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Summer Course 2010 Report

Lau Gar Summer Course 2010

- by Rash Patel Lau Gar Guardian
“The Lau Gar Summer Course 2010 and another action packed week seemed to be over all so quickly!”
This year’s Summer Course was held in Llandudno, a seaside town located near the most northern tip of Wales. Llandudno hosts the popular landmark ‘The Great Orme and its mines’.

Early Morning Session – Running, Walking and Tai Chi
The days training began at 6.45am, meeting at the base of the ‘Great Orme’. There was a choice of Running, Walking or Tai Chi. Most students were encouraged to run, however those less able or those carrying injury had an alternative option.

Running on Day 1 started with a reasonably simple route up to the summit of the Orme, however this was not as easy as it sounds. There are a number challenging steep gradients involved in the run up to the summit. Subsequent runs throughout the week included variations of the first day’s route plus additional distances. On the last day of running those fit and brave enough took on the challenge of running around both Llandudno’s Ormes, up to the summit of Orme 1 and then around the base of Great Orme to finish off. Only the fittest running enthusiasts took this on.  Throughout the week students were encouraged to choose a route to suit their own ability.

Walkers also embarked upon the accent of the Great Orme which again was challenging because of the Orme’s gradients.  Walkers were encouraged to walk at a fast pace.

Guardian Pete Hornby led the Tai Chi group. Morning Tai Chi featured various Chen Tai Chi Silk Reeling Exercises and a number of loosening exercises. Instructor Pete was determined for the Tai Chi training not to be viewed as the ‘easy option’, and thus included many challenging leg strengthening and stance training exercises that were hard work.

Following the early morning training, everyone then headed back to their accommodation for breakfast and a short rest. It was then back to the training hall for 10am, where the days training session commences.

The Main Training
The day’s main training session began with warm up and loosening exercises led by John Russell. This was followed by various stance training routines before starting on the main theme of this year’s summer course, which was ‘The five animals’.

5 Animals Theme
Each year features a specific theme for that year. This year’s theme was the ‘Five Animals’ found in  Lau Gar Kuen, which are the Dragon, Snake, Tiger, Leopard and Crane.

Students were taught a sequence of movements each day specific to each animal; Day1 – was Leopard, Day 2 - Tiger, Day 3 – Snake, Day 4 Dragon and Day 5 Crane. On day 6 all 5 animal sequences were revised followed by the teaching of a short opening sequence. Students were then asked to organise themselves into small groups and arrange the sequences of all 5 animals in the order of Dragon, Snake, Tiger, Leopard and Crane, thus creating a complete form.

The essential conclusion was to end up facing in the starting direction and starting place. Students were left to work this out; however, guidance was on hand from John and the Guardians.
John’s main intention was to enhance the students understanding of the ‘essence’ and characteristic of each animal, and to incorporate these when practicing and performing specific animal techniques to be found in the sets.

Syllabus Training
Following the summer course theme, students then broke up into groups according to their grade, and were given time to practice their syllabus.  Each grade group was allocated their own instructor(s). Each day Master Yau taught a black sash syllabus group determined by their grade.
Students that were Orange Sash and below were promoted to the next grade provided they successfully complete the weeks training.

Kicking Routines & Walking Techniques
Following the syllabus work we all moved onto the next part of the day’s training.
Guardian Andrew Nations begin with a number of warm up and stretch exercises to prepare the group for various kicking routines. Once warm, Andrew taught routines which featured a full range of kicking and sweeping techniques. This training enabled the students to work on their balance and posture, and to build strength for kicking. The kicking and sweeping techniques included in the animal sequences learnt earlier in the day were also drilled in this practice session.

Andrew then handed over to Guardian Keith Thomas who then led the group through various walking technique routines. These routines also include extracts from the animal sequences learned earlier in the day. Keith then finally called some stance intensive walking techniques that were really hard work. A great burner, however, Keith lifts the group’s spirits through leading by example.
Stamping Drill
Following the Summer Course tradition, the day’s physical kung fu training concluded with the stamping drill led by Guardian David Eccles. Not easy, but a great way to finish the days training united in group spirit.

Warming down
The next section was taken by Guardian Morag Quirk, who led the group through a number of exercises which relaxed both body and mind in preparation for the morning’s final activity.
Chi Kung and Meditation
At this stage in the days training the week began with Jam Jong, a basic Chi Kung exercise.

On Tuesday John introduced a method of seated meditation. For 2 days the group practised ‘sitting with awareness’. The aim of this practice is to attain a state of mental clarity and enhanced perception resulting from the absence of conceptual thought, fear, anxiety or self consciousness. This state of mind is not sleepy at all, leading as it does to being completely present in all activities.
Later in the week Master Yau led the group through another method of meditation, sometimes called the ‘Microcosmic Orbit Internal Energy Meditation’. This form of meditation comprises of becoming aware of and leading your energy around the Governing and Conception energy channels.

Audio visual equipment
As in previous years the training is aided by the use of a data projector and sound system provided by the Guardians and managed by the Stafford Kung Fu Club. The use of this equipment made it much easier for everyone in the hall to both see and hear what was being taught.

Leisure Time
Training ended at 2pm and the rest of the day was free for students to do with as they liked. Options included: sightseeing, walking, beach activities, exploring Llandudno and neighbouring areas or anything else that took their fancy.

Every year there is group barbecue which is held mid week on Wednesday evening. This year it was Lau gar Wales’ turn to host the barbecue. Guardians Carl Jones and Jason Crabtree did an excellent job in feeding the group with help from their students.

End of Week

Another year and another weeks training was over all so quickly!  After each group had demonstrated their Five Animal sequence the final training day concludes with a talk and from Master Yau and presentations of Certificates. 

The Lau Gar Summer Course was a thoroughly enjoyable week which involved hard training and an excellent opportunity to learn. The theme of the year is often a non syllabus item and you may not get the opportunity to learn this otherwise. The summer course also included a great social aspect and provides the opportunity to see old kung fu friends from around the country and also meet and make new friends.

Summer Course 2011
Summer Course 2011 is an important year as it marks the anniversary of the 35th Summer Course!
Next year’s summer course will be held again in Llandudno and will feature a special celebration dinner evening to mark the 35th Anniversary. Students will also receive a free limited edition anniversary T-Shirt.
Application Forms and Further information can be found at www.laugar-kungfu.com/calendar

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