Thursday, July 09, 2015

Journal: Shaolin Windstaff

Working Out:  Last week I was very good and went to the gym four out of seven days.  This week, not so much.  Tuesday night after Wordos I went to the gym and had a maintenance workout.  I did twenty minutes on the elliptical and the rowing machine combined.  Did the assisted dips (30) and chin-ups (20) and had a conversation about astronomy with Brian, the counter-guy.  Went downstairs and did the pec-fly, the lat-pull, and some barbell work.  (35 lbs, 3 reps of 12).

I wasn't completely evil; last week I also attended a Shaolin Windstaff class (in 90F degree weather, I might add).  By the end of the classes (the last session was last Monday night), I had learned the first part of a series.  My form was kind of bad -- I kept pointing my feet the wrong direction or going out of correct arrow stance, or putting my left hand under my right instead of over -- but the instructor was very nice and pointed out that I was learning stances and poses and learning to hold a stick as long as my arm span all at once.

From a writing point of view, a martial artist using a staff will...

  • Use appropriate force at the appropriate time to get a staff moving (i.e. use small subtle force to build momentum instead of over-powering the staff).  
  • The motion and power of the staff ultimately comes from the hips (hence having good form on the arrow stance).   
  • The motion of the body and the motion of the staff follow each other, especially in spins.  
  • When spinning the staff, think about where the tip is moving.  Striking moves involve the end and lower fifth of the staff; the upper hand on the staff pushes the staff, the lower hand pulls the staff (usually into the chamber position on the hip).  
  • When grasping the staff, leave enough room for the lower end to pass beneath your armpit.  
  • When learning stances, close one's eyes and focus on how the body is standing and try to make that kinesthetic memory an anchor.  
I'll have to try and use this in next years Sword and Sorceress submission.

Writing:  Although a couple of folks got it, last Tuesday night's flash piece confused a vast majority of the folks at the table.  I was trying to juggle three POV's and it didn't work out.  I'll have to fiddle with it to make things more clear, starting with adding section breaks.  Then I have to figure out which market to send it to, since there's no speculative element in it.

This summer I haven't been getting up at 5 AM to write.  I think there was less pollen, and also (which sounds very strange) Jay Lake's death was a motivator.  This year, I seem to be staying up later instead of getting up earlier, so I may just roll with it and try writing at night more instead of fatigue web surfing and playing Clash of Clans.  I've been editing more than writing, too.  
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