Some thoughts on training at the Shaolin school
I think what’s most difficult, especially for long term students, is maintaining the enthusiasm you came with. It’s all too easy to succumb to the rigor and fatigue of the thrice-daily training, wondering what came over you as you made the bold decision to train at a Shaolin school. For me, I won’t deny that it’s the dream of being really good in Kungfu (far better than the mediocre people who claming that they know how to fight by brandishing a piece of metal in the shape of a sword) that led me here.
Coming here with the decision to train is the first step. In the midst of agonizingly painful stretches (especially in the beginning of your stay) and incredible fatigue from kicking and punching, I find that it’s often difficult giving a hundred percent for every kick and every punch. We all need more than fitness and muscles to keep going, kick after kick, round after round, training after training, day after day, week after week. I guess finding a way to motivate yourself and having a positive attitude will get one a long way. I’ve seen people get disheartened when they could not seem to get something right in spite of all efforts. Sure, we all suck at one thing or another, but the key is to keep going at it and not give up until that one day when you discover that you are finally able to do the perfect split, or that you are actually enjoying that extremely tough jump kick that used to make you shudder with dread. I believe that with continuous effort, these aren’t mirages in the desert of the impossible. We create our own ‘miracles’ with inspiration and hard work. Lastly, it pays to have some faith. Instead of telling yourself that you needn’t bother giving your best because you’ll never make it the first try, you should challenge yourself to overcome the mental obstacles you are so used to. Look at the stick the instructor wields as something to help you, instead of cursing at it and saying “but I can’t!” We choose what we want to commit our effort to, and since you’ve made the decision to train here, you might as well not disappoint yourself.
With that, I wish you students luck, courage and inspiration for a successful training stint here. It’s an arduous and long journey towards becoming an accomplished martial arts practitioner, but if we open our minds up, we can see the countless rewards we reap along the way. Remember to keep walking.