5h50 – 11h30 : CHEER UP (Jiayou !)
I know that I’m waiting at 6:20 at the foot of the school and I also know that I have to go if I want to progress. Also, at the same time in this hour, warm and comfy in my bed, I find my stubbornness a little ridiculous. It’s a time when we would give everything to stay a few hours longer under the duvet. Outside, it’s cool, dark and wet. I tell myself that these are moments when you should not think, not listen to your body. I must jump out of bed, flip your trousers and t-shirt, pretend that you do not have any pain anywhere in your body and go out to join my classmates. The day begins !
It’s the beginning of the training, this is the most muscularly difficult and requires the most endurance. All this happen before the breakfast. No doubt at that moment, what makes me stand are the smiles of my classmates, with whom I am happy to share this moment.It is difficult but so formative.
The smile of children and the teachers too, whom I find patience and kindness. It is difficult to describe, and of course, the place, the Taoist monastery of Wudang, which we never really get used to.
The moment of breakfast has arrived. I do not usually eat a lot in the morning, but here I know I need it if I want to keep up the pace for the rest of the day. The meals are very complete and have nothing to do with those that can be found in France. They are salty and not much different from lunch and dinner. Sometimes, I miss candies, but I know that in this case, my body needs to eat with starchy food, vegetables, cereals. I do not eat meat in France, which is not a problem at all here since most dishes are vegetarian.
I feel a good tired, and I spend the rest of my break to take a short nap, before moving on to the second training of the morning.
8h30 – 11h30
The training with our teacher begins. The temple is open at this time, so we have the privilege of being able to practice in this beautiful place. In rush hour, we do not escape the curious eyes of passersby, and sometimes even photo shoots! Children train next to us, as well as Chinese girls who compete at the national level. There are differences of level and the vast majority of ten-year-old children surpass us on all points. It motivates us in reality. Our teacher, Wang Wenjie, does everything to give us confidence and make us want to excel ourselves. He knows how to listen and be patient, he often has to go to several times to explain exercises that seem to be of a disconcerting ease for him. His teaching is benevolent. The few words of French he has mastered, the few Chinese that i have been learned, and his very pedagogical way of showing us the exercises make the course interesting and efficient. When he wants to explain us more theoretical aspects of the exercises, Florian is there to translate. The course is divided into three parts, each interrupted by a break of ten minutes. The first hour of the morning is often spent learning a weapon. I chose the sword while the French who train with me chose to learn the nunchaku. The last hour of training is the time to devote to revise the tao we learned. We repeat the same movements dozens of time and leave nothing to chance. Our teacher teaches us discipline and perseverance.
11h30 – 14h30 : REST
The morning is over and we run to the canteen to have hot dishes. At each end of training I feel a satisfaction and a personal pride linked to the physical exertion and the impression every day to exceed my limits. It is also a great joy to be able to share such strong moments with people I did not know a week ago, it creates a rare and precious complicity. This complicity, I even tie it with teachers and students who do not speak my language. The barrier of language itself becomes a game since we find other means of communication and we try to teach each other words and idiomatic expressions. This break of 3 hours allows us to rest, to read, to discuss together. The days when we are brave, we take advantage of this pause to revise each other. PS. we take a nap very often, though…
14h30 – 17h30 : PERSEVERANCE
This afternoon it was raining cats and dogs. Despite the cold and my clothes struggling to dry, I can not get over the beauty of the mountain in its fog scarf. With this weather, it is impossible to have classes outdoor. So we run in the temple. We set up the place with mattresses to perform weight training, relaxation and we work some acrobatics. Between each break, we take the time to drink tea together. I feel that I am progressing very quickly. We are lucky to have almost private lessons, the teacher is listening and takes the time to correct us. I really like the way he has to make us work in groups, to allow us to encourage each other and push each other upwards. The atmosphere is different from French schools i experienced. There is no desire to create a competition between students. Despite our differences in levels, we all do the same exercises, each at our own pace. The halls of the temple are also occupied by children who have class. At each break they come to drink tea with us, and have fun on the exercise mats. The connection are formed very quickly with them, because they are not shy ! I think that turns our day in learning kung fu makes us progress faster and modifies our relationship with this martial art. It is no longer a hobby, it has become what our day is organized around, and all this also modifies our relationship to our body. Every day we become more confident, more enduring, more flexible, both mentally and physically.
17h30 – 21h : OPENING
The training comes to an end, we have half an hour before eating to shower and change. The meal is a precious moment where we can talk to each other about the day we have. Often Chinese students and teachers sit with us, and we try to communicate with them with the few Chinese words we know. It is also the way to get to know our teacher better.
The girls of my dormitory decided to organize language class in the evening between 18:30 and 19:30. They speak to us in English and we must answer in Chinese, it is the time of many laughters and misunderstandings but it is the moment of the day that I like the most. My roommates are extremely endearing, most of them practice kung fu at a very high level and impress me with their kindness, openness and courage. Even in rainy weather, when most Chinese students take a rest, they train by putting mattresses in the dormitory. It makes me laugh to see them train like this when I open the door after I come back from the temple.
The day is coming to an end …