View Full Version : anyone who has trained with a shaolin monk

Zong He
07-22-2001, 02:34 AM
i was wondering what the class are like with a shaolin monk or any teacher trained in traditional shaolin techniques. anyone who has trained with them please let me know what exactly a usual class entails, what kind of training methods they employ that are unique to them that you haven't seen at other ma schools.

i'd rather be judged by 12 then carried by 6

07-22-2001, 04:05 PM
Each monk's classes are different.

I trained with Shi Yan Ming for a while. Mostly we did basic kicks, strikes, and streching for about an hour. Then forms and conditioning such as carrying heavy logs or running up a few flights of stairs and climing back down on all fours. Also some heavy bag. And lots more stretching.

For some students there is time set aside to spar. Yan Ming would instruct us to kick with our lead leg as our primary weapon.

Haven't trained with him in a couple of years, so I wouldn't know if the curriculum has changed.

07-23-2001, 01:00 AM
I've only done one 2 day seminar with Monk Sifu Shi Yanzhi in the UK (www.shaolintempleuk.org).

It covered:-

Self massage, meditation, Wu Bu Quan form (5 basic stances), Qi Gong form (diamond), Xia Hong Quan form.

Training was similar to my own class - Lau Gar. Lots (I mean lots!) of press-ups to start with and deep squats in horse stance during warm up. Lots of emphasis placed on stretching exercises.

Then it was forms, forms, forms..

Best 2 days of training that I've ever had.

I think there is an article on the gallery part of the web-site about a similar course.

Sorry my info is very limited - I've only been fortunate to train for this short period. Got another course lined up for September though - can't wait.

07-25-2001, 03:57 AM
A day in the life of a kung fu student

What was I, a 32 year old female, thinking of when I joined kung fu school, mostly attended by boys less than half my age? I want to work out the answer to this question by the time I finish recaping on my training for today.

When I heard the “gong” sound at 4:50 this morning, I prayed for rain. Rain means no training, so I can sleep in until the next session at 8:30. The main reason I don’t want to get out of bed is because I have muscle fatigue from previous days’ training. I don’t seem to be getting over muscle fatigue as quickly as it used to. But I’ve never trained kung-fu continuously for 6 days a week before. After rolling out of bed and pulling up the orange trousers of my uniform, I inhaled deeply, and realized on the exhale that getting up this early in the morning is not such a trauma.

At 5:00am the air was fresh and moist. I hate running, but this is the best time to run if you have to. I made my mind go into a trance; a kind of meditation. I tried to forget that I am not as fit as I used to be. Instead I concentrated on how my limbs were performing each moment and either pushed harder or held back if I thought that I risk injury. The views from the mountain where we train help fix me in this trance and make the experience much more pleasurable. I use the natural rhythms from the chorus if insects and other wild life to pace myself.

My class was trained by the Shifu (Heming help me spell this) (Headmaster) this morning. He taught us Qi Gong. It is a technique for harnessing energy. The movements are slow, but strong and the breath has to be coordinated with the movement. Last week the Master, explained the secrets of Qi Gong (the foreign students had an interpreter) and gave all of us the mandate to teach the technique and secrets to our family, to relieve their health problems. Sound cool don’t it?

Qi Gon is good for me. It pumps up my energy for the rest of the day. I love Qi Gon first thing in the morning. It balances out the day’s training perfectly.

The mid morning and afternoon sessions were, as always, a real challenge. At 8:30 the sun was beating down hard and the personal trainers were back so all hell broke lose. We ran to warm up the muscles, then stretched to get promote flexibility and strength required to practice Kung Fu. Then we are trained basic kung fu forms. Kung-fu forms are hard for me to describe. You kind of fight out a sequence of stances, punches, strikes, kicks and blocks, with as much force as you might inflict if you were actually fighting with someone. Two important ingredients for the sequence are control and speed. The trainers do not speak much English, but other foreign students, who have been around a bit longer, help out with translations. And where something cannot be translated you are simply shown repeatability until you get it. Soon you begin to accumulate the vocabulary necessary to understand what this instructor is screaming at you.

The instructors are great. Like most of the boys at the school, they too started out at a young age. Their kung-fu style, strength and flexibility are amazing to see. When I saw how hard the guy’s trained I wondered if that made them hard emotionally and uncompassionate. Quite the opposite. Although the trainers have bodies that can withstand most forms of physical torture, they have the softest hearts. Of course, I did not realize this while my trainer was bending my leg behind my head. But every now and again you see the softness inside. Today my trainer was having a bet of a moan, I suspect because he was not getting much attention during the break this afternoon. So Jessie (a long termer) showed him a little love and suddenly he was all smiles and the training got a little easier. But that’s my trainer, I can’t speak for the others.

I’m two weeks into training. I noticed quite a lot of improvement this afternoon. I still hate running. But I’m getting into the stances deeper and for longer now. Also, I have more self-awareness of what my body is doing when I am doing my forms. I’ve started learning a form with a weapon. I’m very happy about that.

This evening after diner, I watched the young students train. They look like true devotees in their monk style uniform. And they have such bright faces. I love the smiles I get from them. I need to learn more Chinese so that I can find out more about them. Some of them practiced their English out on me. That was fun.

I really love being in their presence. Their energy is so different to mine and definitely complimentary. I’ve had kung-fu tuition from some of the students on previous days. They don’t care about my age and the fact that I can’t touch my heals with the back of my head. If they want me in a low stance, they just keep adjusting my posture until I’m in it. I try to convert the painful expression into a smile, but I just drip sweat instead.

Watching the young students and their teachers is an exhilarating experience. It’s just like standing in the middle of a kung-fu movie – only much better. When you see these young boys wheeling weapons around and punching the air with rocket force, they don’t look so cute anymore. They are potential killers. But the most graceful, and skillful and most determined killing machines that I have had the pleasure to meet. There is this one move with where you see the little loves punching a spear into an imaginary body, and giving it a good twist. My insides hurts every time I see it.

So why am I here?
 Well for one thing, before I came here, I thought my memory was failing me - slipping away as I advanced in age. Today I realized that it still works. I can get through several forms without forgetting. I just needed something other than my normal routine to stimulate my brain;
 I’m learning new things about my body and how to get the energy flowing, even when I’m at a physical low;
 Also I love the kung-fu kids. I need their energy. It’s so high, sometimes very intense because there are harsh penalties for not performing to a high standard.
 And the mysticism of Kung-fu has for a long time played a large part in my fantasies about executing justice in this world.

Shaolin Secular Disciple's Union,
Shaolin Temple, Mt.Song, Henan 452491, P.R.China
Tel: +86(371)2749172
Fax: +1(212)98143
ICQ#: 17145752
Email: heming@shaolintemple.zzn.com