Over-dramatic, I know. All the same, off-topic events across the last couple of months stopped me from training and, having stopped, I’ve found it incredibly difficult to start again. I was supposed to meet Master Sun Ru Xian for bagua last Sunday and Wednesday, but both classes had to be cancelled due to work and weather.
Today I decided to force the issue, and went to visit Master Yao Cheng Rong at his school just down the road from my new apartment.
I was warmly received. At first I just spoke to Master Yao, but because my Mandarin is so lousy, he called his students in to help – I feel bad for disrupting their class! One of them, Jack, acted as translator, but they all (3 of them) spoke English.
Master Yao welcomed me to come and study with him. There are three options:
- Public classes 3 times a week – Mon, Wed, Fri, 7-9pm. RMB900 for 2 months
- Public classes 2 times a week – Sat & Sun 9-11am. RMB900 for 3 months
- Private lessons, 2-4pm weekdays. Minimum 10 lessons. I didn’t catch the price here, maybe 150 RMB/lesson? Not sure. That was a reduced price for students from Greater China – including Singapore, so I technically qualify. I would feel guilty accepting that though – it’s more expensive (not by very much, though) for students from western countries, which (to be honest) I feel would be more appropriate for me.
First impressions…. hmmmm. Master Yao Chengrong seems older and more careworn than his brother, even though they’re twins. He was extremely friendly and welcoming. His students were more mature, and better educated (I would say mid-30s to early 40s) than the students at his brother’s school. Having said that, the students I met today were all taking private lessons; apparently, though, there are often Westerners in the public lessons. The school is much bigger that the Zongxun Wuguan where I studied earlier this summer; they have one entire floor of a hotel, plus roof space which they use for sparring and heavy bag work.
My personal feeling is that I got a very good vibe from them. I’ll start classes soon; probably I will choose the M/W/F option to begin with, though I need to check this with the gf. Next week is a public holiday in China, so I’m looking to start in the second week of October. This, I hope,will kickstart my practice again!
Updated: oops, got my Pilgrim’s Progress reference wrong – fixed that.