This entry is part 3 of 8 in the series China Trip 2013

Icicles on tree

In lieu of tedious description

Right, back down the mountain.  Stretch out the legs, repack the backpacks.  At least today the cable car is nearby….  Well, the good news is that the sun is shining on the glistening snow; the bad news is that the nearest cable car isn’t working and it’s back to the one we came up yesterday.  Breakfast went from leisurely to serious carb loading.

Those used to mountains can tell you that going up is easier than going down, especially on the knees (though we can argue with that opinion when we’ve just come up).  Given the week’s training ahead, we thankfully made it down without incident and the views in the morning sun were beautiful. We did not stop as often as yesterday but some of the photos are even more spectacular.  The snow began to gently melt in the sun and form crazy icicles from the canopied pine trees. I think we have enough photos to start a Christmas card shop in time for next year.  I could drone on with descriptions of delicate filigree of ice and snow on the bare tormented branches of the beech trees, but I’ll let you just look at the pictures.

Icicles on tree

Also on lieu of tedious description

After a grateful lunch, it was time to walk through the old streets of Huangshan city.  Endless shops selling calligraphy equipment, paintings, silk shoes and clothes, and antiques with special antique dust on them.  Now up the mountain it was well below zero, but down in the town the cold is just penetrating, creeping into your bones and slowly stiffening muscles.  Maybe they send you up the mountain first to slow you down enough to browse in the shops, because otherwise you have to powerwalk everywhere just to keep warm.

Awesome snowman

Awesome snowman

Dinner was lavish, with lots of chilli to drive out the damp, and beef tendon to repair our muscles and joints. The restaurant seemed to specialise in different types of rice wine, but like good people we stuck to the food – sigh!

 

Back down the mountain

Back down the mountain

So, up the mountains.  This started with a nice bus ride followed by a transfer to an (Eco?)bus.  The park is a UN heritage site and international geothermal park. Riding up the mountain with the usual corkscrew turnings surrounded by giant bamboo.

This entry is part 2 of 8 in the series China Trip 2013

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Once is never enough… fired up by the recent success at the Southern Shaolin Competition in June, the Club was asked to compete at another competition in Xiamen. So off to the 2013 Rongxin Cup we went.

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Claremont fundraiser 2013On Saturday 9th of March 2013, the ordinary folk of Islington were going about their business, eating frozen yoghurt and checking out the boutique shops. Little did they know that something far more exciting was happening at the Claremont Project in White Lion Street. The annual City & Islington FWC fundraiser began with a bang at around 2.30 p.m. with approximately 20 of the club’s most dedicated students being put through their paces and judged by Head instructor Dave Courtney-Jones.

Proceedings began with an address from Paul Stanfield, the CEO of Claremont. He gave examples of the great work Claremont does, in particular helping over-55 residents of Islington to feel part of the community by organising activities such as painting, dancing, films and tai-chi. He also showed their deep appreciation for the efforts of FWC in raising funds to help.

The first activity was a two-person demo competition, which involved three teams who had put together choreographed fight scenes (some with music and sound effects including a scene from ‘Legend of the Condor Heroes’ and a routine with the ‘eye of the tiger’ soundtrack from the rocky films!).

Claremont fundraiser 2013We then moved on to the main endurance event, which consisted of: duck walk (13 laps of quacks and waddles around the hall – approximately 500 metres and lots of sore thighs and hamstrings!); 250 leg lifts; 1,000 punches; one minute of iron bridge; and finally 333 upper crane blocks.

Next up was the individual patterns competition where the students also had to say the name of the pattern in Chinese, which ranged from good pronunciation to ahem, quite unrecognisable words greeted with some sniggering from the audience!

Claremont fundraiser 2013The push hands competition came next with a chance for the pugilists to show off their amazing balance and inner strength. The final was tense with some nail biting moments, especially when the finalists both fell out of the ring at the same time!.

Last but not least was the Chinese cooking competition with all the delicious dishes including the winning entry of mapo tofu and green tea biscuits amongst others being gobbled up very quickly by the now starving competitors.

 

Claremont fundraiser 2013

It was a gruelling event but fun was had by all and most importantly, we have raised an amazing £7,744 which is our highest ever amount. A number of students from the club were unable to take part on the day, but have taken part by completing the endurance exercises in class, which has helped us reach our total. Well done to everyone who took part and let’s go for £10,000 at least next year!

Here are the final FWC results from the 2013 Southern Shaolin Invitational Tournament. FWC sent a team of instructors and students to compete in various categories against teams from around the world. We were commended by the judges for performing traditional patterns to a high standard, and this is reflected in the results.

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On 16 July we will be assembling once again at Gatwick at some unearthly hour of the day, to check in for our flight to Chania, Crete. Whilst there we are hoping to meet an FWC student from the old days at University College London, Professor Manolis Stefanakis. Last year we raised funds for two aspects of Professor Stefanakis’ work at the University of the Aegean on Rhodes.

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