Hello to you!-Introduction

Well about time to introduce myself. Hey my name is Sabine, I am 24, from Germany and I am going to keep you updated on Life in Maling Shan Kungfu Academy for at least the next months.

I am in Maling Shan now since over 6 months and also writing my own Blog, Kungfuprincess on the Road, hence the Author Name. But with Morten leaving in August, somebody had to take over and I got asked to do so.

So in short I will try to deliver you your monthly dose of Kung fu Fun and Life in the school.

Because after all this is purely a Student Blog.

Hopefully I can try to get some more of the other students to tell their stories, because the more the merrier 😉

So now let me tell you my story off why the hell I am somewhere in the middle of China training Kung Fu?

Continue reading “Hello to you!-Introduction”

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

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.