Hello, my name is Erol’ I am the first Frenchman to have joined the Shaolin Training Centre for a two-month period. I was very well received by Shi Yanlin, these three assistants and all the trainees already present on site.
The school has a very good reputation and enjoys very acceptable living conditions compared to those found in China (two-person rooms with bathrooms and possibility of taking hot showers) and the old-fashioned style of the place will only shock people used to living in silk… The food is better than I expected… but a little greasy. In short, all the conditions are in place to train hard….if you want to go through the pain. The day starts at 6am and consists of 3 to 4 training sessions of about 1h45 with two Chinese lessons per week and Sanda and Taichi lessons.
The training is essentially based on flexibility, kicking, acrobatics and studies of shapes with bare hands then the study of shapes with stick, sword… and once the basics are acquired.
However, kung fu practitioners based on maintaining postures and internal development will be somewhat disappointed.
So much for the generalities…I would like to warn now all those who have never practiced kung fu before coming here and who have an image of it in Chinese martial arts films.
Kung fu is a difficult and arduous job that requires a lot of energy, will and patience. It is only by repeating the same movement thousands of times that you get to the perfect gesture and it doesn’t come overnight and the discipline imposed here is the only way to achieve it… The results come after long days of work and the reward is all the greater… I unfortunately saw people suffering when I realized that it was not at all what they expected… and it’s a shame to do so much to get to the end of it.
Good luck to all of you.