After lunch I went back to the Chung King mansion and take a nap, because I had started training in the night, too. After the first day I realized that Cheung Yee Keung often trained after dinner. He came back at 10:15 PM from the jeans store in Argyle Street where he worked, had a light dinner (usually some food bought on the street, in Hong Kong most of the meals were consumed at the restaurants, the rest are mainly street food), do some work like cleaning his room, washing the clothes etc., then train. It was a great chance for me to have him at my total disposal, nobody else was training so late, so I sat in Sifu’s office watching TV or flipping through a magazine, or put on the kung fu trousers and do over and over what I had learned in the morning, until he came down in his kung fu trousers for his training set.
With his help, I took what I had learned in the morning with master Chan and analyzed it, movement after movement. He never taught me any new move in those sessions (such was his respect for the master), instead he explained every single details of what I knew. He didn’t speak English, I didn’t speak Chinese, but he knew perfectly how to be understood.
After completing Mui Fa Kyun, Master Chan had put a Lau Ga Gwan in my hands. I had never touched a weapon before and that long, elastic wooden pole felt strange, totally different from anything else I had had in my hands. Years later I understood that my Sifu decided to teach me a weapon because he wanted to test me with something challenging. Bare hands forms were kind of easy to learn after my years of karate, I had a good awareness of my hands and foot, I could kick and punch, I also had studied Bruce Lee movements watching the movies over and over. But the long stick of the Lau Family was another story.
In those nights with Keung Go I repeated the movements millions of times, searching for that perfect, elastic bounce of the tip after hitting, when it produces a vibration that must not be too wide, not too narrow, not too slow and not too fast. Circle and hit, circle and hit, circle and hit…, until the awareness of holding the weapon correctly came, all of a sudden. My Si Hing noticed it after a fraction of a second, “Hou Ye!” he said, “very good!” And the same “Hou Ye!” came from Sifu the next morning, making me happy as a child with a new toy.
Master Chan knew I was training in the night, and wanted to demonstrate his appreciation for the great effort I was producing teaching me the Lau Ga Kyun. I would have brought back to Milano three forms, learned in only 34 days, starting from nearly zero. It was an outstanding result I would have been proud forever.
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PHK Summer Training Camp
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