David, Annie's brother, has been attending a swordplay & fitness class for the past year (Academie Duello - www.learnswordplay.com). It is a class that teaches different types of swordplay from rapier to long sword to broad sword. It sounded fun to watch so we went with him on Saturday, June 14th in the afternoon.
The teacher was very kind to let our whole family learned with them. On that day, they were learning how to fight with broad sword, a long, wide blade sword that is quite heavy used in the 12-13th centuries.
We learned how to hold the sword with both hands, how to attack by striking top down from the left and right, how to swing it 360 degree over the head, and how to defend and counterattack by deflating a blow and continue onto attack swing.
It was quite interesting because we watched many sword fights (such as the movie Trojan) but didn't really understand or appreciate the intricate moves and countermoves. Now we are eager to watch some sword fight movies to see if we can understand them better.
The children had fun learning by using the wooden version of the sword for safety. It's fun to watch them trying to swing and fight with a sword the same height as them, often havingf to tip-toed to reach Jon for a strike.
We think this is very educational for them as long as they learn it as an art and not as a weapon for dangerous play in the future.
After the fun afternoon of sword fighting, we came back to Richmond to bike around the dike to test out the new bike seat and to see where are good places for fishing in the future.
As we circle around Richmond along the dike, we serendipitously came upon a dirt bike playground. There was a high dirt hill and about 6 different bumpy dirt bike path of different difficulties. Many teenagers were biking up into the air on these dirt hills. Olivia and Nathan were very excited to try. At first they went slowly over the easiest one, which gave them quite an adreneline shock. But slowly they got used to it and tried harder and faster ones. It was a lot of fun seeing them ride over these bumps and falling several times. Even Jon and Annie rode on Olivia's bike to give it a try. None of us are daring enough to try lifting the bike up into the air too much, but we promised to come back again and again until we all can do it! (The second time we came we went down the big hill and did some real jumping, see pics) For Annie, biking on these dirt hills gave her more adreneline than the crazy things we did in S. America!
We continued along the dike and saw several good places for fishing.
On Sunday morning, which was Father's Day, Annie's mom's church Vancouver Taiwanese Presbyterian Church had it's annual picnic at Peace Arch Park, literally right at the border between US and Canada, about 30 minutes from Vancouver. At the park, one can see the border custom booth right next to us! In the many border crossings we had in South America, the borders were with barbed wires and wide deserted open fields. It's such a contrast to see this green park with lots of people having picnics.
The worship service was held outdoor and afterwards there was a feast fit for the kings, with lots of BBQ meat and even better were the many Taiwanese dishes. We all ate to our hearts content. Afterwards, the children had fun playing ultimate frisbee for the first time.
Despite their small hands, they did very well in throwing and catching them such that it was actually quite a fun and challenging game. They didn't want to stop. When we got back to Richmond, Jon bought a frisbee to play for their break time.
Continuing the full day we had on Sunday, after watching Tiger Woods' incredible clutch shot on the 18th hole to get into the US OPEN playoff, Jon, Annie, and Olivia went to the track in Richmond to watch some of the top track athletes in North America compete in the a track meet...for free!
Given that we won't have a chance to go to watch track competition live for the Beijing Olympics, we thought watch some athletes competing to qualify for the Beijing Olympics would be the next best thing. In Canada, if you can run at a Olympic standard time in any official race a year before the Olympics, then you can qualify for the Olympic team. Given this is one of the last track race before the Olympics, there were many athletes from around Canada, including US and Mexico, that were here racing.
None of us had ever been to a track meet so it was a great experience to be right at the finish line watching athletes run 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, and 3000m. Given we have been jogging recently, we can appreciate how they can run for so long distance maintaining a fast speed. Some of the athletes that day qualified for the Olympics!
What a wonderful day. Thank you Lord.