Saturday: I took the train on line 13 from Wudaokou, looped far round to the north of Beijing, and got off at Guanximen, which is just across a river from where Master Sun Zhijun lives. I say river, it’s more like a storm drain, with a trickle of filthy water running along it, backed up into pools occcasionally where people have thrown building waste onto the river bed. Heh, but it does have lots of nice trees along its length. I think I was just in a bad mood: on Thursday, the weather had changed from the lovely warm spring back to wintry cold and rain – not nice at all 🙁 On Saturday it wasn’t raining any more, but it was still very cold.
Mi Lao Shi was already at Master Sun’s apartment, along with another lady whose name I didn’t get. We chatted for a while, and then went outside again, to where a circle has been painted on the yard, including a “starting box”. I was pretty rusty, so we worked on the first half of the bagua needles / pan guan bi form. It came back fairly quickly, and Mi Lao Shi corrected a lot of small mistakes – in particular, moves where the hands are meant to be yin and yang (eg one facing upwards, and the other down) but where I was doing the move with both yin or both yang…
After a while, Master Sun and the other lady came down to watch, and Master Sun also gave his feedback. Mi Lao Shi and her friend both speak some English, which really helps! It was fun. After our hour was up, we went back up to Master Sun’s apartment, and chatted for a while longer. I mentioned again to Mi Lao Shi that I’m hoping to learn applications; after we’ve worked on the basics, we’ll be able to move on to that. I’m not sure whether that will be taught by Mi Lao Shi, or by Master Sun… I couldn’t follow their conversation closely, but I got the impression it would be the latter.
So there we are, that was my first bagua bi lesson in Beijing! Looking forward to the rest…
On Sunday morning, it was off again to Sun Ru Xian’s apartment across the road from the Old Summer Palace. This is getting confusing: from now on, I think I’ll refer to Sun Zhijun as Master Sun, and Sun Ru Xian as Sun Lao Shi….
So ,anyway, I spent the two hours working on the first three palms, plus the single and double palm changes. Hehehe, like many of my teachers, I think Sun Lao Shi might be a little surprised at how slow on the uptake I am, but there we are, I’m dumb, so let’s just work with it 😉
It was pretty cool. The Chinese xingyi student is in Hong Kong this weekend, but the Dutch guy and English woman, Rene and H, were back again, working on the tanglangquan. We were also joined by a French guy whose name I forgot; he’s working on Yiquan. Also there were a couple of Sun Lao Shi’s longer-term students, Chinese guys in their forties. They were really nice, down to earth, working guys, no pretences at all – the real, classic, traditional martial arts students, in the sense that they were there in their everyday suits and ties – the kind of old-school working class we don’t see in the West much any more. They were both bagua guys, and one in particular gave me a lot of help with the double palm change while Sun Lao Shi was working with the other students.
On the previous occasions when I’ve lived in Beijing, I’ve missed being able to study Buddhism in English, and wasn’t expecting to find much on this occasion. Luckily, H had found a Zen teacher who runs classes very close to where I’m living, and so after our class with Sun Lao Shi we went there. It was really cool – Master Wei’s a nice guy, with lots of TCM experience, and a long background in Zen. We chatted for quite some time, then went into seated meditation, followed by some walking meditation. This last was done very fast – totally not the very slow, measured walking I was expecting… We had to leave quickly after this, as we had a bit of a time crunch, so I’ll have to wait until I see him next time to ask him about that.
Finally, I introduced H to a vegetarian restaurant in Tsinghua Yuan, where the Sichuan hot pot is absolutely delicious! Mmmmmmm 🙂