Gregory Nichols, Tai chi&wing chun.
Gregory Nichols, 30, male, England, 10 months Shaolin&wing chun. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
My journey is well documented on a blog I wrote on my stay, so please use this for reference if you are interested in having one of the best experiences of your life. www.kungfucommute.wordpress.com.