BLOG OF POOTENHEIMER... Fear it, Love it
And it's partway done
I'm still tired from the weekend. Man. Had a good one, though. Two lion dance performances. Saturday started at 7:30, getting ready for our practice for the Chinese-American Association gig at TCC. So we head out there with all our gear, and we're the first ones there. Turns out not very many people even show up. So we are all set up, and then start practicing. It goes fairly well, we're practicing with only one lion. We only practice the first part of our two part session, and it all seems to go well. We do it a few times, which is tiring. And the final time the other group who is going to do a flag routine around the lions before they wake up shows, so they do their thing, we wake up the lion, and then we're done. Seems like it's all cool.

From there it's back to the kwoon to get prepared for the open house. I go with another guy, we swing by my place to grab my formal top and some Gatorade, and then go to the kwoon. I get there and realize I FORGOT MY PANTS. No, I was wearing pants, I forgot my kung fu pants. So I had to go back and get them. It was pretty silly. We practice and set up the routine for the three lions. I'm in the gold/orange lion, so I get to do the main stunts. We talk through the routine, and it's time to start! Well, it all went fairly well, with the dance. A good number of people showed up, including some friends of mine (thanks, guys!) and the news. FOX got some video of us, don't know if they put it on the news or not. There's a good picture of us in the Sunday paper (in the A2 section somewhere), I'll see if I can find it and post it. It was a long dance, we had to play the fireworks, and there were a LOT of them. Very loud, and the lion, wanting to show his courageousness, has to "fight" the fireworks. I was hearing ringing for a bit after that finished. We did all that, got the offering down, and played with the crowd a bit. It was fun, and I think people thought it was cool.

After that it was demo time. I did three demos, after the kids were done. The first was with the most senior student in the kids' class. I started it and messed up. Ugh. So I started OVER, and then it was just fine. Except for the final punch, which he blocked before I threw it, so I would have hit him in the face, if I hadn't pulled all my punches. But I think it turned out okay. Then I did half of the most advanced form I know, called Gung Gee Fook Fu. It's still really long, and I kind of switched a few movements, but it turned out all right, I think. Unfortunately, I lost it on the last demo, a sparring set with Sihing Justin. Dang! It was going so well, too! We were ferocious, hitting hard, and then I missed ONE move. It falls apart, briefly, but we recovered after about four seconds and finished it. It still makes me very mad. I'll have my chance to redeem myself at the Nam Hai demo next Saturday, though, where we'll be doing basically the same demos and lion dance. If you didn't get to see the open house but can make the Nam Hai performance, come check us out!

So we finish that and we were all EXHAUSTED. Actually, Shannon (the old senior student, before he left) went and threw up after finishing the lion dance. It's really that hard to do, and he hasn't done it in a while, so he was a little out of practice, and maybe slightly out of shape. He still did a great job. So a few people went to take a brief break after that before we had to set up and do our final practice. I went and got some food (Bill and Ruth's, baby!), then came back. A lot of people were just conked out on the kwoon floor, using sparring pads as pillows. It was pretty funny. So I went and laid down for a bit, and then Sifu comes back and we started practice again.

We had to do two stacks for the TCC show, and our team was fine (me and a guy named Kaleb), but the other team (with Shannon and the other Eric from the school) didn't quite have it down. So Sifu had them do a DIFFERENT routine, where Shannon (as the head) would jump and wrap his legs around Eric's back, and Eric would grab him and spin in a circle. It looked kind of funny, but it worked. We finished our practice and then got dressed up and went off to TCC. We show up there and we start getting ready, set out the lions and everything, and we're five minutes away when the management tells us they want us to do both parts one and two of our routine in a row, with no break. So we have to figure out how to change this, last minute. We do it, and then we're about to walk out when they tell us there's ANOTHER change. Back to the original. I guess the act between our parts showed up, or something. So we go out, and get started.

The crowd is huge, there's a ton of people. I can't really see them, being INSIDE the lion, which doesn't have very much visibility. The flag people run around, and we start the wakeup process. I think some people might have been surprised (if they've never seen lion dances before), because we were inside, and it might have looked like there wasn't anyone in the lions. But there WERE people in there, oh yes. Tired people, but still people. Anyway, we wake the lions, do some waking up actions, and then do the salute. We finish that, then it's time to walk around and do the stacks. This is where things got messy.

Shannon and Eric started to do theirs, but I guess Eric wasn't completely ready and Shannon tried jumping to set theirs up. Eric ends up getting hit in the face by Shannon, Shannon never "latches" on, and they set back down. No stack, no whirl. On OUR side, we set up, and I jump. One minor detail is that right before I jump, the lion skin/cover bunches up on Kaleb's leg. The leg I'm going to jump on. He was about to move it off, but I jumped before he had the chance. So I take off, and land on the cover, which naturally, starts to slip down his leg. I do everything I can, which means continually hopping with the one leg back up as it slips. Kaleb holds me as best he can. Finally, it stops moving, although with my foot not quite as high as it should be, I stabilize as much as possible, and we hold our pose. So we did get a stack! But it was really hard, and not quite the way it should have been. Anyway, we did get a few oohs from it, and then it was on to playing with Buddha (who had knocked his knee during our demos somehow, so wasn't all there, either). We did that, saving our energy for the second part, which would be walking down into the crowd and playing with people in the audience. We finished our playtime with Buddha and each other, and then walk off. And the management tells us WE'RE DONE. Which made all of us both relieved (physically) and upset (every other -lly). We had been practicing for a while to do this, and two full practices AT TCC, and they tell us at the very last minute we're not doing it. Grrr.

Anyway, we tried not to worry about it. Headed out, went to get food nearby at a buffet place near Cinemark. We still had our clothes back on for the lions, so we got quite a few looks, but it was cool. The food was good, we talked, and relished in the fact we were DONE. For the day.

After that I took a couple of the guys back to my place, we sat at gamed a bit, just chilling out. Then passed out. I actually woke up early on Sunday (9:30), which surprised me. Just got cleaned up, got some food, then tried to finish watching Once Upon A Time in China 3 (which has a LOT of lion dancing in it, by the way). I barely made it five minutes. BAM - passed out on the sofa. I was out for a while, then woke up to go meet with an old kung fu student, named Tom.

It's exciting! Tom teaches qigong, has for a while. I'm going to start learning from him, although I can't start yet. Need to finish some more kung fu stuff first. But I went, we talked, and I got a book from him. He had some very good stories about his experiences with qigong, and I gave him a couple from kung fu that he's missed since he was gone. The book is written by his current Sifu, who's a very cool guy. I'm going to read through it and practice the first exercises. Tom told me he sees me as eventually becoming a healer, which I am quite excited about. I've thought about becoming a full medical doctor, but for me, I have some issues with the complications of how the medical field works. At least in the States. I think for me, learning the Eastern style of medicine and healing would be ideal. Perhaps someday join up with someone who's expert in the Western style, and join forces. I'm sure a lot of you are skeptical about this eastern "healing" stuff, but someday, you'll tell me about an ache you have, and maybe then you'll start believing. I've seen it done before, and it's quite cool stuff.

So there's that. And the other thing I'm doing a little differently - I've decided I'm giving up choir for Lent. I need a break, for a variety of reasons. So I won't be in the choir for forty days. If people give me the impression they miss me there, I may come back afterwards. We'll see. But it'll be a good time to just get away for a little bit, maybe go to other parishes, see how their music is there, and maybe even volunteer to help them for a weekend. It might be interesting.

Ooh! AND I had a couple of ladies over after church on Sunday. They were both feeling kind of pooty, so we had a good helping of pizza, Pepsi and the Fifth Element. Hopefully it was enough to lift everyone's spirits. I do like that movie, it's rather fun, and not too serious. Even if it IS science fiction (which, for some odd reason, some people don't want to try out).

Okay, so that's enough for a HUGE blog entry. Probably be more after the next lion dances. Speaking of, next one is this Wednesday! 6:30 PM at the Royal Dragon! Maybe you can come. The food is good, and with a lion doing things around you, it's also exciting to eat. Fun times! But now it's time for random linking. You still should check my last random link(s), but here's another one for you. Just a quick news story. Made MY eyes widen a little, maybe it will yours. Check it out!
Amazingly enough, with the majority of that post being about kung fu, my comment is about the giving up choir for Lent... I think that's really a cool idea. =)
thanks again for the cheer up party last night. =) it did make me feel better....with all the yummy bruce willis-ness. hehe.

the lion dancing was amazing! maybe i can get my friend to come out with me on wednesday. =)
It's long, but you might enjoy this:
Chen Style Taiji
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as of 10/23/03

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