Shaolin Wushu Training: Listening to Carl Orff

I believe the only way to listen to Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi: O Fortuna is REALLY LOUD.

Obviously I’ve been very busy being crazy writer lady locked in her wild eyrie shouting down the sky and raving in rage over pitches and other fun things.  And that certainly does take up an enormous amount of my energy.  However, less loudly, I have continued to work on my forms.  I can’t afford any more private lessons for them and this, now, becomes a huge incentive to become a more successful writer.  I want to be able to take private lessons all the time.  I’ve been doing my forms in 1/2 hour segments aiming for every other day (I found that every day was too much) but I’m managing to do them more like every two days.  Every single time I practice them I feel more powerful.  No one would ever know it looking at me.  Not yet.  Not now.  But I still have the optimism to believe that if I keep on doing them and keep on working on the things that are holding me back, someday I’m going to look like a person who trains hard at Kung Fu.  If I didn’t believe it, I couldn’t make myself do them at all.  I have to believe it because that’s part of what propels me forward.

My household is not a calm oasis.  It is not a place for quiet lone contemplation.  Not inside.  Not outside.  Not without aid.  I can’t do forms with my mom or Philip or Max talking to me or making noises around me so I’ve taken to listening to music on my headphones.  This works beautifully.  For some people meditation is a question of quiet, no noises, no thoughts in your head.  If you have normal brain wiring you will not understand what it’s like inside my head.  I am incapable of clearing my head of its own noise unless there is something to replace it.  I have come to laugh at those who insist that all I need to do is practice clearing my head and eventually I’ll be successful at it.  Not so.  If that were true I wouldn’t need psyche meds.  If that were true – it doesn’t matter because I know it isn’t true and I have spent many hours of my life working at meditating the usual way.  My parents were Buddhist hippies after all.  What is true is that with white noise is the only road to meditation for me though white noise thought to be soothing such as a babbling brook is distracting rather than soothing to me.  White noise in the form of music that engages my head without giving it the space to form thoughts- that gives me the calm in my mind to really meditate, to be in my body, to concentrate on breathing, and to truly relax.

Watching familiar movies has the same effect on my brain.  It calms, it distracts the part of my brain that NEVER STOPS NEVER SLEEPS NEVER STOPS NEVER STOPS NEVER STOPS.  This is why I love watching television via DVDs.  Watching movies or shows while doing forms would not provide the right frame of mind, however.

My favorite to listen to right now is Carl Orff’s “Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi: O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana while doing them.  The last time I did forms I practiced doing them fast, fast and powerful.  I chose this song because it’s like a battle ax flying through the air victoriously dripping the blood of your enemy.  (It doesn’t matter what side you’re on, it works for every side).  It made me work harder.  It made me tighten my muscles when I punched and my pace wanted to increase without my even thinking about it.

Tonight I listened first to a version of “Ave Maria” sung by The Vienna Boys Choir.  Then I wanted to feel more power.  I put Carl Orff on and was going fast and really feeling it, but then, then I decided for the last five minutes I needed to practice at tai chi speed.

Imagine that you have a hundred thousand men with brutal looking iron and steel weapons clanking behind you, restless to charge, you can feel the heat of their breath behind you and you feel fire in your veins to charge, to RUN, to raise your own broadsword high and yell like a fiend- and with this fierce energy all around you and in you- you move in slow motion.  You go slower than a Superbowl replay.  You go slow enough to feel your muscles burning and shaking because you’re forcing them to hold hold hold in place and you’re sweating but even your sweat is slow.

It seems like it couldn’t work, like you’d explode or be crushed by the energy charging from behind and charging towards you and charging in your own bones.  It seems like if you don’t move fast you can’t possible harness a speck of power and you’ll be nothing but entrails on a mace.  Instead you have to feel all your power in your center.  You are storing it, using it to maintain stances that will be much more effective if you can hold them still for a long time or move gracefully from one to another.  Listening to a piece of music like Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi: O Fortuna puts all this power in your mindset, it makes you feel like a great warrior but then when you make yourself move painfully slowly to it you take all that energy and it goes into your solar plexis rather than outwards.  It goes inward and makes you feel like steel.

Until you feel like putty because your muscles scream with the pain of having to hold such strong poses.

I love doing forms.  I think it’s changing how I feel about my own body.  Even in its current state.  It’s changing what I believe my body is capable of.

I know many people already know what forms are but in case you don’t have a clear idea of what they are I am going to include a youtube link I want you to watch.  I want you to watch it because I think you’ll get something out of this.  I’m going to post my favorite one which is of Kung Fu school doing a demo at Venice Beach California.  Not all of what they’re doing in the video is forms.  The kicking is not.  But a good part of it IS forms.  Then I’ll put a second link below it that’s only forms.  Please watch them because I think you’ll appreciate what I’m writing about more if you do.  I want to share forms with you all.  Please note that I am going to purchase the mp3 of this Chinese rap song because it’s fantastic!

LA Shaolin Kung Fu Demo

And then this one which is just the cutest Asian chick you don’t want to mess with doing forms:

Shaolin Taizu Chang Quan

One more.  Please, watch.  These are Shaolin monks and this looks more like battle training which is what forms is:

Shaolin Wushu Training and Demonstration

Love the music in that one and also- those are some kids that will NEVER be bullied. Time for me to wind down for bed.  Whatever way you choose to meditate and strengthen yourself, to work towards becoming a stronger better version of yourself, it doesn’t matter.  Everyone needs to find their own way.  My sister Tara goes on meditation retreats when she can and has been doing yoga for years.  My friend Ann also does yoga.  Many of my friends go to the gym or run.  Whatever way you choose, I just hope it makes you feel as empowered as forms makes me feel.



  1. Congratulations on keeping yourself motivated.

    I think I like second video best.. but the kids transitions from jump to ground on concrete paving was more than impressive, talk about knowing how to fall.

    Kind Regards

  2. Ann says:

    Hi, Angelina

    Sorry this doesn’t have anything to do with your cool post about your forms. My husband does tai chi and qi gong, so can relate to the leg trembling/slow sweating thingy.

    I just wanted to invite you to my blog as I’m trying to make it available only to people that I invite. I’m rather sick of the local chick lurking. I don’t have your email. If you are interested, email me and I’ll send you an email invite from my blog.

    Waiting with trepidation…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.