Chapter 8: Block, Chop, Block, Chop (2)
Josh was already up. He was practicing his moves on the field. It was unknown what he was practicing. Some of the moves he had done looked like the Taiji Fist.
Su Jie hurriedly brushed his teeth and washed his face. He walked at a brisk pace to the playground and asked Josh, “What are you practicing? Taiji Fist? This thing can be used?”
Taiji Fist was a popular martial art in the martial arts society. There were even many ‘masters’ who claimed themselves an expert in the way of the Taiji Fist art. But when these ‘masters’ fought with an all-rounder fighter, they were all beaten black and blue. Su Jie thought that the principle of Taiji Fist1Taiji Fist (太極拳. It was created by Zhang Sanfeng and comprises 88 different stances and works on a principle which directly opposes that of conventional martial arts. Instead of basing its moves on speed, power and preemption, the Taiji Fist’s moves are slow, “soft” and seemingly powerless. was unconventional and lacked any use in real life scenarios.
“Yes, it’s Taiji Fist,” Josh nodded. “This thing is handy to train the mind, balance and stability, and the transition between movement to movement. Back then, when I practiced, my movements were very stiff. One teacher taught me the principles and set of Taiji Fist. He made me practice it every morning. After a year of practice, my fighting skills have improved by large numbers. Taiji uses all parts of the body to attack the opponent’s acupressure points. It’s straight and useful. The most wonderful thing about Chinese Martial Arts is its fluidity, strength, and q! What exactly are fluidity and strength? This is the reason why I came here to learn. As for qi, it’s too profound for me at the moment. It feels like a magical kingdom.”
“Really?” Josh thought. He wanted to ask, but he held himself back. Yesterday, he had already comprehended some insights from hoeing and digging the earth. He didn’t want to bite off more than he could chew.
After practicing his moves for a long time, Josh stopped.
“I wonder what kind of training it will be today. Is it digging?”
Josh did not have a hoe in his had, so he practiced in the air, pretending to have a hoe. When he lifted, he dug down. He practiced for a while, exercising his muscles and bones to its maximum.
This was exactly what Su Jie was going to do.
He didn’t practice anything else, only this technique.
After making up his mind, Su Jie followed suit and practiced with Josh over and over again until he puked. He practiced again in his dreams when he passed out. He had tasted the sweetness of yesterday, and he was now full of confidence.
At half past six, the assembly whistle sounded.
“Let’s eat breakfast first. The food is ready. We’ll do some farm work for today’s training.” Coach Gu Yang had always been indifferent. He never talked to anyone, and never said anything unnecessary.
Su Jie took a deep breath.
The third day of training had begun.
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“On the third of July, after working in agriculture for an entire day, combined with yesterday’s practice training, I finally understood the basic usage of this hoeing and digging technique. I trained even more diligently. I also asked Coach Gu Yang about the details of digging the ground, but he didn’t tell me much, just showed me, and nothing more. I think it’s a difficult way to train, but much more efficient. By the end of it, I was exhausted.
“In the evening, Josh invited me to dinner. He’s a rich guy, but he never tells me about his family. After dinner, I became his sandbag again. Today was a little better than yesterday, but I still got beaten. His punches and kicks were faster, and I could no longer hit him when he’s not looking.
“There were a few girls in the class who seemed to be suffering, but they persevered. One of them, a girl named Chang Man-Man, seemed to be good from Kung Fu. She neither worked fast nor slow, just balanced. She had just come back from abroad to learn a fist art apparently, but it’s none of my business.”
“On the fourth of July, I was still doing farm work. I was becoming more and more proficient in hoeing and digging the earth, and I wasn’t as tired as I had been over the past three days. I seemed to have adapted to the rhythm. The only con was the blazing sun darkening my skin once more. At the evening, Josh treated me to a meal, and I continued to be his sandbag after that.”
“On the fifth day of the seventh month, when we were doing farm work, after five consecutive days of hoeing and digging to help the old man in the village, I discovered that my forearm and waist seemed to have grown a set of muscle. I also noticed that the hose was much lighter. Coach Gu Yang told us some new information too. When digging, we should coordinate our breathing and push our strength down to the bottom of our feet to take root. In the evening, Josh invited me over for dinner, and I’d become his punching bag all over again. This time, I ran all over the place. Josh had to muster up most of his energy to hit me.:
“On the sixth of July, when I was still working in the fields, I felt like an old peasant with a straw hat on as I dug on the ground. I ate dinner again with Josh. The food was getting better and better. I felt Josh was in a hurry to get some Kung Fu practice done. Wasn’t he an expert? So why was he working so hard? Anyways, as long as I focus on dodging and running, it’ll be hard for Josh to hit me.”
“On the seventh of July, after finishing a day of farming, Coach Gu Yang said that there would be no more digging tomorrow. Although he said that this was only the Seven Day Foundation Stage, I felt stronger like I had plucked a great harvest. Of course, it was also because I ate a good meal with Josh every day and became his punching bag thereafter. Josh said that I had improved a lot, but I didn’t think so. I’m not his match at all. If I remove my protective gear, I wouldn’t be able to last more than a minute.”
*** *** ***
Su Jie’s diary reflected his mentality. Training was boring every day, but gradually, it got better. His mentality settled down as he was becoming immersed in the environment.