Line up – finish training

The feelings inside me right now is maybe the hardest to describe in the world.

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We just stood there waiting, the guys around me played: every step I take, every move I make, I be missing you. 20160808_165243(0)20160808_165234
I had a small speech prepared, but I just couldn’t do it, the tears choked me completely, so I decided that the speech would be a part of this blog.
My life has always been lived in moments. I live by a quote: life is not measured by every breath we take, but the moments that takes our breath away. . . Maybe that is why one of my favorite songs with westlife is called moments.

In the song they sing : every moment we shared together is even better than the moment before, if every day was as good at today was, then I can’t wait until tomorrow comes.
This has been my life at MSKFA. . Every moment just out shined the next one. The people I had around me continued to amaze me.
You are all a part of my family now and that means I will always be there for you.  I consider family the closest thing in the world.  I love you guys.

OKAY – LINE UP

Looking back at one year at MSKFA.

The people I have met, the things I have tried, the chances I took.  It has been amazing.
I find myself sitting in the taxi reliving all the moments throughout my year in china.

I remind myself of what we like to call the oil photo-shoot, where we walked around pretending to buy oil in a supermarket, whilst pictures were taken. None of us knew what was going on. I think about when our crazy neighbors made a whole in the wall, because they believed it made them sick.

The time I became a model and gained a very good friend in form of the tailor´s son Chen. He did so many things for me. Took me to lunch like 30 times, took us to a town surrounded by rivers, just because we saw a picture at a restaurant.

All the performances, which made med much better in doing forms. The first performance I included in, I was only the camera man, but after that I said yes to every performance there was, because I was good practice towards competition, and, you know, I like living the celebrity life, where every Chinese wants pictures with you and you in general live like a rock star. Let´s face it, you need your ego boosted sometimes.

Helping building the pond which became a pool. There was especially one time, where we had to help put trees up, in a totally old fashion way. To put a big tree in a whole by hand is not as easy as it seems, especially when you need five people just to carry the tree. This was one of my first real experiences with what I like to call real kung fu, because it also means hard work, and it doesn´t necessarily means martial arts all the time, given kung fu is a life style.

Helping planting grass was also a nice experience, because everybody was helping.

Me being tied up and stretched the fuck out of – See I just heard master Do in my head yell –“language” because the F-word is not tolerated at school. Don´t get me started about how many push-ups I have had because of that word.

In that note, all the push-ups I have gotten just for forgetting my forms. Thank you master Du! Hehe – well it was my own fault. DON`T forget your forms.

The time were I got my ass handed to me in a real sanda fight.

the time I found myself playing Dungouns and dragons – at least I learned a dragon form in the end.

One of the things I consider as one of the best moment is when Greg and I went to Huai´an, where we met Lily and decided to come back to teach her students English. Those kids quickly became my students and I also wounded up spending a day with them in Xinyi, so they could train there English and see where I lived. It is and will always be about giving back to society, especially when you have the energy and the means.

Another proud moment in China was when I completed the worlds hardest marathon, the marathon on the great wall of China. That was a big moment in my life, not only because I did it, but because I ran 50-70 kilometers a week besides my kung fu training. I still can´t figure out where I got the energy from.

My Shanghai trip with the Danes was awesome, given we all think a like when from Denmark so everthing just fell into place no matter what we did.

The best moment was obviously when I won a silver medal with my snake form, in which I had specialized in, given I have done that form in all performances we did.

I got to see the Shaolin temple as my last part of my journey which was amazing.

I have a thousand moments of these I think of right now, but when it all comes to all, these moments would be nothing without the people who was with me in these moments

 

My last time at the school I weren´t able to complete a full regular week, because my last two months were filled up with amazing performances, trips and competition.

My last couple of weeks, I only trained forms, because I wanted to learn the dragon form, and I had a lot of other forms I didn´t grade, so every day was me doing forms just to get ready for my final grading.  So telling you a story about my last sanda lesson or jumps and rolls, is not happening.

It is things like, me sitting my last Friday, eating. Just sitting there for a moment looking around seeing people eating and laughing.

In general, there are so many things I think about when I walked around, training my forms, whilst looking at all the others train.

It was hard to look at people knowing that it was the last kung fu moment together.

I have loved every second of my stay at MSKFA, even though I have complained a lot hehe.

I hope that one day I will return to my home in China, because right now sitting back in Denmark, my home is still with my kung fu family in China.

I miss all of it, and I wish I was still there. . .

So there is only one thing left to say—-

LINE UPDSC_0744

Finish training.

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Some sort of news letter from me

So I have been telling you about a lot of things about what is happening outside of school lately. Performances, Shanghai and competition. The thing is, I haven’t really been talking about what is going on at school, so this blog is dedicated to let you know who is here, and what is happening.

KFC and no it is not Kentucky fried chicken, it is the Kung fu camp, I am talking about. For the time being we have loads of kids running around our school, all of them training kung fu at the Maling Mountain kung fu camp for kids. A thing master Bao came up with and a thing that brings a lot of life to the school.20160802_093726
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They are mainly trained by Peter, who is Chinese and a former student at our academy. So the last of the long terms students know him quite well.20160729_103012

The kids are trained in a very strict manner, where the masters or Peter or coach as the kids call him, always walk around with a stick to hit the kids, when they are lazy or are not doing well enough.

I am not saying they are beating the kids up, it is just a small hit and it is a very common way to be punished in the traditional kung fu way.

20160802_110914Nonetheless the kids are extremely noisy around the school, but it is not that bad. Cause a simple YO, yelled out loud, will get them to quiet down hehe. I do have a lot of fun with that.

In other news, the heat is really becoming a problem. Everything between 35-40 degrees right now, and because of the humidity the feeling when it is 38 degrees is 45 degrees. It is very very hard to train in this weather and we have had a few heat strokes, along the way. Nothing serious at all. I keep up a strict log about how much water I drink every day during training so, it won’t happen to me, but sometimes you get so caught up in training and drilling that detail over and over, so you forget.

I know my body extremely well, so I know all the signs, the other day I was training on the limit because I am currently learning the dragon form, and I wanted to be sure that I would remember the form, so I pressured myself all the way out the verge of a heat stroke. As soon as my fingers started tinkling, I stopped and went inside to get some cold water and to fill up on sugar and salt, just to jump into the pool to cool down.WP_20160727_17_27_20_Rich

YOU HAVE A POOL? Yes Maling mountain kung fu academy has a pool for the time being, which I used two to three times a day, just to cool down. I even used it trying to teach Mona to swim.WP_20160727_17_28_30_Rich

Which brings me to the other news at the academy. Yesterday we had a goodbye dinner for Mona our translator. We went to the barbeque place to eat, just to end up in a KTV room, with a pool table.

We had good night with some tears when everybody said goodbye to Mona. I will have my goodbye lunch with her Thursday, so the tears have to wait for a bit.mmexport1469957852113mmexport1469957789074mmexport1469957771565mmexport146995779391120160730_21045420160730_18561920160730_185611

Mona even tried alcohol for the first time, even though Jack Daniels maybe aren’t the best first time drink hehe.

We have a new translator at the academy now, and her name Is Sophia. She is very outgoing and her English is pretty good, so I think the school will be happy with her.

My stay here is over very soon, so I want to tell you who is at the academy right now.

I won´t write a lot about the people, because it would simply take too much time, But If while writing I remember something about the people in a room, they will get a small note on the way.

We have the Canadian couple Jim and Joanne who are pensioners who always wanted to 20160801_183032train kung fu, so now they live here. It is things like that, which makes me remember that it is never too late for anything. Jim already took home a medal from the competition, so he is good to continue training. I really look up to their marriage, as I have stated out loud at the academy, if my future marriage will be half as good as theirs, I think I would be pretty damn lucky.

20160801_183125Next is Marcel and Terya, a couple who actually found each other here at the academy. Marcel is from Switzerland and she is from Holland. His plan is to stay here for three years, and she is the school´s new PR specialist, so of you are a coming student, you have probably already written with here.

The girls are in the next room, Sabine from Germany and Kasia from England. Sabine also 20160801_184125writes a blog called kungfuprincess-on-the-road.com, so if you wanna get to know more about her and her view of the school, you go ahead and read.

 

20160802_185005Next room is Steve or crazy Steve as I like to call him. Steve is one of those guys you always want in your life, because he is freaking crazy but in a cool way. He is one of those guys who knows who he is, and doesn´t give a crab about what others think, that is why everybody likes him, well and he laughs all the time. Hehe.

 

Thijjs and Shane, Holland and America gathered in one room. Thiijs is currently the youngest at the academy, but it will change tomorrow when we get a new student. Thiijs is 20160801_184818also the one you will see at breakfast enjoying the crab out of the oatmeal, or you will see him around with a soda or and ice cream.  Shane is an American who really developed here at the academy and the changes I have seen in him votes very well for his future. both og them eat snacks constantly hehe.

20160801_182947The Danish boys, Phillip and Kristian. Phillip has been here before for six months and this time for two months. He brought Kristian with him this time, and yes if you follow the blog, they were the ones getting away from me in shanghai all the time hehe. They are so cool guys so I already planned celebrating new years with them.

Michael, British guy, who cracks me up, because he doesn´t give a crab about what people 20160801_185704thinks and he is very direct, which I love. He is the guy who will show up in your room just
to chat for a while, it is kind of cool. He also took home a medal from the competition.

 

Then there is the best room in the world, The blasien and me. His name is Greg and he also writes a blog called kungfucommute.wordpress.com. we have had a great time living together and he is the kind of guy you just surround yourself with 20160801_185825because he always has something fun to say, he is very dedicated to the things he does and he is a natural leader. He always says: surround yourself with successful people. Therefor you want to be around him. He is  the guy I want to travel the world with if I won a lot of money.  I don’t think I need to tell you about who I am.

Jauffrey from Holland who has been living here forever… okay maybe not forever, but for
20160801_183311 almost two years. So he is the schools senior around here and also took home medals from the competition. You will instantly know which room he is in, if he is watching a movie, given he is blind as bat and can’t hear anything hehe. Over exaggeration just happened hehe.

 

The Danish couple Kenneth and Astrid, known for them never being apart, and during the breakfast cutting out fruit for each other (how 20160801_183433sweet hehe). They are quite a cool couple who, when arriving
apparently took all of Denmark with them with their 7 suitcases. It is definitely a couple I will see a lot more when moving back home to Denmark.

Matthew from Britain, he is one of those quiet guys who suddenly just throw jokes at you. 20160801_183604You are almost always laughing in his company. You never see it coming when he shakes another joke or a fast line out of the sleeve.

 

20160801_184859Nemr or tiger as he is called is from Lebanon but have been living in Canada for many years. He is very direct, but very cool company to keep. I have been talking a lot with him about everything, and it is always nice to know you have someone you can just be honest with, whenever you can get in contact with him, given he is always on the phone hehe

 

 

 

Tomorrow Monday, we will get a 19 year old Norwegian girl called Emma, she is as I was told staying for three months.

Othervise life here in MSKA is good, we cool down in the pool after hard training, and in general enjoy each others company.  It is really an amazing place to stay, with these people around.

 

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Competition

We came in and the sight that met us was stunning. I looked up and saw an amazing setup and a lot of people. Given it is an Olympic year and we were located to the left from Xuzhou Olympic stadium, the opening ceremony felt like I was about to enter Rio 2016.DSC_045720160722_08355920160722_08292920160722_081614

I was stunned, there was so many people around and later I was told that there would be 2500 people competing in the art of kung fu. My god, there must have been at least a 1000 people sitting up there looking down at us.

We were lined up in countries, so Phillip and I were suddenly representing Denmark. It was an awesome feeling. I have never tried felling like this, but always kind of wanted it. I have always said, that I always wanted to be one of the best in Europe or the world to something, just so I can get this feeling I had that day.

The feeling of being a part of a big sports event. I was not there to see the opening ceremony, with dancing, kung fu and other things, because I was out back preparing my snake form to enter the competition. But I do have some pictures from it.DSC_0483DSC_0482DSC_0498DSC_0519DSC_0513 Think maybe some people would be disappointed to miss out the opening ceremony, but not me, because right there I was living some kind of dream. Standing in the back with a lot of volunteers trying to make everything work.

We were up first, a group of 12 people, all internationals, given we were not to compete against Chinese people, given the level of the competition was quite high.  I was excited and nowhere near nervous, cause I knew my form so well, after performing it over and over again. The only things that could go wrong was me falling or me not being clear in my moves.

I thought I was competing against all 12 people, but later on we found out that some of them were in other categories, which made my group smaller. It was time, we lined up and walked into the hall, the crowd were loud and the bleachers were filled. First up we had to walk in to greet the judges, in which there were 8 people. Then we walked out again and stood in line. First up Japan, MY GOD he was good. The Japanese, Mexican and Chilean guy were all doing modern kung fu, so they were jumping around doing flips and stuff. You always get a little annoyed that you can´t do that and you have to compete against that. The thing is just because they can do that, doesn´t mean you can´t beat them.

The judges doesn´t give more points just because of flips and stuff. That was my entering though.

Jauffrey was before me, doing his tiger, then it was me walking in very calm thinking clarity, you can beat everybody, slow down, you got this.

DSC_0554DSC_0555There I was lifting my hands up in the air, and boom it was on, the snake was unleashed on the floor in Xuzhou. I finished, not being totally satisfied with myself, cause I messed up a little bit, and in all the confusion I didn´t see my score, because I didn´t know where to look. Later I was told by my roomie I got 8,57 which I was very happy about, cause that meant only three people took a higher score than me, The Japanese, the Mexican and the Chilean guy. So I thought I came in fourth, in which I was happy about, given I beat my own friends from the school.

Later It came to show that The Chilean guy was not in our category, so suddenly there was a bronze medal waiting. I was excited about that. YES I reached my goal, winning a medal in every sport I ever competed in. Here is the thing the group was divided into bands, so first place got a gold, but second and third were in the same band, so we got a silver medal, and fourth and fifth got the bronze medal. It is a little confusing, but Nonetheless I brought home a silver medal and a frontpage add for me and Phillip. 20160724_15191220160723_165825

Here I have to shout out a thanks to Master Du for being very patient with me in my snake form, because I constantly were rushing it and not being clear, and right before we went for the competition he was helping me with the details and telling me, he thought I could get a good grade.

It was weird because the rest of the day I didn´t have any clue about me getting silver. I calculated my fourth place and being satisfied with that. It was only the day after I found out all these things.

I was very happy about the day and we went back to the hotel to eat lunch, which were amazing, a buffet with Chinese and western food, so even I could eat well hehe.

It was a little bit weird, given I was only on the floor for 1 minut and then my whole competition was over, and I immediately regretted that I didn´t enter the tournament with my broadsword to.

Let me just rewind, we came to the competition Thursday, thinking we all had to compete Friday, but master Bao told us if some of us were to compete Saturday, we would obviously stay and the school would pay the extra night. We looked in the great book of competing (there was this huge book with 150+ pages with all groups and times for competing) and found out that the weapon forms were Saturday.

Back to Friday evening, were I was very happy about everything, but for my Blasian things started to become real. Him and Shane were freaking out about them being the one on the floor the day after. Okay okay, maybe I wasn´t the most supporting in the world, given I mostly just added gasoline to their “freak-out fire” but I had fun and that is obviously what counts, hehe.

So it became Saturday, and my Blasian and Greg were still freaking out a bit, but when they hit the floor at the competition, they were awesome. Greg and Shane also landed a silver medal for their forms, so everything was simply amazing.DSC_0611DSC_0604DSC_0584DSC_0617

We were asked if we wanted to stay for another day given we now had won medals and stuff and everybody was in, because we were excited about having a ceremony where we would be given our medals. As it came to show, we were chinesed AGAIN.

But staying an extra evening meant that we could go out, and given we know Xuzhou, we knew exactly where to go, well at least where to end up, cause getting to the city center we didn´t know anything about hehe.

We found a taxi, and showed a map and off we went. Phillip, Greg, Michael and me. we found this little place where me and Phillip could get Danish beers and the prices were not high, so we decided to stay for 2 or 8 beers, then this Chinese guy came and asked us if we wanted to go to muse, which is the club we alle knew, and off we went with Richard aka Bush.20160724_01291320160724_022537

Yet again I took care of myself, so as soon as the possibility showed itself for some free drinks I was all over it, and off course took care of the MSKA people too. I was all over the place, bouncing like a ball from table to table, just to drink with several Chinese guys and girls.20160724_025709

Lets just say we had a fun night out.

The day after we went for the reward ceremony or we came there and was told we were being Chinesed again. There was to many people to receive medals, so there would not be any ceremony… hmm so we had our own little ceremony with master Wang giving us our medals. Some people would say we stayed for nothing, but we had a great night the day before, and even though we were tired and hungovered some of us, we managed to get through a very long and warm day.

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Some of us bought weapons and competition suits, so the day was not wasted at all…20160724_154338

It was a great weekend and if you wanna read more about the competition and maybe read a little bit more facts, read my Blasians blog: www.kungfucommute.wordpress.com

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Shanghai with the Danes

So this happened, Phil and Kristian were going to Shanghai and since I kind of wanted to see Shanghai I went with them.

I knew that we were going to have a great time, because when three danes are going away together it means a lot of alcohol. We pre-started our celebrating Wednesday, when we all went out for a “-job well done, good performance dinner” we got some beers and that was kind of the beginning of a long long drinking trip for me.

Extremely spontaneous, Kenneth and Astrid decided Wednesday evening to come too, so suddenly all the five danes were on a trip to Shanghai. My god this was going to be fun.

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Okay first of all, K & A didn´t get train tickets or had any place to sleep, so that was kind of cool, they just went along with us. They weren´t sure about getting the same train tickets so it was kind of cool, they just went with it. We came quite late, so we wouldn´t able to get tickets for K & A in time, so we went ahead to the train while they would get tickets for the next train, and we would meet up with them in Xuzhou.

This was the beginning of extreme luck and a lot of fun. Our train was delayed, so we went down to see if K and A maybe could get tickets for the same train, but the woman in the ticket office didn´t understand anything, so Kenneth was actually prepared to go home, but they found an English speaking Chinese, and suddenly they came walking. Apparently they just said go. WHAT??? With no ticket or anything they just came in the same train as us. It was ridiculous, but then we at least began the trip together.20160707_182944

In Xuzhou, it just got worse for us with being late. We were late for the train and it was a race with time, to catch the train, but in the end we lost the match. We were annoyed that we had to pay 280 kuai, for another ticket. Funny enough we met K & A in the ticket office, and they were in line, so we chineesed our way into the line.
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At least now we would end up in the same train. Then once again luck struck us. The woman behind the counter just took our tickets ran them through the machine and bam, then we had new tickets, without paying extra, my god the trip just got better. The one thing that was a bit annoying was that we had to wait for several hours and we would arrive in Shanghai late.  So obviously we sat down and had some food and later some beers. We are danes, you know! : ) hehe.

20160707_234940Coming to Shanghai with the last train, has one small detail attached to it, the line for a cap is horribly long. I was told that compared to Beijing, Shanghai is full of
hustlers, and in the train station they ran around trying to get them in their pirate taxies. We chose the long line, because we thought it moved fast. All the hustlers said the line was two hours long, but we didn´t believe it hehe. We were right, it only took an hour and we actually had fun in the line.

The taxi drove extremely fast, but it was needed, we just wanted to get there. He didn´t seem to be able to find our hostel, so Phil said he could find it from where we were. He lied!! We walked around for 40 minutes before we found it hehe.

The next thing was getting Our couple a room, and there was only one bed available in an all girls room, so we figured we took Kenneth in our room and one of us would sleep on the floor, but we wounded up drinking beers in the middle of the night and K & A wounded up sleeping in the common room.20160708_01242020160708_012435

The next day they got a room and we were all settled in.

Phil and Kristian were going to the Russian embassy to get their visa for their train route through Russia, so I just stayed behind with the others.

Sitting back at the hostel, I walked a little around in there. The hostel is an extremely nice place where you can get a room for 280. Kristian, Phil and me had a room that cost 360 pr. Night and you even have your own shower and you get towels, toothbrush and all these things, which you normally get in a hotel. So for a hostel it was quite good. If you are traveling around alone, you can live for 110 in a dorm-room, in which we spend the last night.

The whole trip was planned by Phil and Kristian getting their visa, but Phil´s passport didn´t have enough time left, so he couldn´t get it. This was a slight set-back, but given Kristian got his visa, but could only collect it Wednesday, we decided that instead of going home Monday as planned, we stayed for Wednesday.

When the guys came back, we decided to check out the area and we wounded up at the big 20160708_16191120160708_155554pedestrian street they have on Nianjing Road. It seemed like everything we touched turned to gold. We were lucky with everything and nothing seemed to stop us. Another example in us being lucky was that Phil has been in Shanghai before, and back then he got a wechat where he had two contacts, where one of them were a guy called Anton.

Anton is a Russian guy who works as a promoter in Shanghai. So we contacted him hoping he had some good things for us, which he had. The place was called Mook, where the speakers were loud and extremely close to our standing table, in which we had free drinks. It wasn only certain bottles we could drink from, but they had whiskey and vodka, which we obviously drank like crazy hehe.

It was an okay place with a stage where the DJ was playing and we could dance. We didn´t really stay for that long this place, given the music was too loud, but that text to Anton gave us so much more than this.

The next day I was ready to party again, and to make the story short on that note, I was ready to party every day.

That Saturday we went out to see more of the city and we wounded up at McDonalds because I wanted to let the guys know how good a chocolate Frappé from McCafé was. “My god” they are god, but a little to the expensive side, given a small one is 25 kuai, but they are amazing and in my mind obviously worth it.

See this is where my mind is kind of blurry, because I was drinking everyday so parting the days from each other is kind of hard, I guess that is what you get from drinking yourself over the limit every day. It is fun though.

It seems like we didn´t do anything Saturday night but still think that at least Kristin and I went out for a walk or something and came home in the middle of the night…

Sunday night I seem to recall this was our first night at M2, a very cool night club where not only had free drinks, but also had a table and a couch to sit in. We met a lot of people that night from different countries and at some point we managed to meet more promoters and get their wechat, so the day after my phone was lighting up like crazy.

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This evening we also manage to break the one rule we had. The rule was to stay together no matter what, but apparently we met these Swedish girls, which I can´t really remember hehe, but when we went out to find other places to party, we got lost from each other and I was with one girl and I think Phil and Kristian where alone, so I managed to get in a cab with Evalina and we wounded up at a place where theyb charged 100 kuai to get in just because they showed the final of the European championship. No way I was going to pay that so I set of with no phone, no address of our Hostel and with limited Chinese communication skills. I was going to find my way home. I found a cab and said Nanjing road, and I was lucky, because that road is several kilometers. I recognized a corner in which where close to the pedestrian street and boom I was on my way home.

I came back to the hostel and I saw the game was one, so I bought a beer and saw first half. Before the second half started I thought to myself I needed company. I went down to the room to leave a note to the others that I would be in the bar, not knowing the others came home during first half. The I went up to the bar again to ask these two Russian girls if they wanted to watch the game with me. They hated football, but decided oddly to join me mmexport1469009680900.jpganyway. After the match I decided to join them in the couch outside the bar, and I wounded up talking with the girls until 10 a clock the day after.

I think that the other Danes, went for the sailing this day, so I slept from 10 to 16 with a lot of wake-ups in between.  It was perfect, cause when they got home again I was ready to find something to eat and well you know, get a beer or two

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best noodles in the world, comes in some kind of peanut sauce, and with fried dumplings = bestmeal in the world

20160708_123324hehe.

We wanted to go drinking with the Swedish girls again, and luckily I had wechat on one of them. – You are welcome guys… inside joke with Phil and Kristian, cause even though I didn´t remember how we met the girls or anything I still managed to get a contact so we could meet them again. So to see them again we had to go through my wechat… Obviously I love to be the go-to guy.

They weren’t that interested in drinking Monday and suggested Wednesday instead, but we were going home there, so Tuesday became the deal.

Monday evening, I went for a walk with the Russians and afterwards with Kristian to find a small bar which didn´t go well. We just walked around for an hour without finding anything. It was a nice walk, with a lot of beers, and we got to see a little bit of the city by night.

Tuesday during the day, we set of to the Danish consulate because Phillip needed to get a new passport in order to get a visa for Russia. We had some fun when we were there. We just ran around to figure out how to get to the top, to see the view. We found something completely different, toilets. Yes toilets with heating, wifi and ass drying, yes those toilets could do so many things so we had to try them, which lead to squirting water up in your ass, just to turn the air-dryer on. My god we had fun and my god that was weird.20160712_14024020160712_14034720160712_141100

 

 

After our little encounter we went out to eat pizza and then we decided it was time to go get a drink at cloud 9, which is the highest located bar in the world. It is located at 87th floor in a sky-scraper.

My god that was cool.

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Usually you pay 150 kuai to get into the bar and then you can drink for those money. We weren´t really interested to pay that amount, but yet again we have had our luck, so they girls at the bar ended up letting us in because it was very foggy and the view wasn´t that nice. So we decided to go get a 65 kuai beer, and just stay there until it got dark, so we could see the view with all the neon lights. AMAZING.

Wednesday we had to go home, but yet again we decided to stay another day, why you ask, well okay Kristian had to get his Russian visa, but it was between 15-16 which would make us come home extremely late, so we decided to stay over another night, which off course opened up for another night clubbing and yes another excuse to meet the Swedish girls hehe.20160709_15364720160709_120410

 

 

 

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We met up at M2, but they were first not coming and then they were late and It was a mess in the beginning because they came so late they had to pay for everything, but as very tactical danes we took off our bracelets, given our butler had looked at us the whole night, so he knew we were drinking for free, but the girls were new, so we gave them our bracelets.

This evening was the first evening where we managed no to get away from each other because we took the girls to our place. We did something we regret a lot though, we stayed up all night talking to the girls, so when they went home, we had two hours to sleep before we had to leave for the train.

This left us totally knackered, and it was about to become a very long trip home.

We didn´t miss the train, but when we landed in Xuzhou, we couldn´t get a train before eight, so being very tired and all we found McDonalds to wait and eat there, and when we finally found our way into the train station and were ready to go, the train was delayed.

We should have stayed another night in Shanghai, the Swedish girls would agree with me on that hehe.

In the train I was out, but Kristian was apparently being part of a touchy feely conversation with some Chinese girls and some older men.  I think they had fun.

When getting a cab and for once accepted five people in one cab, which got us all home to the academy together, which is nice after a trip like that. I was supposed to train the day after from 10.30, but my body apparently wanted to sleep, so I slept 12 hours in one go. I haven´t done that since, well the last time I was drinking for seven days straight.

All in all I got to see shanghai before leaving China and it was in the best company in the world, so this was a nice break from training.

Next blog will be about my first competition in Xuzhou and yes this time it is a real competition, not just a performance…

More to come…

 

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Low battery

This blog is being written over a few weeks

Two blogs ago, I was talking about getting back into my training rhythm and I knew that we still had a performance to do again, given we some weeks ago signed up for it. This week I was not to find my rhythm again, because this whole week was practicing for Jiangsu Mid-Year Local Performance.

I have because of my drinking over a week ago had problems with my stomach, also because of all the trips I have been on lately. 

I haven´t given my stomach a food rhythm lately and properly also because I got some bad news in the beginning of this week. I applied months ago to get in to the university to study Physical education and health, and I didn´t get in, so as I tell my Blasian, I HAVE NO FUTURE.

In my family our stomach usually takes all the blows from stress and bad news, so this week didn´t have the best beginning.

I woke up Monday with low batteries, there was no energy whatsoever. I didn´t really sleep either so everything was working against me. I thought okay my body is telling me to relax and I should I have done that obviously, but because of this performance, which is extremely important I had to go through it, because we apparently had to perform some sanda and us fighting with sticks.
The next thing is, because if the low energy I can´t really go on my 10k no-stress runs, which I really need, so it is a big problem.

Half the time I was dizzy and didn´t know where the hell I were, so I took caffeine pills, energy gels and drank energy drink to keep the batteries going. It was not a fun Monday and it was terribly long.

It was the same thing Tuesday, and I must admit I don´t find the sticks that cool, I find them very boring and practicing something you really don´t wanna do, with no energy is extremely hard, I couldn´t get the speed I wanted, I couldn´t think straight and every time there was a position where we had to squat and get up again I got dizzy and couldn´t really see straight. . 

And yes my as is almost showing on the picture. . .

This is the thing, you are properly thinking, why not quit this performance, when you are obviously not fit to train? 

I know, I was thinking it myself a lot of times, and thinking –“I have performed so much anyway so I can sit this one out. There is a big BUT though and not the kind that Sirmixalot is rapping about.

This performance is important, very important to master Bao and as always I wanna do everything I can for this school, and that means to keep up the spirit and use the energy I have on this and Saturday it will be over with a good performance.

This is the thing here, at some point during your stay here, you will feel the batteries getting low and you awill have no energy to train. Sometimes it is the body who tells you to take a break and I always listen to my body, but other times it is just because you train so hard, so training here is not just about training, but finding a balance within yourself, and learn how to listen to your body, cause in kung fu the spirit and the power comes from within, if there is nothing inside, you have no power.

Today it is Thursday and it is 30 plus degrees, my god the heat, but when master Wang said that the second class would be conditioning I saw my way to get a break and let my body rest, so I told master Wang that given my energy level I would sit this one out. When I was lying down getting ready to rest Master Do yelled and asked if I wanted to finish my crane form (flying crane fist), and given I also have a deadline for learning the forms I want, I had to say yes even though my body will punish me for it later.

I have two and a half day of survival left and then next week it is time to really get back into a rhythm again.

Obviously friday was not going to be fun, but I kind of had to go through it. we were told that the performance maybe would be moved, which it was. I put my body through hell for nothing. 

So here we are monday morning, my body is back and the energy is good, well as good as a body is a monday morning, so maybe not that good hehe.

we know what to do, train for the performance, so off we go. . . Stick form, fighting with sticks, staff group form, Sanda group thing. 

Friday : a whole week went by, where everyday should be the same, but sometimes we suddenly had regular training in between and it was just frustrating.

Oh yeah did I tell you the performance was moved AGAIN!! now we had to perform Tuesday. so the monday before we had to perform, we were of course told, that we the performances were divided into three days. WHAT THE fudge, what just happened, another week with performance training. . . 

We learn in kung fu, to always be ready, and I must say we are practicing being ready all the time, hehe, but it is all in good fun.

So it became Tuesday, and there we were, on the way to Xinyi to perform, FINALLY. This say was groupform and Tai chi fan form day. First we did groupform, and then later Greg, Thiijs and Sabine did their tai chi fan form. It looked damn good.

 It became very late before we were home, so we knew that the week was going to be long.

Wednesday morning, ready to train and in the middle of training to the next performance. There was Master Bao, and he said, we didn´t have to perform more this week, because he found our first performance to be to short, so the performance got moved AGAIN, to Tuesday. WHY you ask, well suddenly we have a continues fist in group form, Tai chi and the staff group form in one performance. BAM.

It is frustrating, because when we are on stage, we want to feel good and comfortable, in what we are doing, and five days for practicing something new, was not in our plans. But we were given a life advice by master Bao: if you feel uncomfortable, then you just need to change that feeling.

Hello, if I just knew that when my x girlfriend broke up, we would still be together hehe.
her: I break up, cause it feels like we are more friends . . .

Me: yeah You just need to change that feeling! – so should we sleep here or at my place?

we had some fun with that, but what I think happened was I slight communication problem between the languages. I like the advice though.

So here I am Friday evening, watching game of thrones. . .

We been training the small things for use performance today and this afternoon I had a horrible 13k run. . I set out for 20+ but everything was against me, so as I said earlier, I listen to my body, so I went home, demotivated and annoyed. . .

Tomorrow I will meet up with a few of the students Greg and I taught in huai’an and I will show them xinyi. That will be a good day. . . 

So here I am waking up, to meet my students. .

 It was a long day. . I devoted my whole day and evening for those four students who came to visit me. . I took them around xinyi and then back to the school to show where I live. 

Then we went back to xinyi to watch a movie. . Shane joined me so that was cool. . 

That was a long blog. .  Next blog will contain the Danes in shanghai. . 

More to come
 

 

 

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Ready? no! Fight

Friday evening, I barely came home from our performance Thursday and I was in Xinyi all day long Friday, so I was knackerd. Anyway I still told Master Do that I wanted to go, even though I hadn´t done any real sanda for weeks, well more like a month before my injury and the marathon. We have had some sparring but in general I wasn´t really prepared for a fight.

I said yes because I only have about two months left and I really wanted to try a real fight, even though I thought that my face would probably be smashed up.

Master Do told me that maybe we were to go same evening and then spend the night, but luckily it ended up with Saturday 8.30, which became more 9ish, given we had a thick fog around us.

There we were sitting in the car. Steve, Sabine, Kasia, Marcel and m on the way to the Anhuai provins, to a city called Suzhou, to get our ass kicked.

Sabine were also to enter a fight this day. It was actually because of her, this whole trip was planned, because she actually asked to fight someone.

After three and half hours of driving we were there, and we drove into a school of some sorts. It was a kung fu academy for chinese kids, AMAZING.

We didn´t really stay that long, given we had to go get something to eat, and master DoIMG_0234
told us that we were going to have some local food. Hmm I am not that good at Chinese food in general and when the word loca comes up I usually don´t like it, BUT this time it was actually good and the restaurant we went to had a big surprise. They had TUBORG, yes that is a Danish beer. It is usually Carlsberg around the world so when I saw a lot of bottles with Tuborg I felt a little bit IMG_0239home. The problem was

 

I couldn´t really drink any of them given I had a fight later, and obviously with my drinking habits I would have had more than one.

Nonetheless good food and back to the school where apparently the fight was going on.  We did not get time to digest, before Master Do said we needed to enter the training with the Chinese youngsters.IMG_0244IMG_0241 It wasn´t a problem for me, given I am use to it, but the floor was this padded floor and after some training I got a stupid blister on my toe, which made me unable to walk around without pain, so I had to drop out of the training.

After 20 minutes Master Do said to prepare, it was fight time.

Sabines fight was with a Chinese girl that really didn´t look like much, but she was fast. Everytime Sabine was thinking about a punch the Chinese girl punched her in the face. She continued punching her in the face and that ended up with a nosebleed for Sabine. Sabines own blog http://www.kungfuprincess-on-the-road.com ,  will probably explain her fight a little bit more.

My fight was up, and obviously I had to fight the biggest guy they had, okay I know with my fighting weight of 80 kg, it wouldn´t be fair if I were to fight a 50-60 kg guy.2016-06-12 13.32.45 I had noticed this guy when we were training and he had some hard kicks and he had been training every day for a lot of time.

I went into the first round, with one thought, -“survive and don´t get knocked out” wam “hello Chinese guys fist, nice to meet you”, He got me right on my jar. Okay Morten wake the F up, bam I clocked him right on the nose, and I was therefore back in the game. It was a pretty good first round, I blocked most of his punches and blocked all his kicks, and I got him in the face a few times. I was confident after first round, but I was also tired. Maybe because I haven´t been use to sanda for a while and the drinking the Wednesday before tends to ruin one’s form.

2016-06-12 13.45.43Second round, was blocking-time for me, and a few time I pulled him and me down from the ring and his sidekicks started to go through my guards. Late in the second round he got me right on the throat, so I had to spit out my mouth-guard and breathe.

I went down from the ring to talk to master Do, I was tired as hell. I wanted to end this, so I went in for a third round and my guards were nowhere, so after a minute he got me with a well-placed not that much power, kick on my nose, that was the end because I started to bleed.

I was frustrated and mad at myself for not being in better shape, I mean I run marathons. 2016-06-15 05.35.48I know, I know it is not the same stamina wise, but still, me being tired after a 2-minute round was annoying. I felt I was in the fight after the first round, and if I had the stamina I could have done better. I even had the chance to kick him in the face a few times, but given I still have problems with my left Achilles-tendon, I didn´t want to risk it during the fight. Looking back, I should have tried the two times I had the chance, just to see what happened.

Nonetheless it was great to almost complete three rounds with a guy who apparently were about to enter a competition in sanda and have been training every day for three years. Considering that, Master Do thought I did pretty well, and after some thinking I got to same conclusion.2016-06-15 05.35.48-1 It is just always hard for me to accept things, when I know I had more in me and I could have done better. Usually I am very realistic and always know my limits, so it is rare that I have this feeling of me being able to do better.

 

 

 

We got some water, and went into the car for a long drive home, but because of a good speed and less traffic we got back in under three hours, and that meant we had time to go2016-06-12 13.34.11 to Xinyi to eat some noodles. You see, some of the other students have found this noodles/soup place, where you pick what you want and then the guy behind the desk boils it. My bowl always contains, noodles, noodles and noodles, with a lot of chicken and eggs and with a pepsi, it cost 19 kuai, so it is a lovely place. To those who knows me around here, they know how much I love to go to Dico´s, but that noodle place will actually get me to drop dico´s once and a while.

So all in all it was a good day, long but good and I tested my limits once more, so even though he kicked me in the face, I was quite happy with the result.

More to come…

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Finding my training rhythm

So I was preparing for another Tuesday on the academy, my first week were I had to find my way back into the week rhythm. You see after my marathon I have had a hard time finding my way back to a steady rhythm of training.

I am not running 50k a week anymore, I am only maintaining my run form so I don’t lose everything before going back to Denmark in two months’ time. I would lie if I said it was easy just to go back into a training rhythm after being away for two weeks and only training part time for a week. It has been a struggle for me, to find my way back, so I was prepared to go all in this week to get back in.

But when I came back from our warm up run, master Bao came to me, to ask if I wanted to go to a performance. I always like to help the school, so I instantly said yes.

So much to get back into the rhythm, but I said yes anyway, because I only have two months left I am also trying to get all the experiences I can before leaving, and to those who have followed my blog, then you know that I like to go with the flow and take chances.

As it turns out, the performance was wednesday so we had to spend the night, given the ride there was four and a half hours. My god that was long time in a car, and my computer only holds power for one and a half hour. So what to do to get through that car ride. I prepared my phone with episodes of the series I am watching right now, -“DaVincis Deamons”. So when my computer ran out of power I could continue watching on my phone.

It turned out to be only the old students who had to go, Marcel, Jauffrey and I

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The suits were given to us by the school

. We had to go to Jiangyin city to Jiangdong wushu academy, where a former master from our school, master Tang was teaching sometimes. When we got there we 20160607_185905
were instantly impressed by the training facilities they had. They had enough training equipment to make a very small fitness center. 20160607_185518They had everything from squat racks to cable towers. Facilities we can only wish for in Maling Mountain.

20160607_185918We got there pretty late so after playing around a little bit with the wing chun  dummy, Jauffrey and I found ourself in a wing chun lesson with Master Do, oh yes, Jiangyin had their own master Do who also did wing chun. He corrected everything I did on the dummy and tried to change how I did my fist form, well it is always good to have other perspectives on things.

We were given a red training suit to wear around the city to represent the school.

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Former Master at MSKFA, Master Tang and Master Bao

We were suddenly students of Juangdong wushu academy. We went out for dinner, with the masters and some other people, which was just traditional food as we know it.

When we came back home to the academy, we talked about when to get up the day after, and since the performance was in the afternoon and we only had to practice it all once, we had all the time in the world, so we decided 8 am was a good time. I didn´t get much sleep even though I had a king size bed and air-condition in the room. I was so tired but I just couldn´t sleep, and of course I had to battle a mosquito during the night, so I slept for like 4 hours in total.

The day after we went out for breakfast where we had noodles,

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Never really understood why they just dump a chicken leg into the noodles

and after that we checked out the stage in which we were to perform later. We were later told that the performance was in the evening so we talked about staying another day because of that, because we didn´t really wanted to drive home around 10 pm. Later on we were to practice how to enter the stage and time our forms.

I went with the snake form, but the day before I had our MSKFA Master Du to check my snake form and apparently I have been missing a step in it for a while and sadly gotten used to it, so I had to change a small habit of mine in my form. That is never good right before a performance, but nonetheless I had to do it.

When we checked out the stage I found that it wasn´t that hard, 20160608_100559so I knew I could go all in, for my breakfall snake jump attack, which I know he Chinese people really loves.

If forgot to bring coffee for the ride, so I tried to find some in small packets, so I didn´t have to buy some small packs, and I thought I found some, but the Chinese don´t really drink black coffee so all of it was either with milk or sugar or both, so I had to compromise. Later we went for a walk to go to a KFC we saw earlier just to get a regular black coffee, and obviously also to check out the city.  After a 40 minute walk we arrived at the city center, or at least a city area.20160608_09213520160608_153208

Coffee, supermarket and then home again, but while we were walking the clouds got darker and darker and we wanted to go with a taxi back to the school but none of us had actually seen one the whole day. Was this a city 20160608_092250without taxis? We found a motorized tuc tuc, and as soon as we got in the rain poured down on the city, drowning the roads in a matter of minutes, and we started to talk about if the performance would be moved due to the bad weather. I know from earlier experiences that weather in China can put a lot of things off and delay everything.

20160608_162524When we came back there were some women waiting for us, apparently they wanted to do yoga with us, with some lifts etc.20160608_162510 I didn´t know what was going on, just knew my flexibility is not for yoga, but nonetheless I entered with an open mind and held a small extremely flexible Chinese woman with my hands and feet. It was so fun and weird at the same time.

After a while the kids started to arrive so suddenly we found ourselves in the middle of chaos, my god, kids, parents and masters everywhere we looked and a lot of noise. The IMG_5103kids started to run around practicing their performance while putting on their white and blue suit, It was a little too much for my taste given they also had to have some kind of blue thing on their head, which looked weird, and as always when Chinese put on makeupthey paint themselves totally white in their heads, and the kids even had to wear red lipstick. I am sorry but they looked like small ghosts running around, it was not a pretty sight, but their performance was awesome.IMG_5106

It was time to Chinese take away, which was duck and rice, not bad take-out food actually, but given I didn´t really sleep the night before I had been drinking coffee nonstop the whole day, so I wasn´t really hungry.

After dinner, we were ready but we didn´t know anything about when we had to perform. Master Bao took us by car.

20160608_182921We apparently had to hurry up, and we almost didn´t arrive before we had to enter the stage. I was not prepared for anything, and suddenly we were there. Poses, groupform and then it was snake time, It went well, but after my roll I got stopped in the middle of my form, because apparently I weren’t supposed to do the full form, I was frustrated because nobody told me that we had to do a test run with audience. I was frustrated because I have had problems with my last part of the snake form, so I needed to go through that, but I couldn´t because I was stopped.

This is yet again a giant culture clash, because we would never have a trial run with the audience right before the real thing. –“Yes” back home we have a preopening for plays and stuff the day before, but that is usually not the same audience who comes on the premier. In this case it was the same who saw the same twice.

After a lot of confusion and a lot of different acts with a lot of dancing, we were up. First we had to run to the stage and make a pose, and then run out again, so our performance could begin. There was a master and a student before us, and then it was group form time.

 

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The stage was slippery as hell, given it had been raining on the carpet, so in everything we did, we kind of slowed it a bit down to make sure we didn´t slip. All in all we have a good synchronization so it was pretty good.

Then there was some performances, and then –“SNAKE-TIME” the stage was slippery, buIMG_5185t IMG_5186

it wasn´t as hard as the concrete I am use to train at, so I wanted to go all in on the roll and the break fall to jump bit. There I was lying down soaking wet, it was time. I jumped high, I jumped again, and the third jump is a double snake bite, so I put everything in it, the crowd went crazy, when I jumped, so that was cool. The picture shows how high I got from a lying position, so it was pretty cool. Had I jumped higher I would have jump out of the stage, my hand landed outside the stage –“peeew”.IMG_5188

I fucked up the end, but when I watched the video it looked good, so it was cool. The stage was the biggest we ever tried but it was still a bit too small for Marcel and Jauffreys weapon forms, but we got through it.

 

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We stayed for a bit and then it happened, there was this white fat guy who had to go on the stage to sing two songs. My god my singing and guitar playing heart is still bleeding from that act, my god he was terrible, I get mad just thinking about him. Where the H did they find this guy. Did they meet him in the street and gave him guitar?? He slayed John Denvers Take me home to bits and pieces. HE sang false, had no rhythm and his guitar strokes were all over the place, and to make it worse, IMG_5151he had to play a Chinese song with people dancing around him. Okay I thought, the dancers might save the act, but they were all over the plays as well. They started as two and then they just went different directions with completely different moves that didn´t followed the music. OH MY GOD That was 10 minutes of my life, I will never get back, but will stay mad about forever. HORRIBLE.

When we came back we kind of knew it was picture time, with kids and all the parents.IMG_5274

I decided to have a lot of fun, making pictures, where it looked like the kids were knocking me out with punches and a staff. Everybody who knows me, know I love this celebrity picture stuff hehe.
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The evening ended with some great food and a lot of beers, let´s face it I got a bit drunk. Given the percent in the beer, you need to drink a lot to get smashed, I tried but I never got there before we had to go home.

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Found myself drinking with these guys where only master Tang knew a little bit of English

The day after we just slept in, and waited for the four and half hour car ride home. It was a long trip and we were told, because of the dragon boat festival, we were of Friday. -”thank god for that”

 

 

 

Friday evening Master Do came and asked me if I wanted to be in a sanda fight, and drive three and half hours drive to get punched in the face. So obviously I said yes. It is very rare to get an opportunity to fight in a real sanda match so I had to take the chance.

More to come…

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The Great Wall Marathon

So I stood there, feeling the wind around me, looking at people getting ready. It was cold and a lot of other people didn´t prepare for that, luckily I did. I was prepared, I was ready but then I took one look at the mountain and the wall and I got a little bit scared. I was about to run those stairs …. TWICE.. What in the world did I get myself in to. web-GWMN0001Training for 8 months for this and I was sure I was prepared, but not really.
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Second wave go to the start-line. -“come on, Morten now is the time”.

So I stood there feeling the wind around me, oddly the band was playing jingle bells, but everybody was singing along, it was weird and funny, -“why not” –“jingle bells, jungle bells, jingle all the way”

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My mom had found a good spot so she could take pictures of me. Gun shot, go go go.

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I was in the race, everybody was walking because we were to many people to run. We made it out to the road – run man , run…

“find your tempo, not to fast, you have a wall with stairs to climp later” –“hmm something is wrong, my stomach”.

I felt something wrong in my stomach, as if I had been eaten to much before the run, it piled up in my throat. I kept on running. It started to climb, we were running at a mountain to get up to the wall. The climb was about 7-9% not the steepest in the world, but I still saw people stop to walk. –“my god they are going to have a tough time getting through the run, no matter which distance”.

I kept on running, getting a bottle of water in my hand preparing for the wall. You see my only goal was to run the whole way, so I ran the hill and web-GWMD2664there it was, stairs and a lot of them. My god it seemed easy, I ran up those stairs and I was very positive. I thought to myself: -“I am going to do good today”.

 

After 1k of running stairs, we hit the incredible high steps. We are talking between 30-50 centimeters high, you had to jump to get up to the next step. Bam there it was, the realizing of what I was actually doing.

The very positive me, started to get nervous because I felt my calfs already, and that was just to early. I kept on running, it was hard, and people around my obviously didn´t read the damn manual.web-GWMD1097 –Keep to the right if you are walking so those who are running can pass by. I started to yell at people in front of me, keep to the Fu****g right people, some of us are trying to run this distance.

Yet again I couldn´t really understand the ones who had entered the marathon, but was walking the mountain and the stairs. My stomach was not with me, every time I was drinking a zip of water it filled me up with nausea. I had to stay positive, hoping it would go away. I was still running those stairs as if I was running for my life, my stomach web-GWMJ0696was killing me, but my legs were awesome. The steep downstair run was up. You see it wasn´t really stairs, but also there were a few steps. It was kind of like running a hill but on very uneven rocks. It was broken ankles waiting to happen. I was extremely concentrated when running those part, holding on to the railing very firm.

I got down in one piece and I felt good, we had to web-GWMN0005go through ying yang square again to go to the web-GWMG0391small villages around. Run man, RUN. The stairs were 26k away but it was the the route I just ran in the opposite direction. The goat walk up hill and not down. 3k of stairs uphill, was waiting for me. My stomach was still killing me, but my feet started to be annoying to. Luckily I prepared for blisters, I ran around with blister bandage, so I had to stop and use 15 minutes to attend my blisters. Ready to go again. 17k I didn´t touch my energy gels because my stomach couldn’t handle them, I had to get some energy so I took one. Felt nauseas again. Just had to keep it in me.

 

Everytime we hit a small town area, there were kids wanting highfives. I took upon myself to web-GWME0434spread a little joy and maybe not think about my stomach. Those kids were cheering and so happy when you reached out to high-five.

BAM who the hell put alpe d’huez in the middle of this marathon. My got it was steep and it just continued. I ran the first 2k up hill, and then my goal fell through, the lack of energy gels and my stomach hurting, made me stop to walk. I hated myself, for not being able to run the whole way. New tactic the time is the aim, I was walking for a kilometer, just to start running again.

  • 21k half way

Usually my half marathons are between 1.35 and 1.40, so my time said a lot about how hard this route was. I still had problems with the stomach and the gels were hard to swallow, even the water was hard to get down, but the sun was scorching and I definitely needed to stay hydrated. I have tried to run 30 kilometers before only on food I had been eating before. So I wasn´t that worried, I knew I would complete with or without the energy gels, but given I wanted a good time, I forced them down.

Finally, running downhill… Let the feet roll and take it slow, I found a rhythm again and was on my way, a couple of kilometers and bam, the next mountain climb hit me in the face, the rhythm was disrupted and yet again I had to walk, I hated myself for every step I took, I was better than this, I knew I normally could do much better, for god sake, my personal record for a regular marathon is 3.18.

I hated the fact that my energy level was so low, that it took me down. I was still optimistic, the time wasn´t running away from me, and when the downhill run started I found a good rhythm again. RUN man RUN.

 

On my way back to the second round on the wall I saw a lot of people running in towards me, they were just on the way after their first wall run, obviously all of them started in start wave 4 which was 20 minutes later than me, but I felt sorry for them, cause a lot of them didn´t look that good and they had 30k ahead of them, with an extra round on the wall.web-GWMD2664

I came to ying and yang square again and started my second wall run, I had no energy, and still couldn´t really drink or eat my gels. Hmm I ran the first couple of stairs, then the goat-walk started. I overtook some people but had to realize, I simply couldn´t run this stretch, so I started powerwalking the stairs, double steps, even that took my breath away, totally exhausted. The lack of energy was now showing its face. It showed its ugly face and it was punishing me. I saw people around me, sitting on the stairs taking long breaks. Saw a few who had given up and just sat there waiting for help to get down. There was especially one American who was in problems, his buddy walked right behind me, none of the water-givers were able to speak any English, so he had to borrow a phone to call his wife to get here to get people up there.

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My god, I got a second wind, this shouldn´t be me, I would not give up for any reason what so ever, my time aim was way gone, and now I was aiming for six hours. After a lot of suffering, walking up 6k of stairs, I was on my way back to the finish line, but suddenly the downhill towards the finish line was excruciating. I started to run, but my stomach was aching. Not the same problem as my whole run, this time it was a throbbing pain from my right abs.  I ran again, it was painful, but I continued, I didn´t have time to walk anymore, I was running to get under six hours.

I was 2k from the finish line I did it, I “got damn” did it. Then I saw her, I woman running a marathon like me, on her back there was a picture of her husband in a military uniform, he was dead three weeks before. Properly they planned to run this marathon together, but he died. My god, I was almost in tears that was a tough one to swallow. That make me think about the people I lost and how they weren´t here to see me complete, the exact same thoughts when I completed my half ironman. The last 1k I was on the edge of tears, but I was also happy, cause once more I did it.  I put the thought in my head 8 months ago, that I would complete on of the toughest marathons in the world, as my first official marathon.

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Finish line, medal around my neck and there was my mom to take a picture.

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I wasn´t as smashed up as I thought I would be, the pain on the route was mostly from my stomach and lack of energy, my legs were still good to go, so I knew right there that I didn´t give myself a 100% because of my stomach. I hated it, because I knew how much time I lost because of that, 1 hour. Hmm…

Now today it is Tuesday and I am back with my family, my home in Maling mountain. I have looked at my medal so many times and as an athlete I have to reflect upon why my run didn´t go as planned.

I have thought long about it, and I think it was the banana I ate before my run. I simply panicked and ate this banana because I ironic enough was afraid of running low with energy. At least I think that was it, because usually I take a caffeine pill before competitions, but this time I didn´t I saved it for when I was over halfway, and I should have done it the other way around.

I came in 30 out of 100+ in my age group, and given I can´t get a full finish list, I have calculated that I ended up around number 90 out of 300+. So in the good part of the standings. I know that if I did it in 5 hours then I would have become 15 in my age group. The problem is that if I ever have to run this wall again, which I would like to, then I have to pay 15000 kuai for it because, when you do not run it as a local runner you have to buy a package deal which is expensive. That is why I have a hard time dealing with the results. I feel a little I can´t seem to get rid of that feeling, but yet again I know I ran a good time, and did quite well for myself, but it takes time to convince yourself, but I will get there.

 

When you run a marathon like the great wall marathon it gives you a lot of time to think, I did think a lot about why and who I was doing this for. Obviously I did this for myself and only me, simply to challenge myself and my own physique. I go all in on these adventures, because I know I can complete them and I want to be able to look back and think, my god I did those things.
Also I ran the marathon in a Maling mountain shaolin t-shirt, first of all to give my home some publicity, but also to remember where I come 20160521_013514from, where I trained for this and how I trained for this. How my masters completely understood I wanted to run extra and train for this. So I also ran with my whole kung fu family in my head. My god, when I came home, I came home to sentences like: “you have been missed” and “he is baaaack”, and everyone was curious about my run and asked me about. It felt good to be home again, and see all the people around me. I love my kung fu family, there will never be any doubt about that.

I also ran this for my friends who didn´t live to see this day, they were and always are in my head and heart everywhere I go and obviously for all my friends I met through my international and national adventures. I found most of my friends by taking chances and I will never regret taking a chance.

So this was another adventure I had in my life journey, and it all started with a dream about training kung fu several years ago, then I found this school, came here and then the next dream was born. I have a dream of completing an ironman in the future, that is why I wanted to complete a marathon first.

So all in all, my adventure happened because of thought, which lead to the best kung fu family in the world, a place you can be yourself, a place you can train and get guidance, a place where you can breathe, a place where you can train things beyond kung fu, a place where you find friends and you are becoming a family.

This place is Maling mountain kung fu academy – it all starts with a thought, just remember to follow that thought into a dream. While you are living one dream other dreams are born.

This is me sitting in my home, looking at my running shoes, getting ready for my last two months here and getting ready for my next goal – medals in the kung fu competition, and when I come back to Denmark, an Ironman is the goal.

 

More to  come

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Giving back to society

So, when my blasian and I took our ”roomie trip” to huai´an approximately a month ago, we met this teacher called Trin/Lily, depending upon if we use the English name or Chinese nickname. She showed us around and called one of her students (Cindy), so she could meet us and it all wounded up with Greg and I being showed around in Huai´an by Trin, Cindy and Isaac (another student).

I exchanged Wechat, with Trin and that all ended up with Greg and I coming back to teach her grade 7 class in Qinghe Experimental Middle School.

So, it was Wednesday and we got up extremely early to catch the bus, so we could catch the2016-05-25 07.30.45 train to Huai´an. Yet again we got bunks to lie down in, when we took the train. Once again we needed every parkour skill we knew to get up on the top bunk. It is nice to catch a train when you can lie down the whole trip.
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We came to Huai´an where an extremely overexcited Trin was waving at us hehe, well we were excited too so it was cool. We got into the deputy principles car to drive to the school.

When we arrived to the school, I was pretty surprised because the school seemed very big. 2016-05-26 01.01.50You see Trin told us that the kids came from a poor background, and I don´t know why maybe I just assumed that the school was small and didn´t have a lot of materials, but the school seemed very big.

We were told there only was 600 students at the school which is, at least in China, a small school. We decided that the kids should show us around school the first twenty minutes before starting our lesson and when walked around we saw that they had amazing outdoor P.E 2016-05-25 10.40.01-1facilities. There were several pull up bars, tricep bars, athletic field, football field, basketball courts and volleyball courts. Both of us were surprised that at poor school like this had all these things.

I always compare other schools, with my home countries and this “poor” school had ten times the facilities in P.E than we have in most schools back home. Also they have an office booth each for the teachers, a thing I had myself when I was in teacher practice in Singapore. Back home we just have the teachers’ lounge to 2016-05-25 10.11.38prepare in and some small rooms you can retreat to. So seeing this in a “poor” school which needs to hunt students for the coming years, because their reputation is not the best, gave me an impression of that it wasn´t that bad. Yet again this is seen from my P.E teacher point of view.

The kids found a ball, and suddenly we found ourselves playing football with the students, just running around with a ball and 26 students, how fun was that.

The students tried to show us around, but they couldn´t find anything hehe, they didn´t even know where the school library was, so we wounded up back in the classroom after walking around finding nothing hehe.

When teaching a new class, I always give the students the possibility of getting to know me. Okay most of the students knew a lot about me, given I gave them permission to ask me anything in wechat, but nonetheless I started what I like to call –“questionnaire game”. It is very simple, the students can ask us anything they want, as long as it is in English. Usually I let the students ask me individually, but this time Greg and I decided to divide them into groups and let them write down their questions.2016-05-25 11.05.072016-05-25 11.04.562016-05-25 11.00.16

We made some rules, as they had to pick one of us to ask or they could say both of you. They had some good questions and when Greg and I are in the spotlight, we are at our best hehe. Another thing is that we really work well together, because we think so much alike.

2016-05-25 12.31.28The next thing we had to do was going on a picnic in a park, to have our lunch and just in general let the students give us directions and talk to us about anything. You know like what you call walk and talk. The students seemed more free when we were not at the school, so a lot more students came to us with questions, which was amazing.
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We found this park, which were very beautiful, and Trin bought beers for lunch. It is not every day you teach kids and drink beers at the same time. I found it very weird, but again I really like beer, so I dug into the beers. Trin told us that she never had seen her students this excited, so that made us very happy. We had given the students a promise of us showing some kung fu, so I showed my snakeform, which went so wrong in so many levels, because it was so slippery, but it was okay. Greg showed them a Baji form, and in the end we showed them our group form.2016-05-26 01.01.49

Everyone was filming and taking pictures and obviously other people in the park gathered around to see us.

Back at the school Greg had a plan for the students, so this time I followed his lead. We divided them into groups and put the tables in circles and had them write and talk about animals, preparing for a small game. The game was all about them mentioning animals group-wise. It was fun and every group won one time, so that was perfect, seen from a teacher perspective.2016-05-25 15.51.252016-05-25 15.51.34

 

 

 

 

All the students had to go outside with their volleyballs, and I thought: it was time for a P.E lesson, but no it wasn´t, not even close. So grade 7 lined up, which were a lot. they started to do some kind of dance with the volleyballs. If you looked closely they were actually just doing basic drills from volleyball, just without them throwing of slabbing the balls around. It was a little bit weird, so I found some other students to play some actually volleyball with.2016-05-25 16.22.11

There was one girl who was very good, so we played for five minutes.

Then it was back to class to say goodbye to our students. We told them we had an amazing day and it was awesome to teach them. Fun thing that happened was, when we were on our way to go to a steakhouse, we saw the students hanging out of the window to wave goodbye, and suddenly all the students came out to say goodbye one more time. Their math teacher had given them permission to get out and say goodbye again.

One of the students were actually crying and another one (Cindy) were very close to cry. See this is shy we came. Not to make them cry but to give them an opportunity and an experience in which they maybe would never have. We were there because it was kids from a poor background, and therefore we wanted to give a little back to society

For my own point of view, it was obviously also to see how a Chinese school is working and see the differences in how the students learn and behave in class. It was awesome, but for me not that different from my experience in Singapore.

After the emotional goodbyes, we went off to the supermarket and after that a steakhouse, where Trin was treating us to an amazing steak. In Wednesdays, you could get three steaks for the same price as two. A cool thing in this place, was that you paid for the steak and then everything else like Juice, starters and dessert, were free, so you could just keep on ordering ice-cream and cake. That was kind of cool, given I am a huge dessert fan hehe.

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When we found ourselves in the train, I found myself thinking that I really wanted to go back there again before me leaving, but given I am leaving in two months I don´t really see it happening unless we get paid to come or something hehe.

Well once again I found myself in one of my go with the flow experiences, and yet again I confirm my believes, that when I take these chances I get so much more back than I gave.

Once again my journey here at the Maling Mountain Academy have given me so much more than I could ever have wished for.2016-05-26 01.01.50-1

More to come.

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Away from the family

Do you know that feeling of happiness that sometimes just appear out of nowhere ? I had that feeling when I sat down in the bullet train towards beijing. . .

I am always a bit anxious when going traveling in a area where communication can be very difficult and everything in the world can go wrong just because of that, but everything was so easy. . .
In the bullet train people suddenly spoke english, You see when you live where we do and have been living there for a while, it is almost always a surprise for me when people speak English. As an english teacher and a laowei, it makes me extremely happy. . .2016-05-16 11.03.48
I lived at beijing international hotel the whole week with my mom.
Obviously she paid otherwise I would have found cheaper living circumstances. .  . But it was only 600 kuai for a double room in a 5 star hotel, which included free swimming in the pool, which meant I got to swim again which I missed a lot.
To tell you about the things we saw I will let the pictures speak for themselves.
But I will tell you this:
I am not one of those guys who get up early to go sightseeing, obviously there are things in beijing you just need to see but given I also was preparing to run my marathon we only saw a lot the first couple or days.
The only place I really wanted to see was beijing zoo because they have pandas . . . -“I love pandas” as much, as I love the clothing brand puma which might be on the limit to being a fanatic.

The whole week included a lot of food for me, cause I needed to carp up for my marathon. . Yeah I know some would argue that you only need to eat a bit extra a couple of days before, but this method of carp loathing works for me and it keeps me away from eating all the sugary products all the time.
At some point at pizza hut I ate a pizza, a steak with pasta and fries and after that I was still a bit hungry This just comes to show how much I actually ate when living at home, training for my half ironman.

I had a perfect week with my mom and the best possible preparation for my marathon. . .
A funny thing was every time my mom and I talked about China and how it is different in the country side I kept saying back home it is different and back home we don’t have things like that.
In the beginning it was confusing for my mom but she got use to it. .
That just comes to show where my home is. . .that is at Maling mountain shaolin academy, and every time I mentioned back home I thought about what my family was doing. . Different days I thought to myself.
Now they are doing forms class and every morning I was swimming kilometers , they had these morning lesson. . Is it weird that I missed my kung fu family a lot, only being away a week ? I don’t think it is, cause that is how much those people means to me, and that is the bonds you will have or get whenever you decides to come and train her and obviously you are reading this because you are thinking about coming here, or coming back here or you already been here.

Nonetheless, if you are one of those who think about joining our family, pack you bag and jump on the plain. . You won’t regret it, just make sure you at least stay a month or two. .
And you will get to meet the school pets, animals I really love

There are lot of exciting reading the coming week. . I will write about my marathon and my blasian and I are going to huai’an again Wednesday to help a class with improving their English skills and Just to give a little back to the the people… the kids are from a very poor background so when we got the change to get involved and give thise kids a rare opportunity we instantly jumped on board…

More to come

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weekend

So it was Friday, for the first time in a while we actually had a regular week again, until we had to do our weekly 10k run. It was about two a clock, and Mona and Master Du came around asking us to get outside to help with something.

You never know what or how long these things are gonna take, but we are always eager to help, mostly because doing these things for the school is also considered kung fu. Kung fu is not only martial arts but a lifestyle and as I said so many times before, we are a family here, and we do live like that, so everybody pitch in.

There it was I big truck with grass on it?? Grass, yeah we are not talking about the good kind hehe, but actually grass cut out in squares.2016-05-06 14.18.002016-05-06 14.18.262016-05-06 14.23.50

First of all, I have never seen grass cut in squares like that, it is always rolling on grass, at least back home. Well we started to empty the truck and put down the grass, So there we were laying grass, all of us –Masters, students, translator, even mama Bao.

We used the whole afternoon to put down the grass. It is these things that makes life around here extra fun, because you never know what the day brings.

But this Friday was the day of the geeks, because 2016-05-06 19.21.07we were going to the movies. The blasian had been rambling on about Captain America for weeks and he would literately do anything to see that movie, so he organized the tickets so we could go.

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The danes in the cinema

Okay first of all, I did say that the movie could be horrible, because it is a sequel BUT I take it back that movie is amazing, and another cool thing about it was it actually got everybody out of the house to see it. All three masters were there, Mona and all the students. See that’s a school trip 2016-05-07 06.26.57worth taking.

Right beside the movie theater, we found a small pizza joint, which in my nine months here, I haven´t noticed, which is ridiculous, given I have walked right by so many times. The pizza in there actually tasted like real pizza, and they speak English in there which makes it so much better, the price is to the more expensive side, I mean 66 kuai for a pizza, it is kind of like back home, but here there was only on topping on it. Nonetheless we will be back because the taste of it, was amazing.2016-05-06 22.08.422016-05-06 22.09.20

Saturday it was time for Frodes going away party, which kind of surprised me. I totally forgot about it, so my plans of crumpling up in my bed watching my series.2016-05-07 19.43.10

We lit a campfire and Pixie (some call her Sabine, which maybe is her name hehe – not anymore) had made some dough for making bread over the fire, in Denmark we call 2016-05-07 20.14.52it Snobrød, which means twistbread, to translate it directly. We call it that because you twist the bread around a stick and hold it over the fire. I haven’t made one of those for several years.2016-05-07 22.26.14

The evening involved a bit of alcohol, and it was an amazing evening, sitting around the fire listening to music and making bread, but it is always a bit sad having these parties because it means one of the family members is leaving, in this case Frode the 47 (20 something hehe) year old Norwegian. He is gonna be missed around here, no doubt about that.2016-05-07 20.14.14

So today it is a regular Monday, for everybody else, but for me is the last training week before going to Beijing for a week before running my marathon.

More to come about my marathon later on🙂

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Going with the flow part 3

So, first things first We have said goodbye to Brage and Tony during this last week of time. To say goodbye to Brage we had a party in which everybody joined. We got permission to drink some alcohol, so it was a great party. I wasn´t drinking myself, given I have a marathon to run the 21st of May and that is soon.2016-04-23 19.58.542016-04-23 19.43.55

 

 

 

 

We had a lot of fun, and a lot of great words were spoken about Brage, because Brage is really one of those guys everybody is going to miss around here. So at some point it was also
a bit sad.

But the good thing about Brage leaving is that I have a new roommate now. (I stole Brages hehe). No Greg and I decided to move in together, so there will be some great moments ahead of us.

Oh yeah, we have four new students now, we have a Danish couple, Kenneth and Astrid, we have Henry from Tea and biscuit land UK and Ivan from Macedonia.

It has been one of those weekends were my legs has not been able to rest at all.

Saturday Greg and I went to a city called Huai´an. The trip had a purpose and that was me buying n new puma running shoes, because Huai´an has a Puma store. to those who doesn´t know it, I am addicted to Puma, it is maybe a bit excentric, but I love that brand more than so many other things..

We got up 5.45 in the morning to catch the bus to Xinyi, so we could catch the train to Huai´an. The train ride took around 80 minutes. When we got out the sun was scorching and we started walking, but after 10 minutes in the middle of nowhere, not finding any sign of a inner city, we decided to catch a taxi. We had a not with the address for the Puma store, and we guessed that it would be in some kind of city area. Luckily it was in a mall in the20160430_105944 center of the city.

First stop was Pizza hut, we simply wanted to know if the pizza there was like pizza at
home, AND IT WAS. See it is the small things that really gets life better here in China. Tasting a real pizza after 8 months without was simply amazing, it was so good and we only paid 30 kuai for a small pizza. It was our second breakfast so we didn´t go all in on eating, otherwise I would have ordered pasta/lasagna, steak and a bigger pizza hehe.

We set of to find the Puma store in the mall, and we found it quite fast, but they only had one pair of running shoes and when I was walking around in them, I didn´t feel they were the shoes for me, so sadly no new running shoes for me.

We decided MCDonalds was the next stop. Yeah I don´t eat MCD that much at home, but when you can´t get a burger with beef in it around where you live, then MCD is always a stop worthy. After our meal we wanted to have look around so we set of for the longest walk in our life, or for 15k.

We walked around in this weird area, where there was a street only with banks, then we

turned and then there was a street only with electrical bikes and the next street was hairdressers and shoe shops. We were just talking and suddenly a Chinese woman came up from behind asking us if she could bother us for three minutes. Her name was Trin and she was an English teacher in a school with kids from a very poor background. Luckily she ran into Greg and I because we are very open minded, where others maybe would have thought she tried to get money for her kids or something.

The thing is, she offered to show us where they had a supermarket and that got us through another great going with the flow story.  We started walking and talking and it she really wanted some of her pupils to meet us, but the school was obviously closed, so she simply 20160430_14232720160430_142604called her favorite and best student to meet us. The only reason she wanted her to meet us was so she could practice her English, as an English teacher that is something I always can get behind. The we set of for what suddenly became a tour of the city with a Chinese English teacher and two of her pupils.20160430_144809

See that was amazing, cause Trin showed a temple and some of the older parts of the city, which apparently was rare because everything was being modernized.

when we finally found the supermarket it was closed, but we had great trip and a we were asked to come back a day to visit the school and see all her kids. we had walked for 15 km, and then we faced the worst of it all, standing tickets for the train home… we are not gonna let that happen again , cause that was a nightmare, and given neither of us really slept and we had been on it for 12 hours, there were not much energy left. 20160430_171325

Given the great experience we both have decided on coming back when we find the time. This is the thing when you get an opportunity to make a difference for other people you gotta take it, and I am a teacher so for me it is just being a teacher, being me. I always try to make a difference for others, I always try to be better than I am.

This is another opportunity for me as a teacher, a foreigner a human being to give those kids an unique chance to meet two foreigners and help them train their English language.

Today it is Sunday, and We were asked to be ready at nine, so we could perform at Maling mountain. When everybody was ready the heat was already up to 24 degrees. 20160501_10252920160501_103559(0)20160501_10354620160501_102518When we came there we walked around a bit before we had to perform. First master Du made us train punches. We had to hit the small branches fast. So everybody stood in a tiny little forest of trees and punched the branches, gathering a huge bunch of people around us. There was a lot of kids, which we found out later had to make a dance performance, and som of those kids spoke some English, so they were able to ask us for pictures etc.

Later everybody performed, which maybe wasn´t the best performance in the world. First of all there were no stage, only a narrow road, which didn´t make it easy for the guys. But it was fun, also because we weren´t the only ones who performed and those kids, mainly girls where pretty great.

Time to walk the dogs (my dogs hehe), Even though my legs are smas20160501_153129hed they shouldn´t suffer… I love those dogs, no doubt about that😀

So when I came back from walking the dogs, there were suddenly kids everywhere and in generel chinese people whom I guess hoped to see a laowei, and well there I was with the dogs. I put the dogs back and went as some kind og celebrity and took the pictures they wanted. 20160501_153338

I love that you can feel as a celebrity when there is people around, and to have the opportunity to walk out when I had the time as a celebrity was awesome hehe.

 

More to come

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Realizing you just don´t wanna go home

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Every time we lined up for a group photo, we gathered a lot of chinese people who also wanted pictures of us – this is our family right now

It seems like I just arrived here or something because I remember in the beginning I wrote blogs every week because everything was so new and exciting. The last month or so has been as if I just arrived here, with new things happening every week.

Yet again it all started Monday, where everybody was training except me. I took Monday and Tuesday off because I ran a marathon Last Friday, so I needed to relax my body. At lunch master Du came and told us, since it is actually a holiday in China everybody would go to Maling mountain together instead of training. Even though I was off anyway I joined the trip, knowing that we would be walking for several hours.

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The reason why we took the afternoon off was, because of something called tomb sweeping day. The Chinese have this tomb sweeping day from the 2-5 April. Back in the days those days were about cleaning tombs of the family. I was told that some still take their time to do that now, but most Chinese are just relaxing and enjoying their few days of. The thing is in China they don´t have 6 holiday weeks a year as we have in Denmark, so whenever they finally have some days off they really use them.

I always feel very happy when everybody is doing something together, maybe it is because we are less together Monday to Friday because we have different masters. In general, I just like spending time DSC_0595with the family here.DSC_0588

It was a good day, but a long walk, I must say Maling Mountain is very beautiful, and they had ice cream so it was amazing hehe.

The week flew by, mostly because I didn´t train Tuesday, but on Friday Master Bao came and asked us older students if we were interested to perform some kung fu at a competition. We off course said yes, because the difference between now and last time, was that we knew we said yes to performing not entering a competition. Also master Bao told us there would be a competition in Xuzhou in July.

That is amazing to know, because now we can really prepare for that ad think about which forms to enter the competition with. I have snake in my mind, and maybe broadsword, but I really don´t know for sure, because I am starting crane next week and I will learn two more animals before that, if everything goes after my plan.

So the Friday afternoon run was cancelled so we could practice our group-form and the form we wanted to perform.2016-04-09 11.26.36

Saturday morning Greg, Jauffrey, Thiijs, Brage, Marcel and I took off with master Bao and Mona. It was a long ride in the car and very warm, but we were excited about the performance. When we got there, we were invited to eat at a hotel with some Chinese people, three of them, friends of master Bao and the three others I guess had something to do with the competition. 2016-04-09 11.31.462016-04-09 13.06.38

After lunch we walked to the competition and when we arrived, we met two men from America. We always have some fun when we finally meet other laowei´s, mostly because when you live here, you don´t expect to see other foreigners.2016-04-09 13.13.26DSC_0861

My deepest fear came true when we saw where we had to perform, because it was on DSC_08592016-04-09 13.06.33concrete, and I have a breakfall and three jumps to breakfall in my snake form, so I knew it would hurt my hip very much. Funny enough it didn´t, I killed my tailbone while practicing for my performance, given I have a roll in my form and I unfolded to soon, resulting in my tailbone slammed into the concrete. So that hurts today hehe.

Nonetheless we had a great time at the performance, and everybody was okay satisfied with their forms and how it went.DSC_0842

 

On the way home we were asked if we wanted to go out to eat or eat in a restaurant, so we chose the restaurant off course. It was the same place we ate for new years and master baos celebration of his new son.

we were there already at 4 pm so we had to wait a couple of hours to eat, and we used that time for talking and playing cards.

Greg said the thing I have thought a lot lately, because more students choose to stay here for more than a year. Jauffrey is on his second year, Marcel is planning to stay for three years and Shane is thinking about and planning to stay for 5 years.

With all the fun we have together in this group and how my stay is coming towards my last four months have made me think a lot about what Greg said out loud: I Just don´t wanna go home, I just wanna stay here.

These are actually the thoughts that goes through my mind for the time being, I really don´t wanna leave, I wish I had the time and money to stay for two years maybe more. This is how much I love our Kung fu family in Maling mountain.

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Turk and JD, I mean Greg and I who really doesn´t want to go home ever

More to come.

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Another week in our family

So we stood there Monday morning discussing when to go out for dinner to say goodbye to Matias, my roommate. We lined up and the biggest bombshell fell on us. Master Du announced that Master Wei were to leave the school to pursuit other interest. Everybody was stunned and I must I was very sad about this.mmexport1459339218291mmexport1459339206302

I have had the privilege of having Master Wei train me alone every Tuesday. He was teaching me something called gungfa, which is a mixture of qi gong, tai chi and kung fu. It was developed by a Chinese doctor who made this form for health exercise reasons.

The thing that made Master Wei so cool to have around was that he was always so happy, always walked around with the biggest smile on his face and he was very excited in your behave, every time you did something right or improved.

I think a lot of people in our family feels very sad about him leaving, especially the students who taught their first kung fu forms from him. He will be missed around here.mmexport1459339245567

So Monday night we went to the BBQ place to say goodbye to Matias and master Wei and whilst we were there to welcome our new master to the school, master Wang, last but not least it was also Monas birthday, so a mixture of celebration and goodbyes.20160328_204042

A great night it was, which included another Chinese cream cake, my god we have had a lot of those lately.

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Our four kung fu Masters

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Goodbye Matias, yea he gets a small section for himself, because he was my roommate and he is a Dane like me hehe. He is already missed by all the students here.

It wasn´t hard to say goodbye for me, because we will seeeach other a lot when I come back home. This gives me the opportunity to talk about friendship, because Matias and I knew each other before he came here, but we were not friends. These six months has given me a new friend, a close friend which I am very happy about.

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Me, master Wei and Matias

This is also what this kung fu adventure is about and why we are here at the maling mountain academy, to meet new people and gain a lot of friendships, even if it is from your own country. When you live, train and have fun together like we do, you simply become a family, a family you wouldn´t live without. This is also why we train kung fu at maling academy.

Another thing that has changed in our family is that our big family now is divided into two groups. One group trained by master Wang and another group by master Du. Team Wang and team Du, I am in team Du, which I like to call the du´ers. I must admit I am not feeling this change, of course training wise you have more time with the master, but socially I think you lose a lot, when you are divided.  Some may say: but Morten aren’t you there to train for the most part? Yes I am, but in my point of view I like to be social while training, as a former coach in different sports, I know how much the social life and the fun can make training better. So us divided in two groups doesn´t go well in my mind, because I feel I am missing out one some of the fun happening during training. Mostly because Brage (the master of injuring himself or do stupid, but hilarious stuff during training) is in the other group hehe.

When that is being said, there is no doubt in my mind that being divided in two groups is better in the long run, because of the continuously growing number of students in our school.

During the night we had a new student coming from Australia, I haven´t had the chance to introduce myself yet so more that later on.

20160401_182540My personal training is going well. Friday I ran a marathon as my preparation for the great wall marathon. This was my last test before the wall, and now I only have to maintain my form until the marathon, which means I won’t run more than a half marathon on our stamina-training on Fridays.

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my shoes have 1600 kilometers in them in only six months. So worn out that there actually is a hole in them

Other than that I just finished my snake form and will soon begin another animal. My plan is to learn Crane, tiger and eagle, but since master Wei left I have been in doubt about the eagle, because he showed us a competition eagle I really wanted to learn, but we will see what happens. Nonetheless that is my plan for now, and if I have time maybe the five animal form in the end or a small fist form.

Next week will be a short training week for me, given I won´t train Monday and Tuesday due to my marathon run Friday. Usually when you run a marathon you should take at least a one-week period with no training, but since I don´t want to lose too much, valuable time in my kung fu training I only take two ekstra days. Wednesday I will be back in training and also I will be back at tai chi training again in which I have had a long break from.

More to come …

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Being part of a family

 

It has been one of those great weeks. We started Monday morning where master Bao announced that he had another kid, so therefor we were going out in the evening for dinner and celebration. We went the same place that we were at Christmas. It was a great evening with a lot of food as usual. There is always way more food than we can eat, we consider this a good thing.20160321_184320

Us students had a room for ourselves, including Mona and master Wang (pronounced Wong). Which brings me to we have a new master and his name is master Wang. He is about master wei´s age and he is really cool. I am not sure if he is here to stay or it is only for a period of time. I hope he stays, because he is another great addition to our family.

 

We have said goodbye to Tom from Canada who was here for a year and Greg from France

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Jauffrey, Brage, Tom and Shane

who was here for two months. We have gotten another girl here, she is from Germany and is staying for a year, also we have another guy from tea and biscuit-land which means, we now have 4 people from England. But soon we will be joined by a Danish couple so we can equalize it bit again.20160321_184320

Even though it was a great week, we have internet problems again. It happens sometimes here and we have learned to live with it, but living without internet is hard for people, because then we need t speak to each other, and in which world is that a good thing? Hehe. Well jokes aside, it gets me to another thing about living in China.

Yesterday we talked about how everyone thought we would lay of the rest of the world whilst staying here, and it is a weird thing to think about. For me, it was the plan to at least not have my phone in my hand all the time, because I must admit I am addicted to my phone back home. I don´t think of it as a bad thing because I don´t use my phone and internet that much whilst I am here, so I have dialed it down a bit. I think it all comes down to who you are and what you want to do. I chose this school because it was more modern than other schools and because I still had the possibility of staying in touch with the world. None of us down here, see it as a down side, but you know how addicted you are to the internet when it is down.

A small thing as checking the weather we use the internet for, and every time there is something we can´t remember or doesn´t know, google is usually around to help us.

Lately the weather has been better and better so we often find ourselves sitting outside talking after training, but this week we found ourselves in the middle of a dance session.
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It was Thursday and we had power training, master Wang told us that is was time to relax. You know you are living at a kung fu academy when relaxing means kicking each other in the ribs, the back and the legs. After power training we stood around doing some pull ups and trying to do muscle ups, when we suddenly stood in a circle and people were dancing.DSC_0134 It is one of those spontaneous things DSC_0166that never can be replicated again. This gets me to, how cool it is to stay here and how many different people you meet. Right now we have at least three dancers around, but the school also contains everything from party animals to geeks. This time though it is the same people who has a lot of different sides. It is amazing.DSC_0213

That same evening, we celebrated Kamal´s birthday with a DSC_0216Chinese cream cake, which are a bit expensive, but something people look forward to. Saturday we went for noodles, Chinizza and to play some pool to celebrate further.20160326_144312

Another thing that makes it amazing around here, were when I the other night, night looked down at the training hall and people where learning how to dance.

I am currently learning how to play dungeons and dragon, which is a few steps over to my geek limit. This is why we are here, not only to learn kung fu, but getting new perspectives and trying a lot of new things.20160312_19170120160312_173316

I think it is the group of people that makes it possible, people are very outgoing and ready to try new things, and then these amazing things happens.

Yesterday a bunch of guys here sad down in a room and just talked and listening to music. This is another cool part, the guys you otherwise sometimes see as crazy has so many side, so when you get in a room with some music, the conversations change from comedy to deep, well and let’s face it, back to comedy again, we can´t have it all hehe20160326_211433.

 

 

 

A little bit about what is going on with my life here:

I have found some hills that are very hard to run in which gives me better preparation towards running the marathon on the wall. I am currently hill training every Tuesday and every Friday when we run 10k I run between 20-40k. I have about 50 days until I face one the biggest challenges in my life. I am really happy about my progress and that I can train kung fu and train for the marathon, side by side.IMG_0142IMG_0157

So why should you come and traing kung fu in the Maling mountain family?

New friends, new perspectives, amazing masters, trying out new things, being part of something bigger, making a difference for yourself and being a part of an international family.

More to come.

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30

I am sorry, it has been a while since my last update, and I am sorry to disappoint again with not putting up interviews of the students who lives here. The thing that must not happen to a computer happened to mine.

More about that later.

I will take you back in time to what we as students would like to call hell week. We called it that because the training got a bit more intense. After our holiday we suddenly faced Master bao at the line-up, because master Wei still wasn´t back from his holiday. Everybody knows that master Bao´s way of training is different from the other masters. He says himself that his training is a little bit stricter. A BIT STRICTER? That is the same as calling a sumo-wrestler chubby. My god his training nearly killed us. Okay okay for starters we might let the Monday cleaning slide a bit, so when Master Bao came down from room check he was a bit agitated. He called out, -“everybody horse stance” and mean while he let us have about our rooms wasn´t clean enough. Mona of course took her time translating because it wasn´t her standing in horse stance. Maybe she was fast, but it didn´t feel like it. So we got another chance to make up for our poor room cleaning. Apparantly it wasn´t good enough, so we were all taken to each room so everybody could see what was wrong. We started in Matias and my room. Our beds were not good enough, which I didin´t agree upon at all, cause they were fine. But according to master Bao the beds should look like we were in the military.

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this is how we look when we are amazed about how clean our room is.

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You can really see who was in the military or not.. mine is to the right and military man to the left hehe

Our rooms were not the worst. I am gonna sum up, what was lying in the beds. Cellphones, computers, clothes and oranges, was lying in the beds under the blankets. Yeah I know, you are still thinking about the oranges. We were also very interested in that explaination. Brage the one I like to call the fake Norwegian, answered when asked what this was. It is oranges, but I eat them continuesly. Everybody wanted to burst out in laughter, but no one really did, because we weren’t exactly on master Bao´s good side.

So apparently in Norway whilst eating dry fish and ice bathing they warm up their oranges under the blanket, to eat em continuesly. We still joke about that, because that was hilarious.

We came outside to start basics, and my god did we get basics. After the first lesson I started to wonder if this was it, was this the time to die? Other thoughts came to mind.. . it is Friday right? My legs feel like it is Friday. But no, it was Monday and the first lesson was just finished. Welcome back from holiday…

Monday to Wednesday were extremely painful training-wise, – my god the week after I still felt the training. This week was not a good time to be training for a marathon. But I got out for a 10k anyway. Pretty proud of myself, mostly of the fact I didn´t die on along the way, hehe.

Wednesday afternoon everybody was gathered outside for a little talk about life at the academy. Everybody thought this was the aftermath of our poor cleaning skills and poor training performance, but it wasn´t. it was just Master Bao who wanted to hear how we were doing, and how our life was here at the academy.2016-02-23 06.07.26-1

It was very nice to tell people around you how we felt about the school and the people around. When it came to my turn, I told it as I see it.

I am here in china, where I have a home. I feel home here at the school and I see everybody around me as a family. Master Bao being the Dad, Lisa the mom, the crazy but caring uncles master Wei and master Du, and not to forget our grandparent’s mama and papa Bao. Yeah in this metaphor us students are the kids. This is actually how I feel. I love living here, even thought my culture sometimes crash with the Chinese culture.

It is the people around you that creates the home, the culture and life.

Master Bao ended the day by telling us, that he just wanted to show us how it was to e trained like they do in the temple, and the simplest thing is the motto that gets you through the day.

If it doesn´t hurt it is incorrect.

In other news, well this blog is called 30, inspired by Adele´s first two albums named by age. It is because I had a birthday the 23th of February. Turning 30 is a big deal for a lot of people, but for me, it isn´t bigger than turning 27. Mostly because I don´t feel 30. Okay okay Master Bao made me feel 60 the week before but still.

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Birthday gift from Mona and Faith

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Finally found sunglasses I actually like – birthday present for myself.

I had a good day with what we now call terror Tuesday, because Tuesday is one of those days where there is a lot of injuries or those days where people wake up the day after feeling busted in their entire body. I celebrated my birthday by getting punched in the face and kicked over my legs, but I kicked someone in the face too, so it was okay…

when can you ever say you celebrated your birthday like that?

Thursday was a critical day for me, because the thing that must not happen, happened. My tea pot fell down and hit my laptop and of course it hit the exact spot where the harddrive was. GOODBYE to all my stuff on the computer. So here you are, in China where you don´t know where to get it fixed or anything, and I had all kinds of thoughts. –“what if it couldn´t be fixed? Are all my things gone now? Do I have to live without a computer for 5 months?

I went downstairs to Mona and told her, -“Mona you and I are going to Xinyi to fix my computer”.  We went with the bus and got to a place where the guy after two seconds said my harddrive was gone. Hmm when you lose your hard drive you can only think about which things that are lost.

So I was told that he could put in a new hard drive and windows 7 for 330 kuai. I must say this is one of those times you just love China. 330 kuai and 50 minutes to fix my computer. That is cheap, but my main concern was to change the language to English, because I can’t read Chinese. The next adrenaline rush was when my computer was running out of power. I didn´t bring my power adapter because in Denmark they would have one lying around for the purpose. So the computer guy stood there with a cigarette in his mouth looking at me while my computer said 7% power left. Meanwhile the computer was updating the system. With 3% of power left, the computer finished and I was happy.

Even though I lost a lot of things from my computer, I don´t see it as a big problem. I see it as a new beginning, because at some point I had to clean up my computer anyway. The reason why I didn´t have a backup is because I thought I had one on my eksternal harddrive, but when I looked at it, it was a backup of a Samsung computer, just not my Samsung computer.

I was happy but couldn´t live with half Chinese, half English windows, so I started to ask around to get a newer Windows. Luckily I have this friend who is not only providing me with VPN service for free, but also has the newest programs lying around. So now I sit here with windows 10 and office 16 writing my blog. I just finished moving my music from my ipod to my computer. So all wasn´t lost. There are some old school assignments I lost, and there are a few pictures and videos I can´t get back, but that is it. All it cost me was 330 kuai and about 15 work hours to get my computer back to where I want it.

but all my interviews for this blog are gone. I don´t now if I willconduct new ones, we will see.

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So this week we just finished has been a lot of fun, and I have been in Wangchuang several

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new friend at the school, an Infared lamb,which I use a lot hehe

 

acupunctur

getting ready for acupunctur

times. It started Wednesday. My back has been very tense lately and blaysian Gregs knees well they are about 80 years old. So we wanted to go to the acupuncture. Greg was amazed afterwards because of his so called “new knees” and my back was pretty good to. Friday we went again, this time Kasia went with us.

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Master Du is learning pressure points in the face, while I am tied up

 

Side-note. We have gotten three new students since my last blog, Steven from France, Kasia from England and Shane from America. Kasia is now the only girl at the school and it is really nice to have a girl around. The dynamic changed for a couple of days before we went back to being boys who goes a bit dark in the conversations. We have these ethical conversations where we get a question, what we would do, which really makes us getting to know each other, but some of the questions are really really out there, and it is very boyish humor.

So we went for acupunctur and I hated my life in there. I don´t know if he just wanted to hurt me, but every needle he put in me was like a samurai sword, he hit all the right spots, and for some reason he put two needles in my neck so I couldn´t move at all. It was an hour of torture for me, but afterwards it felt good.

One our way home we took a tuck tuck, which became a very funny story.

First of all, we have gotten so use to using transport, so We sometimes forget to ask for the price, but in this case we really should have done that. We came home with the tuck tuck driver, and first we gave him 20 kuai which it normaly costs, and he started to scream out loud, and of principle I didn´t want to give him more, because that is the price. Okay so we gave him 5 kuai more, but he continued to scream and shout, and I said to Greg, come on we are going now, because I hoped he would go away. They usually do. But this driver followed us into the school area and kept on screaming. Master Du came out and told us to go inside, but the driver followed us, so I had to think fast, and I am a 30-year-old man, so I took the adult choice and yelled, run and hide. So there we were, hiding in the toilet. Greg 29, Kasia 27 and me 30 years old.  The reason why I wanted to hide, was I didn´t want the driver coming up to our rooms and see all out stuff.

Master wei and Mama Bao joined the conversation with the man. Apparantly he just wanted to cheat us, so when we gave him 5 kuai more, he just wanted more. He didn´t take the 5 kuai, he pushed them away and wanted more. Master Du told us, if we have given him 10 kuai more, he would still be yelling for more.

I still think this was a hilarious story, especially because we hid in the toilet. So you think I am done now? Noooo

One more story to tell. So we were in Xinyi yesterday and when we wanted to go home, I suggested to go to the train station to grab a van. On the way there, there is this big park, and apparently there was something going on, so we went to look. NOT THE BEST IDEA hehe. They were teaching kids how to do CPR. When we came there everybody stared at us and the whole purpose was totally gone. None of the kids were looking at the demonstration.

A cocky as I am, I tried to tell the kids not to look at me but at the man showing them how to save life, and I thought to myself, if I demonstrate it then everybody would look because I am a laowei. YES the teacher inside my immediately stepped in. But before I could take over I was asked if I could show the kids how to do it.

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showing very clearly that you need to breath in between – breath in hehe

Suddenly all eyes on my showing the kids how it was done. It was very fun. When we tried to walk away the others got held back because everybody wanted to take pictures. So we started to pose in Tai chi poses, and right in the middle of it, this old woman came and did tai chi with us, just slower than us and her steps were a lot lower than ours. It was amazing.

To finish of a great day, we got a van back to the school for only 60 kuai. Normally they take 80, so that was cool.

I stil love to be here, and since last time, I have finished the broadsword form and begun the snake. The plan for me is to learn snake, tiger, crane and eagle form. The weather is getting a lot better too, as you can see in the picture, so it is nice to snake it up outside. 2016-03-03 13.04.06

There are more and more students coming and going all the time, so we get a lot of new members of the family.

In this month we will have another girl and in April it is time for some danes to arrive.

Remember you have to hide your power behind your softness.

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side note – my running goes really well, for the time being

The more you learn, the more you forget, so practice.

More to come

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Xinnián kuáilé

I know I promised you interviews with the students, and they will comeas soon as I take my time to do em all.

Xinnián kuáilé everybody, (happy new year), yes here in China we just celebrated New year, which makes this year, the year of the fire monkey.

The fire monkey is full of energy, creative, clever and entertaining. This year risk will be rewarded and the air is buzzing with opportunity, so are you thinking about starting something new, now is the right time to do it.

Before writing more about our new year celebrations, I am going to write about our cleaning week up to our new year´s vacation week. I call it cleaning week, because Monday we were told we needed to clean because we forgot Friday, and that is fair enough, but Wednesday we suddenly had to clean again for some reason, and Friday we cleaned once more. Could the school get any cleaner? – I think not hehe. To be fair the Friday cleaning was a bit different given we had to clean under our beds and dust spider web everywhere. We clean the spider web with the wonder-broom. What is a wonder-broom you say.

Have you ever seen those television commercials about some stupid invention that magiacal clean everything almost just by looking at it? This is where wonder-broom comes in. A spear and broom in one. – Have you ever had to fight of a burglar in the middle of cleaning, and the broom was simply not enough and you lost everything. – Well no more, wonder-broom is a broom tied to a spear, which makes it possible to clean and fight of a burglar. If you order now you get a DVD with moves and action for the wonder-broom.  – wonder-broom the perfect gift. Okay maybe it is a bit of an inside joke here at school, that only we found hilarious, but nonetheless very funny

 

Mona our beloved translator quit her job and therefore, we wanted to go out for a small farewell soiré. Luckily Mona decided to stay another six months, which makes everybody very happy. I personally is very happy that Mona stays until I leave myself. I mean who else can I joke around with all the time – she calls it being mean, but I am never mean hehe.

So the BBQ “party” became a We are very happy you stay, and a goodbye to The happiest man in the world, Paris. The school really loses a cool character in him, but he has things to go home to. One thing is for sure, he will be missed here.IMG-20160206-WA0001

On our way to the BBQ place we drove in two caps because we are so many students now, and we just sat there talking and suddenly the other taxi driver came walking up to our driver, leaving his car behind with an open door in the middle of the road, that was a fun little thing, and these things happens a lot in China, so the saying only in China is used a lot.

Before starting our vacation master do talked to us about training in the holiday, first it sounded like we had no holiday and everybody had to train, but what he meant was – we should do some training so we didn´t forget our forms etc. I couldn´t really help myself and said out loud. yeah not gonna happen hehe. I didn´t plan to train at all in my vacation, well except some running, I still have a marathon to complete the 21th of May.

So what is new year in China? There are a lot of traditions, just like so many other countries. The first example is the red envelopes with money, which are given to the kids in the family. The Chinese celebrates new year in their home with their families. Also you actually celebrate new year´s for a whole week, so the first two days they stay home and

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The new years menu, we got dumblings after eating this

20160207_201846then the rest of the week there are games and things happening around the bigger cities.

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new years decoration

 The weird thing for us foreigners is that the date changes every year, also their birthdays are not the same date every year. If it was me, I would forget it every year hehe

Traditionally you eat dumblings, so of course we had dumblings here at school, and we love dumblings here. There were so many dumblings so a game was born. It was called dumbling roulette. We were full and couldn´t really eat more, but mama Bao came with another bowl of dumblings, so someone span the table around with the bowl and the game was born. If the bowl landed on you, you had to eat a dumbling, and let´s face we were to full to eat more. Nonetheless we had a good half hour of fun, and the bowl got eaten. On our third day of dumblings we had fried dumblings. OH MY GOD, that is the best thing in the world.poker

After the dumblings we had a game of poker and then a bonfire where we of course also had fireworks.

 

 

Okay the big trip well at least for me and four other guys was our trip to Xuzhao Wednesday to Thursday. We were five guys who wanted to go celebrate the Chinese new year.  Okay Okay, we wanted to go get drunk and go clubbing. So we did.  The train ride was a new experience. We didn’t get seats this time, but bunkers. Yeah bunkers as in sleeping bunkers. Me and Greg had bunker each. To get up

mig i bunkbeds

putting your jacket on is not easy at all

in these bunk beds, there was no stairs or anything so you had to climb. There was like no space in the bunker at all, and don´t get me started about how stained they were. Nonetheless it was a fun train ride. The Chinese people won´t bother climbing up, so they just use the lowest bunkers as seats instead.

 

We arrived at the hotel after getting lost one time, because the maps in China is written in Chinese characters, so we couldn´t really read it.20160210_095844

We had booked a four star hotel, with Jacuzzi, sauna and massage in the hotel, which we wanted to make use of as soon as we arrived. I20160210_135033 have had so many experiences with things not working here in China, so for me it has become a typical thing. When we wanted to use the Jacuzzi etc, they told us it was closed because of renovation. Very typical, so what does five guys walking around in their robes do? Well isn´t obvious? We start drinking at 3 pm.
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In the evening we played a lot of drinking games and got a lot of alcohol before going out. When we came to the place where all the pubs were, everything seemed closed, but upstairs we saw people and we went there. We came in to a small bar where we met

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Matias, Me and Brage in the bar

Marcus a british guy from Newcastle. How cool was that to actually have a laowei bartender. We stayed there for a while, and asked Marcus about the clubs and people going out in China. He said that they didn´t go out when it was cold. Okay he also told us that there only would be a bit more people at muse, the club we wounded up in, and it was packed. For us it seemed a bit weird that things were closed and nobody were going out in their vacation, but it didn´t stop us. Off  we went for the club muse.

 

  • A bit of a side story, okay before we went to Xuzhao master do said… you are going to Xuzhao? There is a nice park there. “-As if we should train there”. Hehe,well he also said if we came in to trouble we shouldn´t run, just find the exits at the clubs when arriving. We know what he meant but it was funny.

 

So we had this deal between the guys that we would stay together, not get lured into a closed room with only one exit, and always have eachothers backs. So obviously the first thing to do when arriving to the club, was following a Chinese guy into a small room with only one exit. It looked like a girls kindergarden with their fathers. It seemed very weird, so we got the hell out of that place again. Went downstairs to the club, it was amazing, andIMG-20160212-WA0004 there was packed with people. Most men, but a good amount of girls too.

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We felt like celebrities in there, everybody wanted to touch us, take pictures with us or have us sit at their table. Chinese men spend a lot of money on alcohol and leaving on the table so it can attract girls, well in my case attract me, who doesn´t like free alcohol. I was drinking for free all night, everywhere I went I got drinks or beers. It was awesome.  20160211_005914Okay, the touching part, was a little bit too much, Some of the guys found that people reached for their pockets and I well I got touched because of something else hehe. At some point a Chinese guy skinny´er than my finger asked if he could kiss me, so I knew why some guys touch me. Fun experience though, but I had to decline and quickly moved to the dancefloor to join the guys.

It was an amazing party we had and Brage, Matias and I where the last toleave the club, because it closed. So at 3.30 am we were on our way back to the hotel, and I had been drinking  for 12 hours, typical me.

The day after, I felt the 12 hours of alcohol, it was good the first hours, but then it began.

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I felt horrible

My head was killing me and my stomach even worse, and worst of it all we had to go shopping, because, we wanted nutella and some of the others wanted to eat.

 

It was an amazing trip, and definitely something we are going to do again. Tomorrow it is time to train again and the alcohol will of course have ruined a tiny bit of the form  but it will come back, I won´t be drinking anymore before after my marathon.

In other news, we will get a lot of students the next period of time, this month at least three, next month one as we know of, maybe more and in April a bunch. We are excited every time there is new people arriving.

More to come

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6 months in.

There is still tea and biscuits everywhere, and there will be more given there is a british girl arriving next month.  well also there will be crossaints and baguettes everywhere since there is another frenchman arriving and given we have a lot of pastries because of the danes here, we have a nice little breakfast table we will enjoy whilst the new norwegian and Brage will be ice-bathing in the pond. Too sterotypical? racist…? NOooooo it is all in good fun..

 

IMG_0110And hey we have a new girl around here, her name is Faith and she is here to practice her English skills, therefor she will act as a translater the next month. Can she speak English, I don´t know, I only heard the sentence, “it is too hard” hehe, was that mean? nooooo

She aint hard on the eyes either. We are as always happy to have some females around here.

 

Time for my 6 month update, on my god it has gone by fast. We have a lot of new people here which is amazing, there is no other word for it. It feels like we have lived together for several years, it is a great feeling.

So this Friday it happened, the snow came, and oh my god I do hate snow. Of course it came right before our weekly 10k run. Well.. we were standing there lined up a20160123_085421n all, when Master Du came with one of his amazingly funny one-liners. “It is snowing, but it is not cold” Everybody was laughing including himself, but he said it was good for our training to run in snow. So motivation complete,cause since the snow wasn´t cold, it was great for our training. Hehe..

And hey, new tradition here in our family, every Friday during power stretching we get tied up by master Du and he enjoys our pain very much hehe

The snow ruined our weekly planned trip to Xinyi, well maybe it is more my weekly planned trip to Xinyi, where i drag others to go with me. But oh my god, that Saturday was the first Saturday I wasn´t in Xinyi in all my time here, I felt the withdrawal in my whole body hehe.

Well since we were waiting for a bus that didn´t come, and Mona came running to tell us there would be no bus or cap to Xinyi, we ended up ordering tuc tucs to Wangzhuang –yes I have now learned how to spell it (thank you Mona) The tuc tucs from hell. They came after half an hour, and it did not look like they were trained in any way to drive in show. Any way we got in, Greg my Blasian friend from England were a little scaredIMG-20160123-WA0000,also because they took us another route than we were used to, so we didn’t know anything and just hoped for the best. After some driving the driver bursted out in laughter and pointet at a small truck with two women pushing it up the hill, inside the truck was a man looking very relaxed – it was kind of funny, seeing the two women in their “nowhere near, ready for snow-shoes, pushing a truck” – well only in China hehe.

We arrived alive to Wangzhuang, where we decided to go to fun fries, our usually place where we end up after shopping, but because we wanted to see more of Wangzhuang, this day we started there and moved backwards.

Hey have any of my readers ever been to a hospital? I´ll take that as a yes. Here in Wangzhuang we visited a hospital beause we needed a toilet. I have never seen a hospital this unclean. There were bricks/tiles on the floor in the entrance,  and no people around at all, and the toilets, oh my god, buckets hung from the wall you could pee in. That was an experience I tell you that, mostly because the hospital looked very good from the outside.

When we came out from there a chinese man came running to us, apparently he saw us from his car and stopped it in the middle of the parking lot just to get some pictures with the Laoweis. Pretty fun experience.  We were four people in Wangzhuang, Gregster the blasien, Mr gagoul – how cool is that last name, from france and Paris from England. 20160123_135855Paris was all over the place in a big store we found, as he said, I feel I just wanna buy something to buy something hehe.

The soup incident were even funnier, Paris decided he wanted to eat soup, and tried to order it, and after 10 minutes with Baidu translate and Gagouls mini French to mandarin book, he had ordered soup, which the chinese guy pronounced soap. We all hoped at that moment that Paris would be served a brik of soap. All of us ordered some noodles, and whilst eating our noodles, people were looking at us, well to their defense, we weren’t exactly keeping a low profile at all. We yelled, laughed and played around at our table. And guess what Paris never got any soup or soap for that matter, he was a bit disappointed hehe.

 

The blasien and me needed to renew our visa, because we are planning to celebrate new year’s in Xuzhou, where we, well let´s face it, we will properly get very drunk and do what we do best attract a lot of attention. Well I don´t mind, hopefully a girl or two will catch out attention hehe.

But this meant going to Xinyi, and suddenly my withdrawal from not going Saturday was completely gone. Okay it was Monday, I didn´t join the shaolin basics because I was up all night to watch handball, so when I woke up Matias told me that gregster and I were going to Xinyi, and it was properly in the afternoon. So I thought, okay I need to warm up before Shaolin forms, so I took a good long run, well okay not a long run, a god little run which were 9k, I broke my record and were very happy when I came back, only to be met with – oh there you are, you have five minuts to get ready.  Thank you for that.

It was almost like a family trip, yes Greg I am stealing a line or two from you blog hehe. But in the car were Master Bao, Papa Bao, Lisa, master Baos wife and their son Ze Ze, and yeah a blasien dude, me and A little chinese girl (mona) haha.

First of all, I must say the chinese visa service is briiliant and cheap. 200 kuai for six 20160128_2025191months visa and 8 pasport photos – China – DK 1-0 and it went by fast, I only had time to practice my broadsword one time in the visa office – everybody was looking hehe.

Since we didn´t go to Xinyi Saturday where the plans were to go to the BBQ place, “which it will be called forever Greg”!!! We went there to eat, Mona, Greg and I and we went there with a city bus, oh yeah we just made a lot of Chinese people happy in that bus. Everybody was staring and talking about us, luckily we had Mona who could translate their thoughts about us. At some we were in the middle of a guessing game, who could guess our age hehe. It was fun, even though I thought that three kuai for the bus was a bit steep hehe

We arrived to the BBQ place and I think Greg fell in love with that place instantly. You could really feel how he missed preparing his own food and how excited he was to be able to do that – the story here is that Greg only have been in China for two weeks hehe.

It was a good beginning for this week that just passed by, which also started a countdown for our 10 days holiday, which begins the 5th of February.

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Look at her,  she was amazing

And oh yeah I met this girl in Wangzhuang, the store owner had her inside and I really hoped she would let it out, and when she did, I sat down, and she came to me instantly, I LOVE DOGS, maybe that´s why I actually walked Alice and Emma in minus 15 degrees last sunday.

My next blog will be a who are we here blog with interviews of some of the students, so look forward to that.

More to come

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Argg The brits are overtaking the school

New year=new students, dynamic change, everyday trips, stretching, goodbye kayvon, interview, Xinyi and my personal journey

Oh dear the brits are overtaking the school, we have three guys from England now. It feels like there are tea and biscuits everywhere hehe, and the discussion about what it is called; fries or chips, chips or crisps has begun. Just too stop that discussion right here, it is called French fries and it is called chips, I don´t know what those English people are on about hehe. We do all agree about one thing it is called football, NOT soccer.

Our family has been joined by 5 new students, Three from England, One from South Africa and one from Holland. Today a guy from France will join us too.  I have said in a long time, that new students= new dynamic, and boy the dynamic has changed, as in it has become a lot better. We still need some girls around here, cause the conversations still get out of hand sometime. We will wait until April where as I have been told will come two girls here with their boyfriends. So the dynamic will change radically again there.. but GIRLS it is not as bad as it sounds, this school is also for girls, and we will welcome you here J

For me everything has become “the usual” here, the small town visits to Whungchon (still don´t know how the H… I spell this, – maybe I should ask someone? ) but I will write a little about it again cause the trip to Xinyi was a little special.

First of all, it has become a tradition that every time we get new students here, we go to whungchon Thursday. We go because the new students need something to put on the morning bun and in general needs stuff to survive here. When I say survive I mean Oreos, chips, cookies in general, cake and candy,  or maybe for some it means washing powder for washing clothes, 20160102_123540
hangers to dry it and shampoo, toothpaste and toilet paper.

Nonetheless we go there to get this. This is also an excuse to eat like crazy. For the time being we eat three different places in Whungchon.

First of all we get a wan to bring us there, then we will get off outside a little market, where we buy our drinks for the food. We do this because they don´t sell drinks the first place and the second place they only have beer. Yeah I know it is weird, eating places with no drinks. It is china as we know it hehe.

The first place is where we get our eggbread and fried noodles.

 

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it is a huge disappointment when they don´t have both. The eggbread cost 2 kuai per piece, and it is bread fried on a pan with kind of like a fried egg indside of it and then some tomato sauce smeared on it. GREAT explanation Morten, everybody knows what that is now. Well I don´t know how to explain it hehe. The fried noodles, does it need an explaination? No, they are just fried and not boiled.  Think it cost 6 kuai.

Then we move on, to the dumbling place, where we “-surprise” eat dumblings.20160114_18285620150828_182241

One plate cost 5 kuai or is it 6, even to this day we still don´t know how much it is hehe.

 

The we go to the supermarket where the English people can get their tea and biscuits hehe, I mean where the new students can get the most important stuff, which I still mean is the Oreos.

After the supermarket, we are offcourse hungry, because we haven´t been eating at all, so we go to the chicken place, which is called fun fries and it is a fast food restaurant. Fast food is relative in this matter cause from when you order some fries -“not chips” and your chicken burger/leg/nuggets until you actually get it, you have easily spent 20 minutes. We actually come to this place for one thing and one thing only, it is the milkshake, but sometime or a lot of times they don´t have it, which make the trip seem like England without tea and biscuit, boring and noting to make fun of.  It is a party though, everytime they have it hehe.

Then we go home, some of us are still hungry, but given we usually order like 20 egg breads some of us, Jauffrey and I always have extra to eat when we come home.

Since the new students has arrived a new thing has become a part of our training. Gettingmig i smerte
tied up with ropes. there are several stages you go through, when getting tied up.

First one unbearable pain hence the screaming face on the picture. Stage two the regreat, and inner monolog: why did I do this. stage three: making peace with the pain. Stage four: inner peace, finding that qi gong actually works. Some people never get to stage three and four… luckily I did!  You sit there in site splits while our master of pain, master Du tightens the rope. Master Du 

mig udstrækif you read this pleace don´t kill my legs Monday, when I stupidly enough, will come to you and ask if I can get stretched again. I don´t know why I actually want this cause the pain is a killer. Well, all good things must come to an end they say, but here that sentence has slightly different: all good things involve pain.mig med ro

indre ro

Kayvon luckily got to try to be stretched before he left. We had some great times he and I IMG_1675.jpgand I will miss that guy until we will meet again at Octoberfest in Germany. As I promised in an earlier blog post, I have prepared an interview so you can gain a little insight in our family here. Here is the first interview conducted byme, with Kayvon:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Kayvon Ghiassi IMG_1569

Age: 18

Country: England

Period of stay: 6 months

Have you done any martial before?, if so which?

Muay thai and MMA mainly but have experienced a lot of other martial arts as Karate, taekwondo, juijitsu etc

Why kung fu?

Because it is one of the most well-known and famous for its power and speed, and I really wanted to become faster

Why did you choose this school?

It was recommended from a friend and the website was the one with most information

Which lesson is your favorite and why?

Wing chun – Because I really like how effective it is and I really wanted to master it and I did enjoy helping others with the forms.

Given wing chun is an optional class I will also mention, Shaolin takedowns because I could draw upon my experience from Muay thai and rugby, which gave me an advantage

It is no secret that your knees are broken from rugby, but you chose to go anyway, why?

Because I was told I wasn´t able to do sports anymore and since I have lived and loved sports my whole life I wanted to keep on doing sports. I have heard that Chinese medicine and acupuncture could help me, so that is shy I chose China and it helped me a lot… I can actually go for a run now.

What do you think about the way we train here? 

It is great, it reminded me about when I trained muay thai, so it was easy for me to settle in.

Which experience outside school has been the best whilst you have been here?

Definitely modeling, because it gave me a lot of new experiences, great times with Morten and new friends (the taylor and his family) it also gave us adventures which I don’t think we would have tried if we didn´t become friends with the taylors son (Chen)

What are you taking with you from this experience? 

New friends all over the world of course, but mostly I have found a way to do sports again and the Chinese medicine has helped my knees so much so I can run again.

So I will take a better knowledge of my body, I have gotten a little bit faster and I learned everything in wing chun, which I now just need to train and train so I can try to master it. Also because my knees got better I actually learned an animal (mantis) form which I will go home and try to master as well

Well and I learned to kill people in many many many ways haha.

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This weekend was a bit special because it was Jauffreys birthsday Saturday so we all went

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Me, Paris, Greg, Matias and Brage

to big pizza to eat. First of all in the morning we were divided, because some of us, Matias, Kamal, Greg, Paris, Brage and me wanted  to go to the taylor. I wanted to go there because I wanted to pick up my grey suit, Paris, he wanted to put in an order for a suit, and kung fu , bruce lee style suit. Greg also ordered, he

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The picture is an old picture from a taylor visit

ordered a Tai chi suit. Kamal and Brage will put in orders as well later, so I think Chen is very happy about me bringing hi new customers. Also they get Kayvon and I´s special discount. Greg became really excited up there, and he just wanted to order everything hehe. Paris confused the crap out of chen, with his, I want this but not this speech and Kamal, Brage and Matias walked around and gathered ideas for what they wanted.

After the taylor, we went for big pizza. It was a bit special because of Jauffreys birthsday. But also because it seemed like more pictures were taken of us than usual. It didn´t help that a birthsday song

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All the students from maling mountain. left row: Paris, Brage, Greg, Thijs, Tom – right row Michael, Jauffrey, Matias – me taking the picture

 

suddenly sounded in the speakers and all of us sang happy birthday loudly. The waiters from big pizza came in singing Chinese and gave Jauffrey a heart shaped pizza, with meat. Excactly the one he always order, Jauffrey has simply been there too much hehe.

The mood of the group weIMG_20160116_193145644re loud and happy, and we enjoyed our time at big pizza, which also encountered some school girls asking for picture taking, first with Matias, then with Jauffrey and later with me. The they came back to take a picture of the whole group. Then we went on to the green fairy. The green fairy is one of our ice cream places, where we get 20160116_134944Oreo ice cream.  Then we went for the supermarket and then home.  it was yet another great day at Xinyi city.

 

 

 

I always leave a personal touch in my blog here, because I feel it is a good thing to know how I think I evolve in this place. So I will go a little deep🙂

For the time being the training is good and I am running the long trips again, two days ago 30k, so my injury period is hopefully over now.

China and the rope stretch made me think about life here and how I live here without any stress and with a lot of time to think about my life. I have always used a lot of energy thinking about the past and all my choices in my life. Thoughts about if I did the right thing in a given situation and what I rather wanted changed. China gives me time to think about these choices and now I understand that most of them where the right ones. I am inspired by Nick vujicic and his book and lectures life without limits.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOzsjEmjjHs

”It is very hard to smile sometimes through the things that happen, that you don´t know, when you don´t understand and you don´t know if you get through it. You know you go through your storms in life and you don´t know how long the storm is gonna be”

and the keyword here in China is patience. When we learn forms we need to be patient while learning. Everybody wants to learn as fast as possible, but when we are patient we actually learn better and a lot faster, same goes for life we need to understand before learning.

“You keep on concentrating on the things you don´t have and things you wish you didn´t have and you sort of forget what you do have”

My point is, that I forgot that I needed time to think my choices through sometimes and I still forget that if I understand a move in a kung fu form, I can remember it better when learning it. In general does this mean that when we do meditation or qi gong, we need to understand how this effects our body and mind and use it in life. My best example is that I can actually, while tied up in ropes, meditate/do qi gong in my mind to forget the pain of the stretching.

China has made me see that I can do so much more with patience and time to think about things. I am not saying I wasn´t patient before, because I am a school teacher, so I am very patient, but I think you can always become more patient.IMG_20160115_111140236.jpg

China has made me realize that I am now in a part of my life, where I can actually shape my future without any limits, well there is one, and that is if I don´t get in on the university to study my masters in September, but otherwise I actually control everything myself, and that is a good thing to realize, because no matter what people say about that, there are always outside factors that needs to be taken into consideration

My point is that kung fu teaches us about ourselves more than it teaches us to fight and living here in China gives you time to think about things and turn them upside down to find answers inside. That is one out of many reasons to come here.

more to come

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The year that went by

New year, Christmas in China, new student and reflections about the year that passed me by.

This is the year of 2016, and I am still living in china and I still love it. There is not a lot of new stuff going on here, besides for the giant pond20151231_165545 they are building outside. You see, we have heard rumors about master Bao wanted a pond outside, but when we saw the digging, it looked like a small pool instead. It has gone by so fast20160103_101057, it has actually only taken them a week to build it. They are not done yet, because I saw some drawing in the dirt out there which imply that they are going to do some more work around the pond.

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Christmas eve came a little bit as a shock for me, given Kayvon and I had nothing planned for the dinner. The thing was, all the other students were in Xinyi city, so we thought that we would wait for them, so we could eat dinner together. When it was dinner time, I went to Kayvon´s room to get him. Master Bao came and asked if we were ready? Ready for whaIMG_0081t? We had no idea that we were going out to dinner. We were confused given we didn´t prepare clothes or anything. In our hurry to put clothes on to
go outside, Kayvon yelled; -shirts”? and it ended up with us wearing our shirts and pants, that we got from the taylor for modeling.

It was a good evening, where we were allowedIMG_0076 to drink rise-wine, some drank a little more than others. Usually we are not allowed to drink alcohol.

We started to go around telling how we celebrate Christmas back home. This was fun because first of all, the gift unwrapping happens in two different days. Some does it the 24th in the evening others the 25th. The traditions in my home are that we each Christmas stay at my home and have people come to us. We eat gread made from rise first and then we eat duck. When the eating is done, we prepare to dance around the IMG_0078Christmas tree while singing Christmas carols. The oldest in the family pick the song first and then the second oldest etc. After two songs, the one who picked the song finds one present for everybody to unwrap. This continues until there are no more gifts.

The other studentsIMG_0079 and masters never heard about dancing around the Christmas tree and found it funny.

New year´s day we went to Whongchun (not sure of the spelling), to buy fireworks, but it was either too expensive or there wasn´t any. We lit a bonfire in the evening which we all sat around for an hour, before everybody but two students went back to their rooms. We actually didn´t celebrate new year´s and most of us weren´t up when it was midnight. For me it was with relief, to not do anything. Not to think about where to eat, party and stay for the evening.  In general it has been very nice not to celebrate Christmas or new year´s for once. Now I am looking forward to see how the Chinese celebrate new year´s eve. That will happen the 8th of February.

2016 has now begun and we are expecting 8 new students over the next 14 days, hopefully everybody will come. I am looking forward to get some more students around here and also there will come a couple from Denmark, so we will have a small Danish colony again haha.

Usually I end the year with a –“the year that went by” blog, reflecting about my year, so this will be part two of my blog, where I write a little about my year that passed by.

This is inspired by living your dreams and the movie Paper Towns. In Paper towns a group of teenagers set of to find a girl who disappeared again. In the beginning you are told that she sometimes disappears leaving clues behind for her sister, so she knows where she is and that she is okay. The group is lead by a guy who is a little bit in love with the girl who is missing. It is not one of those amazing movies about life journeys as we know it from The Way or The Shawshank Redemption, but more or less one of those movies which has a strong message.

“Maybe we won’t all win the lottery, marry royalty or make that last second shot but that doesn´t mean we won’t have amazing adventures, meet exceptional people and make endurable memories. The trick is to notice before it´s too late”. – Paper towns

“Sometimes to find yourself, you have to get lost”.  – Paper Towns

My 2015 has been amazing, kind of like my 2013 where I lived in Ghana and Singapore for two months each, to do my teacher practice. This year a lot more amazing though, and the best part is I am still living my dream the next 7 months. I am as you know sitting in China right now and I am reflecting about how this year has been for me. I completed a half Ironman and to those who do not know what it is. It is where you swim 1,9 kilometer and then bicycle 90, just to finish with a half marathon, running 21,1 kilometers . I completed my education and became an English, Physical education and special needs teacher and moved all the way to China to live my king fu dream and I´m not done living my dreams at all.

Also this year I have renewed some old friendships and took care of my old friends before I left, so I didn´t leave anything hanging back home.

It was hard to leave everybody back home and go here, but as he says in Paper towns: “It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.”

He is right in so many ways, because-“ yeah, it was hard to say goodbye and all, but when thinking about it, it was just saying: -“it will be a little longer before I see you again”.

My journey here gave me the possibility to go around to say goodbye and in general to use some time with my friends who I do not see that much, because of the 300 kilometers between us.  Something I order to do every year but the time and money has been an issue. My time here in China also made me think about all the friendships I neglected over the years , and the people in which I wanted to be more acquainted with. Something I will think about when I come home again.

This year has given me a lot of new friends too, given there have been amazing people at this school throughout my time here and there still is amazing people here. Hopefully I will continue to gain new friends given there is 8 new students on the way to join our kung fu family. I am very excited about that, because we need some more people here, so we can have more fun and gain a lot of new friends.

Even though I live my dream now, it doesn´t end here, because when I am going home I will hopefully begin my masters in Physical education, if I get in off course. If I don´t I will try to get in as a journalist instead, so the new year will also involve an adventure. Hopefully the new subject I will study will take me to America to study, but yeah, we will see.  I still have seven months left here, and for the time being I don´t wish it to end at all. I truly love it here.  The year ended with injuries, but the new year will begin 100% fit

So all there is left to say is:

Happy New Year and thank you for following my adventure here in China

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Is it december already?

Snow, weather change, my lack of motivation for running, injuries, is it Christmas time? Clothes and what I miss from home.

Here we go again, with an update from my kung fu home in Maling.

Three weeks ago, we had snow and minus 5 degrees. That was just not funny, because it is colder inside than outside. For me it was very annoying.20151211_155953.jpg

Okay I belong to the people who hate snow, so that’s the first thing. The second thing is I train for the marathon on the wall. It is very very difficult to motivate yourself to run extra, during your break, when you are lying in your bed all warm and cozy and it is minus 5 degrees and snowing.  My motivation was totally gone. I got out there Tuesday, but the wind was cold and the snow felt like rocks in my face. I had five layers of clothes on, but I froze the whole way (5k), I didn´t even sweat when I came back because I was so cold.

So obviously I have had motivational problems and I didn’t run more that week. I googled some articles about winter running and found that 5k if you don´t have a race in the spring you only need to keep your stamina up with 5k runs and then sometimes take some longer slow trips. So that was the plan and it was perfect, cause I could just run the short trips and then take the long trip in Fridays where we run 10k anyway. But as time goes by, plans changes.

First of all I got an injury, which was ridiculous. I woke up a Sunday with an injury in my calf.

“-Who gets injuried, whilst sleeping”. I mean –“COME ON!.

Bye bye motivation. But it got me to think. Cause your worst nightmare when living here long-term is to get injured.

So what happens in the Maling mountain kung fu family if you get injured?

Usually we always have at least one who suffers from something, but the masters really take god care of us and tell us not to train when injured. For me it became a visit back to lifting weights. I haven´t done that in a long time.

You see when you are injured; you work out with the m20151213_142411.jpgasters what you can do and what you cannot do and then you figure out, how you can train without making it worse.  For me it was weight training the whole week and my basic broadsword moves.  So you shouldn’t be worried about injuries, cause there will always be training, you can do and that makes it a little bit easier.  I was only injured that week and was back on 100% the Monday after.  OKAY! OKAY! I got a small injury again the week after because I ran 12k as the first thing Monday. Shouldn´t have done that. So this week I was on 70%.

The thing is, we had weather change. We went from minus 5 degrees to 11 plus. The sun was up and I only needed to put on two layers for my run. If you are a runner, you know how it is when the just is, perfect. So instead of running 5k, I kind of ran 12k, with 8k of hill training. Yeah I know not the best choice in the world.

Christmas, where? Is it really a Christmas month? You see, here in China, we do not see a lot of Christmas things.  I seriously didn´t think about it before a Santa Claus statue appeared in Lotte mart in Xinyie. That was the first Christmas decoration I have seen here. So the 6th of December I was reminded by a Santa that we were in fact in the Christmas month.  Back home, that would never have happened, because usually the stores put up the decoration in October, so it is refreshing not to see Christmas everywhere.

December always means handball for me. You see every December there is a championship in handball for women. This year it is the world championship and it is even held in Denmark. I usually see all the games I can, but given there is a seven hour time difference, the games are played between midnight and 6 am. That means that I don´t watch a lot of games. I saw one Saturday morning at 3.45 and I am definitely going to watch Denmark play again at 3.45 am today. Yes I love handball so much I get up in the middle of the night to watch a game.

This also means that the men’s European championship is coming. That is in January.😀 where we also get new students to the school…

It has also come to a time where I buy myself some Christmas presents. This means another visit to the taylor. OKAY! I go there every week, so it is not a new thing. I ordered a jacket some weeks ago and I just got it, and yesterday I put in an order on a red suit. The red suit is my gift to myself, hehe.

Another fun thing I have encountered, was putting up trees here at the school. It was Thursday and master Bao had a digger, dig some holes in front of the school, and when we came back from qi gong class, he needed help to carry the trees and put them in the hole and plant them. I tell you those threes were not small at all. Two of them took seven people to lift. It was fun though to do things like landscaping in the middle of a normal training Thursday.  The thing is in the words kung fu, lies the meaning hard work.  So we actually did kung fu, when planting the trees. It was fun and I always like to help the school doing things.

When you are living here long term, you talk a lot about things you miss from back home, so I thought a lot about it, so which things do I miss from back home?

Ryebread (Danish sour dough bread), leverpostej  (similar to paté), cooking in my own kitchen, real melted cheese, , real pizza, to drive a car, indoor heating,  handball championships I television, danish milk, clubbing, my beloved triathlon bicycle and to swim.

I don´t have much to say this time because we haven’t had these big adventures like I have written about before, but this have made me think about this blog. You see, I have a plan to take this blog to another level. I want to do something extra besides just writing about my experiences here. So In the future I hope I can bring you some interviews with the students here. I want to do that because, then you can read about why they chose to go to china to train kung fu. I am not sure it can be done yet, but I will work on it. Also I just need to tweak the last bit, on the school movie, before it is ready.

So get ready for new exciting stuff in my blog…

Take care – kung fu kicks from me

More to come

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3 months in

new students, goodbye girls, students who didn´t come, new roommate for me, new master  and cold weather.

It´s been a while since my last blog, I am sorry about that.  Since last time a lot has happened. We have had two Danish girls here for a month, I have a roommate now and the weather is getting very very cold.

Before getting started I will show you some of the model pictures Kayvon and I just got from IMG_1448.jpgthe taylor.

Awesome pictures if I say so myself, the clothes well, let´s just say we didn´t choose it. But I do like the jacket and I will order it at the taylors this week. The red and white shirt Kayvon is wearing is mine. The taylor gave us a pair of black pants (ones we are wearing) and a shirt each. Kayvon got the same shirt as min just in white and blue.

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The Maling kung fu family has 7 members for the time being. The latest edition to the family is Brage Stensen from Norway. But in between this and my last blog we have had students to come and go.

So now the family contains: Matias (Denmark), Jauffrey (Holland), Kayvon (England/Doha), Tom (Canada), Alex (Switzerland) Brage (Norway) and Me off course, also from Denmark.

I don´t remember which night it was, but all the guys in the academy was in Jauffreys room, because we wanted to watch Rush hour 2 staring Chris tucker and Jackie Chan. We were kind of excited because we all knew that two Danish girls would join our family. Their names were Nanna and Ina and they were to stay here for two weeks. But after a week they changed it up to a month, because they wanted to learn a form or two and that is very hard to do in two weeks.

The group dynamic change because now we had three girls living here. The thing is when it is only guys the conversations can get very boyish and sometimes go way over the limit. When there are girls around the boundaries seems to be closer to normal.  Matias and I spoke a lot with the girls, because we all came from the same country. So we had a small Danish colony here at Maling Mountain.  Sadly they only stayed a month because they were travelling around in Asia, so they had to move on to the next place.

It was Saturday and everybody had to go to the taylor, either to pick up clothes or order something, and when we were waiting for clothes etc, Chen invited all of us to lunch at a Chinese restaurant. That meant his family, his coworkers and all of us. The place was amazing and it20151107_123517.jpg was 20151107_133258.jpgthe perfect conditions to say goodbye to Simona. It was very hard to say goodbye, cause I felt Simona and I had a good relationship, with a lot of good conversations and taking care of the dogs.

Even though it was hard to say goodbye, it was another great day with our friend Chen . He really does a lot of things for us. Side note – I got the model pictures from Kayvon and my photoshoot so here are some of them.

We thought we had some students to come, but they neve20151101_131125.jpgr arrived. We were expecting 5 new students, Mona was running around askin20151121_160140[1]g if who wanted a roommate. In the end room 208 became a Danish room. Matias moved in because we know each other from home and it just made sense for us to be roommates.

The fun thing is, we moved in together to make everything easier for the new students, for nothing, because the new students never arrived at least not the two guys there were to come. The three others was the Danish girls and the Brage from Norway.

We have also gotten a new master. Master way (I don’t know how to spell his name but it sounds like way). He is very good aP1240636.JPGnd he teaches in a different way than the other
masters but it is awesome. He is really great and Master du and him seem to have a lot of fun training us, so that is perfect.

OH MY GOD it is cold here in Maling Mountain. In this moment I am sitting fully dressed under my blanket trying to write with my cold hands.

Side note : WE HAVE GOTTEN NEW WASHING MACHINES, it is a miracle, – well, it is not a miracle, but it is awesome.

The cold and training in these conditions have made me think of things you need if you come here to train during the cold season.

When you live and train a place like this, it takes some time to figure out what you actually should have left at home, and what you should 20151119_164017[1].jpg20151125_174933[1].jpghave brought.

Frist of all, is warm training clothes the most important part, but not only one set of training clothes. I would recommend bringing at least two sweaters, ski underwear, two pairs of long pants, two hats, t
wo pairs of training gloves, two necktubes, warm socks and a WINDBREAKER (the wind is very cold). Why at least two of everything? Simply because, when you train and start sweating in you warm clothes it gets wet and you don’t want to train outside in wet clothes. It simply gets to cold and you will end up hating yourself for not bringing more clothes. I changes clothes in the lunch break usually, but the thing is, the clothes is not drying as fast as you want, so sometimes you wake up the day after with wet clothes. So I would actually recommend bringing three of everything to train in, if you are joining our family during winter/autum time.

Bringing nice clothes to go out? Hmm, I brought two shirts, two pairs of pants and smart shoes. Thinking about it and because we have the taylor, I would only have brought the shoes and bought the clothes at the taylors. First of all it is cheap, second of all it is personalized for your body. What more can you wish for.

I already bought, a black suit, Tai chi suit(picture) , a blazer and two shirts for now, and I am ordering two jackets next week.20151113_104838.jpg

Bring a good jacket no matter what, maybe one to city visits and one for training. I personally don´t train with a jackets given I dress in layers, to keep myself warm.

I think this is it for now, take care

More to come

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Willjan Hendrikx – A Kung Fu summer

WiljanBeep…Beep…Beep. It’s a quarter to six in the morning and my alarm shows no mercy. From a far and distant dreamland of sheer happiness I’m being dragged into harsh reality. Again, whereas this ritual repeats itself daily. With a sigh, I get myself up with a fluent movement. At least, that’s what I intent to do but a soar muscle prevents me from making the movement as smooth as I envisioned it. During a morning yawn, the realization kicks in: I’m not at home and I don’t have a day of PhD work ahead. Instead, I’m at a Kung Fu academy in rural China and another warm day of Kung Fu training awaits me. Now hurry for some relaxing early morning Tai Chi!

My name is Wiljan and I work as a PhD researcher and lecturer at a Dutch university. Last April, two friends and I decided to make the summer of 2015 epic. Instead of the usual summer holiday of relaxation and traveling, we choose for something completely different. We applied for a one month stay at Maling Shaolin Kung Fu Academy, China. Each of us had his own specific motivations for doing so. Mine revolved around the fact that during the year practically all my activities are very cognitive in nature: reading, writing, gathering and analyzing data, teaching etc. Despite its many positive aspects, doing a PhD is not automatically good for your physical condition, to make a bold understatement. I enthusiastically accepted the physical – and mental – challenge of going to a Kung Fu academy in an effort to ‘be more active’. Nevertheless, the very fact that I went in slightly – ok fair enough, leave out the ‘slightly’ – untrained did worry me. Luckily, this worry turned out to be unnecessary. Yes, it was by far the toughest thing I have ever done, but yes, it was awesome!

Looking back on the entire experience, there are at least two things that stand out to me and that I am particularly grateful for. First, enduring – and most of all enjoying – the physical trial gave me a huge kick. Being challenged to work hard and push myself to the limit was not only a fantastic experience in itself, it was also very encouraging to find out this ‘limit’ moves up gradually, showing significant improvement of strength and fitness. To me even more important, the constant focus on control of movement, stability, and power in the different elements included in the Kung Fu training made me experience a more positive balance between body and mind. It made me stop thinking and start doing. A truly relaxing experience. Second, as a PhD researcher my work revolves around the professional identity of teachers and doctors. To keep it short: professionalism in broad sense fascinates me. Being a student at the Kung Fu academy offered me the valuable experience of a completely different perspective on learning and mastering ‘professionality’. In contrast to Western academia, where you learn to manage your own education, the process of learning at a Kung Fu academy is one of letting go of control. In a way you have to transfer the responsibility of your development to the Kung Fu master while working hard with discipline and commitment. In turn, the master is devoted to the training of his students, feeling responsible for – and taking pride in – their progress. There is no standardized trajectory; no ‘teaching to the test’. In a way this kind of learning seems to come close to the kind that took place in traditional gilds where students were working towards mastering crafts.

I would love to thank Master Du, Master Bao, Mona & Lisa – I could have put the last two names the other way around, but I prefer this order for obvious reasons – and all the other students for making this an unforgettable and truly inspiring experience. The future will tell whether it will be a ‘once in a lifetime’ thing for me, but I think I will definitely be back at the academy one day. For now, I even found myself doing Tai Chi at 6am in the park the other day before starting my PhD work!

Wiljan Hendrikx

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We are not in Kansas anymore

China is not like home, if it was, what would be the point of going here? China, the academy and the lifestyle here is so tremendously different from back home, it’s not worse or better, its different and different sometimes takes some getting used to.

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Life is simple here in a way that is not possible at home, it gives you the opportunity to enjoy the little things in life. Like looking at the scenery and enjoying the weather when you are on your 15-20 minutes’ walk to the bus. The fields here are a lot nicer than the concrete buildings in my block.

The internet is not very good, there is only one hot shower, the food is monotonous, the washing machine is only with cold water and sometimes the power goes out for hours or even a day. You do not consider coming here for the luxurious accommodation, then you are better suited for just staying home or go on yet another all-inclusive beach holiday for an entire different price as well. What you are most likely to want from this stay is an experience of Chinese culture, an adventure for life and lots of kung fu training and that is exactly what you will get and it is amazing.

2015-09-09 06.11.49People are here for very different reasons and there is room for everybody. There is an age span of 25 years and still people get along across almost generations because of the common interest for kung fu. Some are here just because it sounded fun to do for a short period of time, some are here for a very long time in order to be so good that they can open a kung fu school back home or use it for other educational matters, some just for personal interest in martial arts, some because they needed a break from home and some because they are searching for both a question and an answer. The school itself does not have any answers, they just provide the settings, the atmosphere and the opportunity to sit down and ponder and come up with the answers on your own.

2015-08-28-20.010There are good days and bad days down here or sometimes you can have a perfect culture shock switch from hating everything to realize that it is not all that bad at all within a single day. I had one after a few weeks. “I feel miserable, my back hurts, I hate china and I am out of chocolate” that was the first part of the day. In the afternoon we went to Wongchon, ate dumplings, went shopping, I got compliments for my Chinese when I bought chicken (major win), went to the supermarket and then ate a pile of junk food. Then suddenly I didn’t feel so blue and went to bed happy about China and life again.

When I am at home I am one of those business people, always looking immaculate with the perfect clothes and makeup (that’s what I am aiming for at least), here I have been wearing makeup and regular clothes 4 times in 6 weeks and then still very relaxed. Even though I am not one of the worst persons (considering that I am a girl) it is still somehow liberating to just get up put a little water in your face, put on your slightly smelling, despite that they have been washed, training cloths and just go downstairs and start training. I never thought I would get used to that, but even the constant slight smell of sweat from myself or the others has become normal (even though that took a little longer to get used to).

On occasion the only thing you can hear is the wind and bugs summing, most of the time though there is cacophony of sounds from the life at the school. Someone playing music, a door smacking, the pet cat, Mimi, meowing like someone is torturing her (her way of saying “give me attention”), the dogs barking the ducks/chickens/geese quacking or the time confused rooster that often thinks 3 AM is sunrise. Those are the sounds from within the school. From the outside you can hear the farmers on their scooters on their way to their fields, the cows and more chickens. In my world, that beats the sound of constant car noises or construction work in my street at home. I would not mind the rooster moving away though, or just getting a sense of time.

2015-08-30-08.27When we are running you can be assured to get a smile, a wave or (I hope it is) an encouraging comment in Chinese on the way. When it was peanut harvest season they would not seldom offer you a handful of strings full of peanuts. This is the first time I have seen ( or even thought of) how peanuts are grown and harvested. They work kind of like potatoes, it’s a small bush like plant you dig up and then there are small strings with the peanuts attached. They are being pulled from the ground, then picked and laid to dry in the sun. The plants are also being dried in order to later be grinded up for feeding for the chickens in winter, no waste. Everything is done by hand and in a cozy no stress manner, they are just sitting in their fields and talking while they work. Fresh peanuts tastes so much better than the dried ones we get at home, they taste more fresh, juicier and crisp.

Behind the academy there is a small land area, it is the plan that in the future it should be turned into a small forest park for training but right now it is used for farming, all sorts of things but all something used in the food here at the school. When I came the watermelon season had just finished in the garden. They all got a dreaming look on their face when they explained how Mama Bao would come in during dinner/lunch with a bowl full of ice cold juicy cut watermelon on those extremely hot summer days.

When there is no training there are three things people are spending their time on (when they are not sleeping or eating).
1. Watching movies/series. Most students with respect for themselves have an external hard drive with enough hours to last the next three years.2015-09-27 14.19.45
2. Cross-stitching; never have I ever seen so many guys go crazy in a shop of cross-stitching embroidery, seriously, they can spend hours in there! Much worse than when I am looking at bags.
3. Pondering over the big things in life, but mostly about “how on earth did that giant bug come in to my room when the window is closed” or “how can we teach the cat to stop meowing constantly”.

When students talk together there is one subject we keep coming back to over and over again and that is food. It is the main reason for going anywhere, super market is the second reason (and that’s food too), and we can start discussing already Sunday/Monday what and where we are going to eat in the coming weekend. Another famous question around the same subject is “what is the first thing you are going to eat when you get home?” when I got that questions in my first days I was taken a bit back by it, I had just gotten here, I wanted Chinese food! It took my only a week until I started joining those conversations about steak, gravy, potatoes, ice cream, pancakes, nachos, waffles and what not.

2015-09-28 14.29.30The school has a bookshelf full of all sorts of books. They are brought here by the students and then left for future students to enjoy (and make space in their suitcases for souvenirs) there is a great mix of both languages and subjects, enough for many hours of fun when you get tired of cross-stitching (I still haven’t understood that, must be a guy thing).

Another “famous” thing are the bakeries, they are full of cake, cake is good.
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There is no place like home, but china is pretty awesome too.

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Competition or perfomance, modelling and goodbye

The competition, that became a show performance, which made motivation to demotivation, but we won got gold medals. Confused? ”Oh yeah”, so were we.

Two weeks ago I had a weird week here, but the ending was amazing. It camIMG_0016e to our attention that we had to go to a competition, so our training schedule was put to side and the only aim for the week was training forms for the competition. It also meant that Alex and I had four days to learn the group-form to perfection. This meant a lot of hard work and repetitions. Everybody was so focused; it was amazing to see how much the competition meant, for the school and for all of us.

Given my last few amazing weeks, where going with the flow and taking chances gave me a lot of amazing opportunities, I thought to myself, that I wanted to compete in my continues fist form, even though I just finished it. I am that sort of athlete who competes to win; even though I knew I didn´t stood a chance. I want to win every time I compete in something, but in this case it was okay for me just to compete.

The hardest part of the week was we didn´t get any info about when and where we had to IMG_0019go. Wednesday we were told that we maybe had to go the same day, but also we were told it wasn´t a competition for us, only a performance, which had the aim of drawing more attention to the competition, given it wasn´t a big one but they wanted it to be bigger next year.

So we were the main attraction suddenly and the motivation we all had, was suddenly just gone completely. When we went on with our training, you could just see how people weren´t focused anymore, and how perfecting forms didn´t seem to matter. Don´t get me wrong here, the group form still had to be in perfect synchronization. When we are asked to represent the school we do it win honor and pride, but the individual forms weren´t practiced that much after the info.

It became Thursday and we still didn´t know when we had to go, but later in the morning we got the info, that we had to go at 2 pm, and we had to spent the night at a hotel. It all went by so fast so none of us thought about our passports, which in most cases you have to bring if you want to check into a hotel. This meant that master Bao had to drive back in the evening to collect our passports.

The morning after we had to meet at 7 am and go, to another hotel where the competition was being held. We found ourselves in a big conference room with a thick carpet on the IMG_0017floor. I admit the carpet was ideal for making jumps and landings, but if you had to change from horse stance to bow stance your foot could easily be stuck and you would twist your knee. The reason why this was not good for me was I had some knee problems, which started the day before, so I was very scared to get an injury.
The group form was amazing, and it felt really good and people where cheering us on. My continues fist was okay, I felt a had a lot of speed, but lacked some power in my punches, so all in all very good.

We stayed to watch the kids compete and there was some awesome kids in between, but IMG_0030most of them didn´t have any power in their moves, only speed, but when you are between 10-15 years old and already know a lot of forms, then the power will come later on.  There was also sanda tournament and we actually saw a kid getting knocked out with a kick to his face. It was awesome; “well maybe not for him, but for the spectators.

We were as earlier mentioned the main attraction, so people took pictures like we were celebrities, at some point I think we were standing with a big smile on our faces for half an hour just for picture taking. They just kept on coming. I love it but some if the others think that it is a bit tiring.IMG_0013

Something that I found really irritating was the referees at this tournament. They said
there was always one watching the kids perform but a lot of times they just sat there with their cellphones or just spoke to each other. How can you decide a winner if you don´t see half of the competitors?

A cool thing about the referees was that when they were bored they just went to the floor an started performing a form or some tai chi. We saw a 75 old man performing the tiger. It was amazing to see that his age wasn´t a problem.

After a pretty long day without much sleep we went home, so we thought. We were driven 20151009_143009to a Chinese kung fu school who also wanted us to do some PR for them, so they took some pictures of us around their school. The school had the best outdoor training environment and we kind of wanted to stay and train there. It was a really cool school. 20151009_143211

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The day after we took  the bus to Xinyi. We started with the taylor because some of the guys had some clothes to pick up and I had to place an order. I ordered a black suit, tai chi suit and a blazer. It will cost me 900 kuai, which is nothing compared to what a suit co20151011_103950st in Denmark. This means that I properly will ruin my budget completely. The taylor asked Kayvon and I if we were free to model the day after and that was of course a big yes.

Sunday we met the tailor at 9 and went for a photo-shoot. It was an amazing day and yet again I lived out a dream of mine. We went for lunch with the tailor, his family and all his coworkers. It was an amazing day which ended up with him inviting us to see a town which has a great history.  Yet again going with the flow seemed to lead me to amazing things here on my adventure.20151011_135638

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Tuesday in this week that just passed by, master Bao came with medals and diplomas for us. We got gold medal for our group form, for best perf20151013_114156ormance and those of us who did an individual form, got a gold medal for outstanding contribution. It was a bit weird given we weren´t in the competition. The only way I could get it to make sense was that there was some sort of competition going on, on the side with performances. Because when I think about all the referees and other Chinese people that busted out a form once in a while, then it would make sense that they did it to maybe win something. Otherwise I don’t know.

One thing is for sure, I am proud of my medals even if they are just performance medals 20151013_114427and maybe not “real” competition medals. I now have medals in every sport I ever did in my life.

It was also the week where Martijn was going home after a year here. So last Friday we went to the barbeque place, played pool and sang karaoke. The masters joined us. It was a good way to say goodbye to Martijn even though the karaoke room didn´t have a lot of songs that were good. They had, all the right artist but usually it was either only one 20151016_223143song or songs you never heard about.  Even though it was a long night it was a good night. We got up this morning at 4.45 to say goodbye. This one was a bit harder than the other ones because he really helped me a lot with my forms etc. but as I told him; I will come to Holland and we will 20151018_044959get drunk and go to a rave.

Yet again these goodbyes are something you need to take into consideration when you live
one year in a school like ours. But it is worth it

More to come

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Week of goodbyes

We were 13 students for a very short time, then within 8 days 6 people left and one went on holiday for 2 weeks. Suddenly the school feels a little empty, even though we know more students are coming soon. It is always hard to say goodbye, you get to be quite close when you live and train together with people in the way it is done here.

20150820_122202One of the students leaving were a returning student, he had been there for one month last summer and had liked it so much that he came back this summer for another month. He has a very hectic job and as he said, this was the only place where he felt that he could let it go proper before going back. A few days before his departure he bought a gigantic cake, maybe inspired by some of the students (I am completely innocent) complaining that it had been a while since they had cake. It was a gorgeous cake, layers with jam and pieces of fruit and lots of cream on it. Master Du apparently has a thing for cake, he was the first on the spot and he got the biggest piece and looked very happy with it.
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20150819_191247One of the other students leaving was a one year student, and then something a little bigger is arranged. He invited all the students and masters out for dinner at a restaurant, we got the biggest table and the biggest menu plan they had for 1000 yuan. That was an experience; everybody had dressed up for the occasion. When you don’t get to go out much and are dressed in training cloths most of the time it is nice to have a reason to do it. 20150819_194701People look very different in “normal” clothes. The food was amazing, they just kept bringing in food and people were attacking it like they had been starving for days. It was traditional Chinese food, and lots of it, some were better than others and some were uneatable because they were too spicy. We were sitting there for a few hours just talking and having fun 20150819_202043before it was time to go home and sleep around 22. The day after he left, as is tradition, we were all there to say goodbye when the taxi came to pick him up and we waved him goodbye. As a proper goodbye there even were a few tears.

The last ones to leave were the Dutch guys I had arrived with. 3½ week had passed and they were on their way home to the daily hassle and I haven’t even adjusted to the life here yet. They were set to leave at 6 am on a Saturday morning, most said their goodbyes to them in the evening. Traditions are not adhered to when it is 6 in the morning on the day you can sleep in. 2015-08-25-12.30On the same day, just a few hours later the only other girl at the school left for a 2 week holiday and suddenly we were 6 people left. The good thing about it is that the rest of us has the master all to ourselves and we learn faster😛

In a few days there is a new guy coming, a Dane even. You might not know it yet, but we will take over the world. There is no plan for when the next students after the Dane is coming but there are rumors that there are quite a few coming in a months’ time😀

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Going with the flow part 2

Friday was another long night because we had poker night. Poker night is kind of a tradition when the person who
won last time is going home. We have a big jar of coins we use to play with and the nuy in is 10 kuai. This time we played because Anita won last time, and she is going home next week. Poker night ended past midnight and we were exhausted which also made it very fun, there were a lot of laughter because we were overtired and couldn´t think straight.

Saturday became a spontaneous crazy day with wine, steak, modeling, massage and maybe a job opportunity. The day started with all of us going to Xinyi as we usually do, but this time we were going to eat at the same place we ate lunch Thursday. Because we told everybody about it, so they wanted to try it. Even maste Du joined us.20150926_113127

We took the early bus at 9.40 because some of the others needed to go to the tailor and Anita, Alex and I went for a massage. The massage was very interesting because it was performed by blind people.  It was 50 kuai for an hour massage. I got a full body massage, but sitting here the day after, I am not sure I am going again. It was interesting but It hurt a lot and afterwards I felt even worse in my muscles, and today it is even worse. But I think Alex and Anita enjoyed it.

After the massage we went for lunch and after the lunch it got interesting. A guy from Doha/England named Kayvon were asked if he wanted to model for the tailor and were to go back after lunch to do that. I almost didn´t go, but the others didn´t know what they were going to do, so a walk to the tailor and watching a photo shoot seemed like a great idea. When we arrived there, I was asking for prices for a tai chi suit, and a black suit and coats. The tailor and his son drove us in their big ass M20150926_150604ercedes to the photographers studio, where we met a girl and the photographer. For a second time we just got into the car and drove with the tailor without knowing where we were going. We just went with the flow and just wanted to see what would happen.

We wounded up at a beautiful place with some beautiful apartments. The ph20150926_152102otoshoot with Kayvon were to take place there. While I was eaten up by mosquitoes kayvon was changing
clothes and they started shooting. There was a communication gap given only the tailor´s son knows a little bit of English, but not enough to explain everything without google translate.  I have some experience with photoshoots and a clothes. So I couldn´t help myself, I just automaticall20150926_150850y started to help Kayvon with the poses and started to pick out which clothes to wear. After a few pictures we moved location and luckily the tailor had some bug spray. The new location was better, because there were no mosquitoes, hehe. We used the car as a prop and I started helping even more with poses and which clothes. I think mostly I did it because I was a bit jealous. I really wanted to model too. Meanwhile Kayvon modeled, the girl asked me for my
number because she wanted me to model. That was awesome, and it alle ended up with
them getting our email address, because it was easier for them to reach us by mail. So this going with the flow day wounded up to be a job opportunity. It is not like we will make a killing, its more we will have a lot of fun and get gifts like free clothes etc. it was one of the best days for me.

We thought the day was over, but the Tailors son asked us if we wanted to go for dinner with him and we said yes. We ended up in a place called ya qi café. They serve western food and we found out that they served steak and pizza just like a German restaurant in Xuzhou.  So now we don´t need to go all the way to Xuzhou anymore to get steak.

It was amazing place. We sat in great couches and eat a lovely dinner and I had a real 20150926_172133glass of red wine. After dinner the tailor´s son even wanted to drive us home, but we had some stuff we wanted to buy so he drove us to the supermarket and drove off. Kayvon and me were so excited about the day and we just wanted more modeling jobs. So hopefully they will write us very soon for some jobs.20150926_172032

Today it is Sunday and I can´t stop thinking about this week. This week was the best I have had since I arrived here. I even broke my record on my 12k run Friday. As I told Kayvon yesterday, this is why we do things like going to China to live for a year. Simply because of these adventures we have had this week. Sometimes you just go with the flow and see what happens and this time it ended up with the best week ever.

More to come

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Going with the flow

Going with the flow is what makes an adventure that more amazing. I have had the best week ever, just because I took the opportunities that suddenly appeared, out of nowhere. Sometimes it was just  luck other times it was all about being quick.

It was an ordinary week in which I did struggle a little bit energy wise and also had a hard time with my motivation for running. Nonetheless I ran 10k Monday, 12k Tuesday and took a break Wednesday because my feet were killing me for some reason.  Wednesday we went for a spontaneous trip for whong zhong, because a lot of needed to go to the supermarket and we wanted some western food. I wounded up in a lot of souvenir shops and bought 6 necklaces. I do like to wear simple necklaces. It was a great trip where I also got one of the best banana milkshakes ever.

It became Thursday where opportunities presented itself. Master Bao wanted some students to go and perform some kung fu somewhere and he asked the three students who has been here the longest. They didn´t know where they had to go or ho20150924_101833w long it would take. Anita who works with the school public relation and marketing would usually go to film the performance, but she was sick and couldn´t go. This gave m
e an opportunity. I have the last two weeks been filming our training to make a movie about what we do here at Maling academy. Because of that Anita asked me if I would like to skip training and go with the other guys to the performance.  This was perfect, because it was something different to do and my feet was stilling hurting so it would be good to rest them.  So I went for it, without knowing where we had to go or how long it would take.

Apparently it was in Xinyi city and it was a grand opening for a supermarket. Again we were there  to advertise for oil, the same oil we advertised for a couple of weeks ago.  This20150924_101827 was a big event. There were a lot of people gathered outside the supermarket and people turned their head when we appeared in our green polo shirts. There was a stage where some people were talking to the crowd whilst throwing free things to the crowd.  It was crazy every time something flew through the air, because the crowd fought for every free thing.

We almost didn´t arrive before going to the stage, and the guys were asked to go up on the stage to perform without time to prepare. I was so confused and when I went to the crowd 20150924_101822to film, there was a Chinese guys pulling my arms and pointing to the stage which wounded up in me not getting the first performance in camera. The crowd went wild when the laowai (foreigners) did kung fu on the stage. It is fun to be a laowai here in China because you are almost treated like a celebrity over here. People wants to take pictures with you and they say hallo. When you say hallo back they either laugh or smiles. They  especially loves it if you say hallo in Chinese (ni hao).

After a five minute performance we went downtown to get something to eat. Master bao found an amazing place to eat. It was all you can eat and drink for 39 kuai. The concept is that you go and get what you want and then cook it or fried it yourself. It is an amazing place and after ten minutes we already decided to come there again. There were so much to choose from, meat, vegetables, sushi, cake, coffe, beer, coke, ice cream etc.20150926_122809

After luch we kind of just walked around in Xinyi, because we had to wait for Master Bao to pick us up and bring us back to the grand opening event. We got picked up at four pm, so we could go and perform again. After the second performance we had to go into the supermarket and we got a tour in the supermarket of course the girl who gave us the tour spoke Chinese. So in general we just followed her and to pretend to listen. We ended up where the oil was placed in the supermarket and once again we had to pretend to listen to the girl talking about the product and simultaneously photos were taken and a guy filmed it. Meanwhile a crowd was gathering around us, so there were a lot of Chinese people standing around us taking pictures of us.  Then we got 100 kuai from the supermarket to buy fruit etc. Think it was another PR stunt, so people saw laowai buying things in the new supermarket.20150924_175241

Then we had some free time on our hands, so we just watched the event. Master baos kid Ze Ze was with us and he wanted to catch some free stuff, so we helped him. I took him
and held him on my arm while catching things with other hand for him to get. It was a bit funny because even though I only am 180 centimeters tall I am considered a tall person in China and I could catch things in the air before the Chinese crowd. Ze Ze was very happy for the things we got.

It had been a long day, and all of us just wanted to go home, but suddenly we were invited for dinner. We drove to a small place, beside a high way. It didn´t even looked like a restaurant, but it was. We got a lot of food. We had noodles, chicken, eggs, sweet caramelized potato, soup etc and beer to drink. It was a good evening with a lot of talk about parents, football and tennis. When we got home we were exhausted.

But it was only the beginning for me and going with the flow.

more to come

 

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Sparetime in a kung fu academy

We have a lot of spare time, in which I use for my tv-series and movies. In the weekends we go for trips. Usually we end up in Xinyi city where we eat at a place called big pizza. It costs 55 kuai and then you can eat all the pizza, spaghetti , French fries, nuggets, meat dishes etc you want. The prize includes drinks as well. Also I have been i20150926_172021n Xuzhou which is a lot bigger city than Xinyi and you can get more western things there including MC Donalds and steaks, and I do like my steaks.

I have been here for one month now, and I have said goodbye to six people and hello to one new guy. This is also a thing that was in my thoughts before I left for this adventure. You meet a lot of new people from all over the world, and if you are a long term student, you need to be prepared for, all the goodbyes too.

The thing is you are going to love it here no matter what, cause the friendships you gain and all the things you learn about kung fu and the Chinese culture is definitely worth it. Luckily I have 11 months left to enjoy this place, which also means I will write a lot more about staying, training and living in Maling kung fu academy.

The Photoshoot

Our headmaster asked us a couple of weeks ago to help him and his friends with some advertising for something. We will of course, as students at Maling Academy, always help our headmaster and do things for the school. This were some kind of photo shoot, where we had to stand and listen to a Chinese girl explaining about their product, which werphotoshoot oliee oil.

They a lot of picture of us and we had to pretend to buy some oil and then carry it all the way to the cashier so everybody saw us. There were taken a lot of pictures and the whole session where filmed. We had a lot of fun pretending we wanted oil and really where interested in the product.

Crazy Monday story

Okay it was Monday, and we were eating breakfast, when we suddenly hear someone fighting outside in Chinese.I walked outside to see what was going on and it was three very old people standing there having a shout out with mama Bao. At that time I never got what the discussion was all about, but later that day I found out. The morning discussion lasted for an hour or so before Master Bao followed an old man in a wheelchair out. The nabo tok a plastic  tube with him when he left earlier. It was really weird.

Then we had our Sanda lesson and suddenly we heard a pounding of some sort. It was the nabo pounding a hole in our wall around the school. Master du said we should continue training, but we were curios and also we wanted to do something about it. But here in China you can´t do anything about old people because the police will always take their side because it is not worth it to put them into jail even if the do something illegal. My first thought were to just go over there and push the old man, but master du said we should never do anything because we would wind up in jail then. Even if we found an old guy dead we should walk away, because we could get framed for murder just because we were there to report it.

We began training again,and after a while we got the craziest story about the incident. Apparently the old nabo felt that since maling academy moved into to this facility and this location they have gotten sick, and he felt it was the wall making them sick. Yeah you don´t need glasses, I wrote he felt the wall made them sick, so he wanted to remove it.

My first thought was that, maybe it is because he is old and have no hygiene whatsoever, he becomes sick? But nooo .. it was the walls fault. We couldn´t stop joking around about the wall making us all sick hehe… crazy Monday.

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My training schedule

Monday morning I wake up at 05.55 brush my teeth and get ready for tai chi. Tai chi is optional, but it is great in the morning. I feel I have a lot more energy for the rest of the day when the day begins with tai chi and also you can learn some pretty cool forms.  After tai chi, we have breakfast and then a break until 8.30 where the training begins again. We always begin by warming up by doing pushups and squats plus a 2k run. Then we stretch. Then we have shaolin basic which consist of basic moves in different forms. For example the tiger, dragon, eagle forms. After that we have traditional forms, where you are usually training one form. I am currently in the middle of the continues fist form, and I finished the five step form which is the first form you will learn.

Then we have a lunch break from 11.30 to 14.30 until we have sanda counter acting which is Chinese form of kick boxing. In counteracting, we learn how to counterattack punches20150822_094434
and kicks. We start every afternoon with the same warm up like we do in the morning. That warm up happens every day. Then you can choose to do wing chun as the last lesson on Monday.  I usually go for a run for an hour from 13.30 to 14.30 every day.

Tuesday means jumps and rolls, which we now call acrobatics. That is really tough on your body and it can be difficult depending on your background. Luckily I have a Physical education background so all my basic rolls and jumps came in handy in the beginning. The cool thing is that our master will take you away from the training to teach you how to do the jumps and rolls basic if you don´t know them beforehand. Also we have a saying in acrobatics to take care of ourselves. -“If you can´t do it, don´t try” We have that rule so we don´t get injuries. Tuesdays continues with  applications, which is where we learn to apply stuff we have learned and where we learn to fight with sticks and protect ourselves against knife attacks. After lunch we have shaolin takedowns, which is a lesson about how to take an attacker down fast and effective. Then there is an optional class called baji, which is a form of kung fu which focuses on eksplosive fist and elbows. I do not take that class myself.

Wednesdays are like Mondays, but the afternoon class is called sanda punches and kicks, which means we learn basic punches and kicks.20150904_114414

Thursdays we have shaolin dynamic qi gong, which is a form of kung fu stretching, but also meditation. It gives you so much energy, which is good because after qi gong, we have conditioning. This is where we condition our bodies to withstand kicks and punches.  I will honestly tell you now, this hurts a lot sometimes, but afterwards you do feel pretty good about yourself for some reason hehe. In the afternoon we have powertraining. Powertraining compares to crossfitt, but the stamina training in crossfit is only 10%. The main focus is on strength, and our master goes to length to wear you out hehe. You feel so great after.

Fridays contains power stretching, which also hurts a lot hehe.  It contains traditional forms and stamina training. In stamina training we run 10k. I usually run 12k before stamina training and then run as far as I feel I can. Usually that means 21-30k.

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Arrival and first impressions

Sitting in the Airport of Billund, made me think a lot and yeah I was starting to be a little scared about what I was about to do. I had a layover in Abu Dhabi and Beijing. I waited 14 hours in Abu Dhabi and 9 hours in Beijing. I will never go for the cheapest ticket again. It left me with too much time to think and when you can´t sleep in plains the overthinking begins to get the best of you. It actually took me so far, so when I arrived in Beijing and they lost my luggage, I was prepared to go home again and leave the dream behind. Luckily my mom always taught me to be prepared, so I had some clothes in my hand luggage.

When I finally arrived at the academy, I met my roommate George and even though I was tired and exhausted, we ended up talking for a few hours before bedtime. The first weekend in the academy was great even though I didn´t have any luggage I had a lot of fun. I got to know the people at the academy by playing poker Friday and going to Xinyi city Saturday. When I came here, there were 12 people attending the academy and everybody went for Xinyi that Saturday.

I got to an ATM to withdraw some money, and I saw a little bit of the city in which we come a lot to eat western food and to do some grocery shopping, which are not as much groceries as it is cookies, chips, cola and other good things hehe. You need things like that to indulge yourself after a week’s hard training.

I knew I was in great shape because of my triathlon and it served me well,20150911_112839 when I had my first training day. Don´t get me wrong, if you are not use to train a lot, your body will hurt a lot in the beginning, and even though I was in great shape, I must admit, training 25 hours a week will take its toll on your body. There were days where I just didn´t have any energy at all.

This will maybe sound a bit weird, but from the beginning of my training I have tried to find time to run a lot more. As mentioned earlier I wanted to train for the Chinese wall marathon. It took some time for my body to get used to the training, and not before my body adapted to the training, could I figure out a running schedule for myself.

The very cool thing about Maling academy is that they understand that you want to do something like training for the marathon. Don´t get me wrong, you still have to attend the kung fu training no matter how little energy you have left. But that is also the cool thing about it, because the training keeps pushing you in a good way, even though it is hard.

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George Sklavounos

George-sklavounosWhen writing this post after finishing my two months at Maling Shaolin Kung Fu Academy, I couldn’t really think of anything particularly amazing – mostly because everything I’d experienced had been amazing in one way or another. Having said that, there are a few choice moments that stand out: power stretching, power training, and stamina training. These three classes come but once a week, all on Thursday or Friday, and are all memorable experiences.

Power stretching is a form of medieval torture I’m assuming was reserved for only the most heinous offenders. It’s a series of stretches designed less to warm your body up and more to increase your flexibility, usually by having your body pushed as far as it can go and then holding that position for a count to 20. My first power stretching class wasn’t too rough; everyone’s always trying to prevent injuries and I was with the most senior student, so he knew what he was doing and took it easy on me. The next week, though, was significantly rougher. What made it even more interesting was the fact that at the end, the Headmaster told us all that we weren’t stretching far enough, and that students should be screaming in pain during power stretching class. We didn’t quite understand what he meant until the next week, when he personally took charge of power stretching some young Chinese boys who had come to learn at the school. Feeling your leg stretched almost to breaking point, then looking up and seeing a small boy crying and screaming in pain as a Shaolin master presses down on his back isn’t something I’ll soon forget. We were all kind of amused though, because we were all in the same boat as them, we just couldn’t bend as far.

china-kungfu-shaolin-wushu-malingPower training is the signpost used to mark the start of the weekend; it’s the last hurdle on a Thursday before training starts to wind down. It’s usually a series of exercises involving two bricks – things like holding sanda stance with two bricks until shifu says stop, flys with bricks while holding them up in between motions, side kicks with bricks, front kicks with bricks, and holding mabu (horse stance) with bricks. I’m not sure whether it’s because the school is running out of bricks or to give motivation for proper balance, but it’s common knowledge that dropping your brick will result in 30 pushups, and breaking your brick results in 100. Still not as bad as some sanda classes, where every punch your opponent connects with your face is 10 pushups for you.

Finally, stamina training, possibly my favourite class of them all. Stamina training is a 10 kilometre run through beautiful Chinese farmland, a small market nearby, then up a hill to a teahouse and back. It’s a fantastic way to finish off the week, running through trees and smiling and waving to the locals yelling ‘hello’ to you from their cars or from the street, then finally reaching the top of the hill and smelling fresh pine trees all around you – something I haven’t seen anywhere else in China.

Power stretching, power and stamina training make up the triumvirate of support classes that make you faster, stronger, more flexible, and able to practice longer. I could instantly tell the difference after my second week with how much easier it was to do my forms and basics, and how much stronger I felt. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the Mandarin classes; I’ve been studying Chinese for a year and a half and still didn’t really feel like I had a grip on the language, but being around so many Chinese people and having the school’s translator, Mona, happily answer my questions and explain the proper way to say things has made me a lot more confident in my Chinese abilities.

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Who I am?

Well, that is a hard question to answer, cause how many people can say,mig randersgames h they know exactly who they are? So I´ll leave you with the facts.

My name is Morten and I am from Denmark. I am a 29 year old P.E, English and special needs teacher. I finished teacher college right before I went on my adventure in China. I am while training kung fu in China taking a break from my latest passion, Triathlon, in which I have plans to complete an Ironman when I come home to Denmark again.

When I lived in Denmark I lived in a city called Randers, but had my studies in Aarhus, which is Denmark’s second biggest city. I have a Little sister and a big brother.

My passion is sport in every aspect. I have played, handball, football, badminton, cricket, volleyball and a lot more, before I became a triathlete. I completed my first half ironman the 31th of May 2015.

The thing is, I am a guy who has a lot of passions. I love music, I played drums, I played guitar and I sing. I am also A movie/series “addict”.

I am one of those people who set my aims high and do a lot to complete my goals. My sister once told me that I figure out something I want to do, and then I just do it. I mean why not follow your dreams and set some goals and complete them? I have a lot of plans of things I want complete. I have a passion for finding perspectives in life and add them to my own life. I do love to think about my life and find new sides of myself.

My first goal is to complete a marathon whilst I am in China. I figure if I am going to complete an Ironman when I come home, why not start by completing a marathon, particularly the Chinese wall marathon, the 16th of May.

So why suddenly leave Denmark and take a break from triathlon to do kung fu? And why a whole year?

Well I am a guy who likes to be focused when I do things. I have always dreamt about being able to do kung fu, and yes I could have chosen to do in my spare time while I studied, but kung fu is so complex and has so many aspects, so I didn´t want to split my focus while learning it. Simultaneously I live to find perspectives, so going to China and live in another culture gives my life a whole lot of perspectives.

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Stories from a weekend

20150814_190613My second weekend, Friday evening entertainment was poker night, Texas holdem. Some of the guys went out and bought some crates of beer, amazingly 2,5% but still. Normally the students don’t drink beer at the school but every now and then we get permission to drink one or two for an occasion like poker night. The buy-in was 10 yuan and the winner would get the trophy Totoro piggy bank (I love Totoro) with all the coins accumulated over an entire year from one of the students about to leave. My poker experience is a few games 10 years -ish ago so I didn’t have the highest expectations of myself. 20150814_194805Somehow though my pile of money grew bigger, despite me not being entirely sure why I won half the time…. We started 8 people, by the time we were down to 4 I had started getting the idea of the game, it took me 5 hours in total, but I won!!!😀😀 the only guy in the room who was actually good at poker told me it was a phenomenon called “beginners luck”, I choose to dismiss that. 20150815_000754I won the Totoro!
After a few days i counted all the money in the Totoro, (thats how much free time i have) and it contained 389 yuan. most of what will be given away, in a new jar, the same way when i leave. Poker.

On the Saturday I had been looking forward to sleeping in, especially since the poker match had lasted until 00.30. But no, 5.30 I woke up, the rooster outside my window didn’t really help either, pure determination to sleep-in resulted in that I fell asleep again all the way until 7.30 and then I gave up. Spend the morning reading and considering doing some of the stuff I was supposed to do but not actually doing any of it. Being a student for so many years has made a master of procrastination.20150815_141841 We went to the city, I got the adventure of a massage that turned out to be not really what I thought I paid for (see post about injury).20150815_141602 But on the good side I got the most amazing banana split. It actually tasted like ice-cream, and it had 3 different flavored toppings and we even got extra chocolate!! It was a little bit of heaven. While i was disappointed about my massage some of the guys had a different and more fun time playing pool around the corner with quite good quality tables, except the one i played a little at, that table must have been crooked.2015-08-22-15.23

In the supermarket I had some extra time, mostly because I didn’t have the insane list of things I needed like at my first trip. The bad thing about that is that I spend some extra time on the snacks/chocolate/drinks isles. I bought quite a deal, telling myself that then it should be able to last for an entire week, or two if I were a little strict on myself (don’t know who I was trying to fool with that).

I love Sundays!

The amount of things you don’t have to do is great. There are no other plans than the ones you make yourself. It is amazing to have an entire day to rest your body, mind and muscles. If I were at home I would also say something about catching up on sleep, but I still wake up latest at 7 and my back still haven’t gotten used to the bed so more than 8 hours is not really possible for me yet, I will keep practicing it though.

2015-08-29-14.48My biggest problem with Sundays is that I apparently have the backbone of an earthworm ( Christmas wish, again) and having an entire room full of snacks and candy is not helping.
The pile I had thought would last for a week or two didn’t even last to the afternoon. Among others (chips, wine-gums), I ate insane 460grams/1 pound of snickers. Small ones individually packed but somehow I applied that smoking thing of turning on a new cigarette with the last of the one you were smoking to snickers. I opened one, ate it, and before I finished chewing on the last bit I was opening the next one. And I don’t even like snickers that much!!! I am almost disappointed that I didn’t even get a bad stomach, I really would have deserved it. On the other hand I think I broke the record for how much weight you can gain in 2 days…. Good thing it is Monday and back to training tomorrow.

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INJURY!!!!!!

I´m 30 years old (still working my mind around that I should be an adult (not going very well)) and my body is starting to act out. An old back injury came back and caused inscrutable pain for 2 days. It might have something to do with me getting hit by a car, doing nothing for 2 weeks and then going to China and train 4-6 hours a day, stupid body can’t even handle that…. It happened on a Thursday and the only thing that kept me afloat was painkillers and the thought of the massage I was getting on the Saturday.

massage-pain-china-mandarin-kungfu-relief-shaolinSadly my idea of a massage mixed with my really bad Chinese resulted in a package that I thought would include a 90 minute full body massage and hopefully instant pain relief. Instead it turned out to be a 10 minute face massage, 2 minute shoulder rub, 3 minutes trying to talk Chinese/understand that the massage guy wanted to know if the water my feet was in was the right temperature. This was followed by a 45 minute foot wash/pedicure/massage, very nice, but also slightly awkward since I don’t really like people touching my feet…. 15 minutes where spend on massaging my arms and legs including 2 minutes where he tried to stretch my leg upwards and started ramping in Chinese on something I can only assume was about my flexibility (it was actually good) and me in broken Chinese explain its because I do Kungfu at the Maling shaolin kungfu academy.massage-china-pain-kungfu-shaolin-training The last 15 minutes where finally spend on massaging my back, or at least 13 minutes of them, 2 of them where used on, at least I think, talking to the other masseuse saying that my shoulders where hard as concrete since he even had her reach over from the other bed to touch them…
But at least the beds were soft, i also think i would have enjoyed it at least a bit more if i hadn’t expected something completely different (something nerdy about Monthy Python and the Spanish inquisition)

I took a picture of the “menu card” at the reception of the place, pretty determent to have Mona, the Chinese translator at the school tell me what I actually ordered and which one I should point at next time. I really should get better at Chinese…

Sunday my back was still hurting, but at least I was off the pain meds, my new hope is that hard training will ease the pain, or at least move it to other parts of the body.
Hard training did NOT help…. Back on the pain meds…. Talked with the shifu about what to do, he gave me some stretching exercises and even offered to give me a little massage. That helped so I could then at least breathe without pain. Some of the other students mentioned a guy doing acupuncture in a nearby town that was cheap and good. Despite my distrust in alternative treatments I said yes, almost before they finished their suggestion for me to try it, anything to get the pain away and to be able to train again.

tucktuck-china-kungfu-training-shaolin-painA tuck-tuck was called after lunch and it turned out two other students wanted to join me and the translator as well. From the outside it doesn’t really look like much, and the inside (and the damp smell) didn’t change that perception either. The one thing that was positive though was the “doctor”, he listened very carefully when the translator told him about my problems and seemed genuinely interested in helping me.Chinese-medicine-acupuncture-pain-shaolin-kungfu-wushu He pushed around on my back in order to find the spots that were hurting before putting a ton of needles in me and even setting one of them on electrical impulses before letting me lie completely still for 30 minutes while feeling the electric beat in my muscles(interesting/awkward feeling). Then I got a massage followed by no less than 9 cups on my lower back, they are set on fire and then creates low pressure, forcing the blood to the area, the exact medical purpose is still eluding me though.needles-acupuncture-china-shaolin-kungfu-wushu-pain Something about that if the area is dark then I have bad Qi in the area. My Qi is apparently quite bad. The price for 1 hour treatment was the insane price of 25 Yuan (4$/3,5€) and that is the price no matter if you get 1 needle or 20, that is definitely not how it works in Denmark.needles-china-acupuncture-kungfu-shaolin-wushu-pain

The day after my back was surprisingly a lot better, despite the purple circles. The pain was still bad, but at least I didn’t have to do painkillers. I went back to the acupuncture place in the afternoon, this time alone, but with a written note about how I was feeling. Rather nerve breaking to go to a place where they are going to put needles in you and you have no way of saying anything they can understand and this time I also got needles in my shoulders and neck.China-acupuncture-cupping-pain-kungfu-shaolin-training-wushu In total I got 15 needles and 20 cups on my back (felt a little like a hedgehog). It went okay, even though I was a little uncomfortable with the situation, the doctor even called the school after to explain what should be done next, incredibly good service. On the third Day I could participate a little in the training (finally) even though my back was still sore, but now it was more because of the treatments than the pain. China-acupuncture-pain-cupping-shaolin-kungfu-wushuI even got a bruise on my lower back from the massage. I went back to the place again for the last time in this round. The doctor told me that my back needed a little rest and I should be careful of not getting draught/cold air on it. My back was still hurting but it was tremendously better.

cupping-china-medicine-pain-purple-kungfu-wushu-shaolinThrough the rest of my stay I had to go back to the acupuncture place for one more round after a few weeks. I will have to get it looked at proper when I get back home (for a slightly different price) since I still have a little pain, but I can participate in all training’s, except for jump and rolls/acrobatics (maybe not the biggest loss for me).

While I have been at the school some of the other students have had smaller or bigger injuries as well. The school has been so good to consider this in the training’s and to help the students get to the doctors or the hospital so they could get optimal care. If you stay here for a longer period of time with so many hours of training every day most people will experience some kind of injury at some point. It might just be a sprained joint but no matter what it is I feel really confident that the school will be able to help with it.

If it is something bigger or really bad (I have not heard about that here) make sure you have an insurance that will cover medical bills and home transport. If you have that covered I am pretty sure that nothing can go completely wrong (Murphy´s law does not apply because I say so)

I got the menu card for the massage place translated, and an explanation for what the place was actually for. Its more of a wellness place than actual massage. Girls wearing miniskirts didnt really give me a professional feeling either. When i asked if other things went on there i was told “probably not”, the guys don’t seem to mind the attire though.
The most peculiar thing you can get on the menu card, is an ovary massage, (translating that was not an easy task) after a rather long explanation i think i got it. It has something to do with women having given birth and the ovaries need to relax and let the body go back to normal (really not sure if i got it correctly). Anyhow, it will not be something i will be needing any time soon. But it makes sense than when the guys asked for it, not knowing what it was, they said “dont have” which then makes perfect sense.
Memo to self: find a proper massage place

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The next 3 days

Monday:
I slept surprisingly well (for the first time) and woke up tired (contradiction I know) I hope it means my jetlag is gone when I am tired at 6 in the morning….

The weather was cloudy, dark and stormy A-MA-ZING! The humidity is still high and its 27 degrees but it is an incredible feeling not to sweat when you blink your eyes. Tai chi was a very pleasant experience because of this, me and the other new ones even got the first movements to the first form, that I can’t remember now in the evening even if my life depended on it, that’s how much other stuff we went through in the classes today.

In 8.30 class we started with running again, again, I need to work on this. Stretching and then we had our first basics class. Me and the 3 other new guys were pulled aside and got a few of the basics we could train on while the other went through them all. I think it is something like 20 different techniques/moves. We got 4 or so and that was more than enough for me, even though I have been doing martial arts before I think some of my coordination disappeared with my desk job. Hopefully it’s going to come back again, fast, I am not the most patient person in the world. After the break we had our first form class, I had been looking really forward to that, learning a new form. I got disappointed, me and the other new ones got a few more basics instead of learning a form, again something about learning to walk before you can run, very annoying when I feel like Usain bolt ( maybe running is a really bad metaphor for me to use). It makes sense though; guess I just have to work hard on my basics so I can learn some other stuff. At least we have moved on from the regular basics to the animal basics, no matter what it is more fun to practice Tiger and Dragon basics😛 The clever person behind the screen would start quoting Bruce Lee “I fear not the man who has practiced a 1000 kicks but the man who has practiced one kick a 1000 times” . I am working on that, I just want to learn everything at once, especially when all the other students are practicing such amazing stuff around me. One is learning a double broad sword, one is learning Leopard form, one is learning staff and a fourth one is learning drunken style. The longer you stay the more exciting stuff you get to learn.

In the afternoon class we had Sanda, Chinese boxing. I used to do kickboxing for some time, long ago. Damn it is nice to be punching and kicking stuff again. We were practicing basics punches and kicks on the bag and pads. Simple, but yet amazing, I got a small victory the first time I hit the bag with a kick and it gave a lot higher smash than I thought and a few of the guys turned their head at the sound, a little restoration of ego for my lousy running.

We were supposed to have wing tsun today, but master Du that is teaching the class had another appointment, it is an optional class and I would have loved to have it, but let’s just say that I am not particularly sad that it got cancelled today, I am dead tired. I even missed mandarin, guess I have to wait until Wednesday; I really want to improve on my non-existent Chinese.

Tuesday:

I don’t like Tuesday, its injury day and consists of all the classes that I am amazingly bad at…

Tai Chi in the morning is still great though. The 8.30 class is my dread, jump and rolls/acrobatics. I am very little acrobatic and can barely do a kindergarten roll and I prefer having both feet on the ground, which kind of makes jumping hard. My fear might also have something to do with an injury I got when I was 13 ( go ahead with Freud). But I am trying, it is dead scary but I am trying. It is not pretty. I am rousing myself with that I am still slightly better than the guy who has never done sports before in his life (thumbs up for him coming to a place like this). This is the class where most people get injured (Sanda is the second) it is hard and it is really important to respect the limits your body sets, especially if you are not used to it. Last time I was in China I spent the 3 months learning how to do a cartwheel and go to a bridge. That’s some years a go….. my cartwheel is not really round or straight anymore and my bridge is lacking a meter or two. I am defending myself with that with my 184 cm the ground is so much further down for me than for some of the others (don’t question my logic). Hopefully it will be better by the end of my stay, but even if it don’t, I have done some self-realization (must be the age thing) and accepted that I will probably never do a monkey form and that it is okay.

Second morning class is applications; it is taking a simple technique and learning how to defend from it. The start of the class is reaction exercises, two and two you tried to hit each other (not hard) and then you have to block it. The same really goes for the defending technique afterwards, but it is great to stand in front of a person and train instead of just myself.
In the afternoon training it is takedowns, I am not good at take downs, I am very grateful for the mats. This is going to hurt tomorrow.

Wednesday:
I am getting used to this, and I love Wednesdays… all the classes that I like, funny enough also the ones I am somewhat good at. My body is hurting from the unaccustomed training yesterday but not more than I can handle. I started doing basics with the experienced group of students and I could follow them for almost half of them. I also started to learn the first basics forms, 5-step form – a lot of coordination but so nice to get things moving. Both morning training’s went by almost too fast. In the afternoon it was Sanda, punches and kicks on pads and bag, some of them a bit more complicated this time.

This is the end of my very first week, and what a week…. I have been here only one week, but it feels a lot longer. Time is flowing so differently here somehow it both races faster than should be allowed but at the same time it seems to not be moving at all. A 20 minute walk to a bus is normal and you have the time for it, there is nothing else you have to do. Back home I would have been annoyed over 20 minutes I could have spent on something else. Here, I just enjoy the walk. I can watch an episode (or 5 ) of a serie without feeling guilty over that I am not doing something else. As a student that might be the most amazing feeling, 4 years in university = 4 years of constant bad conscience. But not here ( I will deal with me semester when I get home). 8 weeks to go, and I am looking forward to them.

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My first weekend

Saturday:
indexStill had issues sleeping, even though the room was almost bearable temperature wise. But I got more sleep than yesterday, so that’s something. Also slept in, didn’t get up until 7.30, pure luxury…

Bus-kungfu-china-trip-malingAt 10.30 we got ready to head into town, still trying to get used to that the bus stop is a 20 minute walk away, back home the bus stop is 30 seconds away, I would normally bike anywhere (Danish culture playing in again) and I would have 6 different supermarket within a radius of 400m. Here a trip to the city is a full day project. After the 20 minute walk you wait for the bus 10-20 minutes and then the bus takes between 40-60 minutes to reach the city. Just in time for lunch😛 The tradition seems to be going to a place called big pizza just a few minutes from the bus stop. DSC_0430As the name indicates they serve pizza, luckily for me they also serve other stuff, since I have a mild intolerance for all food containing grains it also means that pizza is off limits and that kind of takes the joy out of going to a pizza place, at least for me. You pay 55 yuan (8,6$/7,75€) at the entrance and then there is an all you can eat and drink (including 2,5% beer) buffet, it is actually quite nice, and especially the long term students starting to long for western food loves it. Besides the pizza it also has nuggets French fries, spaghetti bolognaise and some more Chinese inspired dishes. On the more questionable site it also has some dishes that seems to be a mixture of the two food cultures.  Even though it is nice I have only been in China for a few days, I haven’t started to miss “real” food just yet and I still remember how things are supposed to taste and the tricky part here is that even though it looks like food from home the taste is always slightly off. It taste somewhat like pizza, it taste almost like nuggets and so on. But no matter that the taste is slightly off; it is still nice to get something that is not “rice with stuff” and the company is amazing.
bigpizza-trip-china-kungfubigpizza-food-china-kungfu-malingpizza-sandwich-disgusting-kungfu-china-malingchina-buffet-trip-food-kungfu-maling

I like supermarkets (I know I am weird) and I like having time to explore them, especially in a new country. What is normal, what is the setup, what cant I get and so on. I also had a very significant shopping list that would require slightly more time than the 15-20 minutes the old students normally use in there. Some of the things on my shopping list that I think might be relevant for other new students are: hangers, washing powder, toilet paper, bowl, cup, spoon, knife, water bottle, snacks, jam/Nutella/honey (for the breakfast), and fruit.
Stuff that might not be relevant for others but was on my shipping list: scale, more t-shirts, towel, shampoo/conditioner, mirror, milk, and tea.
DSC_0400Its an amazing supermarket. I bought some new t-shirts and they are completely random, that I had to buy a male XL in order to fit them is a minor detail. I am also completely in love with my new my little pony bowl and minions cup. The scale must be broken though, the numbers it shows are way too high….
china-shopping-suermarket-kungfu-malingI love milk, and I brought some protein powder with me from home, and I prefer that with milk, and I also need it for my breakfast, cold porridge made from chia seeds. Sometimes I use regular milk (doesn’t really taste like regular milk) or walnut/almond milk, both things that taste surprisingly better than you should think. And since the “regular” milk doesn’t really taste like milk I might as well try something new. Some of the others also buys yogurt and eat that together with their breakfast.
In total, lets just say I bought half the supermarket, I filled up my huge backpack and had several bags as well and I might have spent slightly more than the average student does first time in the supermarket, but I was happy and I got everything I wanted.

tshirt-shopping china-kungfu-maling

A sad super pug….

shopping-china-supermarket-kungfu-maling

taxi-shopping-china-kungfu-malingFor going home I split a taxi with 4 others, it was rather cramped in there since it was a regular car and only built for 5 people, not 6. But the trip home costs 50 yuan (8$/7€) so you don’t want to pay that alone. Somehow the day had disappeared and it was 5 when we came home and because of big pizza I wasn’t really hungry at dinner.
We had yet another movie night where I was completely outnumbered in the movie selection and we ended up watching predator 3, as the first two weren’t bad enough…. This one completely lacked story, but I guess the story isn’t why you are watching any predator movie, considering that the opening scene in the first movie is a 30 second long zooming in on Arnold Schwarzenegger´s biceps flexing…..

Sunday:
Sleeping in long again. I had planned to do nothing but trying to survive the humidity and heat by lying completely still all day but somehow some of the Dutch guys convinced me to go on a 2½ hour walk to the temple nearby, so there went my plan. Then I had planned to do some washing but because of the intense rain yesterday the power is gone on the ground floor, where the washing machine is…. So back to plan 1, do nothing .

temple-shaolin-kungfu-monks-china-malingEven though I had been reluctant to go t the temple I was happy I did. It was really beautiful and there was an old monk that was very fascinated by the fact that I was so tall (184) he was around 160. I had no clue what else he was talking about (mental note on trying to learn more Chinese). But he did write me a note, apparently he thought that I could read Chinese even though I could not speak it, not sure of how he came to that conclusion though…. I later got the note translated, and it was something as simple as “where are you from?” rather disappointed, I had half expected some clever/deep Buddhism quote.
temple-lion-china-shopping-maling-kungfuIt is not allowed to take pictures inside the temple, but it is very pretty on the inside as well, with lots of strong colors and many statues of different monks/Buddha’s in gold. We put in a few yuan in the box in front of the alter, bowed 3 times and got a blessing from the monk, or at least that’s what I think he did. Then we walked the 40 minutes back again, went into a shop on the way where I got a horrible ice cream.

After the trip to the temple it was relaxing time. Sundays are going to be my favorite day, nothing scheduled and nothing to do but relax and enjoy the silence (except from the screaming crickets, how long is that mating season??). At home I never have (or take) the time to just do nothing an entire day, it really is nice and something I very quickly could get accustomed to do.

I got a VPN from one of the others and I could finally do a google search and go on Facebook. The internet is strictly censored by the Chinese government so many pages from the western world simply won’t work here, the solution to that is a VPN, basically it is a program that tells your computer that it is another place than it really is and then you can suddenly access everything you want. There are free versions but you will get the best long term results if you get a paid version, they are not that expensive and 100% worth the frustration of not being able to use social media and anything connected to google. The best will be to purchase one before you come to China, most of the pages where you have to download them are also blocked and that kinda makes it hard to get one. The internet is not fast down here, but you can check you mail and Facebook and occasionally see a YouTube video. The academy is working on a better connection, but the infrastructure in China is in general not very stable and especially not in the countryside where the kungfu academy is located.

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Day 2 – Friday

Sleeping in starfish position on top of my blanket in an attempt to not sweat was not a success, more like a total disaster, I got only a few hours of sleep and I was covered in sweat most of the time, it was almost bliss when the alarm went off at 5.50. (Never thought I would say that)
My body is surprisingly not hurting as much as I had feared (major win) I could still put on socks and comb my hair without too much pain, maybe some of the training preparation actually worked.
We are starting to learn the basic movements of taichi, I like the calmness and silence during the early morning training (f you don’t count in the screaming crickets) but I am really really bad at Tai chi, I simply don’t have that zen thing needed. Hopefully that will come at some point.
The breakfast is still the same, eggs and bread, good thing its Saturday and shopping day tomorrow. I am happy it at least has eggs so you can get some protein, and there is bread too, even though there are no condiments included. At the old school I was at,power-stretching-pain-scream-kungfu-flexibility-maling the breakfast was thin rice soup and fried cabbage…. Not really delicious at 7 in the morning (or at any other time for that matter) so the breakfast here is actually quite good compared to that.

The next morning class at 8.30 is power stretching. Some of the other students say it is very painful. I am actually looking forward to it, maybe because being flexible is one of the few things within martial arts that I am somewhat good at. We are starting with a run and some light stretching on the bars again. Then we go inside to take the mats outside, it’s a lot nicer to at least have a soft foundation when you are in pain. We are in groups of 3 and there are a set of stretches that everybody has to do and then there are some optional ones you can do if you have the time or take the break to do. The basics in it is very simple, take a pose, e.g. a split, go out as far as you can and then the job of the two others are to just pull your limps further away from each other while you try not to scream out in pain.power-stretching-kungfu-training-china-maling-pain
One of my goals is to be able to do both side and front split by the time I go home, at the moment I am missing some 20 cm in the front split and about 30 in the side split. It should be possible if I train hard on it.
The second morning training is forms. Since I am new and there are 3 new Dutch guys as well we are being taken aside by the shifu and he shows us some basic moves that we need to practice on. There is no purpose in teaching us forms until we know some basics. Very annoying when I want to be a kung fu master now; but sadly I have to agree that it makes sense to learn basics first. Maybe I will even improve my patience while I am here, is that also needed to be more Zen? I might also have to work just a little bit on that arm/hand/leg/foot/balance coordination thing.

I was very determined not to take a nap in the lunch break so I could hopefully sleep in the night, that determination lasted until I sat down. After a 1½ hour nap, still jetlagged and with sore muscles I was far from ready for a 10 km run. Every Friday afternoon, as the last training before the weekend there is a 10km run. It is running to the little village and then a bit further, up a hill, touch the gate at a teahouse and then run back again. As mentioned earlier I am not the fastest runner in the world, even though I really like running, and with the before mentioned issues and 30 degrees I made it a staggering 2.5-3km before I had to start walking and turned back. The shifu was a bit worried for us new students so he had taken the scooter and driven along the route, he sent back one of the older slightly injured students to walk me home so I would not get lost on the way. To my defense, the other new students didn’t make the entire run either, they just got a bit further than me. But okay, one of my goals for being here is to get in better shape, being incredible bad from the beginning just means that I can improve so much more

in the evening we relaxed and watched yet another movie, in two days I have watched more movies than I have in the past three months. It is already feeling incredibly nice that I have the time for that, at home and right up until my departure to china my life was insanely busy. Here, life seems relaxed, calm and easy, a welcome change for me.

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Day 1 – Thursday

kungfu-training-morning-china-tired

so ready for my first day of training…..

I had been dreaming about sleep for 2 days and when I finally get to it, it didnt work! I slept something like 3 hours, the heat and humidity was too much for my cold Danish body and combined with jet-lag it was mission impossible. At 5.30 I gave up sleeping and started unpacking my suitcase, no longer able to ignore it I started the long and cumbersome process of getting all the chia seeds out of my clothes.
Training started at 6.20 with Tai Chi, it would take me two days before I realized that the Tai Chi is optional, but it has grown on me and I think I will continue to do it, it is a really nice way to wake up in the morning.Kungfu-taicgi-china-training-morning
at 7.10 ish the training is over and breakfast is served. breakfast-china-kungfu-morningHaving arrived on a Wednesday I did not have any condiments(bring some) or anything else I could eat for breakfast so it ended with 2 boiled eggs with salt, the Dutch guys had some of the dry semi-sweet bread as well but it wasn’t exactly a breakfast for kings. I was already longing for Saturday where we could go to the city to buy stuff (I like buying stuff in general as well).

Morning-training-kungfu-china-run

The scenery in which we run

Next training starts at 8.30. We form up on a line when the bell/buzz sounds and shifu tells us to warm up. After a few minutes we do pushups and squats, I think the amount he said was 30 and 30 but it seems that people just do what they can(want to) and then starts running. Because it was Thursday it was the short run of 1-1,5km around the school but since it had been storming and raining the day before the track was rather muddy and completely uneven (I foresee a sprained ankle at some point). It came to no surprise to me that I was the last person back from the run (memo to self, get better at running). After the run there was stretching on the bars and group warm up which was led by the student who had been there the longest.innerpeace-china-kungfu-qigong-training-problems-meditation The first training was dynamic Qigung, I don’t really know what it is, but I got that it was something about energy, flow and meditation, which we did a lot. I am horrible bad at meditation and the longest I could keep my mind “blank” was about 8 seconds. Thoughts like: what is that loud screaming sound? (its mating season for crickets), is that a mosquito on my leg? I am so sticky, I need a shower; my foot is sleeping- followed by readjusting of the body; why won’t the screaming sound stop? I am so sticky, I need a shower; how long are we going to sit here? Why am I doing this again? Okay, focus on breathing, my butt hurts; interrupted my attempt of attaining inner peace(kung fu panda is going on repeat in my head) all the time. This was my thought pattern for 30 seconds and I think we were sitting something like 30 minutes, it was a very long half hour.

At 10 there was a 30 minute break before the next class, conditioning. The essential of this class is to take all body parts used for training and smash something against it. E.g. punching a wall with your fists; banging your arms together in pairs, kick each other, punch your chins with a stick (iron for the hardcore). The hardest one for me, was to bang my head against a wall, conditioning wasn’t really what came to mind while doing it. But it is a big part of Chinese Kungfu and it is the foundation of being able to do “iron” techniques, like bending a spear with your throat or brake bricks with your forehead. It is also a very widely used in Sanda, Chinese boxing, where body parts can become so hard/conditioned that it actually hurts the opponent kicking or punching at them without it hurting yourself at all, a quite useful skill in fighting.
lunch-china-kungfu-maling-trainingAt 11.40 the training was over and there was a little time to get ready for lunch at 12. That consisted of surprise! Rice with stuff…. But at least it was surprisingly good, and there was 3 different plates to choose from.
After lunch I could not wait any longer…. I took a shower, amazing feeling after 3 days. The only reason I didn’t take one when I arrived at the school is that the water is being shut off at 22 and we arrived at 22.30, typical. The shower was though somehow wasted, I was sweating again before I even stepped out of it, this heat is going to be the death of me.

water-china-hot-kungfuI also managed to buy some water at the school, some 20 liters or something with a pump on it, I predict it will take me only 3-4 days to empty it in this heat.
The next training was at 15.00 all the students had been talking about how hard it would be, it was the weekly power training. The start was a run again, this time 2 km, the standard run followed by stretching. china-power-training-kungfu-malingThen came the actual training, in the beginning my ego was hurt when the shifu told me to only take the half bricks but it was a matter of minutes before I appreciated it instead. Those things are damned heavy when you have to hold them out in straight arms or lift them on your shoes and hold your legs straight. Dropping them would result in more push-ups than I am capable of doing so my plan was to not drop them (quite proud it actually worked, not dropping them that is).
The training stopped at 17.00 -ish and dinner was served at 18, barring some resemblance to the food served at lunch, rice with stuff, it was still good, but I am already beginning to suspect my spoiled ass to be tired of it in a few days.
Another shower, still good, still sweaty and sticky afterwards, I want my body to be adjusted to the heat now!
movienight-china-maling-academy-kungfu-relaxingMovienight was next on the agenda; 6-7 people cramped together in a small steaming hot and humid room, without air-condition, staring at a small 15 inch computer screen. It was great, except for the heat it was the perfect definition of cozy, at least in the Danish way, “hygge” the English expression is somehow not covering it, it is too superficial and not comprehensive enough, probably only Danes will get this (sorry to all other nationalities).
Going to bed at 21, incredibly tired but incredibly happy and slightly dreading the getting out of bed part tomorrow where my muscles will pay the price of the first day of training.

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Traveling and arrival

The check-in in Copenhagen went well, I even managed to sneak in 8 extra kg with no problems, I would have been in serious trouble if the check-in guy had weighed my hand luggage….
In the airport I took out 1000 yuan (140 euro) for “just in case”.
My trip schedule was as following Copenhagen –Stockholm-Beijing airport – Beijing train station – Xuzhou train station- Maling shaolin kungfu academy. If there is one thing I have learned in all the years I have travelled it is that the 100 euro/dollars you can save by adding 15 hours to your travelling time including 2-3 extra changes is NEVER worth it. No matter how poor you are (as a student I am still in that category) the entire trip will be pure agony and you will end up spending more money than you saved on coffee and food and the jetlag will hold on to you forever. Every few years I forget this and book the cheapest trip and I ALWAYS regret it.

Luckily this was not a time I forgot. I had a short flight to Stockholm and there I had to wait for 2 hours and 40 minutes for my connecting 8 hour flight straight to Beijing. I could have taken a connecting flight where I only had to wait for 50 minutes in Stockholm but experience and the increased chance of my luggage (and probably also me) not making it to the next flight was too high for me. I ran into a small Danish family also travelling to Beijing (with 3 kids, respect for that!!!) and spent the waiting time talking to them. I may have recruited at least one new student for the academy for in about 10 years. One of the kids was very fascinated by the fact that I was going to do kungfu and that I could fight with a kungfu fan, I had brought it with me in the backpack in case Beijing would be insanely hot (and it was).

China-travel-plane-seat

The Danish family i met in the airport

I am terrible at flying, again another indication that I should not be going to China, but I have never been very good at listening to the “hints of life”, I am much better at consciously ignoring them. The flight sickness in my case was handled by some special band aids for transportation sickness that works for 72 hours (I love medicine can do that) the only side effect is that I get more tired which is a win since I am (like most people) terrible at sleeping in a plane. The plane from Stockholm to Beijing was with China airlines, this means tiny seats and crappy entertainment system, but still better than an extra connection and it was an overnight flight so I was supposed to be falling asleep naturally. Well, it didn’t really work out like that, either I have become more fat than last time (quite possible) or my memory is bad (quite possible too) because the seats were even smaller than I remembered and it was 8 hours of 90 degree torture. I think I managed to get like 2 hours of something that resembles sleep.

plane-tiny-travel-seats

The amount of space i had for my legs

Barely enough space on the sides, i blame the standard Chinese

Barely enough space on the sides, i blame the standard Chinese size instead of my own😉

China-travel-plane-sleep

Attempt of sleeping in the plane

I arrived in Beijing in the morning far from rested but I was as happy as hippo when I, after a 35 minute trip, including a train ride (then you know it’s a huge airport) arrived at the baggage claim and saw my suitcase coming towards me. I was less happy when I opened it to put in my now completely unnecessary jacket and scarf and realized that one of the containers with chia seeds had exploded. I decided to quickly close it and pretend it didn’t happen.

Travel-suitcase-china-kungfu

My suitcase full of chia seeds

Next step was figuring out how I could go from the airport to the train station in less than 2 hours before my train was to depart. I had booked a train ticket a few days in advance but on the day of my departure from Copenhagen I realized that they had put on the wrong date on the ticket, the ticket was one day prior to my arrival in Beijing, when talking to the school about the issue they said I could get the ticket changed with no charges if i got to the ticket counter less than 24 hours after the departure.

The easy solution would have been to take a taxi straight from the airport to the train station, no hassle, no time issues and very expensive. Somewhat worried about the price and that the lady at the information counter said that it was rush hour (at 12 noon??? Didn’t really get that) I decided to be adventurous (still waiting for my common sense to develop) and take the train/subway.
It actually went a lot smoother than I had expected, I found the ticket office for the first train part and paid the fare with no issue, I also found the second ticket office when changing to the subway and got that fee paid. All with a huge suitcase, a heavy backpack, very tired and in 35 degrees , I was quite proud of myself when I arrived at the station after having changed trains 3 times and not getting lost a single time.

China-subway

The subway

China-subway
But that was also where my luck ran out, the station was insanely crowded, the ticket office turned out to be closed so I had to find a Chinese employee who could guide me in direction of a second ticket office, kind of hard when you don’t know the word for any of these things in Chinese and none of the people speaks English. After an hour I finally found an open ticket office and had to stand in line for another hour, I can proudly say that only 3 Chinese people cheated in front of me, their idea of standing in line is slightly different than back home. When I finally got to the counter it was 5 minutes after the 24 hour window had closed, but even if I had managed to be there 10 minutes earlier I am not sure it wouldn’t have made any difference. The guy didn’t speak English and the “translator” he finally got just said that my train had left (I kinda knew that) and that was the extent of her English capabilities. After some time I gave up and bought a new ticket, luckily they had a seat available in a train a few hours later in first class. Most times you have to book your train ticket a few days in advance otherwise they are sold out but not as many buy the first class tickets so I spend the money I had saved on the taxi (and some more) to buy a new ticket for 509 yuan or 70 euro (good thing I took out cash in Copenhagen). I borrowed a phone call from a friendly Chinese (I was not clever enough to get the payphone to work) and informed the school of my progress and delayed arrival time in Xuzhou. Then for the first time since my departure from home I could relax a little, I found some food that didn’t really do the trick so I found a Starbucks instead and enjoyed my last frappe for a long time while reading in my book and trying not to fall asleep.

China-food-culture

The food that looked nice but tasted a bit off.

chinese-culture

Relaxing with a frappe and a book

1 hour before my train was to leave I went to find the platform, and good thing I did, turned out that the number on the ticket was not the platform but something else (never found out what) so after a few attempts on asking around I found the right platform and started standing in the Chinese version of a line, push around until you get there. I was let on to the platform, found the train and found my 1st Class seat (pure luxury). The plan was to enjoy the ride and look at the landscape but I think it took me about 5 minutes and then I was fast asleep (my alarm was set, based on experience). I woke up 30 minutes before I was supposed to arrive only to find out that the train was 30 minutes delayed. I used my own phone to make an extremely expensive call to the school about the delay and they told me that some Dutch guys were going to be driving with me but their plane was delayed because of the storm (the train was so nice I hadn’t even noticed it was storming).

The line for trying to get to the platform and the train

The line for trying to get to the platform and the train

platform

View to one f the cities on the trip

View to one f the cities on the trip

view to one of the cities on the trip

view to one of the cities on the trip

That is how fast the train was going

That is how fast the train was going

My train

My train

I end up getting off at the right station (Jay) and have to wait for an hour on a bench before being picked up. It is stormy, rainy, insanely hot and humid but I actually managed to get all the way by myself and the rest of the trip would be somebody else’s responsibility (I love that).

China-travel-train-sleep

Finally arrived at Xuzhou station

I talked with the three Dutch guys, which I could not see in the darkness, all the way to the school while the storm had almost passed and the remnants of it could be seen by the fallen trees we had to drive around on the highway. We arrived very late evening dead tired, but so ready for training at 6 in the morning –ish.

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Packing

My empty suitcase i thought had plenty of space

My empty suitcase i thought had plenty of space

I “only” had to repack my suitcase 3 times, considering my gender I would say that is an achievement. 2 months away and I am allowed one suitcase of 23kg and a hand luggage of 5 kg. After I tried with everything I wanted with me and the suitcase couldn’t be closed (didn’t even bothered to weigh it) I tried a bit more strategic approach, I filled in all the stuff that I thought I could not buy in China, for me that was protein powder (not needed for everybody), different vitamins (maybe not needed for everybody either), Medicine, like paracetamol, ibuprofen, antibiotics and diarrhea pills. Shoes and (good)running shoes (a delicate feminine size 44 and 46 does not exist in the land of the miniputs). Flip-flops are a must, they are used all the time for walking around inside to showering to “just because you are too lazy to put on other shoes”.
I also packed some protein bars and some chia seeds, I have a mild intolerance to grains, meaning all bread, pasta and noodles and I don’t eat rice and potatoes either (yes, it is incredible stupid to go to China then since that is 95% of their diet but we have already established that I am not that bright so it should not come as a surprise to you and since I am at it I might as well apologize for my spelling, lack of grammar and extremely long brackets).

What I did pack that I think is essential besides clothes (time will tell if I am right)
Sunscreen
Mosquito relief spray – I am pretty sure I will get eaten
disinfection for hands
Blister band aids and a first aid kit
Knee protection
Sports tape
Mouth guard
Coconut oil – good for/as massage oil, dry skin, lip balm, chafing, callus etc.
Instant coffee – you can buy it there, but only at extreme prices, and if you love coffee like me, bring some.
Electronic gadgets – computer, tablet, mp3/ipod, earphones etc. – remember chargers and an adapter
1 million socks – don’t know why, but everybody says bring lots of socks – so I do

I am going to be there in the warm season so I only have to pack light summer clothes for both training and regular clothes. If I had had to pack for several seasons with the same amount of kg I would probably have had a nervous breakdown…. For winter it can get quite cold so really warm clothes, long underwear, hats, gloves and even a sleeping bag is recommended.

When i realized i was screwed....

When i realized i was screwed….

Some other things that might come in handy is a large backpack, I am going to use mine as hand luggage, there is more room in it than in a trolley and I hope to hide some weight in there since they normally don’t weigh a backpack in the airport (crossing my fingers). It also has a double purpose because I can use it for grocery shopping in the city when I am there instead of a trillion plastic bags.

When you travel there is always the risk of you losing your luggage, and murphy´s law apply here, if you don’t prepare for losing it, you will. What I packed in my hand luggage:
Wallet
Passport
Books
Computer
1 set of training clothes and sports bra
Food for 2 “meals”
Travel sickness pills
Pain killers

I think I am as prepared as I can be, but with my luck (I don’t really trust it) time will tell. One thing is for sure, I am excited to go.

What future me would have loved past me to know:
What I didn’t bring because I don’t eat it but think others will appreciate it, is condiments, like jam, nutella (very expensive here), honey etc. to put on the bread in the mornings. The breakfast is boiled eggs and bread without anything to put on. You can buy things in the city but if you arrive on a Tuesday, Saturday is far far away. The other thing that I didn’t bring enough of is entertainment. I brought my indispensable computer and a few books about Chinese culture. There is a lot of free time in the lunch break, evenings and weekends. You run through books in the blink of an eye (if you are a reader like me) and there is only a few English books at the academy. Movies and series are a good idea to bring on an external hard drive, but what will really bring you credit, goodwill, kisses and hugs are board games, so if you are not as bad in packing as me and have extra room, put in a game.
I thought protein powder would be impossible to get, turns out something happened since I was in China last time 4 years ago (or maybe I just didn’t pay attention then) but they have that thing called the internet where you can order stuff and get it delivered…. This includes protein powder, nutritional supplements and so on. Just the thought of all the stuff I could have brought instead of filling my suitcase up with protein powder makes me cry, there might even had been room for a pair of heels! Though a few extra training trousers and t-shirts probably would have been more convenient but since it is too late to change I will just dream about it.
So far, the only thing i packed that it looks like i will not use at all, sadly, is my bikini.

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Preparations

I have been to China before, I have been doing Kung Fu in china before, I have a pretty good idea of what I am going down to, this should mean I should be incredible determined and motivated to train, eat well and all the other things I know I should do to prepare myself before I leave right?…….. Okay, to be fair I actually did quite good, I was in a good training routine with running a few times a week (not nearly as fast as I would have wanted), crossfit a few times a week(so happy the few times I didn’t finish last) and practicing some of the Kung Fu I learned last time. My main reason for doing this was an attempt to avoid the muscle pain that I remember with dread from the last time, muscles I didn’t even knew existed caused me so much pain I thought it impossible. But, karma apparently doesn’t like me because 2½ week before my departure I was in a car accident, seriously!! How lucky and unlucky can you be at the same time? I wrecked my brother’s car (I am forgiven) but I got out with some severe bruises and some strained muscles and that was it (that was the lucky part). The doctor told me very strictly that training was prohibited for 2 weeks, only reason I didn’t complain about it straight away was because she looked at me very sternly and told me I should be happy it wasn’t worse and that I could still go and would get no permanent issues IF I stuck to the “no training” part. Sigh, now it was definitely too late to avoid the worst muscle pain.

One of the things I tried to get used to was training early in the morning. I am NOT a morning person so it has been a struggle, but I am improving. One of the things that helped was biking to work in the mornings 3-4 times a week, I had 13 km to work so it was a good bike ride and then I would do a little weight training followed by Kung Fu forms afterwards. Time will tell if some of it stuck when I get down there. My job ended 1½ week before I leave, the period I am writing this post in, and let’s just say that I am not getting up at 6.30 to train for 2 hours now….. But I have managed a few trainings (after the doctor gave me a go) at 8.15, that’s still early right? I have only been away from the training for two weeks but it feels longer when I consider the pain in my legs after the first training, living on the 4.th floor with no elevator really does not help either…..

I think i died a little that day

After cross-fit….I think i died a little that day

It might seem like a bad idea to go to China to do training like this when I am not a fan of pain; truth is that it’s a love/hate relationship. I love the muscle pain in the sense that I know I have been working out hard and that I am getting stronger and I like that my muscles remind me of this the day after, it’s a good pain in that way. The problem comes when I can´t put socks on because of it or (girl problem) it takes me 10 minutes to comb my hair because I can’t hold my arms up long enough…. okay maybe I like that too, maybe I just like complaining a bit about it, think it’s my Danish culture playing in here. We love to complain, especially about the weather(it’s the only thing we really have to complain over), it will most likely show up in a post or 5 over the next few months so consider yourself warned.

So, when it comes down to it, I am not more prepared than the average student that goes to China, my only prerogative is that I have an idea of what I am actually going down to and I am still flexible enough to kick people in the head.

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Who am i?

Me, all suited up.It is a very good question, one that I am not entirely sure I can give a satisfactory answer to, but I can at least try. Right now I am on my third trip to China to do Kungfu. The first times I was at a different school, 8 and 4 years ago, this time I am at Maling Shaolin Kungfu academy in the Jiangsu province. I am 30 years old (don’t know how that happened) I have a degree in marketing and I have one year left of my master degree in innovation in Copenhagen, Denmark. Because of my educational background and experience with other kungfu schools in China the Maling shaolin kungfu academy asked me if I would be willing to help them out a bit with their homepage and make the school a bit more visible on the big internet. I love kungfu and I have a lovely 50 page company report due in this semester so as the efficient student I am (I wish) I put those two together and created a win/win/have to situation. I get to do Kungfu for 2 months in China AND work on things I find interesting and then I “just” have to create an academic paper about it, if you haven’t guessed, that’s the “have to” part, but it still beats fetching coffee at some random boring company back home in Denmark. Did i mention i get to do kungfu again?
Me also all suited up in traditional Chinese (very orange) monk suitThis is where this blog also comes in the picture, it is one of the things I missed the first two times I was in China, a place that told the story about the school seen from the students perspective, stories about everyday life at the academy and how to prepare and pack before actually going there. I made sooo many packing faux passes the first times, I probably still will, but at least this time I know NOT to pack high heels and going out dresses (yes I was naive the first time). This blog will also give you an indication of if this is a place for you, doing kungfu in China is not for everybody. If you are still determined to go after reading my blog I bid you welcome and I guarantee, that no matter if you stay here for a week or a year, you will go back home wiser on yourself and with a story or three from “when you went all the way to China to do kungfu”.

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