Monday, September 22, 2008

Kung Fu Lessons

Ever since we saw Kung Fu Panda, Nathan has asked repeatedly if he could please take lessons. Since some of his school mates have enrolled in Kung Fu, we enrolled Nathan. He loves it. I must admit I was a bit leery and wasn't sure what we were getting into but so far it has been great.

The classes are held at a church in downtown Montego Bay. The first week the instructor, who they refer to as Master Shifu, was off the Island, so some of the older kids did the instructing.

There were quite a few newcomers, so they were split up into two groups. Let me take a moment to apologize for the pictures. It is not a well lit room so they are not the best. I will try to do better next time.

I am not qualified to talk about Kung Fu because really I don't know much about it. But, from what I can understand each "club" is different. Some give out belts or sashes and some don't. Our club does. There are nine sashes starting with white and going up to black. In between are yellow, orange, gold, blue, purple, brown, and grey. I think they are in that order. The thing I do like about Kung Fu is that it teaches self respect, self control, self confidence (which Nathan doesn't lack in) and self defense.

Class begins by running several laps and lots of stretching. Look close and you will see that my boy is pretty limber. I do believe his head is on his knees and his knees are not bent.

They stretch a little at a time and progress by slowly spreading their legs further and further apart. Most of them are very close to doing a true split.
There are several stances that are taught. Here Dewayne, Master Shifu's son, is showing Nathan how to do the crane stance. Dewayne is a brown belt. I was told at class that he is good enough to be moved up to a grey and possibly even a black but his father, Master Shifu, doesn't think he is responsible enough so he won't award it to him yet.

Ready stance.

Break stance.

The break stance is done by holding your fist out straight in front of you and taking the other hand and wrapping it around your fist. I loved when Master Shifu was teaching the newcomers this stance. When he thrust his fist out he said, "This is our weapon," and as he wrapped his hand around his fist he said, "but we prefer peace."
Master Shifu was very impressed with Nathan's self confidence, his attitude and his strong legs. He had to really encourage some of the other newbys to hold their head up high and keep their chest out.

Master Shifu is a great instructor. He is tough, knowledgeable, and confident. He has no trouble telling a kid what he is doing wrong. But what I loved about him was the way he loved the kids. He is passionate about his sport and really wants the kids to learn it.
He had no problems raising his voice to correct a wrong move but then he had no problem picking a child up and loving them, kissing the top of their heads or patting them on the back to affirm a job well done. I absolutely loved it. What a great teacher he is.

Nathan and his buddy Jaleel, watch the experienced kids.

Dewayne is showing the proper way to do what Nathan calls the Horse stance. He had a time trying to get Nathan to keep his back straight and his behind down. In the video you can see the pain on his face. But he didn't quit.

The club just got back from competition in Orlando. A lot of the kids won gold medals. The little girl beside Nathan is only in first grade and is really good. She should have gone to competition and would have won a medal but her father let her passport expire and she wasn't able to go. Maybe some day Nathan will get to compete. He really wants a medal like Michael Phelps.


Nathan's Uncle said...

How perfect for Bubby! I know he is loving that. So glad my boy has found something he loves with a tough, yet tender teacher . . . the best kind. Carla, you will probably have no problems getting him to practice, like when you were taking piano lessons! Love, Uncle Howie

Mom2BJM(Amy) said...

What a fun thing for your boy! My 7yo goes around the house trying to do karate, or dance, or whatever she likes, but she is always moving! I really need to get her enrolled in SOMETHING that will keep her busy! I am just hesitant to add something to our already busy life! Maybe I need to move to an island, like you, where life is a little more laid back!