Weather and time permitting, I like to walk home through the park after practice. The walks serves as both a physical and mental transition. Space to meditate and reflect on my practice.
I came to kung fu with the expressed intent of building a sustainable practice. With years of martial arts training under my belt – Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, Cuong Nhu and Judo – I knew what I needed in a dojo. At this point in my life, kung fu is the right fit for many reasons.
I appreciate that there is no ranking system. It isn’t about earning the next stripe or belt. As students, we are encouraged to work collaboratively and teach one another. Everyone has something to share and contribute to my practice. It is important to me that we have a strong community due to the fact that many of my classmates have been training with Sifu Valarie for over a decade.
Our dojo is Golden Gate Park and we practice our forms in a grove of towering trees. I find myself meditating on the rippling surface of a nearby stream during our endurance training. Discipline and endurance have taken on new shades of meaning as I tend to both my physical and mental health through kung fu. As I grow and change, I am learning how to move and accommodate my practice. In many ways, kung fu has allowed me to become reacquainted with my aging body. I continue to settle into my own skin and bones, accepting the shifting boundaries of time and ability.