Feeling like a Tree

word of month character

It is definitely autumn here in Wudang now. It is getting cooler, and we just celebrated the Moon festival a little over a week ago. And here at the kungfu school, our daily schedule has shifted.

In the summer, our schedule clusters around the early morning and the late evening, with a long rest period and meditation in the middle of the day to avoid the worst of the heat. In the winter, our schedule gets very busy during the warmth of the day, but we get to rest at night when it is uncomfortably cold. This is one of the first things that I learned to love about our schedule here. One feels much more connected to nature when your daily life actually changes to fit it. Life feels good when it’s “dawn to dusk” and not “nine to five.”

Another aspect I am learning to appreciate more recently is the change in my body’s potential from season to season. In the summer, my muscles are long and limber. It is the time for swift growth and flexibility. Winter, my body gets compact and powerful. It is the time for strength and stoking the embers of the body’s vitality. This shift connects to our larger curriculum. Martial Arts is too varied and complex to practice everything you ought to practice all the time. But there is a time for everything, and so our training comes in waves. Flexibility, low stances, internal development, sparring, body conditioning, kicks, punches, cardio endurance, meditation — each wave comes in its own season. The discipline of martial arts is in maintaining each skill when you can’t focus on it, and seizing the opportunity when the time for growth arrives, like a tree in a tough climate. You can’t cut me open and count my rings, but you get the idea 🙂

Summertime stretch test: Shifu's stick should not pass under my hips in the splits postion