It was very foggy at some part of the way going to Baguio last Friday. It was even raining hard a few kilometers near the Summer Capital that I sort of psyched myself up already that it would be raining throughout the duration of my very short visit.
As it turned out, the weather was really nice when I got there. It was not even very cold, which was good because I forgot to bring a jacket (failing to bring a jacket only drove home the point that i was still under the effects of the grueling week i had - where all I was able to do was keep up with all the things that came up). It was a good thing that Mark was nice enough to meet me and lend me his jacket. I knew it would only get colder especially when evening comes. I had no plans of freezing myself to death just because I was unprepared for this trip.
Mark and I agreed to meet with the other Team Lakay core members, Coach Mark and Eduard, at the training venue. I was supposed to train with the team as well. I even managed to bring my training stuff with me despite the last minute packing I did. But I decided not to train because I was so tired. I guess the past week's events took their toll on me that all I wanted to do was take a much-needed break.
So the four of us just observed the others who were training. I was happy to see that there were so many of them already. I definitely did not recognize most of the people who were there. I see some of the more older members and a few of the girls who have competed in one or two Wushu national competitions already but the rest were all newbies.
I also noted some of the improvements they have made to the gym. The were new mats and I noticed a new punching bag as well. There were more gloves and kicking pads to go around.
Watching them train made me glad that I did not join them. I almost forgot how grueling Sanshou training can be. But still, just watching them only made me feel how much i have missed doing it. The warm-up is easily my favorite part. I just love the warm-up routines. They are usually very challenging and tiring at the same time. And the funny thing is, the level of difficulty there does not even come close to the actual training routines. I think of it as the decision point, where I either choose to continue knowing what would be coming next or opt to bail out and not learn anything.
The two hours spent watching was very gratifying. The team seemed to be thriving well and there were more people getting interested to join. I was especially pleased to see that there were kids around. It is not everyday that I get to see kids practicing Sanshou because it is often considered as a dangerous sport by most parents. I fully understand the concern there though. But I also firmly believe that the discipline and principles these kids could learn from it have benefits in the long run.
There was a twelve-year old kid training with the group. And he appears disciplined and commited enough to this sport. Coach Mark, Eduard, Mark, and I also talked about the other newbies as well. They told me that a group of them even jokes about the team's training as "rehab". This group of newbies used to be very fond of the night life with all the attendant drinking and smoking. But as they continue to train with the team, they realized they had to make some changes with their habits. And I guess this is something I fully understand. It is just one of those things you realize when you start loving the sport. The commitment gets stronger and the desire to excel grows as well.
It was only after the training that I finally got to sit down for a more in-depth meeting with the rest of the core group. I think we all did not anticipate that the team would grow this fast. At the end of the day, we were just all happy to see that somehow, our simple dreams for this team are gradually coming true. It is up to us to make sure that we continue to steer the team towards the path that we envisioned it to take and to tread carefully while doing it.