Yuntai Shan International School Review

Check out this latest Kung fu School review posted by Des from the Philippines. She studied at the school for 1 month this summer.

I studied at the Yuntai Shan International School for one month.

Training begins at 5:50 am and there are four to five compulsory meetings everyday. Students can only leave the school on Wednesday mornings and Sundays OR if you have a valid reason to (e.g., visa renewal in the city center). I begin with this information because, for potential students, this might be something worth considering. During my time there, we did have some people come in from Shaolin Temple who thought that Yuntai Shan was maybe a bit too strict. In my opinion, however, it was just right. As someone who considers myself a complete beginner, I thought the training was very good. The shifus and the rest of the staff are very welcoming and helpful, and that goes a long way towards creating what I felt was a very supportive culture within the school.

Food and accommodation weren’t that great, but they were decent. I was there during the summer break, so I’m not sure if there are more food choices at the canteen when the regular school term is underway. In any case, if what’s offered at the canteen isn’t satisfactory, you can always try the restaurant right across. Every room has its own bathroom and for non-Chinese students, if I’m not mistaken, you’ll at most be two people per room. Rooms do have air conditioning, but they can only be turned on at certain times of the day.


For those who want to sneak in some sightseeing, one of the benefits of the school’s location is that it’s located very near the Yuntai Geo Park, which is classified AAAAA by China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism (that’s the highest rating they give). I highly recommend asking for a day or two off training to go see it. You can also ask the Shifus to help organize trips to nearby Shaolin Temple or Luoyang.

All in all, if you’re looking for value for money, you can’t really go wrong with choosing this school. I had a great month there and if I ever go back to China for martial arts training, choosing Yuntai Shan again would be a no-brainer.

Booking with StudyMartialArts.Org – I liked how much information there was and that was instrumental in helping me decide which school to attend.

36th Chamber of Shaolin

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, also known as The Master KillerShaolin Master Killer and Shao Lin San Shi Liu Fang, is a 1978 Hong Kong kung fu film directed by Liu Chia-liang and produced by Shaw Brothers, starring Gordon Liu. The film follows a highly fictionalized version of San Te, a legendary Shaolin martial arts disciple who trained under the general Chi Shan.

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin is widely considered to be one of the greatest kung fu films and a turning point in its director’s and star’s careers. It was followed by Return to the 36th Chamber, which was more comedic in presentation and featured Gordon Liu as the new main character with another actor in the smaller role of San Te, and Disciples of the 36th Chamber.

Lengfan – ‘eating cold rice’

by Phillip Star

sunlutangSun Lutang (1860-1933), renowned founder of the Sun styles of both baguazhang and taijiquan rose early each morning in Beijing to walk to his baguazhang practice with the famous master, Cheng Tinghua. Upon completing his bagua training for the day, he’d immediately set out to walk to the other side of the city where he’d train in xingyiquan under the tutelage of the legendary Guo Yunshen (the “Divine Crushing Fist”). That must have been a really arduous task; even in those days, Beijing was huge. The foot traffic had to be all but impassable, but he walked the route every day, in the blistering heat of summer and the snowy days of winter.

In 1938, Masutatsu Oyama left Korea (being a native Korean named Choi Young Li, and he would later adopt the Japanese name, Masutatsu Oyama) to apply at the Yamanashi Aviation School. He had high hopes of becoming a pilot but was refused because of his nationality, so he managed to find a menial job driving a small truck through Tokyo in the wee hours of the morning. After studying karate under Gigo Funakoshi at Takushoku University, he went into the wilds of Mt. Minobu in Yamanashi Prefecture where he trained outside of the small hut he’d constructed. Eventually, he stopped living in the run-down structure and when he no longer received supplies of food from a friend who had been bringing them to him regularly, he lived outdoors…even in the winter! He noted that he’d sleep on the snow-packed ground and hunt for berries and other foodstuffs to sustain him during the nearly 3-year period he spent on the mountain. He would go on to found the Kyokushin school of karate.

1_jEydbfJt1U40419rfecHgQ

Morihei Uyeshiba (founder of modern aikido) often allowed his most senior disciples to live in his home and he’d wake up in the middle of the night, having dreamt of a new technique. He’d wake his pupils, who would act as his uke (receiver) although they were still half-asleep and bleary-eyed.

And today…students ignore the aches and pains of daily training, push aside the concerns of a day at work or school, and do their best to resist the urge to settle back onto the couch and watch a movie or settle in with a good book. On certain evenings they venture out to class, where they’ll be thrown about and be attacked with a variety of puches and kicks…for reasons that are a little difficult to verbalize. They’re bright enough to understand that practicing their chosen art will likely never land them a Hollywood contract, turn them into invincible super-heroes, or enable them to enjoy a wealthy lifestyle. But they endure through the humidity of summer and the ice of winter to continue travelling their path where the reward for suffering through the phsical and intellectual maze of technique and form is to have more of the same heaped on. And the further they travel along this path, the more demanding it becomes.

Errors and lapses in attention might be forgiven when they are beginners, but illuminated in a harsh spotlight by their teachers as they progress. And finally, as they approach the level where their teachers have no more to teach or even criticize, they may think their journey is nearing the end. Not so. At this advanced level, the practitioner must turn inward to re-examine his technique and lifestyle to seek out weaknesses, impose upon himself even more hardships, and searching for a level of the Way that is increasingly severe.

This is sometimes referred to as “lengfan” or “eating cold rice.” Unless you eat rice as a part of your regulat diet, you may wonder about this expression. Well, the next time you find some leftover rice in the refrigerator, try a mouthful before you warm it back up. You’ll probably find it a bit less than palatable. Very different from the freshly steamed variety. Soldiers in the field would eat cold rice because they lacked the equipment and time to heat it. Bachelors are known to garf it down in the morning when there’s nothing else available for breakfast. A bowl of cold rice can make us appreciate that even the most blessed and fortunate among us will suffer from time to time. Not every meal will be just as we like it…

Eating cold rice puts eating in a new perspective. If we’re hungry, it sustains us. The austere training of the martial will fill our bellies even though it’s not as tasty as we’d like. The austerity of practce in the martial Ways is a lot like that…they are disciplines that are stripped of self-indulgences and ego decorations. To follow them requires a certain amount of stoicism and an enduring spirit. The true martial artists doesn’t mind cold rice; he sees it as an essential means of improving himself and perfecting his spirit.

He doesn’t prefer cold rice, but he accepts it; he knows that true contentment is not gained through acquiring things. If one cannot be happy or content unless they have hot rice (or that new car, or the latest fashionable shoes…), one is probably going to live a very unsatisfied, unhappy life. But if you can be content with the rice – hot or cold – chances are that you’ll find contentment in everything life offers.

The masters of days past ate cold rice many times in their lives; they endured and moved forward. Their lives weren’t centered pn material goals; they’d accepted a different path – one that requires accepting some hardships. Without such a stoic outlook, they’d have learned much less than they did. One well-known author said that all of the valuable lessons he’d learned in life were learned through suffering. So those who have chosen to follow the martial Ways must determine in what direction they want to go. But they must be prepared to eat a bowl of cold rice from time to time…

0025bc9ba44e1e3c3a75a84a18b3c167

Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic Learning Styles in Grappling

by Charles Smith

Overview

People learn in many different ways and no two people learn in exactly the same way. As a coach you can help your players train more efficiently if you teach in a way that takes into account the various differences in their learning styles.

In this article.. I cover three basic styles: visual, auditory and kinesthetic.

Visual learners want to see how something is done. Auditory learners prefer to hear explanations and like to talk their way through things. Kinesthetically oriented people want to get lots of hands-on experience so they can feel how something is done. I’ve covered each of these sensory learning styles in their own article, linked at the bottom of this page.

As you read the articles keep in mind that everyone uses a mix of learning styles. Some people have one dominant style, and use the others only as supplements, while other people use different styles in different circumstances. There is no right mix. People’s learning styles are also quite flexible. Everyone can develop ability in their less dominant styles, as well as increase their skill with styles they already use well.

Note to Coaches:
The key for you as a coach is to present information in a multi-layered mixture of styles. Don’t get stuck teaching in just one mode. Make sure you’re doing all you can for each style and pay particular attention to how you can blend the styles together.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you should help your students discover their own learning styles and how to make the most of them.

Check out this great article Charles Smith. You can find the full article here.

Teach or Train

By Phillip Starr

    Over the years, I’ve heard several martial arts instructors remark that they like to “work out” in the classes that they teach and/or that they use the classes as their own workouts. I think this is a very bad idea for two reasons…

     First, it cheapens the instruction received by the students.  If the teacher is focused on himself and his own workout, he is not able to closely observe what his students are doing.  If he had to stop periodically to make corrections here and give encouragement there, or explain a particular principle or concept, his workout would be constantly interrupted.  If he really intends to work out, he must be wholly attending to what HE is doing rather than on what the students are doing.

    Secondly, if the instructor allows his personal workout to be constantly interrupted, he isn’t able to focus completely on what he’s doing.  It’s really not much of a personal workout at all.

     Using class as his own training time takes away from the quality of instruction received by the students and also ruins the teacher’s workout as well.

     I have told teachers (who informed me proudly that they simultaneously utilize class time as their own workout time) that they really must stop doing so.  I told them that in class, they should devote themselves to TEACHING and pay attention to the students.  Their own workouts must be conducted separately, on their own time.  Class time is intended for the students.  Period.

WU WEI SI – LIVING IN A CHINESE KUNG FU TEMPLE — THE VEGAN VOYAGERS

If you’ve been searching for a peaceful retreat from a busy western lifestyle, want to learn Kung Fu, get to know the ‘real China’ or just looking for tasty vegan food, this is the complete guide to living in a Chinese Kung Fu Temple! Wu Wei Temple, a Buddhist monastery, with a 1000 year history, […]

via WU WEI SI – LIVING IN A CHINESE KUNG FU TEMPLE — THE VEGAN VOYAGERS

The Pros and Cons of BJJ Video Instructionals

Everyone wants to get better at BJJ, right? But how? Enter the BJJ instructional. Whether it’s by DVD or an online course, the thought of getting instruction from a well known instructor is tempting. And while finding the best online jiu jitsu course can sometimes be a challenge in and of itself, what is even more difficult is learning how to best utilize the instruction.

Will a DVD or online course really be the lynchpin that improves your closed guard game? It could be…if done right.

Let’s review the pros and cons of learning BJJ by video and how you can get better at BJJ with instructionals.

Advantages of learning BJJ with video instructional

How many times in class have you said to your instructor: “Can you repeat that technique?” Fortunately, when you are watching a video clip all you need to do is to hit the rewind button to replay the instruction. You no longer have to be that guy (or gal) who always wants to see it just one more time.

Another advantage to online bjj training is that you can really focus on nuance. By this we mean that you can find just about any position or technique and have it explored from many perspectives. You are not just limited to what your instructor says on a particular evening. With the explosion in instructional content, you can find entire encyclopedias of BJJ knowledge, so to speak, that will help you become a better grappler for a particular position.

A third advantage to learning by DVD or online is that you get access to world class instructors for pennies of what a seminar might cost. Seriously, this point cannot be emphasized enough.  How much would it cost to have a private session with Marcelo Garcia? You probably do not want to know…

Last, the production value of instructionals has increased over the years. As Modern BJJ has evolved so has the quality of the BJJ instructional. These courses are not your 1990s martial arts VHS tapes, or heck, even early 2000s DVDs for that matter. These days, you can expect that a course will offer good sound, lighting and editing to enhance the learning experience.

Disadvantages to learning BJJ with video instructionals

There is no substitute for learning in a real life setting. You could watch every BJJ video online and still not improve one iota if you never practice the techniques in real life.

The main disadvantage with learning BJJ by instructional is that you cannot receive live feedback. Yes, a training partner can help, but unless they are a coach or higher level belt, you won’t know if you are doing the techniques properly.

How to best learn with a BJJ instructional

Here are three tips for learning BJJ by DVD or with a subscription online.

First, alway have a training buddy. This will emulate actual training like at your gym.

Learning by yourself is tough. And since BJJ is done against an opponent you are missing half the equation if you are just watching a DVD or course by yourself. Find a training partner and watch the material together. This is the most practical way to get better.

Second, review what you learned on an instructional in your actual class. Find time after a training session to put your new techniques or approach to the test. This should sound simple, but you need to practice these techniques just like everything else you learn from your actual profesor.

Third, take notes! If you take notes during your actual BJJ class this should be a no brainer. Taking notes helps reinforces concepts. Approach the video lessons as you would a normal academic course. Write down what you learn and then try to summarize the principles. Of course, BJJ is not a writing sport, you must eventually practice on the mat!

Conclusion

BJJ is a sport that takes time to learn. Learning online can help speed up this process, but it must be used in conjunction with your real life training, not against it. Stay focused and study with a goal in mind.

 

History of East Asian Martial Arts: Week 7 – Buddhism and Martial Arts — Kung Fu Tea

Introduction I have noticed a persistent tendency by some to strive to maintain an artificial barrier between the physicality of martial arts practice one the one hand, and the myriad ways it is discussed in literature, film and popular culture on the other. Typically this is articulated as a frustration with the inability of the […]

via History of East Asian Martial Arts: Week 7 – Buddhism and Martial Arts — Kung Fu Tea

My Stay at Rising Dragon Martial Arts School

by SMA Student Bianca

Push up Challenge

My stay at Rising Dragon Martial Arts School (RDS) was overall an amazing experience, and one that I will always cherish. The people, the temple, the hard and the fun moments, I miss them all. Self growth, mentally and physically is a given at RDS, push yourself and you will see great results. I would definitely recommend this experience to anyone who wants to get fit and learn some kung fu in a beautiful location. The school location is great, set in a beautiful temple complex with a backdrop of mountains and clean air, and beautiful forest everywhere that we ran through and could take walks.

The Training

The training itself was hard and challenging. It pushed me to my limits and beyond many times, which mostly I think was good, and I have gained a lot from it. I do think however, that at times it was too much. 6hrs of intensive exercise and training 5 days/week is a lot, especially if you are not at a high level of fitness already. My body became a lot stronger very quickly, but it has been pushed very hard and I have been struggling with injuries because of it.

I also found that because of the intensity of the morning circuits, I was unable to train to my fullest during the Shaolin class. If you are after fitness with kung fu mixed in, then you will love RDS, if you want more martial arts, then maybe its not the right place. In saying that, Meng, the Shaolin teacher, is amazing! Such a skilful Shaolin master and a great person and friend. It was a pleasure to be taught by him and to watch him demonstrate movements.

Activities & Food

Some of the activities and martial arts styles that are supposedly available, are not, or were not when I was there, which was disappointing. There was no mandarin, calligraphy or buddhism classes, minimal tai chi and no qigong. The food was pretty good and tasty, a bit too oily at times, but had a decent variety of veg and protein. No fruit is provided unfortunately, but you can by this in town. The accommodation is good, decent sized rooms, private bathrooms, western toilets, hard single beds, but hey its China. All in all, can’t complain, I was comfortable.

How I booked this experience

I definitely recommend booking through StudyMartialArts.Org (SMA) and utilising all the useful information that is provided here. Also David is amazing and super helpful and will make sure you pick the right school that suits your needs and make sure you get there.

SHAOLIN MIZONG LUOHAN — Brennan Translation

– 少林迷蹤派羅漢拳 SHAOLIN MIZONG LUOHAN BOXING 潘茂容 葉雨亭 by Pan Maorong & Ye Yuting [published by the 健民國醫學院 Strengthen-the-People National Medical School, April 4, 1955] [translation by Paul Brennan, June, 2019] – 少林迷蹤派羅漢拳 Shaolin Mizong Luohan Boxing 葉雨亭演式 performed by Ye Yuting 潘茂容攝影刷線說明并題 – photos, drawings, explanations, and calligraphy by Pan Maorong – 潘序 PREFACE BY […]

via SHAOLIN MIZONG LUOHAN — Brennan Translation