There were a couple of reasons we decided to visit China. Our daughter went two months ago with a friend and raved about it. My tai chi teacher is leading a China tour. There’s a martial arts worldwide tournament I can compete in. I can meet with a feng shui master in Hangzhou. My husband and I celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary on the departure date. We’re both healthy. The tour is affordable.
Pretty simple decision.
After touring and dining in Shanghai and Beijing we take a train to Hangzhou, a lovely town south of Shanghai. It’s the hometown of Los Angeles based Shaolin Wushu Center, the martial arts school I study with, “Sifu” Masters Jianmei Hu and Master Hu. We have heard about it often & are thrilled to be finally visiting this special town. Hangzhou was one of the eight ancient capitals in Chinese history and is now known for the Hangzhou West Lake – a famous water lake & attraction. Although teeming with commercial shopping retail stores, buildings, & transit vehicles, it seems less crowded than Shanghai and Beijing, though our tour guide shakes his head and doesn’t always agree.
It is the lake that is the focus of the town, and people use it in droves during the day and weekends. It’s now time to prepare for the martial arts tournament we came here for, and so I find myself getting up early (5:45am) to be at the park to practice tai chi.
Upon our arrival at this early hour, the park is packed with people practicing martial arts, from qi gong to tai chi to ballroom dancing to the many forms of shaolin wushu martial arts. Everyone is preparing for the day.
It’s warm and humid yet the best time to workout is in the morning because the temperature will increase as the day progresses. How beautiful it is, to view the lake and the endless lotus plants flowing in it, while practicing tai chi.
On the day of the tournament – a magnificent international event with – I am told — 5000 participants, I’m grouped with older men doing tai chi, who only speak Mandarin. I’m in a room where guests are not allowed. I sit there. And then, my husband appears – he is African American and I believe they think he is the new soccer star Cavour Ndam. There are no other English-speaking visitors in this room but he’s a welcome oasis to me. We find one other English speaking Chinese woman and apparently they think “Janet B” is a man’s name. hahaha.
I do the routine with the men, and my husband watches with the judges, and two days later I win a gold metal. What a treat – an honor in any competition… The memory of Hanzhou will remain with me forever.
Next week: I meet with a feng shui master in Hangzhou.
In gratitude, Janet Mitsui Brown, www.thejoyoffengshui.com