edge of caffeine overdose, Ioff once again to our other training facility (affectionately named “Really Don’t Move” after our motto), based in the Canadian Wellness Institute, a huge health centre providing both Chinese and Western medical treatments for all manner of illness and dis-ease.
We have a large training room on the ground floor overlooking the Olympic Rowing Lagoon and attached to one of the biggest and best-equipped gym’s I’ve ever seen (and I used to be a Personal Trainer, so I’ve seen a few!).
Here we train from 9-11am, with the emphasis being on self-training as opposed to a guided class as we instructors need time to practice as well you know! We will even have a go at some Push Hands as matts are always set up behind the wooden partitions under the watchful eye of GM Hung’s portrait.
As Rizhao is a “Tea Drinking City”, which means that 2-3hr lunches are taken daily with tea drunk in the afternoon, we also take a break from training from 11-3pm every day. I’ve also found that this is required when training hard, as the body is taxed and a siesta is needed by all, especially in the humid, hotter months between May to September!
From 3-5pm there is group training back at Really Don’t Move, with, applications and sometimes Push Hands being practiced by a medium sized group of between 10-15 people on average.
After another break for dinner we reconvene at 7.30 to 9pm at either Really Don’t Move in the colder months or outside in the Olympic square for what are generally the largest classes, sometimes with more that 30 attendees. The vibe is like that of a family, with lots of laughter and camaraderie as we all try to get a handle on this incredible, difficult yet ultimately effective system of self defence, body awareness (and all the health benefits that come from that) and a return to being a child again, for if nothing else we are all reminded that we know nothing…
So, why not come and join us and become a part of this fully immersive experience? We’re ready and waiting, no matter how long or short your stay, and I guarantee that you will not only improve your Taijiquan, but also make friends for life!
Next week I’ll talk more about my experiences and insights from training withCoach Chen Xu and International Standard Bearer Master Chen Zhonghua.