Page 5 of 10 FirstFirst ... 34567 ... LastLast
Results 61 to 75 of 147

Thread: Shaolin Journeys

  1. #61
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,078

    Shaolin to Thailand

    Thai job suits pro fighter James
    James Allan, Thai Boxer.
    Published on Thursday 27 October 2011 13:54



    THERE are tough jobs and there are really tough jobs – and then there’s being a full-time professional boxer in Thailand’s brutal national sport.

    Known as Muay Thai (Thai Boxing), it is also known as the ‘Art of Eight Limbs’ – so called because practitioners makes use of punches, kicks, elbows and knee strikes, thus using eight points of contact.

    The life of a professional Muay Thai fighter or ‘nak muay’ – is far from easy. Yet Ancrum joiner James Allan has now spent over a year living, training and fighting in the country’s biggest training camp, Tiger Muay Thai, in Bangkok.

    Passionate about martial arts from a young age, James, now 27, even spent five months living and training at the Shaolin Temple in China prior to heading to Thailand.

    There, he learned kung fu, tai chi and kickboxing from the world-famous Shaolin monks. Moving on to Bangkok in October 2009, he only returned to the Borders at the start of this summer – after nearly 20 months in the Far East – to visit family.

    And this week he begins the long journey back to Thailand and the world of the professional fighter. Before he left, however, former Jedburgh Grammar pupil James spoke to TheSouthern about his chosen way of life.

    “My first taste of the martial arts was a karate class. I moved on to classes in Lau Gar Kung Fu and kickboxing in Jedburgh and Hawick.

    “What I love most is the actual training - learning new things and seeing myself get better.”

    Now one of Tiger Muay Thai’s 10 sponsored fighters, he previously won national martial arts competitions at Scottish and British level, took gold in two separate weight divisions in a major Swiss event, trained in Brazilian jiu-jitsu with the world-famous Rick Young gym in Edinburgh, and spent time in western boxing and tae kwon-do, all to improve his fighting skills.

    “But although I was training in all these martial arts, I really missed the traditional kung fu and it was that which led me to travel to China and Shaolin,” he told us.

    James’ descriptions of the harsh training regime he encountered in China would put most people off emulating his adventure, but James loved it.

    “It was really hard training. Each day, we always started with tai chi for 45 minutes, then standing or sitting qigong exercises, then breakfast, which was always boiled eggs and warm milk.

    “They we would have room inspection. The monks believe that a tidy mind is reflected in your kung fu and mental discipline.

    “Then it was Shaolin kung fu which included horse stance training with weights on your legs and if you collapsed you’d get cracked with a stick.

    “Then maybe we’d do forms or acrobatics like cartwheels and backflips, butterfly kicks and jumping tornado kicks. It was then a 15-minute break. followed by an hour-and-a-half of forms and applications.

    “By lunchtime we were usually wiped out, so we got to sleep for a while before kickboxing and power training. Exercises would include getting a partner and doing wheelbarrows round a massive sandpit the size of half a football pitch about six times. If you collapsed that was another crack with a stick.”

    One of a number of foreigners at Shaolin, James had originally intended only staying for three months, but managed to stretch that out to five.

    “I just wanted to go and sample it. And you do learn a lot because all you do is train. One important thing I learned is the importance of training your mind, realising you can train when you think you can’t because you have some niggle or ache.”

    It was then on to Thailand where, again, James only planned to stay for several months, but ending up remaining for over a year. Eventually, girlfriend Anna Galbraith flew out to join James and she now has a job as a personal trainer in the Thai capital.

    With 14 fights to his name, including 10 wins, James is one of a handful of fighters sponsored by the Tiger Muay Thai gym – not bad when something like 200 fighters train there each week.

    “You only get £150 per fight, but in Thailand that lasts a long time. My mum – my folks moved to Switzerland for my dad’s work – is always petrified when she knows I have a fight.

    “In fact, in the minibus on the way back after every fight I have to text her to let her know I am ok.”

    So far, the worst injuries suffered by James was a cut above his eye that had to be stitched up at the ringside and a broken bone in his hand.

    “I enjoy the fights – they’re fun – but it’s really the training and lifestyle of a fighter that I love. It’s like being a member of a big family – you get really well looked after.”

    By the time Southern readers read this, James – complete with suitcase stuffed full of sports nutrition products courtesy of Nutrition X in Galashiels’ Huddersfield Street – will be back to training twice a day and getting ready for his next fight, which should be some time before Christmas.

    As for the future, James plans to continue his pro career as a Thai boxer in Bangkok. “We have visas for another year, so we’ll see. Ultimately, we’d both like to come back to the Borders and do something together, like start our own gym. I’d love to come back and be able to make a career out of teaching martial arts in the Borders.”

    z Part of his sponsorship deal with Tiger Muay Thai means James has to start blogging regularly and TheSouthern intends carrying regular reports from James on his fighter’s life in the Far East.
    Look forward to the blog
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  2. #62
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,078

    Cameron Andersen

    Anyone ever watch Getaway?
    Aussie black-belt hosts travel show
    English.news.cn 2011-11-29 09:14:14 FeedbackPrintRSS

    Australian Cameron Andersen (center) takes rigid trainings at Shaolin Temple in Henan Province.

    by Xu Wei

    BEIJING, Nov. 29 (Xinhuanet) -- In 2008 Australian Cameron Andersen was practicing international law in Shanghai when he was spotted as a TV natural by the producer of "Getaway." He was then invited as a guest for the 30-minute travel show on International Channel Shanghai, or ICS, which is seen nationwide and overseas.

    Not only was he funny, smart, versatile and poised, he also spoke fluent Mandarin and Shanghainese, and that clinched it. He sings and raps in Chinese and does break-dancing and free-style Latin dance, but not on the show. He's also a martial arts practitioner, and viewers can sometimes watch him demonstrating his skills on the travel show.

    Today Andersen, 29, is still the regular host of "Getaway."

    "TV was absolutely a big decision for me, a huge departure from my former profession and life. But I am a person who love to succeed at the many things I dream of," he says.

    Andersen quit the law and got some practical TV training. The global financial crisis hit in 2008 but Andersen says that's not the reason he left law (he worked at a local firm), though many foreign firms reduced staff or packed up and left. He left for the opportunity and challenge, and the crisis confirmed he had made the right decision.

    Many of his screen journeys are fun and inspiring adventures, offering both expats and Chinese some fresh perspectives.

    Andersen, who has lived in Shanghai for six years, has given himself a Chinese name - An Long - An from his surname, and Long meaning dragon.

    Born on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Andersen graduated from Bond University with a bachelor's degree in law, a degree in law practice and a master's in Chinese studies.

    His first visited China and Shanghai in 2004 as an exchange student and that's when he really felt an affinity with the country.

    "I bought nuchucks (a weapon made of two sticks connected with a short chain) at the Yuyuan Garden, carried them with me and worked them on the Bund," Andersen recalls. "But now when I think back, I realize that if I did that, I was probably attracting police attention."

    He likes the fast pace in Shanghai.

    "Normally, I'm a very fast-paced person with a quick response time and this is the first city where I thought I couldn't keep up with the pace. That's cool," he says.

    One year later, in 2005, he was hired by a local law firm in Shanghai, where he worked for three years.

    "Getaway" is his first show which usually takes five days to film one episode.

    To improve his knowledge of TV, Andersen took an online course on TV production, learning about directing and filming as well as hosting. He watched a lot of travel programs on the Discovery Channel to develop his skills.

    His style is easygoing, energetic and interactive.

    "The more relaxed you are, the more professional you are," he says. He doesn't totally rely on the script. "It's not about how much you can memorize. I like the camera. I don't treat the camera as a camera. I treat the camera as my travel friend."

    As a travel host, he does a lot of hiking, climbing and even swimming and he's gotten a lot healthier and is back to bulking up. After three years as a sedentary lawyer, he lost 10 kilos of muscle mass.

    One of his favorite places is Yangshuo, an ancient town near Guilin in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southern China.

    "When I floated down the tranquil and picturesque Li River, I really felt that time had been preserved there," he says. "Even if you spotted a dinosaur, it wouldn't be strange."

    He also enjoys Harbin in Heilongjiang Province in the northeast, appreciating its classic European architecture on Central Street.

    Of course, he's visited Shaolin Temple in Henan Province and met the kung fu monks; he has visited twice.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Hobart Tasmania - Australia
    Posts
    701
    yes - but have not seen this???

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,078

    french postcards

    Looks like you can still train at Taguo.

    Foreign pupils at Shaolin temple
    (ecns.cn)
    15:56, December 21, 2011
    An 18-year-old French girl plays sword among the ancient pagodas at Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng, central China's Henan Province, on the early morning of December 20, 2011. Every year, nearly 1,000 foreign learners take short-term training sessions at the Tagou Martial Arts School, one of the 50 organizations of this kind in the Songshan Mountain, said a staff member. (CNS Photo/Wang Zhongju)



    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  5. #65
    Soon I will be there. But I don't have my red silk uniform.

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,078

    FHM India Gajanand Rajput

    There's a feature on him in the Sept 2011 issue of FHM India title How to Become a Shaolin Warrior Monk. It has a pic of my coach, Yan Fei, which I'm forwarding to him now.

    Here's the link to the Zinio preview http://www.zinio.com/reader.jsp?issu...&prev=si&p=105
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  7. #67
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,078

    from previous

    Despite incredible stories of men breaking 6-inch marble slabs over their heads, and him spending days punching trees to harden his bones, Neville’s approach to Kung Fu is centred in his pacifist philosophy. Comparing the two main Eastern philosophies, he explains:

    “Confucianism is very hierarchical and very structured. Daoism is exactly the opposite. It’s not chaos, because there is an order, but it’s an order that grows organically from the bottom up. The idea that things flourish best when they’re left on their own.

    “Daoism, uniquely unlike any philosophy I’ve ever come across, eastern or western, is a philosophy that is expressed not just verbally or written but can be expressed in any form. Essentially Wing Chun is Daoism in motion.”

    With an air of gravitas, he quotes Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon.

    “When the opponent expands, I contract. When he contracts, I expand. And when there is an opportunity… I do not hit… it hits all by itself.”

    “That’s very much the whole of Wing Chun. We never meet force with force; we absorb and reflect back all the time. You don’t have to be strong because you’re deflecting.”

    He seems to take both comfort and perspective from his philosophy. It is the reasoning behind his teaching, and the goal to which it strives. Growing up in such an unbalanced society, it appears that the harmony one must seek in Daoism gives an attractive structure and meaning to his life.

    “In the universe, nothing matters, and at the same time everything matters. Nothing matters because, in the greater scheme, what we do in our insignificant lifetime is meaningless, but at the same time everything matters. If a butterfly flaps its wings in Japan it causes a hurricane in America. So everything we do matters. How we further the Dao matters. When I die, whatever I have taught to my students, they are going to carry on, and at least one of them I hope will start their own school and add their own teachings, much like I can trace my own lineage back to the founder, who couldn’t possibly have known that in a few hundred years time, I would be here teaching what they originally taught, to a whole new generation.”

    More information on Neville’s Wing Chun Martial Arts Academy can be found at www.wingchunmah.co.uk. Classes are £6, every Tuesday 6-7.30pm, with the first two lessons free.
    I suppose I could have posted this in the WC forum...
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  8. #68
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,078

    a KFM contribution

    A Little Trouble in Big China by Greg Lynch Jr. in honor of our Shaolin Special 2012.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    22,250
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    I suppose I could have posted this in the WC forum...
    DON'T DO IT !!!
    You'll cause 100 pages of flame wars arguing if he has the real authentic WC !!!
    Psalms 144:1
    Praise be my Lord my Rock,
    He trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle !

  10. #70
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,078

    ambulance detour

    This is so random. I had to post it here.
    Emergency staff punished for driving to tourism resort
    Updated: 2012-05-16 19:38
    By An Baijie (chinadaily.com.cn)

    Three staff members from an emergency medical center in East China's Zhejiang province were punished after they have driven an ambulance to a tourism resort in Central China's Henan province while they were transferring a patient.

    The punishment came in response to public anger that arose after netizens posted photos to the Internet showing an ambulance near a scenic spot in Henan province, China News Agency reported.

    The three staff members — two drivers and a doctor from the Ningbo Emergency Medical Center — started at about 6 pm on May 2 on a trip to take a patient from Ningbo, Zhejiang province, to Dengzhou No 3 People's Hospital in Henan province, said Ge Lin, director of the Ningbo center, who was in charge of investigating the case.

    They arrived at the hospital on the morning of May 3 after driving for 13 hours without taking a rest. The drivers were so exhausted after the 1,138-kilometer trip that they lost their way on their return, Ge said.

    Even though they recognized their mistake, they continued to drive in the wrong direction, deciding to take in the sights at the Shaolin Temple, China's most famous Buddhist temple, Ge said.

    They parked the ambulance in front of a police station in Dengfeng city, about 13 kilometers away from the temple. They then ate a meal in a nearby restaurant and drove back after two hours, Ge said.

    The three people said they avoided going to the Shaolin Temple because they were afraid they would be associated with the ambulance.

    Judging by toll receipts provided by the three workers, they had not had enough time to visit scenic spots, according to Ge.

    The two drivers and the doctor were unavailable to comment.

    Because the three workers had originally wanted to go sightseeing during business hours, their bonuses were confiscated, Ge said.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  11. #71
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,078

    Malingshan?

    20 September 2012 | last updated at 11:15PM
    The Shaolin way
    By Wong Wai Hoong | traveltimes@nstp.com.my

    The search for balance in his life takes Wong Wai Hoong to Maling Mountain, China to learn the martial arts

    “FASTER! Harder!” shouts Master Xu, a former Shaolin monk, as we repeat the same movements many times until many of us break down with exhaustion. Always armed with either a stick or bamboo, the 19-year-old kung fu master doesn’t hesitate to confront and beat us if we are lazy.

    Xu is one of the martial arts trainers in Malingshan Shaolin Kungfu Academy in Xinyi, China, where I’m learning Chinese martial arts. He is a tough master. Having spent his youth undergoing rigorous training at Shaolin Temple, he is a strict and temperamental instructor. Always demanding, impatient and serious during training, he applies the same training methods to all his students. Whether you are a foreigner or a local Chinese, you quickly learn not to give any excuses or complain.

    Acrobatics was a class I struggled with at first and I always got my share of beatings in this class for “wrong footing” and “not turning fast enough”. The master’s voice shouting “totally wrong!” still rings in my ear. And the fear I might land on my neck or twist my spine caused me much anxiety.

    The class is normally conducted outdoors with only mats and plenty of sun. This is the nice thing about it. But the classes always make me feel so frustrated. During one training session, I drank three cups of black coffee with the hope of getting the “extra kick”. It didn’t really work. And whenever it was my turn to perform difficult acrobatic movements, I would shout “Baka!” or “Wo lai laaaa!” which means “I’m coming!”. Surprisingly, doing this worked.

    Funnily, another student, Cory, did the haka dance (the war dance of the Maori of New Zealand) to break his mental barrier in performing the front flips. It worked!

    The academy students come from the US, Australia, Europe and Asia. There’s a mix of males and females. Each and every one of us is of different built, fitness levels, skills and experiences and is at the academy with different goals. Some are eager to learn authentic Chinese martial arts, some want to lose weight, kick a bad habit, and some, like I, are searching for something deeper. But all are aware of one common element — this is certainly not a place for a relaxing vacation.

    THE RIGHT ACADEMY

    Martial arts has always been an important element in my life. It’s more than just winning tournaments. It’s about personal development. The more I learn various disciplines of martial arts, the more I discover the need to be well-rounded.

    To be a complete martial art exponent, one must harmonise the mental, physical and spiritual aspects of oneself. Only when one is balanced, can one effectively apply oneself well in one’s daily activities and occupation.

    Before joining the academy, I was searching for something that could give me this “balance”. My initial quest was to pursue monk training in Thailand. I was close to going ahead until I visited Shanghai in China. My Thai roommate Ming suggested that I try Chinese martial arts instead. At that very moment, everything just clicked!

    When I returned from Shanghai, I did research. Searching for a suitable Chinese martial arts academy was like searching for a needle in the haystack. Not knowing the country well was one thing, but to look for an academy that suited my needs was another altogether. With so many academies around, some more commercial than others, I was hoping to find one with the right location, authentic training methods, affordable fees and with Shaolin masters who taught in simple and basic living facilities. I finally decided on Malingshan Shaolin Kungfu Academy. I took care of my responsibilities at home, wrote my will, paid a kind soul to take care of my dog and said goodbye.

    MAKING THE JOURNEY

    I take a midnight flight to Shanghai from Kuala Lumpur International Airport and arrive the next morning at Shanghai International Airport. Transport in Shanghai is easy and getting around is a breeze, especially on the MRT. At Shanghai Hongqiao Station, I buy a bullet train ticket that will take me straight to Xuzhou in three hours. I was told earlier that someone from the academy would meet me at Xuzhou station.

    There, a lean man of medium height and with shaven head approaches and asks for my identity. I thought he is an illegal taxi driver until he shows me a photocopy of my Malingshan Shaolin Kungfu Academy registration form. He turns out to be Master Bao KangJian, the headmaster of the academy. I apologise quickly in Mandarin and just to break the ice, I mention that our jackets look the same. The master just nods and leads me to his car.

    The drive to the academy takes two hours and we strike up a good conversation about training, business, China, cultures, food and how the master spent his youth almost entirely at the Shaolin Temple.

    The academy was established a few years ago by Bao, who belonged to the 32nd generation of Shaolin warrior monks. I look at him with much admiration as he goes on to talk about Xinyi. His academy is situated in the suburb of Xinyi at northern Jiangsu province that’s sandwiched between Beijing and Shanghai. Although remote, Xinyi has a population of close to one million and is a fast developing city. It has inter-city bus and trains stations from which thousands of people go in and out of Xinyi. I am thinking that if the academy life doesn’t suit me, I can easily sneak out at night and take a train out of there.

    As if he can read my mind, Bao tells me there’s no way for anyone to run away from the hard training at the academy because its location is so remote. “They’ll get lost instead,” he says with a straight face.
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  12. #72
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,078

    continued from previous

    Malingshan Shaolin 24 tai qi forms.

    MALINGSHAN SHAOLIN
    KUNGFU ACADEMY

    As we approach the road to the academy, I can see that the area is surrounded by rice fields and tea plantations. The greenery is soothing. But nearer the academy, I notice pockets of huge barren lands and leafless trees that remind me of Tim Burton’s movie Sweeney Todd. At that moment, I feel almost depressed to be in the middle of nowhere.

    To make it worse, the weather is cold. The temperature hovers at 10°C and lower. I am not used to such cold weather and this depresses me further.

    The only building within sight from the academy is the house of a Chinese medicine woman. Located less than 1km away from the academy, her house later becomes a place I frequent during my stay. It’s where I get treatment for colds and exhaustion.

    I hate the cold. I have to put on triple layers of clothing just to keep warm. It rains occasionally and the days are often dull and grey.

    However, there’s an interesting aspect of the academy’s location. It’s within the Maling Mountain Scenic Zone, ranked one of the 4-AAAA tourist attractions in China. (There are five Tourist Attraction Rating Categories in China, ranging from 1-A, the lowest, to 5-AAAAA, the highest).

    The beauty of the Maling Mountain area is legendary. It was honoured as the First Scenery by Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty. Unearthed archaeological evidences confirmed that the land was once a habitat for early human beings, dating back to the Paleolithic period of some 100,000 years ago. The ancient people made tools and hunted. Later, it became a historical battlefield, where enemies fought to seize control of the land. Eventually, history and legends blended together to give the place its own unique allure.

    Setting foot on the grounds of the academy, I receive a warm welcomed by Lisa, Bao’s wife and academy’s translator. She shows me to my bedroom which I share with David, a former British marine. The room is humble, with very basic furniture. Each of us has a bed but we have to share a cupboard and a writing table.

    Three meals per day are provided. Bao’s parents are the cooks and we eat almost the same food every day during the three months of our stay. Breakfast is a bowl of oatmeal, a bun and an egg. Lunch and dinner consist of vegetable dishes with very little meat and rice, and some tea, which tastes very nice. Sometimes, we get fried rice or dumplings. It’s important not to be late for meals as there’s always a possibility that there won’t be much food left.

    Life here is simple. I get to appreciate the little things in life... watching the sunrise and sunset, sleeping on the grass, enjoying the natural views, swimming in the lake and just letting myself “go”. I needn’t have to impress anyone. However, the place does have Internet facility, so it’s not that bad — we can still get connected to the outside world.

    The daily routine is set. We wake up at 7am for breakfast. The few of us who choose to do tai qi wake up earlier, at 6am. Kung fu training doesn’t start till 8.30am. From then on, it’s “train, eat, rest, train, eat, rest”. It’s lights out at 9.30pm. We repeat this routine five days a week.

    We get the weekend off and we spend the time mainly on grocery shopping or going to the nearby cities for Dico’s (China’s fast food equivalent of KFC). How we long for something different to eat. Chinese la mien (pulled noodles), dumplings, fried rice and skewered barbecue meat are also the common favourites on such outings.

    EXHAUSTIVE TRAINING

    Repetition is the key and one can get a good workout without having to buy any expensive gadgets at all. I lost 3kg in two months.

    The training consists of traditional kung fu forms, sanda kickboxing, acrobatics, conditioning, qigong, tai qi and stretching exercises. There isn’t really an easy training session. Even in stretching classes, we get sat on and are “pulled” in different directions till our bodies contort weirdly. However, it’s not as bad as it sounds. The instructors are friendly and this makes the hard training fun and tolerable.

    We understand that our kung fu teachers are not looking for perfection. They simply demand the warrior spirit of conquering and pushing ourselves.

    When we have completed 24 tai qi forms, we are told there are another 48 to learn. On top of that, there are different forms which require the use of weapons. It seems that one can never complete the lessons here.

    Each master has his own ways and methods of teaching. Some who have been teaching mainly local Chinese are more militant and unforgiving compared to those who teach both local and international students. However, all of them share the same principle: “To push yourself until you can’t push anymore and then some.”

    It doesn’t matter if one is slow, out of shape or uncoordinated. Every newcomer starts from the basics and progresses at his or her own pace. The master teaches the trade, while the perfection of skills depends entirely on the student. Then there are other “unexpected” lessons like brushing teeth and breathing the correct way.

    I learn that martial arts is not only a form of exercise. It is a way of life. Every day, we should invest some time in ourselves and develop the habit of exercising. The form of exercise does not matter. Our body is our tool. My experiences over the years have taught me not to take our bodies for granted. It’s our responsibility to take care of our body.

    OUTSIDE TRAINING HOURS

    Aside from training, there’s little else to do. There’s hardly any entertainment. Most of us will just watch downloaded films, go online, listen to music or read. Some, like David and I, take up photography. Quite often, a few of my fellow trainees get bored and play Dungeon & Dragons while listening to elves’ music. They can’t do this for long though as Bao will come around and stop them from playing beyond sleeping time.

    Outside of training, Bao comes across as shy and gentlemanly. But it’d be unwise to be fooled by this demeanour. I had a shock during one training session when he switched to Nazi-like mode. We were asked to do high kicks repeatedly non-stop for over five minutes and I seriously thought my legs and back were going to break at any time. That class was one of the toughest.

    Bao started learning traditional Chinese martial arts when he was 7. He is now 27. At 12, he went to Shaolin Temple and stayed there until 19. He had the great honour of being a disciple of Shaolin Master Shi De Qian, who was both nationally and internationally renowned and highly praised by the fraternity. From Master Shi, Bao learnt not only traditional Shaolin martial arts and different styles of qiqong, but also traditional Chinese medicine. Due to his excellent performance, he was invited to live with Shi’s family.

    As head of the academy, Bao helps to address our concerns and makes sure we enjoy our stay despite the tough training.

    On my last day at the academy, I reflect on my journey here and how much it has impacted my life. Have I found the “balance” I was looking for? To a large extent, yes, for I have found a greater inner peace and satisfaction but I know I have a lot more of the Shaolin principles to learn. Most of all, my experience at the academy has left me with many good memories... the people I met, the arduous training, the lessons I learnt, our trips to the original Shaolin Temple, night outings and just getting around China have made this journey a highly interesting one and educational as well. I will return for I hold strongly to the saying: “It’s never too old, never too late to learn”.


    How to get there

    Malingshan Shaolin Kungfu Academy is in Xinyi, 2,021km from Beijing and 1,416km from Shanghai. Details at www.shaolin-kungfu.com, email: info@shaolin-kungfu.com or call +86-516-887 307 77.

    By Train
    1. Train 1502/1503 departs Beijing West Station at 9.43am and arrives at Xinyi Train Station about 12½ hours later. Ticket cost: Hard seat ticket costs 106 yuan (RM51) for hard seat and 208 yuan for a hard sleeper.
    2. Train K8356/K8357 departs Shanghai Train Station at 6.57pm and arrives at Xinyi Train Station about 13 hours later on the next day. Ticket: 191 yuan (hard sleeper), 275 yuan (soft sleeper).

    By Flight
    1. Air China CA1849 departs Beijing International Airport at 6.25pm and arrives at Xuzhou Guanyin Airport at 7.50pm. The fare is 690 yuan.
    2. Shanghai Airlines FM9241 departs Shanghai Hongqiao Airport at 8.25am and arrives at Xuzhou Guanyin Airport at 9.30am. The fare is 600 yuan.
    Fares are subject to change.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  13. #73
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,078

    I've been meaning to start a thread on the Beijing smog issue in the OT forum

    I regret not doing that now as this would have been an excellent post to add there. There's a vid if you follow the link.
    China's self-billed No 1 environmentalist gives away fresh air

    Multimillionaire entrepreneur Chen Guangbiao's latest stunt is to raise awareness of severe pollution in Beijing and beyond

    Tania Branigan in Beijing
    The Guardian, Thursday 31 January 2013 13.17 EST

    Link to video: Chen Guangbiao: 'Come on, two cans for one – free fresh air'

    Even through the soupy Beijing smog, it is impossible to mistake the ebullient figure shaking hands, signing autographs and barking at startled passersby: "Come on, two cans for each one – free fresh air. Open it and drink it and breathe it! It keeps you fresh the whole day!"

    It is the kind of offer that has made Chen Guangbiao a household name in China: giving away thousands of tins of air to raise awareness of China's pollution. "If we don't act in the next 10 years, our descendants will have to carry oxygen tanks and wear masks all the time," he says.

    It is the latest wheeze from Chen Guangbiao, 44, a multimillionaire entrepreneur who bills himself as the country's number one philanthropist and environmentalist. Last month, he lay under a sheet of wood and steel while two cars drove over him, to demonstrate that the world would be better without cars.

    He plans to give away 1.5 million yuan to young entrepreneurs in the next weeks. His dilemma: whether to stack the cash in the shape of the Diaoyu islands – currently at the heart of the territorial row with Japan – or in the form of the Great Wall. He smashed up a Mercedes Benz, in another comment on the drawbacks of motoring. He put an advert in the New York Times proclaiming the disputed Diaoyu isles to be Chinese, and announced he was giving new cars to drivers whose vehicles were destroyed in anti-Japanese protests – while simultaneously promoting a cycling initiative.

    But he is best known for his personal deliveries to the victims of natural disasters. He arrived in Sichuan with a fleet of heavy machinery after the earthquake in 2008 and, he said, carried children's bodies from the wreckage. When the tsunami struck Japan, he flew over with cash and goods.

    In short, Chen makes Kim Kardashian look like Howard Hughes. The back cover of his book, Chen Guangbiao: As He Tells It, depicts him cradling a baby, fending off a media scrum and, for reasons less immediately obvious, serenading a herd of beribboned goats.

    "I want to record the name of Chen Guangbiao in Chinese history," he says.

    He has the apparently unsinkable self-belief of Donald Trump, the publicity flair of Richard Branson and teeth as strong as the Bond villain Jaws: his party trick, demonstrated this morning, is to lift a bike using his teeth and spin it around in the air. The crowd grins. The cyclist looks furious.

    It is, says Chen, all down to kungfu training at the famous Shaolin temple.

    "If you put a brick on my head and break it, I will be fine," he assures us.

    Chen grew up in the countryside near Nanjing, in such poverty that two of his siblings starved to death. He earned his first cash – around 40p – carrying water from a well to villagers one summer, and used some of the money to help pay for a neighbour's schooling. In recognition of his good deed, a teacher pasted a red star on his face.

    "I ran around the classes ... Every student wanted to learn from me and do good things," he explained.

    So the difference now is really one of scale: "If there are 100bn yuan of donations each year, 60% of them were influenced by Chen Guangbiao," he says.

    He made his fortune recycling materials from demolished buildings and has vowed to give it all away before his death. Already, he says, he has made donations worth 1.73bn yuan. Others rank far ahead of him in independent lists of charitable donors and sceptics say it is hard to assess the real value of his gifts since they are often in kind. He counters that other philanthropists give to charities in the sectors they work in, with the hope of commercial returns.

    Chen makes no bones about his high-profile tactics, which he has dubbed "violent philanthropy". He says: "My individual power is limited. I want to use my high-profile way to wake people up to take action together to do good things. I can only awake them with my performance art and creativity."

    In a country where most rich people prefer to keep their heads down, this is highly unusual. "If you do a survey of all the ordinary people asking who they like – it must be Chen Guangbiao," he added. "But in China there are some big entrepreneurs and some mayors and officials who are more opposed to me." He claims his willingness to offend powerful interests has resulted in two kidnaps and two mysterious car crashes, but declines to offer further details. "If my wisdom could get support from officials, I think society would move forward 20 years," he says. "Chinese society does not make good use of my wisdom – [if they did] my spirit would influence the whole world, not only China."

    That does not appear to have set back his financial fortunes: the Hurun rich list estimated his worth at $740m last year. He told the Guardian he had 3bn yuan in assets and commercial properties worth 7 to 9bn registered via other parties.

    A few years ago, some Chinese reports suggested he faced heavy debts. Chen said he had never borrowed money and that the stories were planted by rivals. He had, he added, "a heart full of sunshine", that could not be unsettled by detractors.

    Admirers point out that most millionaires are doing little for their fellows. And Chen's stunts have, as he predicted, got people talking about philanthropy and the environment. "We need these kind of people to tell us that if you want to help people you need to take responsibility," says Wang Lanjun, pausing to have her photo taken with him. "He's great!" enthused another passing pedestrian. "He said I'm great," Chen points out. "You see? Ordinary people love me."
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  14. #74
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.
    Posts
    44,078

    Slightly OT...

    But it's Monday after Chinese New Years and I'm slow about getting this week started...

    Ray Chen Is ON OUR RADAR: The Carnegie-Bound Violinist Talks Boxing, Nicki Minaj And The Dog Days Of College (PHOTOS)

    The Huffington Post | By Katherine Brooks Posted: 02/10/2013 9:21 am EST | Updated: 02/11/2013 10:32 am EST

    Anyone can tell you who's already made it, but HuffPost Arts & Culture's On Our Radar series is here to tell you who's about to blow up -- and, in some cases, go pop.

    Ray Chen is only 23 years old, but on February 15 the young violinist will tackle the storied stage at Carnegie Hall, a fete envied by musicians of much older ages. A prodigious music student at heart, he's used to the challenge, having become the youngest soloist to perform at the Nobel Prize concert last year. Now, after playing with orchestras in Germany, Sweden, Israel and beyond, NPR has dubbed him "the finest current violinist you don't yet know." It's a superlative with an air of mystery, almost daring the instrumental genius to show us his stuff.

    In the run-up to his Carnegie debut, we spoke with Chen about his upcoming milestone, his career lows and his life outside the bounds of classical music:
    ray chen violinist carnegie


    Violinist Ray Chen. Credit: CAMI Music

    HP: Why does this project matter?

    It reminds me of that old joke: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? And the answer is practice, practice, practice. I think if it's not the most sought after concert hall that it's certainly in the top. Another might be the Berlin Philharmonic, but it is more associated with the orchestra. Carnegie in itself is legendary so for a musician, when you play there, it’s like you’ve reached a certain point in your career. It's like reaching the top of Mt. Everest. There’s still a long way to go for me, but it's always been my dream to play there.

    HP: Who or what was an early influence on your work?

    I grew up in Australia and I started playing the violin when I was four years old. I was taught by a family of violin teachers -- a mother, daughter, and husband -- and they would hold lessons every week and open their home to tons of kids. Everyone would travel there for different sessions and we would all play for each other. It was so enjoyable and it’s really what inspired me to become a performing artist. Every week I would try to show off, try to memorize pieces and perform every week. The first piece that comes to mind, is from the Suzuki method, called "Happy Farmer". It symbolizes the attitude I had back in those days. Just a happy farmer.

    HP: What were the lowest and highest points in your career so far?

    An eye and ear-opening experience was when I first moved to the States and got into Curtis [Institute of Music in Philadelphia]. I was 15 when I auditioned, and at that time, it was kind of like I was on top of the world, especially coming form Australia. I was a big fish in a small pond. But I think everybody there was a kind of star in their hometown, and then they get to Curtis and experience this major setback all of a sudden. Your mind opens up and you realize what the level is out there. It took like two years for me to get over that. In our bios, we all list the competitions we've won, but during those years I didn’t win a single one. It wasn't until April of 2008 that I broke through the wall and won my first competition and finally had some momentum. Curtis is very small and it will make or break you.

    The high point though is definitely Carnegie hall. I can’t think of many other things to top that. Last year, I played in the Nobel Prize concert, and that was an experience too, meeting the Nobel Prize winners and laureates. Before I had no idea who they were, but after meeting them I was so impressed.

    HP: What are you obsessed with right now?

    I recently got into boxing. I had a friend who was a competitive fighter and later decided to become a violist, and ever since I was a kid I wanted to learn martial arts. Then last year I met some Shaolin monks on a cruise where I was performing and they ended up inviting me to China, to Hunan, to train with them. Unfortunately that never happened, but I thought later that I should do something, so I started boxing.

    I'm also into other genres of music. I love to go dancing -- not like ballroom dancing, but club dancing, with house or electronic music. I love Daft Punk and LMFAO. Or Nicki Minaj. At first I really didn’t like her, but now it kind of grows on me. My life is so engrossed in classical music, so I definitely try to schedule some time away from that.

    HP: How would your childhood music theater teacher describe you?

    Back then, she would say that I was a very talkative person. I was always the kid in class that couldn’t shut up. Always talking to my neighbor and full of energy and very happy. [Laughs] She did have a lot of hope in me.

    Ray Chen will perform at Carnegie Hall with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra on Friday, February 15, 2013 at 7pm.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  15. #75
    Man, if I made my living with my hands, like as a surgeon or A ****ING VIOLINIST, I would NOT still be doing martial arts. My hands are so busted from my years of Kung Fu training.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •