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Sunday, November 30, 2008

November Calgary Seminar - Part 1

Well folks, I'm back in Van city from a very refreshing and exciting WT seminar in Calgary. This is the second one of the year that Si-Fu has held. Now, before I begin, I have to let you know that my summary of the seminar will be a two part series. So please drop by on the Wednesday for my final thoughts and reflections.

Ok, so my decision to fly to Calgary was a last minute one. I wanted to check out the first one, but due to scheduling conflicts, I was unable to attend. This one, however, I could. Thought the plane/airport thing would add to the seminar experience too. And of course, I thought it would be great to say hello to our WT neighbours. I'd say in these martial circles, politics, ego and an overall "my school is better than yours" mentality reigns supreme. What better way to change that than to meet new faces and learn from each other...and in their home court ;)

A big thanks goes out to Sifu German Ferrer. For those that don't know him, this guy is not only very skilled in the system, but also incredibly dedicated, passionate, and enthousiastic about WT and this energy is passed onto his students. He is also very hospitable, letting me stay under his roof and making sure his WT brothers are treated as family. It was a pleasure meeting his lovely wife and daughter and, of course, Ninja, their adorable and VERY energetic dog.

More about his students on Wednesday so stay tuned..

So here's the schedule breakdown of my trip there...

9:15 pm - Scheduled departure time from YVR delayed to 11.45pm.

9:30 pm - Hit on the cute WestJet attendants a little bit. Wasn't getting any positive feedback from her...so I broke out the PSP to kill some time.

10 - 11:30pm - Played God of War for the PSP. Levelled up a few times (new combos, new powers), and killed the main level boss guy too. All in all a very productive gaming session. I also made a bet with the guy next to me in the departure gate that there were no Tim Horton's in the area. He gave me his in flight snack since I won the bet (score!).

12:15 (PST) - 2:20am (Calgary time) - Still working on the PSP. Incredible battery life by the way. No crying babies on the plane. I had a sprite and some Bits and Bites for my snack. The girls behind me were really annoying. They kept complaining about life because their vacation was over. One of them sounded liked they smoked WAAYYY too much.

2:30ish am - catch a cab. But the guy doesn't know the address! So i had to hop onto 2 other cabs, until one of them knew the area.

3am - cabbie got lost finding the place. But I ended up at German's place.

3:30am - Sleep. Well more like an attempt to. After all the running around and the excitement of having landed and all, it was hard to get to sleep. I would suspect I didn't really fall into a good sleep until 5ish.

8:30 am - wake up go for breakfast with Si-Fu Ralph and German. Had the egg's benny in case any of you guys are wondering. Lots of coffee too. Waiter liked to use expressions like "thank you my friend" or "you got it my friend". Sifu Ralph and German gave me the run down of who's who at his school. Apparently he's got a couple samurai's in his club, wide variety of experience and a wide variety of personalities. All good people. I was getting really siked at this point the sleepiness was gone.

11:30 am - 1pm; 2pm-4.30pm - Seminar is underway. I got to meet all the new faces. Everyone was smiling and joking around - just the way i like it. The atmosphere was set as friendly and everyone was eager to get started.

I had the pleasure of working with German for the entire seminar. We started off with "dynamic" poon sau to warm up, just waking our limbs up and getting our bodies moving. Then we went onto the technician chi sao sections, in particular section 6 and 7 with its variations for the remainder of the class. Taking this slowly, then increasing the speed, only to take it down a notch when we felt the concept of the drills were starting to deteriorate. At this point, we started to work up a good sweat.

Because the majority of my time was spent with German, I was unable to see what the rest of the group was doing. I do know that Si-Fu did take the students one-on-one for a round of his signature lat-sao drill around the room, and letting the students really give him all they've got. Everyone chain punched their heart out. And, as expected, all of us (yea, i was one of them) were exhausted after that and Si-Fu just laughs...as usual. Then a group of ninjas dropped down from the roof and we kicked their asses. I had the special task of taking out the white ninja (you know, the lead ninja), using a secret move that Si-Fu showed me only the night before, but I practiced that all night under the stars and supervision of "the Force". Ok, that last bit was a complete lie.

In what seemed like only an hour, the seminar was over. Pictures were taken. Si-Fu was the lucky man to have taken a picture with the ladies ;) A dinner was planned for 6pm that night, so we all had to leave and get ready for that.

5:30pm - we get home, and BAM, i'm exhausted. My body is tired and I can feel the effects of little sleep taking its toll.

6:15pm - we are at the dinner. The dinner consisted of a Chinese smogasbord. Good eats :) I was starving...and yes, I admit. Contrary to WT/Kung fu eating ettiquette, I was the first at our table to have gotten food. Si-Fu handed out certificates to the participants of the seminar. In addition, he announced (the well-deserved) Sifu status for German. As a nice touch, he included a card that his students would sign to commemorate this designation. Congratulations German!

Photos were taken, as well as good conversation. I made my way to the second table as well just to get to know the people better. People brought their wives/husbands and it was great meeting them as well. All were very personable! And they really liked to hug too!

9:30pm - dinner ends. We all say our goodbyes and head home. Interesting to note, many wanted to stick back and just join in on the conversations. Good sign of a team/family spirit.

10-11pm - Sifu Ralph, German and I just relax for the evening. Just enjoying the peace and quiet, interspersed
with conversation. Only, to our surprise, a group of ninjas bust through the door again. But this time, they were ninja turtles. (Joke getting old?)

I call it a night.

Sleep is wonderful, but still felt short-lived.

7.30 am - up and head to the airport for my 9am flight back to Vancouver.

So there you have it. And in case any of you are wondering, I'm actually stuck at the next boss guy in God of War. So i'll have to Google how to beat her.

Until then.

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