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Thread: Shaolin Journeys

  1. #136
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    Maybe I need another thread for Shaolin diaspora?



    Strong Women: ‘I have dedicated my life to martial arts and I have no regrets’
    By Natalie Morris, Senior lifestyle reporter Saturday 1 Jun 2019 10:00 am

    So many women are put off from sport and physical activity because they don’t look a certain way. In fact, a study by Sport England found that 75% of women avoid being active due to a fear of judgement. Strong Women is a weekly series that aims to normalise diversity in the world of sport and fitness and reaffirm the idea that women of any age, size, race and ability can be fit, strong and love their bodies. By showcasing the wide range of different women who are achieving incredible things, we hope to empower and inspire underrepresented women. Martine Niven is a Shaolin kung fu disciple – it is something she does full time and she has dedicated her life to the practice.


    Martine performing at Chinese New Year Celebrations in Southampton (Picture: Martine Niven)

    Tell us about your relationship with martial arts I became a Shaolin Kung Fu disciple in 2012 after training with my teacher, Shi Yan Ming 34th Shaolin Warrior from Shaolin Temple in China, for four years in the UK. When I met my Kung Fu Master – ‘Shifu’ in Chinese, which means ‘a great master with expert and skillful knowledge’ – I hadn’t practiced martial arts for a while. In my late teenage years and twenties, while most young people were out clubbing and getting careers and families I was inside the kung fu hall, sweating and training, constantly feeling the pain. My teachers expressed daily ‘no pain, no gain!’ – at that time it felt more like pain than gain. I have no regrets from my path. I feel nothing but respect, great honour and privilege to have had the opportunity to train with many great masters, teachers and friends, who were so kind to me and had the patience and time to guide me on this path. What does it actually mean to be a disciple? Being a disciple means you have made a commitment to dedicate your life to the martial arts practice. You have made a commitment to master the skill and to share this knowledge with future generations. I always felt there was something missing from the other marital arts that I had previously studied, this I realised later was the internal aspects which help to balance the body, mind and spirit. I was introduced to practices like Meditation, Qi Gong and Tai Chi as well as continuing to practice the more external martial arts like san da (Chinese kickboxing), kung fu and weapons, this was a great balance.


    Martine with her master Shifu Shi Yan Ming (Picture: Martine Niven)

    Later on in my thirties I went on to specialise in Traditional Shaolin kung fu. Sometimes the paths you take uncannily lead you back to where you started. Being a woman and training, you can be faced with a number of extra challenges. You are always carefully balancing your body’s needs, losing energy every month and then having to build it back up, the process of progression can take longer and for me personally has been extremely frustrating. I have had to learn to be patient with myself and to accept what and who I am. Life is smoother when you’re not always fighting to be something else or trying to prove you are someone else. It can take courage to follow a difficult path but the rewards can be greater in the end. It takes great strength of mind to choose to face yourself with acceptance and love. How does martial arts help your mental health? Your mind is an extremely important part of the martial arts development. Having a positive mind effects everything you do. I learnt this the hard way and in my early training years I was very self-critical. I would chastise myself daily for not achieving what I wanted, but I slowly realised this was unproductive and futile. The process of martial arts is gradual, a difficult concept to accept in a world of rapid results and instant gratification.


    (Picture: Martine Niven)

    I see this a lot in my younger students when they don’t see instant results. They want to give up. We live in interesting times with our youth. They face so many difficult challenges with social media pressures and many device distractions, they need something like martial arts and its underlying philosophies more than ever. This fast-paced lifestyle is not helpful for our self-development, it is short-lived, temporary and eventually unrewarding. It bypasses important life lessons and learnings. Struggles and difficulties are important in life, to feel hardship can in some instances actually be a good thing. The Chinese have a saying ‘to eat bitter’, which means at the time it is not pleasant, like a bitter taste in the mouth, but the bitter taste in Chinese medicine is said to help strengthen the heart. So this is how we learn, grow and gain wisdom. If everything is fast and easy we are missing out on important realisations and deeper understandings. Martial arts helps to gain deeper awareness of the body and mind to feel disharmony and then to have the knowledge and strength to make changes. Experiencing all of these benefits, how could I not want that for others? What does training bring to your life? When I first started learning martial arts, I loved how confident it made me feel. I felt strong and able to defend myself. I loved the culture and learning about the deep underlying philosophies. Everything was new and exciting. Over the years, your awareness changes, your wisdom grows, you face more interesting challenges. You learn about yourself and others. You hit many walls. And every time this happens your awareness deepens and the practice becomes you. You are not separate from it. It is you. Through this you develop a great gratitude and compassion for yourself and others. The self-discovery is profound and life changing.


    ‘The best way to see if you will like something is to be brave and try it’ (Picture: Martine Niven)

    When I am training I lose all sense of self, any ideas of image, gender, ability, race, all seem to vanish. I have no concept of these things, my focus and attention is solely on the movements I am trying to do. It is a combination of breathing, movement and intention. All time stands still and the body and mind come to a single focus point. For that moment I am free, connected and peaceful. The realisation is greatly rewarding. I spent many years trying to find the wise master to show me the way, but realised it is you who has to become the master of yourself. Why should more women get involved in martial arts? Working in schools and universities with young women, I have noticed there are many pressures and stresses that they find difficult to express and deal with. What we teach is a way to help them to balance their lives. The underlying philosophies that come out of the training helps them to become more self-aware, confident, relaxed, centred and balanced. They are slowly able to let go of stresses and strains of everyday life and be at ease with themselves and others. Most people/women come to martial arts because they want to learn how to defend themselves and of course this is the main function, but through this practice you develop so many other skills, developing strength of body, mind and spirit. What would you say to a woman who might be intimidated by the idea of fighting? A lot of women feel put off because they may feel the classes are mainly attended by men, but this is not the case we have a great mix of students. When looking for a class and teacher, do your research. Do not be fooled by appearances, finding a good teacher can be tricky.


    Martine in the Song Shan Mountains in China (Picture: Martine Niven)

    Some teachers are great for some people but not for others, it’s a personal experience, so be brave, try a class and if it doesn’t feel right go try out another until you find a place you feel comfortable. I think a good teacher needs to be patient and tolerant, knowledgeable, humble, and kind hearted. The best way to see if you will like something is to be brave and try it. It can be a bit intimidating and sometimes scary trying out something new but it builds great strength of character and it could be the start of an amazing journey.
    This is not the Shi Yan Ming that was on our cover with the RZA.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  2. #137
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    Beat N Path buzz

    I'm sharing this on our Shaolin Journeys thread and our Beat n Path thread.

    Lupe Fiasco Grew Up With Martial Arts — Then Went To China To ‘Study With The Masters’
    Arionne Nettles
    July 2, 2019
    3 MIN


    Arionne Nettles/WBEZ

    Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco stands in the Stony Island Arts Bank before screening his new docu-series, "Beat N' Path," on Tuesday.

    Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco is going global in a new way — film.

    Fiasco, whose real name is Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, said he learned martial arts from his father. Now, after a recent trip to China, he’s releasing a new docu-series and supporting a new cultural program right here in Chicago to honor his family’s legacy.

    In China, he visited the Shaolin Temple, learned traditional Chinese martial arts, watched Sichuan face-changing opera — which he described as a mix of “kung fu meets performance arts meets ballet.” He even worked with a sword maker to create traditional Chinese weaponry.

    Fiasco’s new docu-series, Beat N’ Path, follows his exploration of China’s culture and history. He screened the series Tuesday for friends and family at the Stony Island Arts Bank, which is next to where his father’s martial arts school stood in the 1980s and ’90s.

    “Try and study with the masters”

    Beat N’ Path pays homage to his father, Gregory Jaco, who did martial arts for more than 40 years.

    “[My father] said if we ever get the opportunity, go back to the countries of origin where these martial arts started,” he said. “Try and study with the masters … at the schools where these things originated.”

    Fiasco, 37, and his sister, Ayesha Jaco, grew up in their father’s school, absorbing all the learning and culture that came along with it. He said the trip was like coming full circle.

    “It literally started here,” he said of the block where the Stony Island Arts Bank now stands. “My martial arts tradition started here right next door, and this bank was a part of it.”

    "Make your community better than you found it"

    Although the docu-series celebrates the exploration of Chinese culture, the Beat N’ Path project also serves as the launch of an arts and culture programming here at home. The project partnered with Rebuild Foundation, which runs Stony Island Arts Bank and reopened the former bank building as a neighborhood space in 2015. Proceeds from his newly released song, “Air China,” will help fund that programming.

    “We were born into the martial arts ... we were babies born into it — at the karate class, at the dojo, running around,” Fiasco said. “And so this area, in this community, is like the epicenter for me. My first memories are of this of this place.”

    His sister, who is Rebuild Foundation’s 2019 dancer in residence, said that work in the community is an important part of upholding their father’s legacy. The project is in partnership with the second phase of her Rebuild fellowship, called “Black Samurai.”

    “He told us your role, no matter what it is that you do, is to make your community better than you found it,” she said. “And so for Lupe, he chose music and philanthropy. … For me, it was dance.”

    Lupe Fiasco produced Beat N’ Path with Hong Kong-based Studio SV, which he created with his partner, Bonnie Chan Woo. Simon Yin directed the series, which can be streamed at lupefiascobnp.com.

    Arionne Nettles is a digital producer at WBEZ covering arts and culture. Follow her on Twitter at @arionnenettles.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  3. #138
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    Kazakh students

    Kazakh students visited Shaolin monastery
    27.09.2019 17:41 67



    The famous temple is located in Song Shan Mountain in central China. The temple was established back in 495 AD with support of Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei Dynasty. To date, it is a place of pilgrimage for tourists. Kazakh students were very impressed by discovering Shaolin and Chinese culture. They have witnessed the Buddhist monastery which they knew only from films. The temple made a huge impression on Kazakh students. They learned a lot about teachings of Buddha and lit candles and made a wish along with other visitors. The students said that such journeys contribute to expansion of their worldview and to thorough understanding of the world. “My point of view on China has changed. This trip exceeded my expectations about the country. I’ve learned a lot about myself, China, culture, mentality and traditions,” said student, Dilnaz Tokybayeva. After paying a visit to the Shaolin Buddhist temple, Kazakh students visited a school of martial arts. The students were delighted by the colorful presentation. As part of the Youth Year, the Chinese Embassy in Kazakhstan organized the cultural journey specially for the students who learn Chinese. During the week-long tour, the students visited four cities and discovered the unique Chinese culture. Photo: fishki.net
    Kinda random, but there you have it.
    Gene Ching
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  4. #139
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    Be a KungFu Trainee in Shaolin Temple for a Day

    Gene Ching
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  5. #140
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    Returning after 38 years

    1981 precedes Shaolin Temple, the film that changed Shaolin history.

    Reminiscing Shaolin
    By Laurence Brahm | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-10-21 10:35


    The author returns to Shaolin after 38 years. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

    Though it was over 30 years ago, I still remember the first time I came here. In 1981, I was a student at Nankai University in Tianjin. It was late August, and together with some classmates, we began our journey with a long train ride to Loyang. A rickety bus up a long, winding dirt road, mud-soaked from summer rains, brought us the rest of the way to a legendary temple called Shaolin at the sacred Mount Songshan.

    We arrived at the iconic Shaolin Temple gate. Having grown up in America with the television series “Kung Fu” starring Keith Caradinne, and as a practicing martial artist immersed in Bruce Lee books and movies, arrival at the gate of the iconic Shaolin Temple was both personal and powerful. Clouds drifted above misty waters like an unmistakably classic Chinese painting. What we would find inside would further awaken the mind, suspended still in a dreamlike astonishment.

    Climbing the steps past ancient steles, we arrived at the Great Hall, the ultimate training room for Shaolin’s martial arts monks. There was hardly anything in the room, only a rack of ancient rusted martial arts weapons leaning confidently against the wall. I never forgot the haunting power of this room, marked by large indentations in the stone floor from years of monks practicing their martial arts.


    Master De Yang (Left), 31st Lineage Holder of Shaolin, greets the author in Shaolin Temple. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

    Those imprints in stone, worn over centuries by monks repeatedly practicing the same kungfu forms in unison to work towards achieving their perfection, revealed a lot to me about a value called perseverance. Expressed as “ren” in Chinese, the character is formed by two other characters, “dao” above “xin” meaning a knife pressing on one’s heart, with an additional line that symbolizes a drop of blood. The character conveys that perseverance is a task requiring what we in the West call “blood, sweat and tears.” Perseverance represents the reason for China’s economic success over these past four decades. And that requires another word “Kungfu,” which in Chinese really just means time. One must devote time and patience to achieve a goal. Perseverance is the key. Kungfu is the result.

    At the entrance to Shaolin, Master De Yang greets me. A quiet, humble monk, De Yang is actually the 31st Lineage Holder of Shaolin. He points to stone tablets, steles raised over decades and even centuries by martial arts associations from all over the world recognizing Shaolin Temple as the source of their own lineage. There are even carvings and records cast in iron on ancient bells, and writings on the stone tablets recalling earlier times when Japanese monks came to Shaolin to study Kungfu, the origin of Karate, even a thousand years ago. Climbing the stairs 38 years later, once again I am in the Grand Hall where the monks of past centuries practiced martial arts. “This is the source of Kungfu,” explains Master De Yang pointing to the almost surreal indentations in the stone floor.


    Master De Yang shows engraving on stone of a Yuan Dynasty stupa, records of Japanese monks studying at Shaolin. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

    In another hallway Master De Yang shows me a mural dating back to the Ming Dynasty, with an array of monks practicing different Kungfu styles on the grounds of Shaolin. In the mural I see different forms, the embodiment of various martial arts styles. “Shaolin has been recognized as the source of Kungfu by many schools from Karate, Aikido, Tai Kuan Do, and even Ninjitsu,” explains De Yang.

    “But there is a common misunderstanding in the world,” he adds. “Many people think Kung Fu is about fighting. Actually, it is about self-cultivation. Making yourself a better person. Real Kungfu practitioners follow a strict code of self-conduct and discipline. Kungfu is to cultivate the body, mind and spirit. However, in history there have been exceptional situations, the stories become legends and even movies.”

    He then pointed to another mural of Shaolin monks riding horses to protect the emperor during the Tang Dynasty when their martial arts skills were sought by the emperor as a last ditch effort to save the dynasty from invaders. The monks agreed and the Tang survived and thrived. The movie “Shaolin Monastery” is based on the story recorded in this mural.

    I was then received by Abbot Shi Yongxin himself, who had just returned the night before from New York City, where he had presented a call for world peace before the United Nations General Assembly.

    My return to Shaolin after nearly four decades made me think about the inter-connected matrix of all things. During ancient times, Shaolin monks were called out from their meditation and practices to save the nation. Maybe they are being called out once again - only this time, to help save the world.

    The author is the founding director of the Himalayan Consensus and a senior international fellow at the Center for China and Globalization.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  6. #141
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    Ben Booth


    Around the Island Race: rowing and Zen Buddhism are the perfect match for Booth, after Shaolin Temple training

    Rowing has all of the ingredients of ancient mind-body arts, and gives the American the edge in competition
    BY MARK AGNEW
    8 NOV 2019



    Rowing and ancient mind-body arts are natural partners, according to one of the top coastal rowers in the US, Ben Booth. He is in Hong Kong this weekend to take part in the Around the Island Race.

    Booth has been on a 16-year journey, exploring the power of the mind and how it relates to his sport. He was beating people in competition he knew he could not beat in training, and questioned what role the mind was playing in his performances. So, in 2003 and moved to China to study in a Shaolin Temple for a year and has been continuously learning since.

    “Rowing has all the same recipes as all the mind-body arts,” Booth, 42, said. “It's repetitive, you're in nature, you have to step away from yourself and into a bigger space of this water. Coastal rowing in particular exemplifies that as every stroke is the same but different. Because the water is always moving, you are always adapting to your environment.”

    “When you stop thinking you are more effective, because you can't out think the tumultuous movement of the water, you just have to be there, response and join that space,” he said.


    Ben Booth spent a year in a Shaolin Temple and says rowing and mind-arts an natural bedfellows.

    Day to day life in the temple was “just nuts”, Booth said. “There was no real logic to it either. We weren't following this progressive training programme. From day one you were just full on.”

    They’d wake at sunrise and run a marathon. A teacher would chase them on an old rusty bike, whipping them with a stick to keep them going. They’d then mediate and work on their inner energy. They’d next do high energy exercises, like jumping and sprinting, before lunch. After their meal, they’d have fighting practice, sparring, hitting bags. In total, there were 10 hours of work a day.

    “It's super physical,” he said. “The mental aspect of it is really getting through a day, day after day.”

    The 45km Around the Island Race, organised by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, is accepting solo rowers this year for the first time.

    “Anything that was considered too far and too dangerous previously sounds right up my alley,” Booth said.

    Last weekend, Hong Kong hosted the World Rowing Coastal Championships. Booth opted against taking part in both. He thought he had not trained for the speed of the shorter distance.

    “I'm pretty competitive. It wouldn't be fun coming to the race and not be racing for a top 10 position,” he said.

    “If you're doing it for the sake of it you, don't get that personal growth,” Booth said. “If you have a bad race you have to examine why, was it mental, was it physical, what were the factors that weren’t in place? You have this arbitrary date in the future and on that date you have to be at your peak. For me, it's a fascinating process and puzzle to work out.”

    Since starting his spiritual journey, Booth has lived on the top of a mountain in Vermont for six months and spent three months in a cabin with no heater during winter in the wilderness, among other adventures. He now runs a non-profit organisation teaching tai chi, meditation and rowing.

    Within a few months of starting meditation and mindful practices, Booth noticed a difference.

    “There was just more clarity. It wasn't a revelation, but it was a gradual unfolding,” Booth said. “After a number of months of feeling more mentally cohesive, and it wasn't like I wasn't cohesive before, I just noticed everything was more heightened. Everything improved.”
    Wonder what he studied at Shaolin...
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  7. #142
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    "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Student


    Over 100 Foreign Teenagers Experience Chinese Kungfu in Zhengzhou, China

    PRESS RELEASE PR Newswire
    Nov. 19, 2019, 08:16 PM



    ZHENGZHOU, China, Nov. 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- From October 21 to November 1, 2019, the final rounds of the 12th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Students took place in central China's Zhengzhou City, the birthplace of Chinese Kungfu. During the competition, more than 120 contestants from 105 countries visited Shaolin Temple and experienced the unique charm of Shaolin Kungfu.

    "My biggest wish to come to China this time is to see the real Chinese Kungfu," said Lu Jingmao from New Zealand. On Oct. 25, he came to Shaolin Temple, the birthplace of Chinese martial arts, as he wished. Together with other competitors, Lu watched exciting Kungfu performances, listened to the legend of Shaolin Temple, and appreciated the long-standing Shaolin culture.

    Vigorous and powerful Shaolin boxing, exciting Shaolin Hard Qigong, various forms of weapons in 18 kinds, splendid Shaolin martial arts won great admiration from the contestants. They took photos one after another, some even imitated the movements on the spot.

    In addition to visiting the world-famous Shaolin Temple, the contestants also visited other local spots. In Zhengzhou Yellow River Scenic Area, the youngsters paid homage to the statues of Emperors Yan and Huang, and overlooked the magnificent scene of Yellow River. While in Sandu Camping Park, they put on Chinese traditional Hanfu clothing, and experience China's ancient method of woodcut painting and papermaking. By visiting Zhengzhou Garden Expo Park, contestants realized the beauty of Chinese landscape gardens.

    The colorful Chinese culture ignite competitors' passion. "Chinese language makes me see the diversity of culture and the vastness of the world," said Ma Hongbo, a 17-year-old Hungarian.

    According to Zhengzhou Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, Television and Tourism, member of the Preparatory Committee of the 12th "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign Secondary School Students, Zhengzhou is one of the eight ancient capitals of China and the birthplace of Chinese civilization. With profound culture, beautiful landscape and developed transportation network, Zhengzhou has been one of the most popular tourist destinations in China, attracting global tourists to explore China's past, present and future.

    As a large-scale international Chinese competition, it has attracted more than 1.4 million teenagers from more than 150 countries to participate since 2002.

    Image Attachments Links: https://asianetnews.net/view-attachm...tach-id=351302

    View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-rele...300961508.html

    SOURCE Zhengzhou Municipal Bureau of Culture, Radio, Television and Tourism
    Wonder what they win?
    Gene Ching
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  8. #143
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    Soft Power in Africa

    Feature: When a street kid from Yaounde discovers Kungfu
    Source: Xinhua| 2020-01-05 17:48:56|Editor: zh
    By Qiao Benxiao

    YAOUNDE, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- At the top of Nkol-Nyada hill, the Yaounde Conference Center was built in the 1980s as a China-aid project, and remains to this day one of the landmark buildings in Cameroon. The story of Fabrice Mba, a Shaolin disciple, started there.

    Little Mba grew up on the street. He had no dad, his mom could not take care of every child because there are so many. In 1987, at the age of eight, he left his home in the southern town of Sangmelima with his elder sister to settle in the capital. They lived not far from the Yaounde Conference Center.

    Every morning, little Mba saw a Chinese man making movements on the square of the Conference Center. He and his friends, all barefoot and T-shirts torn, looked at the foreigner and imitated him. "It was very beautiful," recalled Mba.

    One day, the Chinese called them and asked them to take a posture, with knees slightly bent as if holding a tree in the arms. "We stood facing the wall. It hurted in feet, shoulders and arms so much that my friends fled, and I was left alone," said Mba.

    This posture which is called "zhan zhuang" is in fact a basic training method of the Chinese martial arts. The man who "mistreated" little Mba was a Chinese technician assigned to Cameroon to maintain the Conference Center, and the "very beautiful" movements that the Chinese made was obviously Kungfu.

    Since then, little Mba came every morning to learn Kungfu. "He was very thin, but at the same time very strong," remembered Mba of his teacher, without being able to say his name is Zhang or Jiang.

    A year later, little Mba returned to Sangmelima. His big brother was a projectionist, little Mba often helped him sweep the movie theater. For the first time, he saw the Shaolin monks on the screen. "It spoke to me very loudly."

    After studies, Mba returned to Yaounde to make a living. Life has hurt him more than the posture of zhan zhuang. Each job did not last long, and he did not know what to do to eat. His friend, who worked as a guardian of a bakery, sometimes kept breadcrumbs for him. "I had it on my hands, face and in my nostrils."

    "I don't drink, I don't smoke, Kungfu is all I have," said Mba, who continued to practice martial arts by learning from videos. To find inner peace, he trained in the morning in front of Conference Center, as his Chinese teacher once did.

    In 2011, a professor from the Confucius Institute encountered Mba while he was playing Kungfu. After short exchanges, Mba was invited to visit this establishment for teaching the Chinese language and culture. In a very short time, he made close friends with Chinese teachers who believed in him a lot. "I finally had the feeling of becoming me."

    Four years later, after a selection of profiles by the Confucius Institute, Mba obtained a scholarship to be trained in China in martial arts and traditional Chinese medicine at the Shaolin temple.

    "It was just like what I saw in the movies," said Mba, only this time he was on the other side of the screen. "The great masters of Shaolin really edified and enlightened me."

    Between 2015 and 2019, Mba went to Shaolin temple three times for training. Back to Yaounde, he became a physiotherapist, and gradually, he has constant income. When he is not busy with his patients, he teaches for free Kungfu fundamentals at the Confucius Institute and in several schools in Yaounde.

    For many Africans, Kungfu is presented only as a combat system, however, "by embracing the Chinese martial arts, I discovered their virtue," he said.

    "What Kungfu basically teaches is the production of a man of morality. When a man is rich in moral values, it is easier for him to be surrounded by people who love him and to have advancements in life," said Mba.

    He managed to convey this message to young Kungfu enthusiasts. "He teaches us to be a man of integrity, hardworking and respectful. If you have a problem with your friend, you have to keep cool and take a step back," said Emmanuel Ze, a student of Mba.

    In his collection of poems published in 2017 entitled "Breach in a stone wall", Mba saw his difficult years as a wall of despair. If he was finally able to break a breach, it is due to China.

    "I come with a story, which is more and more similar to that of a million Africans, to whom China opens its doors, to whom China changes (their) destiny," he wrote in this autobiographical anthology.

    Growing up on the street, Mba knows that many young Africans need help to break a hole in the wall of their lives. He is currently preparing a program to offer short-term training in physiotherapy and others to disadvantaged young people free of charge so that they can find work.

    "Be your own boss" is the slogan of his program named "Lotus and Water Lily", because "these are the only flowers that are able to grow in a polluted environment, and succeed in producing white flowers," he explained.

    "I was a street kid, destined to be a bandit or a robber, but I discovered Kungfu which teaches me to become a man of moral excellence even if I had no money", he said.

    "All these children who are in difficulty like once I was, who are destined for a bad life, can become lotuses and water lilies if they are given the opportunities."
    THREADS
    Shaolin Journeys
    Confucius Institutes
    Shaolin's African Disciples
    Gene Ching
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  9. #144
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    Harsh Verma

    I had a blissful life transformation at the Shaolin temple
    By Harsh Verma January 17, 2021 18:22



    I had a very interesting, blessed and blissful life transformation at the Shaolin temple. In 2014, I had knee surgery, but my recovery was not good. As I was a professional football player, it was difficult for me to stay away from physical activities. So, I did some research on the Chinese acupuncture therapy and got in touch with representatives of the Shaolin temple. They invited me to the temple and asked me to carry all my medical records.

    Initially I had to face several challenges at the temple. Shaolin is an isolated monastery located on top of a mountain in a village where no one spoke English. Getting used to the food was another problem. But I knew I was at the right place to do the right thing and I did not want to give up. My first three months were spent undergoing acupuncture therapy for my right knee, combined with a little bit of strength training. Gradually, I started feeling a lot better.

    The temple was filled with so much of knowledge and there was always so much more to learn. I decided to learn Mandarin. I ordered some books to study and I observed and listened when others around me spoke in Chinese. Studying around 20 to 30 new words every day from my dictionary made me feel confident. People in the temple, including my master, told me that I was putting more and more effort every day by not only doing physical training but also learning the local culture.

    We had several duties and services to perform, like cleaning our rooms and the training and dining halls. My concentration, focus and commitment became much stronger after the training I received at the Shaolin temple. I got a new family by helping foreign students with translations, by learning medicine, philosophy and martial arts and by performing various other duties and services. Learning about the culture and history of the temple brought so much meaning to my life.

    Everything in the Shaolin temple comes from India. I want to introduce the Shaolin culture in India when the time is right.

    Verma is the first Indian to be part of the Shaolin performing monks’ team.
    Everything in the Shaolin temple does NOT comes from India.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  10. #145
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    Medha Jaishankar

    The cure to my quarter life crisis By Medha Jaishankar January 17, 2021 18:10 IST

    Medha and fellow students with actor Jason Scott Lee (standing second from left), when he visited Shaolin temple

    The year was 2012. I was in my late 20s, recently single, jobless, and in general having what many would consider a quarter life crisis. So I did what I thought was the most sensible thing I could do. I decided to go study kung fu.

    I knew nothing about martial arts at the time. I had somewhat experimented with Thai boxing, though I had barely set foot in a gym. I spoke no Chinese. I had seen one or two Bruce Lee films. That was essentially all the prep I did before I bought my train ticket and headed to Zhengzhou, eventually making my way to Shaolin.



    Arriving at the temple, I was extremely intimidated by all the young children I saw, doing flips in the air and a variety of movie-like stunts. These children (mostly boys) were probably around seven or eight years. They were doing repeated rounds of various moves that made them look like they were literally flying! But after practice, these young lads immediately chilled out on their practice mats, chatted with each other, and pulled out their phones and started playing video games. Despite their fancy moves, I was put at ease, knowing that they were just like any other kid their age.


    Medha performing basic kung fu stancesMedha performing basic kung fu stances

    I was enrolled in a class with a group of Russian students as all the foreigners at the temple trained under an English-speaking monk/teacher. Our teacher would make us train for two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. Much of our practice consisted of lots of jumps and basic kung fu stances.

    My fellow Russian students were definitely more agile than me, though by the end of my ten days I was able to do much better than I thought I would!

    I was extremely sore after the first day. But luckily everyone in the community—from our teacher-monks, to my fellow students, to the locals working and residing in the area—was very encouraging of a new student like myself. A man I met while walking to class felt obliged to show off his moves!

    The Shaolin temple was not just about exercise. They also had an onsite acupuncturist, who persuaded me to do a therapy that involved running an electric current between needles. And with all my sore muscles I was offered a massage that involved burning a towel on my back.

    Our class had the honour of meeting Jason Scott Lee, who had portrayed Bruce Lee in the 1993 film Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story. Although he was at the temple to shoot a documentary, he also took time to learn from our teacher/monk.

    By the end of training, I was lighter, quicker and fitter than I had ever been. But more importantly, I learned to truly embrace new experiences, no matter how intimidating they may initially seem! And by the end of my stay at the Shaolin temple, I was finally cured of my quarter life crisis.

    The author is a senior producer at a digital media and entertainment company.
    The Week is doing a lot of Shaolin coverage lately.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  11. #146
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Everything in the Shaolin temple does NOT comes from India.
    You can't expect an actor, or a researcher for the movies to be close to historically accurate. Even academics doing text analysis are going to be off a good percentage of what is Indian and Chinese, epecially when its around 80 or 90%.

    Even for something like sets of the Shaolin Temple for the original Kung Fu TV Series (which BTW are gathering dust in a warehouse) are just an approximation of what the temple looked like only a couple hundred years ago...

  12. #147
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    YinOrYan

    Quote Originally Posted by YinOrYan View Post
    You can't expect an actor, or a researcher for the movies to be close to historically accurate. .
    True, but I can endeavor to make corrections here. If anything, KFM members should know (along with supporting our sponsor MartialArtSmart).
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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