Terya Sarrucco, 29, female, Netherlands. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org 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”.