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Tiger Crane Kung Fu raises money every year for Claremont Project, a charity that helps Islington’s over-55’s. Claremont’s mission is all about facilitating the creative process so that its members can flourish as individuals, friends and as a community, and so that we can build a resilient, inclusive, and vibrant, civil society. This charity is our chosen charity, as one of the teachings of Kung Fu is filial piety. Filial piety is a virtue of respect for one’s parents, elders, and ancestors. So helping our elders by supporting Claremont Project is our way of giving back to the community.

This year was no different, as we set out on a lazy autumn Saturday afternoon, with a nice breeze and warm sun. The challenge was to duck walk around Highbury Fields in London, which is a total distance of 1.5 kilometres. For those who don’t know what duck walking is, it is not to be taken lightly. As a tall person, I always thought it was close to mild torture, or some traditional Chinese punishment (I am being overly dramatic, but it’s tough). However, like most things we do in Kung Fu, there is always a mental or physical benefit. 

Some of the benefits include 

  1. Increased ankle strength
  2. Improves leg strength
  3. Also can improve mobility and flexibility of your hips.

Admittedly, I need to work on all three, so this event is definitely beneficial for my Kung Fu.

Duck Walk is essentially walking in a crouched position. If you do a squat, keeping your back straight and resting on the balls of your feet, then start walking, that’s a duck walk. Try to keep your back straight and not to lean forward with your bottom sticking out. Your thighs will quickly start hurting, and then you know you got it right!

We started at the bottom of Highbury Fields near the leisure centre and there were many participants, from both the adult and children’s classes. I put myself at the front, expecting to maintain my position for a respectable amount of time and distance. Once we started I managed to keep the lead, what I thought was for a lifetime, but only to look around and see that I had only made it 20 metres and I also had been overtaken by half the club, which was probably good for my overdeveloped ego. Kung Fu is always teaching humility, as you uncover more levels of knowledge or depth of understanding or are simply shown you are not as good as you thought.

We were to walk round the outside of the fields along the pathway. The rules were we can stop, stand up, sit down, as long as we didn’t stand and walk, we could take as many breaks we liked, the objective to achieve the furthest distance within a given time frame.

When we were a quarter of the way round, the participants had split up and were naturally spread out into groups. Which helped, as we encouraged each other along, except maybe for those out front, the “full power ducks”, I have named them, who were probably racing. By this time, I was in agony, my legs were cramping and no amount of standing or stopping was helping. At this point it became an endurance of pain. Good pain that is. The difference is that one is beneficial to you, the other (bad pain) probably requires a doctor. 

It was strange being at toddler height for over an hour, as I have a detailed memory of the floor, face to face encounters with some friendly dogs, and a jealousy of the pedestrians and their straight legs walking carefree in the park, looking down on us, purely from a height perspective. 

An interesting thing about walking around Highbury Fields in duck walk, was the members of the public. Some people came and asked us what we were doing, and were very encouraging, which helped us find some more motivation to keep going. After intermittent duck walking, crawling, rolling and any form of legal movement towards my goal of a full circuit, I finally reached the starting point only to find I was the last to finish.

It was a great achievement for participating members of the club, I was impressed by the children and the “full power ducks” out in front. All for a very worthy cause and supporting our local community and our elders. So if you feel this is a worthy challenge and want to help us reach our target of £5000, feel free to donate on the Virgin giving page here. For more information on Claremont Project and why we were duck walking, check out the Claremont page