Back in college, I ran into a couple of fellows teaching at the local recreation center. One of them was teaching Muay Thai while the other was teaching Shootfighting. They were basically competing in the fighting circuit and therefore were always on the lookout for training partners. What’s a better way to get training partners than to offer free instruction?
After my cousin trained with them for a bit, I decided to join in on the fun. The Muay Thai class basically consisted of A LOT, and I mean A LOT of conditioning training. We jumped quite a bit of rope barefoot (not fun when you whip yourself in the foot!) and did a lot of kicking drills against the Thai pads. To practice knee strikes, one person would hold a thai pad against their chest while the attacker did a neck clench and proceeded to alternate knee strikes repeatedly. Pretty fun if you’re the attacker, but not so fun being on the receiving end!
I recall often coming home with purple shins and ankles. I’d be somewhat crippled for a couple of days and often applied a ton of tiger balm and other bad smelling ointments to my body. One night while looking at my bruised body, I asked myself: Why am I beating myself up?? I couldn’t help but to think about the same quote from one of my favorite taiji movies:
“There must be some d*mn thing wrong with you.. You’re torturing yourself. No one hits you, so you want to hit yourself!”
— Tai Chi Master/Puppeteer on Drunken Tai Chi
It’s strange to recall, but this was the time in which I decided to begin taiji. I realized I missed doing forms and I wanted to cultivate my mind and body instead of beat it up. Such fond memories came rushing back after I saw the tai chi lesson training clip from the movie on Youtube 🙂