How does a Day in a Kungfu School start? Greg will tell you about his first Day in Maling Kungfu Academy!
This post was originally published on Kungfu Commute, Gregs own Blog where he writes about his life and training in Maling Shan Shaolin Kungfu School.
Short Introduction: Greg is a former student staying at Maling Shan Kungfu School from Winter 2016 untill September 2016. He is originally from the UK and studied under Master Wei, Master Du and Master Wang.
January 8th, 2016
Got in 12 at night in the freezing cold. Met my roomie Brage (pronounced Braggie…and who I now call Bragz) who is from Norway. Then he asked if I planned to starting training in the morning?…my reply was damn right!
5:30 soon came upon me and I was awakened by the sound of a rooster cock-a-doodle-doing! I didn’t think that actually happened.
Each morning starts the same with the optional class of Tai Chi. My idea at the moment is to just go head first into everything. Tai Chi is focused on slow, controlled movements so Bragz took me through some basics before the headmaster himself (Master Bao) showed me the first movements. It killed my calves! Slow control in this relaxing form really took me a lot of concentration, I’m hoping this gets easier with time. Continue reading “Greg (UK) and his first Day in Maling”
The feelings inside me right now is maybe the hardest to describe in the world.
We just stood there waiting, the guys around me played: every step I take, every move I make, I be missing you.
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.
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.
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.
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. .
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
. 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
were instantly impressed by the training facilities they had. They had enough training equipment to make a very small fitness center. They had everything from squat racks to cable towers. Facilities we can only wish for in Maling Mountain.
We 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.
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,
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, so 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.
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 without 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.
When we came back there were some women waiting for us, apparently they wanted to do yoga with us, with some lifts etc. 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 kids 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.
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.
We 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.
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, but
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”.
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.
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, he 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. . .
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…
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.
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 the 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
9D … REALLY China,
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 called 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.
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.
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. When 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 smashed 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.
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.
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.
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 with the family here.
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.
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.
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.
My deepest fear came true when we saw where we had to perform, because it was on concrete, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A great night it was, which included another Chinese cream cake, my god we have had a lot of those lately.
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.
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.
My 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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. It is one of those spontaneous things that 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.
That same evening, we celebrated Kamal´s birthday with a Chinese 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.
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.
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 hehe.
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.
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.