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.