Student reviews

Read the latest reviews from some of our international students. If you are interested in talking directly with a former or current student, for example, some one from your own country, send an email to info@shaolin-kungfu.com and we will put you in contact with one.

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Morten Pedersen, Danish, male, one year. November 11, 2016

The academy was a place that I was initially going to have a break, calm my mind and focus on only training, I was not to know it was going to become so much more to me! It was a place I learnt techniques in martial arts that lived up to my expectations, and greatly exceeded them. It was a place where like-minded people from around the world became my support network, my family, my Kung Fu brothers. It was a place where I had the most unique experiences while training under the most knowledgeable of masters, while venturing out on local and non local trips, while living in the most extreme temperatures a simple boy from London has ever experienced.
A common misconception is that the masters will be super strict and be on your back every minute of your training. My master had a different philosophy. You train Kung Fu for you, and you alone. If you do not push yourself then what use is your learning when you are away from your master. This ideal was perfect for me, and allowed me to develop even more than I could have hoped for. My flexibility, my stamina, my speed and my strength have increased to the best they have been in years! The masters are still strict however, and they will push you…as long as you push yourself.
In my 8 months there I do not regret a single day. There were classes and areas that I found I did not enjoy as much as others, but still seeing those classes through helped me understand Kung Fu to greater degree. I personally think that this academy is more suited if you want a broad experience of Kung Fu styles, with a slightly heavier slant towards sanda. Shaolin is the main, but warmups, applications, takedowns, sparring all involve Sanda, so be aware if you want just Shaolin. I am not a Sanda guy at all, but still could enjoy the amount we had without it being too much. I learnt a great mix of forms in my time, from fists to broadsword, from group Bo Staff to animal forms. I definitely have a good standard of forms to train and develop while I’m away from the academy.
If you are thinking about doing this, for however long, just do it. The people you will meet will be cool, the masters and staff are so supportive, the area itself is so far removed from our world (western) it has to be seen. Plus, you will learn some of the greatest things from the greatest people, which may reveal some things you didn’t know about.
Thanks to my Masters; Master Bao, Master Wei, Master Du and Master Wang. Thanks to the support staff; Mona, Lisa, Terya, Mamma Bao, Pappa Bao and new Mamma Bao.

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Gregory Nichols,30,British, 8 months training. September 1, 2016

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On my first day at Maling Kung Fu Academy I was a bag of nerves not exactly sure what to expect, however the nerves soon subsided from all the welcoming faces, both masters and students. My time here has been an out of this world experience, I’ve learned a lot more about myself through vigorous training and positive direction from my teacher-Master Wang. For a good few years I had got myself into a funk where I was deeply unmotivated, loss of confidence in myself, depression. But by coming here I’ve almost completed turned myself around. I’m a happy person again. I’ll always keep the message that Master Wang teaches us locked in my very soul, which is to push past your limits, pain is something that you inevitably encounter during training but you must keep strong and push past these temporary feelings of pain, fatigue both physically and mentally.

I find the training schedule to be a well balanced and put together program, but of course there will always be classes you like more than others (damn you jumps and rolls) but weaknesses are meant to be worked on. The food is fantastic and if I’m honest before coming here I was a fussy eater so I had convinced myself I would have problems in that department. But my tastebuds quickly craved the food here at the academy.

Leaving the academy will be a sad ordeal however it’s going to be refreshing to be going home and apply what I’ve learned here to my life. I’ll never forget my time here as it will forever be turning point in my life. I would recommend this wonderful place to anyone who wants to experience something different.

English, Male, March 2016—August 2016. Email:matty332@hotmail.co.uk

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Mattew Harvey,24, English,Male,5 months. March 24, 2016

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I’ve had the great honor of staying almost a full year at the school. I was welcomed and shown both respect and understanding from students and staff as soon as I entered. Every student was new at one point, and the first two weeks are the typical transitioning period to adjust to the training. Academy members know this and actively assist new members to adapt to the environment.
The school is somewhat like home with the added benefit of improving your martial arts skills under the guidance of amazing masters. Every movement the masters make in class demonstrates their prowess in martial arts and their years of experience. With the occasional help of the talented translators, the masters effectively communicate movements and concepts to the students. For example, I came to the school with some experience in taekwondo, and I thought I knew how to kick properly. Master Li and Master Du both improved my ability to perform multiple kinds of kicks in ways that I had not even considered prior to attending the academy. In truth, every movement I do now feels more polished than when I arrived. Having a basic understanding of Shaolin Kungfu can help any martial artist improve his/her own style.
For those who do not have any experience in martial arts, this school is the perfect place to get introduced to the field. Every student I’ve met has been more than willing to help with any issue or question both in and outside of training. We’re a family here, and we all help each other learn and grow in our shared interest. The masters are very patient. They’re used to dealing with new students and many questions, so you can feel free to ask for clarification. The academy’s intended to help you enhance your skills as long as you’re willing to put in the effort to make it happen.
I’ve lost roughly 28 kilograms (61 pounds) of weight during my stay at the school. The constant exercise and shift in diet can be great for improving overall health. For me in particular, that weight loss takes off so much strain from my knees. I dislocated my left knee a few years ago, and to be honest I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to survive here when I first looked at the old website back home. Despite that, I managed to join in the training and do pretty well. I can’t emphasis enough how much everyone at the academy supports each other. You’ll surprise yourself when you see progress relatively soon after arrival. If you have the time, give this school a chance. You won’t regret it.

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Kevin Sa, 24, American, Male, 1 year December 2, 2015

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My interest in the Maling school started with the website, student reviews, and videos on Youtube. However, my decision to actually come to this school was greatly assisted through the email correspondence with Lisa. Her emails were very encouraging to me. She answered any and all questions I had in a prompt, friendly, and professional manner. Through the correspondence I really got the feeling that I was going to a good, well organized school. Also Lisa’s assistance in helping me acquire a Visa, and coordinating airport pick­up and drop­off was profoundly reassuring.

The school facility itself met and exceeded any and all expectations that I had. The rooms are neat and clean, with ample storage areas. The restrooms are of western style, with individual showers. There is always plenty of drinking water and the food is always hot and tasty.

The training is rigorous and challenging. With a variety of Kung fu styles being taught, the student gets a chance to try them all out and see which is more to his or her interest. Though the training is intense at times, there was never a time where I felt unsafe or asked to do something that would cause a serious injury.

The instructors are extremely patient and very knowledgeable. The instructors welcome questions and do not mind demonstrating a technique multiple time until the student grasps the idea. As a student I feel that I was pushed mentally and physically not only to to achieve my goals, but also to realize my highest potential as a martial arts practitioner.

I would highly recommend this school to anyone interested in practicing Kung fu in China. From the novice to the experienced practitioner, all can benefit greatly from training at the Maling Shaolin Kung fu Academy.

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Wayne Mulei, 36, American, Male, 3 months July 15, 2015

First of all, if you are reading this, then you have already made the first steps in getting to China and studying martial arts. I thoroughly recommend that you do, and I promise you will not regret it! For me it was the best decision I EVER made, I had the most amazing and incredible year of my life and met some of the most genuine, kind, helpful and inspirational people ever! yes I spent a year there, so I went through all the seasons and weather you could expect, and all the changes a body can do with hard work and dedicated training for a year and hope that I can share my experience and help you understand what to expect if and when you get there.

Firstly, the hardest thing is making the conscious decision to do it. To pick a date, book your place and buy a plane ticket. Once you have done that you just have to pack! Sure it takes some cojones to actually get on the plane, and for me that was the scariest/most exciting part! But it is as easy as that!

The school itself is such an incredible place, of course training is hard, and that’s how you want it to be, but it is achievable. I have seen people who have never done martial arts in their life before coming to Maling Shan, people who never even do much fitness, and then I have also seen amazing martial artists and Olympic hopefuls! There really is training at all levels. The Masters can see how far you can go, and what you can do, and of course, whilst continually pushing you and helping you improve, also know your limits. That’s not to say that your going to get off easy, every day will be tiring and hard work, but you will improve! if your going wanting to learn Chinese kung fu, you will, if you want to experience a deeper, more spiritual side of Chinese martial arts, you will, if you want to loose weight, you can! you just have to work hard, you get out what you put in. and I promise, you will have the trip of a life time!

The Masters themselves are the real deal, I mean, they really are kung fu masters, who really did spend much of their youths at the Shaolin Temple. So you know, your learning from the best of the best. Their knowledge and experience is impeccable, and they are always, always willing to help and answer any questions you may have, even outside of training hours. They are all very warm, kind and welcoming people who make training interesting and fun and can often joke and laugh with.

The staff, Daisy and Lisa, along with mamma and papa Bao, are instrumental to making this school run and work every day. Mamma and Pappa bao do several things around the school and you will always see them with a smile on their faces, (although the same can be said for everyone at the school) and also make the most delicious, traditional Chinese food. (oh man, the food!) And yes, they are Master Bao’s parents, so you know its really good, home-cooked food.  Lisa and Daisy, both the most awesome people I have met in a long time, help the masters with translating Chinese to English, and generally dealing with students enquiries. Daisy also runs the Mandarin lessons in the evening (highly recommend them).

What do you need to take, well of course that depends on what time of year you are thinking of going. In summer it is very warm so shorts and t-shirts is a good bet, and winter is very cold, so think jogging bottoms and jumpers, of course a coat for when your not training. I’m not hear to teach you to suck eggs, you can check out a general weather report on google (or bing), but if you need any medication then of course you will definitely need to take that, again google to find the correct way of transporting said things.

Other than that, you will honestly not regret a second of being in such an amazing place, I know I don’t, l spent a year there, and would go again tomorrow! so if you do have any questions you can email me at : avistar@hotmail.co.uk or you can find me on facebook Avi Karia and send me a message on there. I hope I answered a few questions on here for you or at least peaked an your interest. Good luck and ,like I have repeatedly said, you will not regret it, you will have the time of your life.

Email: avistar@hotmail.co.uk

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Avi Karia, 26, British, Male, 1 year January 23, 2015

I want to thank all of you so much for everything you did for me. I learned a lot from every single person at Maling Shan Acadamy – both staff and students. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without you. I really didn’t think spending half a year at your school would change me as much as it did. But after my stay with you I realized that my stay with you was something I had been missing for a long time. It taught me a lot of qualities I had been lacking before I came to China. The best thing about all the lessons I learnt is that I learnt them in a fun and easy way, with no pressure at all, though the Masters did push me to my limit during the training which i appreciated. It really made me grow as a human being even beyond my martial arts skills (which have also improved dramatically, especially my sparring skills).

I want to thank all of the Masters for being so generous with their knowledge and finding the right balance between being strict but also gentle and encouraging at the right times. I felt that I could ask the Masters anything I didn’t understand and they would always do their best to help me understand. Which was of course only possible thanks to Daisy-Laoshi and Lisa-Jiejie who are amazing translators. I was always very impressed at how you managed to translate the message the Masters were trying to convey and not only the words they were speaking. Also a huge thank you to Mama and Papa Bao and their amazing cooking skills. Though it might have been a bit unvaried at times the food was still always tasty and filling and way better than I had expected it to be.

I also loved how everyone tried to make everyday life a bit more exciting by having karaoke nights every now and then or celebrating holidays and birthdays. There was almost never a boring day at Maling Shan. I even appreciated (at least in hindsight) the things that might have not been so great like the occasional water or power outages since they really taught you to appreciate the little things in life. It was also wonderful how many things the schedule covered and how perfectly the topics were balanced. The only thing that I think would like to add to the schedule if I could would be some basic training in traditional chinese medicine. I didn’t expect the training plan to be this versatile and it took me a bit of time to adjust but in the end I was very happy with the schedule. I also feel like I was very lucky because I was able to be on the performance team and participate in a show for JSBC. It was a very fun and interesting experience. I will continue to keep working hard back home.

I have nothing but deep respect and admiration for every single member of Maling Shan Shaolin Academy and hope to see you again soon – I am definitely planning on going back!

Email: sabrina96@gmail.com

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Sabrina Bröckel, 17, German, Female, 5 months December 10, 2014

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Maling Shaolin Kung Fu Academy is surrounded by an astonishing view of China’s countryside with remarkable scenery of farm life, lakes, and vegetation; which made everyday surreal in awakening to a new day of sunrises and sunsets, with the tranquility of peace and warmth as I begin my day with mediation and the adept knowledge and wisdom from the masters.

This has been an amazing experience for me; I came to Maling Shaolin Kung Fu Academy to learn Qi-gong and to focus upon non-combative Martial Arts, without hesitation, I am leaving with so much more than what I expected. I have learned three different types of Qi-gong lessons; stretching; soft Qi-gong, and hard Qi-gong which radiated much energy flow. I also learned the beginning level of the basic forms, and different forms of Martial Arts. I was taught stretching, conditioning, stamina training, and mandarin, and my body is much more flexible from the daily stretching and I have an outstanding degree of energy; with an enormous development of my character within three weeks of being here at the school.

China is a culture much different than from America, and the people are so kind and giving they show much love and a sincere desire to share their knowledge with integrity, discipline and outstanding skills. I feel so grateful to have had this experience it has build character in me that will last a lifetime. The food was excellent, the right combination to allow us to be in good health and to still train very hard.

I also appreciated having someone always available to attend to our needs and someone always open to help us understand anything we were having difficulty with in any procedure. The school delivered what they promised with integrity, ethics and with much love and understanding. I recommend this school to anyone who is seeking to learn Martial Arts, and having a more deeper understanding of man kind and what he/she is capable of doing as a human, regardless of age, ethnicity, culture or geographical location, we were one in spirit and like a family. My training helped me in finding the real me as a person this training brings out the person you never thought was there. I take these skills back home with me to America and hopefully I will be able to implement these skills in my daily life. Thank you so much.

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Valonda Theus, 56, American, Female, 1 month. August 27, 2014

If you’re reading this section, that means you’ve already found your next potential destination but still want to dig deeper. I myself have read many of those testimonials and have found them to be extremely helpful. I hope my experience detailed below can do the same for you. First of all, a quick summary for those readers who are intimidated by long endless paragraphs.

Maling Shaolin Kung Fu Academy is the real deal; it is an enchanting place that will both inspire, challenge and ultimately transform you in every way. The Masters, Shaolin Warrior Monks, are extremely talented and experienced and they never cease to amaze while they go out of their way to teach diligently. The management and support staff keeps the academy afloat in terms of logistics, student affairs and general matters at all times. Located in the heart of green farmlands within the rustic landscapes of Maling Mountain, the academy offers all the amenities one might need. The training is difficult but is designed for all types of students, from professional martial artists to general athletes, from the highly spiritual or just curious adventurers who want to experience something new. Bottom line: if you’re reading this section, your sub-conscience has already made the decision for you -take a leap of faith and make it happen.

And now more details for you other readers who may be slightly suspicious, meticulous or simply bored.

First of all, yes, this school exists. It seems many of the students I met there were very skeptical during their research as society has conditioned most of us to be wary when it comes to the far east. Add to that the fact that there are many scams online these days so it is somewhat understandable that some of you are still in disbelief.

Word of advice, read everything on the website. I have found the literature available to be extremely helpful and it prepared me both mentally and physically. I was rarely caught off guard during my one year stay with the exception of the unexpected happy surprises 🙂

Now, the training. During my year in Maling, I have experienced the most difficult challenges of my life whereby my body, mind and soul were constantly put to the test, day in day out. The training is strenuous, tiring, demanding and merciless -and mind you, while we are getting the authentic Shaolin treatment, it is a watered down version that shies in comparison with what our masters have gone through in the Shaolin Temple in Deng Feng city (which I visited and was absolutely worth it). On my first week, one of my Kung Fu brothers made it a point NOT to share the details of the training in order to appreciate its different elements as I experienced them. I will do the same, though there is a class schedule on the site that shows you what a typical week would be like.

Expect pain and suffering. Remember, the training is meant to challenge you and push the boundaries your mind has wrongfully placed for you over the years. The harder you push, the more rewarding your results are. As such, listen to the masters at all times even if you think you cannot anymore. Also, the old students always have valuable advice to give, all you gotta do is just ask.

You can expect to get much more athletic, agile, flexible and stronger in general while increasing your overall stamina and resistance to pain. The weekly schedule is designed in a way to keep things different everyday so that no sense of routine and boredom creeps in during the week. If you stay there for a long duration however, every week will go by extremely fast and weeks will start blurring and melting into one another…

I had zero experience in martial arts coming in, and upon completing my journey, I can honestly say that I discovered a new passion in Shaolin Kung Fu and martial arts in general plus I can fight if the situation called for it (self defense only of course). I haven’t been training as hard as I used but my physical strength and stamina are still at an incredible level. This is an advantage for long term students as their body goes under complete reconstruction and changes at the core.

The school you ask? It’s got everything you need and more. The internet speeds kept improving during my stay and I was able to watch every single game for my favorite American football team (New Orleans Saints) though not live of course due to the time zone differences AND win my Fantasy Football league (that means nothing to most of you I’m sure). The rooms are great and are as clean and tidy as you keep them. Bathrooms and showers are fully prepped to cater to a full house of students. The food is delicious, plentiful and full of all the nutrients your body needs to endure the training.

What did I do on my off time?
Oh Lord there is so much to do. You will not get bored, especially if you make friends there. Xinyi is about 30 minutes away by bus or cab and is a medium level city (around 1 Million people) with a little bit of entertainment (i.e. Karaoke, pool halls, night club GT…) and it has a big supermarket that sells peanut butter! Wong Zhuong is about 10-15 minutes away by cab or touk-touk and there are some delicious foods to be tasted there. There is also a small village only a 35 minute walk away if you need to stock up on your snacks. I also visited nearby cities such as Xuzhou, Suqian, Deng Feng and even spent 10 days for new year’s in Shanghai. If you can afford it, tourism in the region is absolutely worth it and highly recommended.
Even when the money was low, I would either train on the weekends, or go for a walk or watch a movie or read a book.

So in conclusion, though I can go on writing forever (and I apologize for the lack of structure, I’m writing as the ideas come to me), Maling Shaolin Kung Fu Academy is my home away from home. I have so much attachment to that place and will be going there in the near and distant futures as many times as possible. It is the best journey I have ever embarked on as I still carry all its wisdom and magic during my daily life.

Please feel free to contact me for any reason as it will be my pleasure to give you whatever information you may need. One thing you should know at the end, is that almost all the students who have gone to Maling feel like they have a new family out there and this is why we are constantly keeping an eye at our beloved academy hoping it grows bigger over the years and reaches more and more people all around the globe.

Best of luck my friend, and as I said, take a leap of faith and just do it.

Email: abudymalak@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NeoBuddah

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Abudy Malak, 33, Lebanese, Male, 1 year June 10, 2014

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When I first told people that I was going to a Shaolin Kungfu academy in China for a month, I got either one of two responses: 1. “But… Why??” (imagine highly bewildered raised eyebrows with this) or 2. “That sounds awesome, I wish I could go too!’. If you are reading this, you probably fall into the second category, and let me tell you: if you do, it will be the BEST experience of your life. ^_^

I originally planned to stay for a month, thinking this would be a really long time. But after 2 weeks, I knew I wanted to stay longer. Life at the Maling academy was so easy to fall in love with… 🙂 The thrill of overcoming your own challenges, fears and failures is addictive! We trained 6 hours a day / 5 days a week, and while it was tough at times, it was also incredibly rewarding. I had no martial arts experience and wasn’t in the best of shape when I arrived. But after my 3 month stay in China, I now talk about my life Before China and After China, haha. When you strip away all the usual noise and distraction from a busy-modern-day life, you really get to know yourself on another level. I learned what an amazing machine my body actually is, and how great it feels when you take good care of it. I learned how to deal with discomfort and that it really is a case of “mind over matter” (if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter). And I learned to accept myself for who I am (which is a big step for a perfectionist like myself, hehe). I might not be great at everything (far from!), but I didn’t give up. I walk away with so much more mental strength than when I arrived.

After 3 months at the academy, I can proudly say I broke a brick with my bare hands, ran a quarter marathon every week, did no-handed cartwheels, got introduced to Chinese kickboxing, brandished a broadsword and met some of the most amazing people from all over the world. It was great to have a group of people who knew exactly what I was going through. We could share tips on how to do certain moves/kicks/jumps, laugh about the muscle aches and spend our free time chilling in the beautiful area.

To sum it up: I had the time of my life! 🙂 If you have even half a thought about going here, I strongly recommend you to do so NOW! In the words of Paolo Coelho: “If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It’s lethal”.

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Terya Sarrucco, 29, Dutch, Female, 4 months May 15, 2014

I spent 8 months training at Maling Shaolin Kungfu Academy, from August 2013 to April 2014. It was the hardest thing I have ever physically and mentally accomplished, and I’m really glad I put myself through it.The first two months were the hardest, having no martial arts background whatsoever prior to my arrival.

I kept getting injuries, but taking advice from the Masters, I continued to train as much as I could. By the time I recovered, my body was already showing signs of adapting to an athlete’s lifestyle. My power, speed, flexibility and endurance are now at an all-time high, as well as my mental strength and spiritual well-being. It is amazing to notice these small transformations happening to you over time.

The new academy and its peaceful surroundings provide a conducive environment for training. The Masters are friendly, patient and strive to bring out the best of your abilities. I highly recommend the optional Tai Chi class every weekday morning. It’s a great way to start the day, and is beneficial in developing strength in your legs. Daisy, the school’s translator, is extremely helpful and the Mandarin classes she conducts are worth attending to make your interactions with the locals a little more fruitful (despite their extremely thick regional accent!) or wish to travel around China while you are here. The food served for lunch and dinner is scrumptious too! Being a part of the international student community is a unique experience in itself, a great opportunity meet people of all ages, talents and walks of life.

Never let age, lack of experience, or even fitness level discourage you from trying this out. There is no good or bad time to leave the ‘real’ world to try out Shaolin kungfu. It’s just a matter of just saying ‘Yes’ and doing it! It is not for the faint-hearted, but if you are seeking out an experience of a lifetime, then you will certainly not be left shortchanged. I can say without at doubt that Maling Shaolin Kungfu Academy has changed my life. If you give it a chance, I have good faith that it will change yours too.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/davinareadysetgoh

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Davina Goh, 31, Malaysian, Female, 9 months April 28, 2014

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Hello, my name is Simon Featherston I am from England I live in Manchester, I am 44 years old and I trained at Maling Shaolin Academy for one year from January 2013 to January 2014. When I arrived at the academy I was a typical 44 years old English male by that I mean a little over weight, not very fit and quite stressed from normal life in the UK !! I had a little martial arts experience, I did karate for two years and some others when I was at school which was a long time ago !!

Before I went to the academy I set myself goals, to get, fitter to eat healthier, to learn as much as possible and most of all to learn how to relax, I had no idea what to expect when I arrived and was nervous. I arrived at the academy and my nerves went away quite quickly every one was friendly and wanted to meet the new student, Lisa gave me a tour of the school and showed me where I was going to sleep every one was really nice it was a good start, then I met Master Bao and Master Can, both Shaolin Masters I was nervous of them but they are very nice people and really helpful .

So how was the training ? to be honest at the start it was very hard for me, I could not run too far, I had little strength so could only do a few sit ups and press ups I had poor coordination I was just bad !!! For the first month or so I could hardly walk in the mornings until my muscles warmed up a little they were aching so much, but it got much better as time went on at the end of my year I was one of the quickest to run 10km and in the morning run too, I can do lots of press ups now and am much stronger I have learned different weapon forms which improve coordination, so I reached my goal of being fitter and healthier I even have muscles in my stomach !!

Did I learn to relax ? Oh you better believe I did !! the meditation and Tai Chi plus all the training has helped me to learn how to relax and now I don’t get stressed very often, not like when I arrived !! I am a lot happier with life and myself I have confidence and believe in myself which I didn’t when I came here so I am very happy with this part of the training.It has changed my life being at this academy.

The food was great, there was enough and it tastes good what more do you need ? I think the facilities are good, the rooms are large enough for two people to stay, the training room is big enough, we trained out side most of the time and there is plenty of space around the academy to train, there is a market not too far away, you wash youre cl oaths at the academy there are shops near by there is internet in the rooms if you want it, every thing you need is there.

I trained hard and reached all my goals, I had lots of ups and downs over the year but I had a lot of help from the Masters to keep me motivated and keep me training well, the students help each other and encourage one and other, the academy really has a family atmosphere Master Bao’s mother does the cooking, Daisy the interpreter is very helpful when you need buy train tickets and other translations, and good translation in the classes when needed, I am very happy I chose this academy, it is friendly and professional the Masters are the best martial artists I have seen and want to help every one no matter what level you are at and they know just how much to push individuals.

Thank you every one at Maling Shaolin Academy one of the best years of my life.

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Simon Featherson, 44, British, Male, 1 year. January 17, 2014

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It was my first time abroad, and I wanted to start my adventures from one place, just to get used to the Asian culture… and learn KUNGFU!!! I already had some experience with martial arts, but except for the kungfu movies and my dreams as a kid, I had no idea what to expect. And when finally the opportunity was there, I booked my flight, quited my job, and before I knew I was on the plane to China. I must say the thought of “what am I doing here” crossed my mind when I arrived in Xuzhou, but it left the second Sophie and master Bao picked me up from the station. And also on arrival at the school, I was instantly welcomed by all the other students, Lisa and Master Can.

My first 2-3 weeks were pretty hard, but combined with the very good food from the Academy (every meal 4 different plates of food, slowly changing during the seasons) and a steady weekly rhythm, you are in a good training shape in no time. The months after that just seem to fly, and before I knew my training was over. I look back on a half year in which I’ve learned a lot of kungfu, made a lot of new friends, achieved most of my personal goals and “mastered” some weapons(master Bao taught me the iron chain whip in the end). I also lived and participated in some of the Chinese habits and celebrations which they all celebrate with the students. This all, combined with the change of seasons, I can say that I enjoyed a complete Chinese experience which I will never forget.

Don’t get any illusions of flying-over-the-rooftops-kungfu, but if you train hard and love kungfu, you might get near it :p. The masters on the other hand have no problems doing those things, and it sometimes feels that you are in the middle of a kungfu movie.

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Bas van der laan, 27, Dutch, Male, 6 months. July 17, 2013

When I decided to go to this school, I did not know what was going to happen.. I was really interested in trying this challenge and really scared too. I had never done martial arts. For me, Kung Fu was a child’dream.. it was just possible in the movies! But, I was wrong. I saw and lived unthinkable things and moments which will stay in my mind all my life. Life is so different from what I knew.

First of all, both Kung Fu Masters Bao and Can are incredible persons! What they are able to do is so impressive that you cannot trust it, so fast, so precise, so high, so strong !!!! They are very nice persons even with somebody like me who was a beginner, they have been always very attentive to me and very nice teachers, always explaining the best way with a lot of patience and teaching skills.

I just stayed 5 weeks but could progress a lot thanks to them and could the last week break a brick !!! Lessons are hard, very serious but always friendly and everybody is very attentive to you. It is kind of a big Family, there is no competition between us but respect and comprehension.

When I arrived, some people had been here for several months and of course level was very different but I never felt alone ! Master Bao and the others were always helping me. It is really a big Family. Lisa, Master’s Bao wife and Sophie, the chinese translator are always trying to help us for administration papers or Chinese lessons. Master Bao’s mother is a really good chef and her very good food give us the strength to face the exercices!

I made very easily good friends with people from all over the world. There is a real harmony between Masters, their Family and students. It is like a second Family, I had never known that before. On week-ends, we are off, no calss so our main activity were visiting the cities around, buying fruits, playing basket-ball, snooker that I discovered and buying chocolate, our best vitamins !!!!!

Chinese people in all what I saw are very friendly, curious, polite…. you feel good when you walk in the streets….and when you do not succeed in being understood, you speak with the hands and then burst laughing with the Chinese people.

A few words will stay in my mind for ever : more power, kick higher, faster and so many more…of course, they are our Masters’ words!!

I could talk for hours about the greatest experience of my life which is so rich for yourself. Life is so peaceful, so quite…it is pure Harmony ! I really hope to come back and spend more time here.

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Justine Alcaraz, 21, French, Female, 5 weeks. April 16, 2013

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I’ve trained martial arts, including kung fu, taekwondo and kick-box, for 2-3 years before coming to China, and I honestly thought I had a good amount of basic knowledge. But I soon realized there is no comparison. One month of training here is sometimes the equivalent of a whole year of training back at home. But it’s also ten times more demanding and tiring, and requires a lot of self-discipline and a positive attitude and spirit. But I think if you like martial arts, this won’t hold you back.

The best thing about this academy for me was its peaceful environment. There are no more things to worry about here, and you can truly dedicate all of your time to training and doing what you love to do. Everyone around you is there to do the same. The only duties and obligations are training related, and don’t even feel like duties. For example, you find yourself wanting to get out of bed before 6am to practice tai chi, even if it’s freezing outside and even when you’re still tired from yesterday’s training.

The masters are amazing. They inspire you so much by just standing there. Quite often if they happen to pick up a weapon or demonstrate something cool to another student, you’ll see everyone pausing and sneaking curious stares. They know so much and will do everything they can to help you learn, even after class hours.

I trained in this academy for one year. I had an injury in the beginning that held me back from giving 100% of myself for almost six long months, and many health problems besides, but still I learned more than I imagined possible. I learned to use different weapons, practiced sanda, fist forms and applications. Training improved my patience, coordination, speed, power and flexibility, and I learned to control (and relax) my body and mind. I’ll admit- it wasn’t easy. I almost gave up several times along the way, but with the support of the masters I made it, and I’m coming back for another year of training soon!

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Roni Hasid, 24, Israeli, Female, 2 years. October 9, 2012

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My experience in Maling Shaolin Kung Fu Academy was really pleasant, enjoyable and not to forget tough ( training ). Out of the many things i liked about the academy the was most was the transparency between the staff and the students, Both Master Bao and Lisa will give you the best information on the subject (or at least that’s what i think ) whether it be training, lodging/food or just normal day to day questions. Another thing i liked about the academy is that you are free to start from your own pace and then expected to gradually improve with time, but there is no pressure to start performing immediately, i.e there is no stigma attached to initial bad performance, as i didn’t have any martial arts performance before and kung fu was new to me i found this to be really helpful.
My lodging at the school was comfortable and i liked the food as well, but that maybe because i am Indian ( we use similar base materials ). I made a lot of new friends, got to know them a little during the course of my stay. We partied a few times and we took holiday in the middle as well ….it was awesome . Overall i really enjoyed my stay and would love to come back, i would thank everyone at Maling shan for making my trip a happy one and special thanks to Master Bao and his family for teaching and taking care of me.
This is to anyone who is looking to come here to study, if you know that you really want to learn kung fu then Maling shan will surely not disappoint you, because after all the guidance, pushing and beatings(not too hard but enough to send a message!) of the masters your performance depends on your own-self, the more hard work you do the better you will get. The “No pain , No gain ” as they say on the site is the gist of the training experience .

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Vikrant Singh, 19, Indian, Male, 6 months. May 11, 2012

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Hi I’m Philip I’m 17 years old. I was there for 6 months and had no idea what would happen to me there. I didn’t know kung fu, i have never been to China before, and could not speak Chinese, and not much English either, so I was not sure if I could get through this. But now i know I can and it was the right decision!

The academy is in a nice place, on one side not far is a lake on the other the Maling mountain a beautiful place to meditate. Not too far away is a city too. It’s not really big or beautiful but you can get a everything you need for the everyday life there, most students go to this city every weekend to eat good food or to buy whatever they need..

The training was in the beginning really hard for me because I wasn’t fit at all also not flexible so I needed longer to get used to the training than others. It was very hard to catch up with the other guys, but everyone gets used to it eventually. The key to great improvements is to push yourself, you have to push yourself every day so you can get incredible results.

One of the best things there is, it is like a big family: The people help you if you are practicing in free time, going out together, travelling together, when I was there we celebrated Christmas, New Year and Chinese new year together that makes it really to a family. The masters are amazing they can be really hard and tough in training, but also very good friends in free time and take care of you if you’re sick.

Another good thing is you forget all about the everyday stress. It was an awesome time there i learned so much for my life, had lot of fun with my ‘‘kung fu brothers‘‘, I’m now much more independent, a lot stronger mentally and physically, very flexible, I can speak English without problems and even some basic Chinese. I will definitely go back there. If you have any questions just send me a message.

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Philip Kroft, 17, Swiss, Male, 6 months. October 15, 2011

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They say that give something 100% and then try doing a bit more and you will be able to, meaning that you can always do more than you think. Learning Kung Fu in China is a bit like this, you will be amazed at what you can achieve and the longer you are there the more you can achieve! I spent three months at the Academy and I am so proud of what I accomplished in my time there, and I really want to go back soon!

Before I left NZ I thought that everyone at the academy would be super fit and have martial arts backgrounds and might judge my lack of skills and knowledge. I found the complete opposite, everyone was so helpful and never made fun of anyone rather offered their free time after class to help others and gave pointers and encouragement in class. This really is the most wonderful, supportive environment, as long as you try your best everyone masters and students alike will help you.

As you will see everyone has written about how wonderful the masters are and this cannot be over stated! They are truly what make your time at the Academy! No matter what your level they will help you and keep pushing you so that you get better all the time. These men are great not only because they can teach you everything you would ever want to know about Kung Fu but they will also help teach you about kindness and humility. I could not say enough about how great they are and what wonderful, understanding teachers they are.

Living at the Academy is a wonderful experience in itself. Living with the other students and masters makes for a big fun family! When you are feeling down there is always someone there to cheer you up. The living standards are basic compared to what many of us in the west are used to, but they are clean and all that you need. I felt very comfortable and at home in the academy. The food is great, especially if you are like me and love vegetables and rice (i’m a vegetarian) I am already missing it.

There is no doubt that the training is hard, I found walking a challenge in the first week! But if you like a challenge then this really is for you. I cannot encourage someone enough to take the time out of your normal routine to have this amazing experience.  If you can, do try and get as fit as you can before you leave as this will make your transition easier but if you are like me and a big fat lazy procrastinator then just go you will get fit there, fast! Also if there are any girls out there who are not sure if they can handle the male dominated world of martial arts, do not worry you will love the experience. I found no one patronized me because of my sex.

Learning Kung Fu is more than just learning some moves and getting fit, it helps you to learn to be a better person and gives you more inner strength. I hope that in my short time at the academy that I improved, I know that my time there gave me more confidence as a person. If you go to study with Master Bao, Master Du and Master Li then there is no doubt in my mind that you will achieve your goals – if you work hard, whether these goals are to become a better fighter, learn some basic or advanced Kung Fu or to gain more strength as a person.

Best of luck to all future students, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any doubts about going to China or want more information.

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Olivia Leckie, New Zealander, Female, 3 months. April 8, 2011

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This academy really is a wonderful place. The training and caring nature of the masters is unrivalled. The masters listen to your own goals and help push you to your limits. I only had a limited time of 7 weeks to spend here, whilst on a career break, but in this time I’ve learnt Staff, Sword and Tai Chi, together with transforming my fitness levels.

Having previously spent time at another Shaolin academy in China, I can hand on heart say this has been a more conducive place to learn. I think this is also reflected in the fact you have several long-term talented students choosing to stay here rather than other places in China.

The local surroundings are quite beautiful, with a lot of money being invested in the area including 2 new Buddhist temples within walking distance, together with spectacular parkland and lakes. During some training sessions we would visit these places which was really enjoyable.

The academy itself is traditional and calm. Food is basic but actually very tasty, and there are hot showers and a western toilet. Rooms are very comfortable and have wifi – when you come I’d recommend you bring a laptop as there are not many communal computers.

I think what really sets this academy apart is the masters. I learnt under Master Bao and Master Du, and it has been a real honour. They are patient, thorough and incredibly talented martial artists – both having trained in the Shaolin Temple and have had years of teaching experience.

If you hadn’t guessed by now. I’d thoroughly recommend this academy for both novices and talented martial artists. It has made me a stronger person – both mentally and physically.

Feel free to contact me if you have any general questions about the academy.

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Dane Davies, 25, British, Male, 2 months. June 16, 2010