Kungfu in an Italian garden

This was my Santa Margherita Ligure home for two weeks on my recent Italian Riviera holiday – I shall miss it. All thanks to my landlord Attilio De Pascalis who showed me round the town in so much detail on my arrival that i felt like a local before I had even unpacked my case.

I shall miss the Palm House’s view up to the hills,

its shy but charming lizards

and the  balconies that acted as windows onto Ligurian life.

I shall often think of its garden too….

..the setting for my regular morning martial arts practice.

 There are many advantages in having the limited kungfu skills that I have learnt over recent years but one of them must surely be the way you can practice it almost anywhere. You have all the equipment you need for a daily workout without having to pack anything apart from a pair of shorts.

In Santa Margherita Ligure, I stuck to my hour of early morning exercise as the sun rose from behind the neighbouring buildings and I am not shy enough to be put off by the occasional audience from some of the surrounding balconies.

I begin with the Da Mo moving meditation sequence…

..then on to my 66 move taichi form, known as Suang-Yang…

…then three repetitions of all my kungfu patterns…

finishing with the weapons patterns shown here with the handy broom that deputised for my seven and a half foot staff.

There is something about the concentration that goes into these exercises that establishes a relationship between practitioner and place. I shan’t miss that garden because it has become a part of me just like all the other locations where I have been lucky enough to keep up this routine.

I returned to England revived, inspired and relaxed only to find that heavy rain and strong winds had had their evil way with my own garden destroying part of the fence and sending some of my pots crashing to the ground and onto delicate plants beneath them.

My first job on my return was to gather up the damage and to restore order and tranquility out there.

The clear up with its subsequent pruning and planting pulled me from my Italian adventure and re-climatised me to my life here in Lewes, UK.

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