Tony Mouzet from France sharing his experience training at the Yuntai Mountain School in China.
My name is Tony, I’m 33, and I come from France.
I used to do a lot of sports (mainly basketball) until around my 20s, but then after several injuries (and a big last one, the knee’s ligaments), no more during the years. More recently, in the last two years, I started doing crossfit and a bit of swimming, but I had been doing nothing at all for months, and on top of that, I was drinking a lot of alcohol.
I’m a peaceful person, but I’ve always been attracted to combat sports (muay thai, MMA) without participating in one, maybe also because I’ve always been afraid to hurt and to be hurt (my only real fight in 33 years was when I was 14).
A few months ago, I heard that the company I was working for didn’t need my services anymore: no problem, I’m gonna take a break from working and go back to South America where I traveled a few years ago. At this point, it sounded very good to me, but a few days later while scrolling and “wasting time” on my phone, a video reminded me of another one I saw two years ago about three French friends who went to China to practice kung-fu, and from that, I got a kind of revelation: it’s exactly what I need and want to do if I really want to change my lifestyle, living a completely new experience out of my comfort zone (new continent, new language), in a healthy environment far from temptations (no alcohol, no junk food), doing a lot of kung-fu, and learning skills to protect myself and to be able to teach a bit to others back home.
So, first, I decided to come to Yuntaishan for 2 or 3 months from July 2023 to October, “maybe more,” to do kung-fu. About the hard training every day, it was as I expected because you’re doing in one day more than in one week back home, and it’s six days a week, so the learning is really optimal.
But personally, concerning what I wanted to achieve in only a few months and starting from where I began with my flexibility and coordination, I would have needed years and years of training to make it efficient, and I don’t have this time. That’s why, after 3 weeks of personal improvement with kung fu, I decided to do sanda. Also, fewer foreigners are doing sanda; actually, we’re only two. The training isn’t less hard than in kung-fu; you have physical, psychological, and technical teachings. It’s just completely different because in kung-fu, it’s between you and yourself, but in Sanda, it’s really about fighting, facing an opponent, and some personal fears.
I’m now practicing sanda for 5 weeks, started from zero 2 months ago, and already improved a lot in my physical skills but also psychologically. This was a good move because sanda fits me better; in my mind, I’m now ready to have a fight and to stay until the end of the year to practice and learn more.
I’m not gonna lie, saying it’s easy and that I don’t feel pain anymore. I still feel pain because of my old way of life and my old injuries. After 2 days in the school, maybe also later during your stay, you might say to yourself: “Damn, what am I doing here? Bali would have been a chiller destination…” But if you come to practice kung-fu or sanda, you will not be here to relax but to surpass yourself and to overcome your pains every day. You’ll probably not be here for a really long time, so I have advice for you: do your best, and when you think that is your maximum because it’s really too hard, do a little bit more.
Thanks to kung-fu for my beginnings, thanks to sanda, thanks to all my shifus and my new friends because without them, I would not be in the state of mind that I’m now.