Wait! Someone Hijacked Recess!

Well it’s no wonder the Chinese hate waiting in lines and have to be forced to do it. I was watching the kids on the school’s roof-top playground before school was starting this morning and discovered what might be one reason why.


Rooftop Playground 1
Before school begins...


At first just a few kids were there and one delightfully independent soul was running and galloping all over the place with wild abandon. Then, as more children arrived, they were divided up into two groups. One group was led in jumping ropes (see Dad, I said it correctly!), and the other group was using hula-hoops, and one kid was on a hippity-hop ball and bouncing all around everyone. I love that kid, I bet he drives his teachers crazy though. Anyway, this whole time loud, cheerful, children’s music plays. I can hear it very well inside my apartment.


Rooftop Playground 2
Everybody line up and follow-the-leader!


After more children had arrived, they all got into lines and started exercising or maybe dancing. They didn’t really move much from the place they were standing, just a lot of arm waving and crouching down and standing up again, follow-the-leader style.


Rooftop Playground 3
Almost done standing in line... for now.


Then, when the music stopped they all filed back into the school. If I was a kid, I’d be miffed. What a rip-off, where’s the fun?!

After the kids go in, every morning a man comes out onto the higher roof-top and practices with a long weapon. I can’t tell if it’s the staff, a spear, or a guan dao. The moves he’s doing make me think it’s probably a spear. I remember when I first saw him practicing, he looked a little awkward, but he is rapidly improving. I do hope though that someone is working with him on his posture and footwork. They could use some work – if you don’t have strong roots and a strong core, the rest is just flash-in-the-pan. I’m a little jealous. Staff and spear were my favorite weapons to study, and I miss them. Sometimes I think I should get up early and just walk around until I find someone practicing with one of those weapons and then sit and watch them until they offer to let me try.  Hmm. There’s an idea.

winner-winner, chicken dinner 🙂

Update: I’m starting to wonder if the kids are actually practicing for some type of performance. I saw them out there again a few days ago and they are beginning to look quite organized and choreographed, with different groups following different leaders. It is quite frustrating sometimes to have such a language barrier that I can’t actually ask anyone about the things I see, I’m left to simply guess. Ah well, I stumble on and, like the blind men and the elephant, can only surmise at what I observe…

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