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I haz teh dumb


That kind of sums up how I’ve been feeling lately. Definitely discouraged. Part of the reason I moved to Beijing was to experience the martial arts culture, and to meet great teachers… and I have – but I’ve had so little spare time to train that my practice of martial arts and meditation has gone completely down the drain. That wasn’t part of the plan! The last few weeks have been the worst – end of semester fatigue really drained my energy levels, and the rain has made training even more difficult.

Last weekend was really lousy. I went to meet Master Sun Zhijun for pan guan bi class, and really, I might as well not have gone. In fact, it would have been better if I’d cancelled. I was just so tired I couldn’t get anything right. It was very frustrating. On Sunday, I was still feeling bad, and I didn’t want to have the same experience with Master Sun Ru Xian. I cycled over to his apartment as usual, chatted for a while with him, Rene, and a friend of his who was hanging out shooting the breeze, and arranged to move the class to Tuesday, ie today.

I used the time this freed up to do some paperwork, and then headed downtown – and this time, I got stopped, and had my bag scanned…. I didn’t have the pan guan bi with me on that occasion – I wonder what would have happened if I had…

This is the last week of the semester, and things are starting to fall into place again. I’ve got no teaching, as it’s exam week. I spent much of yesterday sleeping, which has helped things a lot!

I was up at 5am this morning, and met Master Sun at 6. We trained in next to a river near his home, a really great location with lots of trees. Other people were in the vicinity, training taiji double fan, sword, and other styles. We worked on the ba da zhang; I’ve almost got it now, and by the end of the week I should be ready to start working on the details. Tomorrow, I’ll meet him again at the same time, and we’ll work on the first two sequences of the linear 64-palm set. He told me today that he’s there every day, and I’m welcome to train with him whenever I want; it’s all to be considered part of the deal. Cool. Very cool. This is going to help a lot, I think. So far I’ve only been meeting on Sunday mornings, and by it’s already very hot by the time we get started, so it’s not always very productive.

Phew. All of this leads up to a bit of decision-making. I’m about to start a month and a half of vacation, of which two weeks must be in Singapore. How do I pass the time…?

Basically, I need to spend a lot of time preparing next semester’s lessons. I had no opportunity to do this before last semester, so I was constantly in a crazy rush. Preparation now means more time to meditate and practice martial arts once the next semester begins.

In addition, if I can get some freelance work over the summer, it will bring in some cash that I can add to my buffer; that means the insecure nature of this kind of work will give me fewer sleepless nights next semester…

This all says: stay in Beijing. I would love to go to Korea…. but it’s just the wrong time to go on retreat for three weeks. My practice is still too weak to benefit from that, and the opportunity cost is too high.

This does also mean, of course, that I will be able to follow my original plan, and take the yiquan course. I’ll call Master Yao Chengguang later today.

OK, decision made…

Be careful what you wish for…


… you might get it. So the old saying goes, and wow, it’s just hit me…

Up until this morning, this post would have read as follows:

The good news: my contract’s been renewed. Even better, it will begin at the start of September, rather than October, as I’d previously thought. That’s good, because it’s a whole month that I won’t need to live off my not-so-substantial savings… I won’t have to live like a monk due to poverty 😉 I’ll be able to do the month-long yiquan course, go back to Singapore to sort my things out there, and then come back to teach…

… but on the other hand, it means that I won’t be able to live like a month through choice! I had been planning to spend September going to a couple of temples in Korea, and passing a couple of weeks on retreat.

However….this morning, I opened up my inbox to find two significant emails:

  1. One opening up the possibility of freelance work, that potentially could earn a (for me) substantial amount of USD. It would need a lot of my time over the summer.
  2. A request for help from a temple in Korea that would let me stay on retreat free of charge for several weeks, plus would establish a substantial connection with the abbot. This would take up most of my free time over the summer.

I don’t think I can do both. If I do the first, I can still do the yiquan course. If I do the second, I could perhaps still do one or two weeks of full-time yiquan training.


Do I choose money or karma?

Disclaimer: of course, it’s possible that one or both opportunities could fall through, especially if I faff about and dither…..