My chinese visa request was successful, so I can stay in China for 60 days and my non refundable flights can safely stay that way.
So the plan for the 60 days?
56 days of kung fu training and 3 days in Beijing sightseeing.
Not having practiced kung fu for several years, I initially had to rely on Google. I started googling for schools and came up with a shortlist of 2. They were:
I then sought some advice from a friend, whoÂ grew up in the local area with me. He’s one of 3 sons. The father is native Chinese and a master of Steelwire Southern Mantis. This son developed a deep interest in martial arts and went to China himself for a similar school. Although he had good things to say about these “wushu” type schools and the time he spent, his recommendation was actually somewhere different.
When he was in China with his father, they met a Shaolin monk and exchanged techniques. This monk used to teach in the main Shaolin temple in Dengfeng, but decided to leave when the temple turned commercial andÂ veered from their routes. He set up a school in the town so he could continue to teach. My friend had nothing but good things to say about him, hisÂ demeanour and his philosophy.
That place is:Â http://www.shaolinwugulun.com/en/
So instead of the more physical wushu school, catered more for westerners, I opted to take the advice and decided on Wugulun Academy. I’m expecting something very remote, I’m not expecting any westerners, to be honest, I’m not expecting hot water, but I’d like to know that it’s the closest I can get to the source.
This form of kung fu will emphasise the internals side of kung fu with daily meditation and a real shift from anything I’ve done before.
Shaolin Wugulun Kung fu is based on the holistic philosophy of living, ChanWuYi. It is a practice focussed on the development of optimum health and fitness through the use of appropriate movements, breath control and healing arts â€” and the creation of an internal state of meditation and a compassionate heart.
This for me, sets the scene:
It is requested that you trust the Masterâ€™s experience and understanding of Kung fu training. Many foreigners come to the Academy and donâ€™t follow the Masterâ€™s instructions. They start training differently because they think their own way is better. In the beginning many people have difficulty with the slow movements and the basic (sometimes not very exciting) training. Please be patient but persevering and accept that real Kung fu skills take a long timeÂ to develop.
Here’s some footage of the masters and theÂ monastery they’re building in the mountains. What I find interesting, is the way in which Peter Jones’ state changes throughout the footage. He seems pretty nervous and sceptical to begin with, but by the end, much more grounded.
So Aug 29th I’ll turn up to Zhengzhou airport and the Master’s son will be there to meet me.