Back in February 2008, I went on a trip to Fouchou in Southern China with a group of friends from my Lewes Kungfu club, White Crane Fighting Arts (see Links), led by our instructor Neil Johnson, to learn about a type of Kungfu known as the Dog Style with the renowned Kungfu master, Zai Pei Lin. It was a memorable time in many different ways as I have written before on these pages.
It was a struggle for a mere wolf to take on board many of the techniques demanded – none more so than the rolls and spiraling movements essential to the style. I survived the experience with only a few agonizing injuries and came home inspired to carry on with it. Some eight months later I suffered a major brain haemorrhage and was lucky to have survived and, since then, I have been on the long road back to recovery.
I have never quite stopped doing marital arts in this time, I have carried on with my Taichi and White Crane Kungfu patterns but the Dog Style has always been one bridge too far. That was up until just two weeks ago when I got discharged by my neurologist who told me that I had no need of a further brain scan and that, as far as she could tell, I did not need to see her again. I was thrilled with the news that she expected me to carry on getting better and, when I asked her, early on in the conversation, about whether I could now go back to things like Kungfu Dog Style with all its rolls, she said yes.
Then I got ‘flu, before I even had the time to celebrate.
But this week, I was well enough to have my regular Kungfu lesson with my instructor Neil Johnson who has patiently stood by me through these years of frustration and, he said, after a few reservations, that we should go for it – and we did.
So after two years and two months, I was back doing what I really enjoy – challenging my grossly uncoorodinated body to go through the motions and, dear readers, believe it or not, I did it.
I felt no ill effects apart from the usual stuff than anyone gets who pushes himself physically and, Neil and I agreed, that I was back to normal. I was now truly just as bad as I was before my brain haemorrhage.
Time, I think to dig out these photographs that I took in Fouchou when Master Zai Pei Lin’s son first showed us that soon to be forbidden Dog Style pattern.
I still can’t quite believe that I am doing this stuff again. What better way to celebrate the festive season.