THAT I HAVE LEARNED IN SHAOLIN KUNG FU SCHOOL
click on the title or one of the subtitles to explore KUNG FU BASICS now or just scroll down and read the whole chapter
1 YEAR BEFORE
After New Year 2016 I come back to Berlin.
I didn’t want to work. I didn’t want to go back to the life I had before. I thought seriously about quitting my job.
But … somehow … I couldn’t do it.
I went to work.
The days were passing …
I watched tv-series. Hoping, I will eventually come out with some idea, how to change my life.
In march 2016 I saw a video about Qufu Shaolin Kung Fu School in China. I saw their training and immediately I knew this is the place I belong to. I made my decision. I was going to train there.
Till the end of September 2016 I worked in Berlin.
The last day at work was Friday. The next few days I had to pack and give up my flat to Charles – the new hirer. I had less than two weeks to organize myself and fly to China.
On 13th October 2016 – Thursday – me and my dad took a train to Warsaw. We left our house around noon. This is how the adventure started. We had next day morning flight to Ukraine and from there we had to change the plane and fly to Beijing.
On Saturday – 15th of October – we arrived to China. From Beijing we took a train to Qufu and taxi to the school.
OCTOBER 2016 – the beginning
There was not many people at school, maybe around ten. Most of the students went to the competition or were traveling. Me and my dad arrived at the same day as german girl and a guy from Angola. She became my roommate and he became my father’s roommate.
First week every newcomer trained with Master Du. It was almost all day learning Shaolin customs and Kung Fu basics:
Greetings in Kung Fu
Coming to Shaolin School I had to learn that each time before and after the class, and also when I meet any of Masters, I should show him respect – bow and hold my hands in greeting lotus position.
行礼 [xíng lǐ] – greeting lotus/ Kung Fu salute
The other common greeting in Kung Fu is called Baoquan ceremony. I was introduced to it a bit later, when I had to perform the forms in front of the Masters. Also, during the competition the performer has to use this bow to greet the judges.
Kung Fu Hand Forms
Kung Fu Five Stances
Kung Fu High Kicks
The second week. The missing masters and some of old students arrived. We were welcomed and presented to everybody. The Master for each newcomer was chosen.
I become a student of Master Yu – very flexible, skinny Kung Fu Performer. Before, he had travelled with a Kung Fu team around the world. His kicks and jumps were very impressive.
Being assigned to a Master meant as well that I was assigned to my final group. There was no more separation between advanced and beginners. As so, during the Kung Fu Basics class we were set in rows and everybody was performing the same routine. This meant four high kicks, two snap kick, push kick, slap kick with jumping slap kick and new basics, which we – newcomers – had to still learn.
Kung Fu Low Kicks
The chinese names of the two kicks presented above refer only to the position of the feet. In our training we do snap kick with punch (left picture) and push kick with push palm (right picture).
单拍脚加二提脚 [dān pāi jiǎo jiā èr tí jiǎo]
3 x (re leg, le leg slap kick -> jump slap kick) -> mabu
4 Ma Bu -> Gong Bu Basics
I personally call it Ma Bu -> Gong Bu Basics, because this is what they are about. They train us to use Ma Bu -> Gong Bu positions, while punching.
My Master would call them:
步法练习 [bù fǎ liàn xí] – the literal translation is step training.
1. 弓步斜形 [gōng bù xié xíng] – which would be translated as bow stance diagonal shape, we never though use this english translation,
2. Ma Bu change Gong Bu Punch, Kick Punch & Ma Bu Punch …,
3. Ma Bu Block change Gong Bu Punch,
4. 上步斜角冲床 [shàng bù xié jiǎo chōng chuáng] – 45° Ma Bu -> Gong Bu Punch.
Kung Fu Advanced Basics
Over time, we learned more advanced routines. I really enjoyed it.
MOST OF THE ADVANCE ROUTINES WERE CREATED TO PRACTICE JUMPS, SUCH AS:
It’s advanced version is called whirlwind kick. See how it looks in the video below:
Although during one week I got used to the Master Du way of teaching, with the next few days I started to like Master Yu and appreciate being in his group.
This was a time when the training according to the schedule started. Each morning at 6 a.m. everybody had to show up for line up.
Soon, the days become shorter and nights longer. For this reason, after two months the school abolished the rule. The strict line up was at 8:30 a.m.
Both morning and afternoon Tai Chi classes were optional. For me there was no other option than participating in every possible class. Thus, I end up with around six – seven hours diversified training a day. Which was equal with 30 – 35 hours physical training a week.
The strict lessons were 6 hours a day. Sometimes, I extended it by staying after the classes, doing exercises to strengthen abs or/and improve handstand. This is, where the additional hour of training comes from. It was first three months, when I trained between the classes almost everyday. The reason for that was my training companion – Sif, the girl from Denmark. After she left, I stopped doing it.
Sif arrived couple of days after me. We were each others motivators. Each time, running, doing abs, push ups or spider crawl, we tried to be faster than the other, pushing ourselves over the limits. I was upset, when she left the school.
At the end of the day the mandarin class was available. But the school made a rule that the class will take place only when three people were present. Many students had got a good attitude to learn chinese language at first. However, as they started to train intensively, most of them gave it up.
Learning mandarin was one of my main goals, defining the decision to come to Qufu Shaolin Kung Fu School. After few weeks it become very tiring each time to beg for mandarin class, because I was the only one, who wanted it. My motivation dropped. I was upset, but I didn’t have energy to fight about it.
Moreover, the classes were not organised, so each time the new motivated students came, we were repeating the lessons. It was annoying and took away the eagerness to learn. Accordingly, during the winter time I end up participating in just few mandarin classes.
Similarly, acupuncture class. I was so enthusiastic about it at the beginning. However, again, the classes were one big mess. Very quickly, I stopped participating in them. Instead, I bought a book „Chinese acupuncture and moxibustion“ and I started to study it alone in my room.
Fists to heart!
Elbows to knees!
Shoulders to groin! Heart to mind!
Mind to breath!
Breath to strength!
Train in its way!
Move in its cycle!
Dance in its passion!
Learn its wonder!
Awaken in its spirit!