A year ago Vowe started walking. Today he is doing at least a hundred kilometers a week.
This is great. It certainly changed his life. If you are a „numbers athlete“ you can do that, too. I am not.
Also a year ago I felt I had to do something. I sensed, that I wasn’t up to speed anymore while moguls skiing. I have never been really fat. 10 years ago I was at my worst with slightly over 80 kilo, today I am down to 75 again. My BMI was never out of the normal range. Therefore I never had the urge to do a lot … until my belly started to wobble in the moguls. Eeeeeeks. My friends suggestion to buy other higher skiing trousers to hold it, wasn’t actually the solution I was looking for.
About 5 years ago I started to do more and more mountain biking tours. Even in winter. Not when it is really hot. I am not the hardcore biker who is looking for the hardest tours he can find. I just enjoy the ride and look at the country side.
Since the monsters are old enough now, that they not need constant supervision, my wife and I started windsurfing again. But in Switzerland, that isn’t a sport we can do on a regular basis. Windsurfing is limited to holidays and is the only reason anyone can make me go to a beach for more than a few hours. No lying in the sun for me. I hate this with a passion you can only dream of and with my skin I rather stay in the shadow.
Biking going up is boring and it isn’t using the whole body. Downward it does, but only for a short time.
I never measure anything. Every time I tried to clock my biking rounds, I forgot to turn the stopwatch off. It isn’t for me and anyway, I always try to find new routes. I don’t like repetitive movements like jogging either and I definitely can’t imagine to run on a conveyor belt in a gym (outside are roads and trails in woods, go there). One day somebody I talked to about biking, asked me, if I also liked it, when everything starts to hurt. Hell, NO! I don’t go into trance either.
You will not see me with any smart device that tracks anything I do. I am not interested in that. When I go skiing, I even „forget“ my phone. Leave me alone when I am doing what I love. I can’t explain what it does to me, if you don’t do it yourself and in that case we would not need words anyway. I am totally outside the world of „I beat my own record“.
When I go skiing with people who do all that endurance stuff and brag about their latest marathon, it’s always them, who crawl back to the car on all fours because they are exhausted, never me. I always have to wait for them. I don’t need a break after only 90 minutes of skiing. They do. I don’t complain about the thin air at 3300m. Though my physical fitness isn’t as bad it seems, but most of my advantage comes from the thousands of hours I invested to become a technically better skier. Something that is hard to measure.
I am a soul athlete (the words of a friend). I cherish the movement of my legs going as fast as possible through the moguls or going down that really steep slope on Mont Gelé in Verbier in fresh powder (the front side towards Atlas I). I love it when I go over rocks on single trails (downward – fast – biking). I am in heaven when I am sliding over small waves and all the forces are in balance (windsurfing). I want my brain completely focussed on that moment. Not thinking about anything else.
(BTW, all the fitness does not save you from sleep deprivation. You can not train to use less sleep. You might feel strong like King Kong Friday afternoon, but you still have the mental capacity of a legally drunk).
But still, I needed something to fill the gaps between winter and summer holidays and something where I am forced to go. And I wanted to learn something new.
To be exact, Chin Woo Kung Fu. That was the thing I started a year ago. And since I am a bit timid (stop laughing, Pierre), I asked monster no. 1, if she wanted to come. And this is really cool. My daughter and I are learning something new together. Not father-shows-child-how-to-do and he get’s it all wrong, because he never learned it correctly. I don’t teach my kids skiing, I am not a ski instructor. I wouldn’t even teach my kids flying and I am a CFI. My daughter is certainly better than I, but I passed the last test, too.
Kung Fu as we do it, isn’t about fighting … mostly. It is more like athletic dancing which happens to be a fighting style. It is all about the movement. When the whole class does a form together, that looks rather cool. It trains every single muscle I know of. It stretches everything. It trains the sense of balance. It uses my brain, because I have to remember all the details of every move, which isn’t as easy as it may sound (sometimes I see the pain of desperation in our trainers eyes). Apparently after 10’000 times doing a move, you don’t have to concentrate as much anymore and can start to learn the move correctly.
Kung Fu is something for everyone. In my class we range from 7 or 8-year-old kids to old geezers like me. In between is everything and every gender. We even have handicapped people. There is no „who has the nicest outfit“ because we have all the same clothes.
After one year I can say it is worth every penny (or „Rappen“ as they say north of me).
I have less problems with my back. My belly fat moves slowly upwards. My joints do way better. My knees are stronger and most important – I ski better again.
It also gave me a few insights into society. Did you know, that above a certain age, you fade into the background? You become invisible to younger people? Let me explain.
Last autumn, another guy from my age group was missing for three weeks. I asked the trainer if he knew anything about it. One girl (age about 18) asked who we were talking about. We describe him to her. Name, height, shoe size and so on. She had never seen him. The next week he was back again and I pointed him out to her. She just said, that the two of us looked the same (certainly not!). That means, the other geezer and I are just some three-dimensional shadows she avoids to run into, otherwise we do not exist. Thank you very much. And the theory is consistent. The female age group between 16 and 25 does not even talk to us or does the partner exercises with us. That brings me to the inevitable conclusion, that I am old now. I can shovel my grave and order the tombstone.
If you are like me a soul athlete, interested in the movement and not into counting and you need something that gets you going, try Kung Fu. And at my age you can even claim that you are so fast, some only see your shadow. And in your CV Kung Fu just looks cool.