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Wushu Whiteboy Studying Shaolin, Sanda, and Mantis Kung Fu in China

Kung Fu in China Weeks Forty-One to Forty-Three

CHINA | Monday, 16 June 2014 | Views [750] | Comments [1]

I've now been in Henan for three weeks. It's very touristy here at the temple, and normally one must pay a fee to enter the temple area, but we are given student cards which allow us free ingress, and we were shown a side entrance to the temple itself to bypass the tourist lines. The environment here is, naturally, very different from that of Kunyu Shan. There are about 10 laowai students at this school, as opposed to about 70 at Kunyu Shan. At Kunyu most everyone wore workout clothes, but here we wear Shaolin robes. The Shifu here is Shi Yan Jun, a 34th generation Shaolin warrior monk. We also have Sun Shifu, who is the Tai Chi instructor, and he looks like Pai Mei. Early morning we have an hour and a half of meditation, chigong, and tai chi. Later in the morning we have two and half to three hours of training, and in the late afternoon we have two hours of training.

While visiting the temple, several tourists asked to take their pictures with me. I decided, on a lark, to also take a pic of the tourists with me on my camera whenever this happens. After about an hour at the temple, I had a collection of 33 pics of Chinese tourists who had requested to take pictures with me. Westerners really are a novelty around here.

On the way out to go to Deng Feng with Joe from England, a couple of tourists stopped us and asked if we spoke English. They were relieved when we said yes, and they then asked if we were on our way into Shaolin Temple. We responded that we live there and are on our way out. It was amazing to them that we were living there.

My first Friday here, Shifu wanted us all to test in forms of our choosing. I chose Cha Quan, which was the first Mantis form that I learned after the Mantis basics form, but it is also one of my least practiced. I also tested 24 step Tai Chi, which is the only Tai Chi form I that ever learned in full. Shifu said my Mantis was very good and that my Tai Chi was not good. He also said I was the best American student he has ever had, to which the other American student in the class expressed mock indignation.

During one power training session, Shifu challenged us to try two-finger pushups. Most of the students either couldn't do even one or didn't try, but Jeremy from France did 10, Mike from Ireland did 15, and Juan from Mexico did 20. Juan was feeling pretty good until I demonstrated Jeremy's pushups, which were very well done, lowering himself to the ground, then Mike's, which were about half-way down, and then Juan's, in which he only slightly lowered his body. I then did 15 the way Jeremy did, at which Shifu exclaimed, "Number One!" Of course I only speak of this one challenge, as I came in last in a couple of other challenges that day.

During power training last week, Mike from Ireland ran three of us through one of his workouts. Mike is a former MMA fighter with over 30 years martial arts experience and over 150 professional fights of which he won over 110. He no longer fights; he now trains MMA fighters. His workout was absolutely brutal.

Unlike the Shifus at Kunyu Shan, Shifu enjoys sparring with students sometimes. He is really good and doesn't have anything to prove, so he likes to have fun. Last week I did some light sparring with him. His punches and kicks are lightning fast and strong, but his grappling isn't as good as his strikes, so I grappled with him and got him in a full guard. On the way down, however, Shifu's knee landed where I didn't want it to, so I had to excuse myself from further sparring and work gently on forms, but not before I got Shifu to submit with a guillotine choke. Afterwards, Mike gave me some tips on how to better apply the choke to get my opponent to submit faster.

We also hiked up the mountain to Sanhuangzhai Monastery. It's a secluded Buddhist temple on Song Mountain. After hiking for about an hour, we could see the temple. It appeared inaccessible as it was built into the side of the mountain, but after about two more hours of hiking along mountain cliffs, we reached it.

At Mount Song

At Mount Song

Tags: china, martial arts

Comments

1

Yikes. You almost got "Korriced" again? Sounds like you are learning amazing stuff; can't wait to see how you can translate it to SCA fighting.

  Brandy Jun 17, 2014 11:42 AM

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