Kevin sharing his experience training at the Yuntai Mountain School in China.
Training Kung Fu in China:
My name is Kevin, I’m 24 years old. I’m from Germany and I study in Berlin. Here I trained Kung Fu for over 2,5 Years. But my dream was always to go to China, to practice Kung Fu at it roots. I searched for a while in the internet and I came to the conclusion that the Yuntai Mountain International Culture and Martial arts School is the best choice for me in matter of money and training and school conditions.
The website describes that they provide English speaking Trainers (Shi Fu’s), good comfortable rooms, other international students, a nice school area, Chinese lessons and Wi-Fi. I decided to stay for 4 month.
So I booked my flight and arrived in China at the 15.08.2013 and as promised I got picked up from the airport and arrived at the school around 11:30 pm. everyone was sleeping already because the early Morning training starts at 5:40 in the summer and in winter at 6 am. The next Morning I should start training right away, welcome to tough Chinese Kung Fu life. The next days I get to know everyone, around 40 international Students split up into two Groups. Both Shi Fu’s are able to speak English and give good, hard training. The rooms are nice and for Chinese standards very good, the mattresses are quite comfortable and every room contains an Air-conditioner which is very important for the summer, because it is over 35°C and even during the night its way to hot without Air-condition. They work from 1 pm to 2:30 pm and in the evening from 9 pm to around 3 am.
Every room is for 2 People and has its own Bathroom, with toilet and shower.
The water in the Bathroom is always cold, which is no problem during the summer.
For the winter you can take some hot water for drinking and showering at the place where you clean your bowl and chopsticks.
There is one computer with free internet, which sometimes has its problems. If you want to have Wi-Fi on your on Laptop it costs 60 Yuan per month.
There are 3 Meals a day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. The breakfast that is provided by the school is rice- or corn soup, some cabbage and something I don’t know. Nothing for me, so I decided to make myself a muesli everyday (Oatmeal fruits and milk). You can get fruits and other stuff every Wednesday and Sunday at the market in the smaller City that is around 10 minutes away.
Lunch and dinner is always Rice or rice noodles and 3 to 4 Plates of vegetables, tofu and sometimes meat. It’s seasonal food and the kitchen offers something for everyone and you can always ask for bread or leftovers. For additional needs like sweets and other snacks you can go to one of the close supermarkets or to the school shop. In the school you can also get Training shoes, weapons, nice Kung Fu suits and the school uniform. A short version for summer and a longer one for winter.
Let’s get back to the Part why we all come here, the training.
There is the early Morning Training before the breakfast for one hour, afterwards three hours morning training till lunch, lunch break is about 2,5 hours. The afternoon training is again 3 hours. After dinner you can continue, during one hour free training, with whatever you like to practice.
I’m not going to lie to you, don’t expect any sport science adapted training, its good old-fashioned and hard Chinese Kung Fu training. In the first weeks and from time to time you will have a lot of muscle pain but you will be surprised how fast your body adapts to this kind of training.
You will fast recognize improvement in all Parts of the training.
Especially in stamina, because you will do a lot of running and other leg training.
Leg and hip power is essential for being good in Shaolin Kung Fu.
At certain times during the day, before and after training, are meetings, don’t be late, one part of experience real Kung Fu is strictness and discipline, so if you’re late be ready to do lots of push-ups.
In general you will do a lot of stamina/fitness training, acrobatics and the most important thing form-training. This includes all kind of weapons, fist-forms and if you stay for a while you can also do the animal-forms like tiger, mantis, monkey etc.
There are also Chinese Kung Fu students at the school, around 80 Kids of the age of maybe 6 to 16 years. They practice a lot and also have normal school lessons but you will see, even the youngest once are already able to do crazy things. Most of the Kids are really straightforward and try to talk with you in Chinese or with the English sentences they learned in school or they just want to play with you during the breaks. I really enjoyed it a lot and became friends with some of them.
What I didn’t expect was that the air is even here, far away from the big towns, often polluted and foggy. What I also didn’t expect was that you will be pretty close to your Shi Fu, even closer in the winter times because you will be way less people. He will motivate you when your down and talk with you if you got some problems. And with the other students you will be like a big family and that is a great thing to experience when you’re so far away from home.
As a conclusion I can say that you of cause will have some bad and unmotivated times during all the hard training and being far away from home, but I can promise you that, there will always be a friend or a Shi Fu around that can cheer you up and give you power so you can cross your limits and achieve your goals!
I had a tough but good time here, I made a lot of new friends, I went over my limits for several times and at last but not least, I will never forget it and take a lot of experience and new impressions back home.
So never give up and “jia you” (which is Chinese and means like: keep on fighting).
Written by Kevin