A few days ago, my wife discovered a beautiful park near our home. We’ve only been in our new house for about 8 months, but I’m not quite sure how we missed this park. It’s a huge suburban sports complex with four baseball fields, two soccer fields, a dozen tennis courts, a nature trail, and even a frisbee golf course!
So this morning, I went on a Kung Fu adventure.
Here’s a glimpse of the park at dawn:
It was chilly for Florida at 42° this morning, but it was also glorious. There was dew on the ground gleaming in the first light, the air was crisp, and the sky was a canvas of color.
It was an absolutely amazing place for me to practice my Kung Fu. (If you didn’t get the memo, Tai Chi is a form of Kung Fu.)
There’s something magical about going on a Kung Fu adventure like this, especially at dawn.
This morning brought me back to my days in New York City. Back then, if I wanted to practice outside, then I had to find a park. (Or climb up to the roof of my apartment.)
In New York City, there would have been dozens of Chinese people in this park, even at dawn. They would have been doing everything from walking, to practicing tai chi, to ballroom dancing. (I wrote about this fascinating phenomenon here, and even posted a video, if you’re curious.)
There is a small Chinese community in Gainesville, but they obviously haven’t discovered this park yet. The place was empty except for a few early-morning tennis players.
But the solitude didn’t stop me from enjoying my adventure.
I walked around for a while, looking for the perfect spot to practice. Modern parks are filled with countless Kung Fu training tools, if you know where to look.
I finally settled on a spot near one of the baseball fields. Here’s why:
1. It was open to the sky. Having the sky completely open above you is better for Qi cultivation. It’s also better for feeling the amazing majesty of the sky.
2. There was a covered area. Right next to my spot was a covered area. Not that it was raining today, but in the future, I might want to practice in this park, even in the rain. It’s nice to have a place where I can go, rain or shine.
3. There was a chain-link fence. Back in my karate days, we would test our kicks on fences like this. If you could kick the fence with power but without losing your balance, then your kicks passed the test. So this morning, I gleefully kicked the chain-link fence.
4. There were bleachers. Bleachers are similar to something known as the Plum Blossom poles, which are great for training agility and balance. Here’s a picture of actual Plus Blossom poles at our retreat center in Costa Rica:
And then here’s the same idea, but on bleachers:
5. There were “Wooden Dummies.” If you’ve ever seen a Kung Fu movie, then you’ve probably watched scenes where the master spars with some sort of wooden dummy. This morning, the “dummies” were simple metal posts. They were spaced nicely apart so that I could simulate defending myself against multiple opponents (or ninjas).
I thoroughly enjoyed my practice this morning. Of course, I usually enjoy my practice, but this morning was better than usual.
It was fresh. New. It was an adventure.
Parks are everywhere. I don’t know where you live, but I’m pretty sure there are parks there. Perhaps they are covered in snow right now, but that will change soon enough.
Try it yourself some day. Go to a park at dawn, find a nice spot, and make an adventure of your practice.
The more you do this, the more you’ll make an adventure out of life itself.
What about you? Do you ever go on adventures like this?From the heart, Sifu Anthony