One thing foreigners may not be used to is the fact that they would be expected to live by the rules and standards that govern the Chinese athletes, i.e. they can't go cavorting around like it was a vacation home. For instance, you can't go out past 11:30PM, and if you leave you stay up (i.e. leave the lights on) the attendants will come by and ask you to go to sleep. They also lock all entrances to the athletic complex after 11:30, so if you were unlucky enough to be caught outside, well, you would have to literally crawl over the fence and try to sneak in without being caught. Ummm... let's just say that I ample opportunity to test my stealth skills by crawling through my dormitory window. And I had a good idea of where that fat bald guy would make his rounds at night too...

As I mentioned earlier, the Wushu team people were a lot more open, and consequently would be very honest with you about the way they'd feel about you. For instance, another American there, who shall go nameless, was told off by Kali for being too arrogant. Let's just say after that, he was humbler. Luckily for me, the worst thing Kali ever did to me was say my brain was full of crap.

In all seriousness, it was nice being in the company of people who didn't try to be "tactful" (a required skill among Californians). They would probably be considered rude by many here in the United States, but there are many times where I would prefer their company to some of the "tactful" people I've met.

All in all, I would say that it was a valuable experience that most people who go to China don't get. Granted, I didn't go on the month-long herd'em along pachinkoing-around tour of China.
Wu Jing
Wu Jing, sporting his psychedilic Bugs Bunny shirt during break time. Last I heard, he retired from competition and is now making movies. You can catch him in "Tai Chi II" and the soon to be released remake of "Shaolin Temple."
In fact, I stayed only in Beijing, because training took up a lot of time. Some might say that I had wasted a plane ticket, but I would counter by saying that I had seen more of China than the standard photo-clicking tourist. After all, the heart of a country is it's people, not a bunch of rotting buildings. I figure that the most interaction "standard tourists" get with local people is "Hi, I want to buy this", and then the local gives the price by typing in some horrendously large number on his/her calculator. And, of course, I got to live a dream of many Wushu practioners- that is, eat, breath, and practice with no worries at all. Of course, I felt like going crazy after 2 weeks there, since the monotony of practising day after day, and being yelled at hour after hour got to me after a while. But somehow I survived that month.

Revived 2/16/00

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