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.