Shengjing Shan Kung Fu Academy – Review

圣经山

Learning kung fu in China with Master Qu

by Tim Miller – from the USA
My experience at Shengjing Shan kung fu academy has been one of the best experiences in my life.  I have been here for 8 months and I am in the best physical and mental condition I’ve ever been in.  I have lost the most weight I’ve ever lost in my life (30 pounds).  It is deep in the mountains and has very little to no distractions which makes it a great location if you’re looking to focus on learning kung fu.  The student environment is also very friendly.  Everyone is very nice to each other and is there to help you when you need it.  I’ve met some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met before at this academy. Master Qu is one of the best masters you could hope for.  He teaches each student at their own pace based on their ability and condition, yet at the same time he pushes you to become stronger and better than you were yesterday.  It is clear he cares about his students, not only on a physical and mental level, but also as a person in general.  He has made this place feel like a second home.

Learning kung fu in China

Sheng Jing Shan Kung Fu Academy specializes in the teaching of traditional Chinese Kung Fu and culture to students coming from all around the world. The main subjects taught include Shaolin kungfu, Bagua Palm, Mantis Fist, Tai Chi, Qigong and Sanda. In addition to martial arts the school also offers Chinese culture lessons, including Daoism, massage, and acupuncture. Here you can learn kung fu in China and experience Chinese martial arts and TCM culture.

Facilities: Indoor and outdoor training areas.

To learn more about the school and see a full independent review visit StudyMartialArts.Org

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Cities famous for Martial Arts in China – Cangzhou City, Hebei

The-Iron-Lion

by Greg Bundage

Cangzhou City is in the South-east of Hebei Province and is called the martial arts and acrobatics village – one of the birthplaces of Chinese martial arts. It has a population of about half a million and is only 90 km from Tienjin, a major port city 180 km south of Beijing.

Cangzhou is the famous hometown of martial  arts. Enjoying equal fame with central China’s Dengfeng and southeast China’s  Putian, Cangzhou is one of the three traditional martial arts centers. With a long history, Cangzhou has various martial arts sects. A person born in  Cangzhou is probably going to be asked whether he is good at martial arts during his first meeting with others.

In the late Qing Dynasty, many martial arts masters emerged. The most famous master is Wang Wu, who was called Big Blade. Another master Huo Yuanjia (1868-1910 A.D.), whose original family home was in Cangzhou, was regarded as a national hero for his continuous victories over foreign challengers.

There are over 600 martial arts schools in  Cangzhou now, where martial arts fans from all over the world learn and practice martial arts. In local middle and primary schools, martial arts are  listed on sports courses. More than 300 schools established their own martial arts teams. Martial arts have become an important cultural industry in the  city. Many people make their living by teaching martial arts. However, most people practice martial arts for body building and health.
Source: http://www.kungfumagazine.com/forum/showthread.php?t=58645
Source: (Xinhua/Chen Xiaowei)

Bājíquán (Chinese: 八極拳; pinyinBājíquán;Japanese: 八極拳, Hakkyokuken) is a Chinese martial art that features explosive, short-range power and is famous for its elbow strikes.  It originated in Hebei Province in Northern China, but is also well-known in other places today, especially Taiwan. Its full name is kai men baji quan (開門八極拳), which means “open-gate eight-extremities fist”.

Baji quan was originally called bazi quan (巴子拳 or 鈀子拳) or “rake fist” because the fist, held loosely and slightly open, are used to strike downwards in a rake-like fashion. The name was considered to be rather crude in its native tongue, so it was changed to baji quan. The term baji comes from the Daoist classic, the Yijing(I-Ching), and signifies an “extension of all directions”. In this case, it means “including everything” or “the universe.”

The first recorded baji quan teacher was Wu Zhong 吳鍾 (1712–1802). Famous teachers that promoted the style included Wu Xiufeng 吳秀峰 and Li Shuwen 李書文 (1864–1934). The latter was from Cangzhou, Hebei, and earned himself the nickname “God of Spear Li”. A Peking opera Wu Shen (martial male character) by training, he was also an expert fighter. His most famous quote is, “I do not know what it’s like to hit a man twice.” Li Shuwen’s students included Huo Dian Ge 霍殿閣 (bodyguard to Pu Yi, the last Emperor of China), Li Chenwu (bodyguard to Mao Zedong), and Liu Yun Qiao 劉雲樵 (secret agent for the nationalist Kuomintangand instructor of the bodyguards of Chiang Kai Shek). Baji quan has since acquired a reputation as the “bodyguard style”.

Baji quan shares roots with another Hebei martial art, Piguazhang. It is said that Wu Zhong, the oldest traceable master in the baji lineage, taught both arts together as an integrated fighting system. They eventually split apart, only to be recombined by Li Shuwenin the late 18th to early 19th century. As a testament to the complementary nature of these two styles, there is a proverb that goes: “When pigua is added to baji, gods and demons will all be terrified. When baji is added to pigua, heroes will sigh knowing they are no match against it.” (八極參劈掛,神鬼都害怕。劈掛參八極,英雄嘆莫及)
Source: Wikipedia

This article was featured in www.fightingartsasia.com

Here are two schools in Cangzhou carrying on the tradition for teaching martial arts as well as intensive full time kung fu training in China. 

The Bajiquan International Training Center

school imageThe Bajiquan International Training Center is school dedicated to teaching students the art of Baji Quan. Located in the Muslim autonomous county of Mengcun, Cangzhou City in Hebei province in the historical home of Baji Quan (Eight extremes fist). The school lineage is steeped in Wu family history and prestige, boasting a long line of family masters. At the school you can learn Bajiquan, Pigua, Sanda, Liu He Fist, Tantui, Cha Fist and Taizu Fist.

Facilities: Impressive training facilities both indoor and outdoor as well as excellent student living conditions.

Training at the Baji Quan International Training Center focuses on Baji Quan.  At the school you will train in Baji Quan basics, theory and the history of Baji, “assault methods of Bajiquan” as well as tactics for Baji competition. You will learn a comprehensive system of attack, defense and wrestling and be exposed to Dazhuang and Kaozhuang as well as the school’s Qigong and traditional Chinese medicine.

Additional styles taught to supplement your Bajiquan include the following Piguazhang, Liu He Fist, Tantui, Cha Fist and Taizu Changquan.

Each day students will train for at least 6 hours, 6 days per week with a Monday off as a day of rest. And all students have access to the excellent school facilities, training and conditioning equipment.

Typical Training Schedule: 

Morning Training – 9am – 11am
Afternoon Training – 3pm – 5pm
Evening Training – 7pm – 9pm

The Curriculum:

1. Theory & Philosophy
2. Stance Training
3. Explosive Power Training
4. Internal Training
5. Fighting Techniques
6. Fighting Tactics
7. Forms
8. Weapons

Prices: Prices per month start from 6000 RMB / $900 USD for food, accommodation and tuition. You can learn more about the school here.

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Cangzhou Technical College

Cangzhou Technical College is a full-time state run vocational college where you can study wushu in China. Students can chose to study for either a full semester or on a monthly basis. Both options are the cheapest I have seen to date in China.

The course includes an introduction to wushu, taiji, baduanjin, wuxinggong and wushu culture. Along side the martial arts studies participants of this course can expect to learn the Chinese language, Calligraphy and also take part in local tours to kung fu schools and visits to various local martial arts masters of interest.

Prices: Tuition and Accommodation for a semester 4600 RMB / $695 USD or for a month 1500 RMB / $226 USD.

Full details of this Wushu Course with Cangzhou Technical College as well as full details on the Bajiquan International Training Center can be provided on request when you visit StudyMartialArts.Org or email info@studymartialarts.org.

Best Kung Fu School in China for Food

This is my list of the best kung fu schools in China for 2017. In this article I have chosen only the very best kung fu schools based on what they offer in terms of training, location, food and how well they cater to kids. Each year we will update this list based our school visits and student reviews.

Best for Food

Best Kung Fu Retreat for Food
Best Kung Fu Retreat for Food

To say that this Kung Fu School in China was only best for food would be an injustice. Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat has so much more going for it. The retreat is on the outskirts of Beijing within in a beautiful traditional court yard. It offers not only excellent traditional Chinese food, but also zen meditation, calligraphy practice, lectures on Chinese martial culture and of course the ability to learn martial arts in a number of traditional styles.

The food at the school is locally sourced, and lovingly prepared to suit all tastes and diets.

To find out which school I recommend for Best Location, Best for Kids and Best for Food. Click here. Learn Kung fu in China with StudyMartialArts.Org

To learn kung fu in China or learn more about any of these schools. Visit the StudyMartialArts.Org website or email us direct at info@studymartialarts.org

 

Best Kung Fu School in China for Kids

This is my list of the best kung fu schools in China for 2017. In this article I have chosen only the very best kung fu schools based on what they offer in terms of training, location, food and how well they cater to kids. Each year we will update this list based our school visits and student reviews.

Best for Kids

Best Martial Arts School for Kids
Best Kung Fu School for Kids

I have chosen Yuntai Shan International Culture and Martial Arts School as being the best school for kids 12-16 because unlike other martial arts schools this one offers an authentic opportunity for your children to interact and train with other Chinese kung fu students of a similar age. This means that they are not forced to hangout with older students, and so are less likely to be exposed to inappropriate language or behaviour.

Another benefit of this schools is that throughout the day students are expected to present themselves for line ups. This means that students are regularly monitored and accounted for throughout the day. On the downside however, older students can find this tedious. In terms of the schools accommodation and amenities. These are fairly basic and internet connections can be irregular. Nevertheless, this school has much more experience than other schools of a similar nature. Hence it has a better track record of dealing with foreigners.

To find out which school I recommend for Best Location, Best for Kids and Best for Food. Click here. Learn Kung fu in China with StudyMartialArts.Org

To learn kung fu in China or learn more about any of these schools. Visit the StudyMartialArts.Org website or email us direct at info@studymartialarts.org

Best Kung Fu School in China for Location

This is my list of the best kung fu schools in China for 2017. In this article I have chosen only the very best kung fu schools based on what they offer in terms of training, location, food and how well they cater to kids. Each year we will update this list based our school visits and student reviews.

Best Location

Studying Martial Arts in China is gaining in popularity as an adventure travel experience. Part of that experience along with intensive martial arts training is being able to train hard all year round in an environment that not only inspires but adds to your development. Rising Dragon Martial Arts School provides one of the best places to learn martial arts in China.

Best Kung Fu School for Location
Best Kung Fu School for Location

Located in Yong Ping county in Southern Yunnan the province is mountainous and borders Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam, and has an average altitude of 1980m. Yong Ping has a population of around 170,000, and is roughly in between the two Cities of Dali and Bao Shan. Dali and Bao Shan are an hour away from the school.

Immediately surrounding RDS is an area steeped in history. There are numerous temples, scenic areas, mountains, lakes and even natural hot springs for attending students to visit. The School is 15 minutes away from Yong Ping town and is within a million square meter private park. This park is filled with beautiful multi-coloured plants, amazing wild-life, statues, lakes, forests of wild bamboo, as well as RDS’s own temple.

Despite being at an altitude of 1,700m there are many neighbouring mountains that tower over the school reaching altitudes of 4000+m, which make for many a challenging hike during your free time. Considering the schools remoteness it is still quite easy to get to with airports in Bao Shan, Dali City, and Lijiang International airport. The capital, Kunming, is only a 40-minute flight from Dali and Bao Shan making travel very convenient. There are many Kung Fu schools in China, but few can complete with this in terms of location, and low pollution levels.

To find out which school I recommend for Best Location, Best for Kids and Best for Food. Click here. Learn Kung fu in China with StudyMartialArts.Org

To learn kung fu in China or learn more about any of these schools. Visit the StudyMartialArts.Org website or email us direct at info@studymartialarts.org

Best Kung Fu School in China for Training

This is my list of the best kung fu schools in China for 2017. In this article I have chosen only the very best kung fu schools based on what they offer in terms of training, location, food and how well they cater to kids. Each year we will update this list based our school visits and student reviews.

Best Training

Wudang Principles
Best Kung Fu School for Training

Consistently the best kung fu school for training in terms of structure, tuition and depth of transmission is WDP China. The instructors are mostly bi or multi lingual. The school training schedule runs 6 days per week. 7 hours per day. You can see a typical training schedule below.

  • 06:30 – Get Up
  • 07:30-09:40 – Warm Up & Hun Yuan Fa Li, Standing Qigong, Walking Meditation
  • 09:50-12:00 – Morning Class
  • 16:00-17:30 – Afternoon Class
  • 19-00-21:00 – Evening Class

The school curriculum has been systematically developed and taught with modern teaching methods in mind. This curriculum features 8 Trigrams IN-BETWEEN the 4 Instructor-Levels.

Students can choose:

  • WDP CLASSIC (All traditional styles with specific basics, qigong, tao lu and style specific applications)
  • WDP COMBAT (realistic fighting skills using INTERNAL PRINCIPLES of all styles).

In addition to the regular curriculum the school also has, online training, seminars in sword, push hands, body conditioning, hand conditioning, neigong and much more throughout the year.

To find out which school I recommend for Best Location, Best for Kids and Best for Food. Click here. Learn Kung fu in China with StudyMartialArts.Org

To learn kung fu in China or learn more about any of these schools. Visit the StudyMartialArts.Org website or email us direct at info@studymartialarts.org

Enrich the body and soul by learning kung fu in China

气功

by Nathan Williams

An experience to enrich the body and soul. The Academy is a great place to live and to learn; the masters are very supportive and the students are like family to me – it feels like a community of like minded people all pulling in the same direction. The location: the Shengjing Shan mountain is breathtakingly beautiful – the many temples and trails and walkways are very serene and tranquil. The surrounding towns can be difficult to navigate around so best to learn from fellow students but you’ll soon find your way around.

Learning a moderate amount of Chinese would be preferably before coming to China because hardly anyone speaks English. There aren’t any Chinese classes at the Academy but it shouldn’t stop you from learning – you’re in China! With language books and language apps you will be able to learn, it just takes time and discipline (luckily you’ll find both here at the academy). Don’t expect to learn in a classroom environment.

I found the accommodation satisfactory and as expected in rural china – you’re staying in a kung fu school, not a hostel. The food is good and again, you’re staying in a kung fu school, not dining out at a restaurant each night. Although there are some authentic Chinese restaurants nearby for special occasions.

Tips: bring cash with you and make sure you can draw money out of your debit/credit card as it can be tricky in China. If you have a problem, it will be difficult to go to a bank and find someone who speaks English. Download a VPN for your phone/laptop so you can access western sites and social media apps, if not, you may find speaking with family and friends back home to be quite difficult. It’s also good to have a hobby outside of training, some learn Chinese, some are working on their own books, some cook, some learn instruments, some just chill and watch movies, some do all of the above. It’s had a profoundly positive affect on me mentally and physically and I am mentally much stronger and more resilient.

“Nathan visited Shengjing Shan Kung Fu Academy for his experience. Others may go else where. Wherever you go whatever you choose to learn. For the majority that decide to learn kung fu in China it is life changing and a positive experience they never forget. For my part I feel blessed not only in helping people find the right school but get the most out of the experience. For the schools it is always my pleasure to send them quality students.” – David Kelly – StudyMartialArts.Org

Training with Nick Osipczak

A review by David Greeves

screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-3-44-26-pmI’ve trained in various Martial Arts for many years, with particular interest in the internal martial arts training, and having traveled to the country of origin for intensive study.

I came across Nick when I was researching for teachers and practitioners who apply internal martial arts training to the art of fighting.

There are many teachers who work with applications of techniques but not necessarily with an in depth understanding of fighting at speed and with power as in MMA and with the experience that Nick has gained.

I first trained with Nick earlier this year for 2 days. I learned more in those 2 days than I have with regular training in external martial arts over a much longer period.

The recent course Nick is currently running was an exceptional experience of learning, awareness and realisation. There are many aspects to this training that you have to be cognizant of and be patient with. You have to understand your body in movement, space and time, its effort and flow, its biomechanical processes and the energetic framework.

If you are new to these aspects they will evolve through the instruction and exercises given.

Nick is a knowledgeable martial artist who explains and instructs with a clear and patient manner and knows when to allow the participant to discover and find how to apply the developing skill.

He works with a clear concise method and framework, from physical to energetic, with attention to body and mind. Internal work takes time to grow and to manifest in the body.

The training course that is offered with close one to one instruction gives the participant an opportunity to delve deeply into their learning and acquiring processes. I highly recommend to all martial artists who wish to understand the art involved in fighting and the process of self discovery of a greater method of awareness and being.

In the years of my training I have not found anyone quite like Nick, he is a unique individual and I will be continuing my journey of discovery under his guidance in the coming years as and when I can train with him.

________________________

David Greeves, is a martial arts choreographer, who also does wire work and harness training. David teaches movement for actors for productions from Opera to Bollywood. Here is a link to his website www.djgreeves.com where you can learn about the training he offers.

An Family Kung Fu School Review

Part of my job at StudyMartialArts.Org involves visiting and reviewing martial arts schools. I take this responsibility very seriously. Only by actually visiting the schools and taking part in the training can I genuinely say I know the schools, masters and the training. This means that each year, I pack my bag and set of to visit both new schools and revisit existing schools. This weekend I visited my friend Shifu An Jian Qiu in Dezhou at his new school.

Setting off early Saturday morning I boarded the fast train to Dezhou from Beijing south railway station. The journey to Dezhou along the Jinghu High-Speed Railway that links Beijing to Shanghai takes 1.5 hours. Trains on the Jinghu High-Speed Railway line travel up to 300km per hour so be-careful not to miss your stop!

This was my third visit to Dezhou. The first was in the summer and the second in winter during Chinese new year. The last time I’d been to the school was almost two years ago so I was excited to see the new school and the progress he’d made.  An Jian Qiu runs and manages a traditional family kung fu school steeped in hundreds of years family tradition and history. There are very few martial arts schools remaining like this in China that are as easily accessible to western students. His school offers full-time and part-time classes to both Chinese and International students. International students attending the school are primarily taught by An Jian Qiu or his father. An Shifu’s school caters to both short and long term students providing accommodation and food on site. All-inclusive training package range from 6700 rmb per month on a sliding scale depending on how long your stay.

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An inside scoop that I’ve brought  back for our readers is that Jian Qiu is planning to offer intensive and training camps in Xingyi and Bajiquan next year for instructors and experienced martial arts students. These are likely to be scheduled at either end of the summer.  A two week Xingyi quan training camp around June-July and a month long Bajiquan training camp during August. For further information you can email me david@studymartialarts.org – The sooner I hear from you the better the early bird discount I’ll be able to secure for you. Another interesting opportunity discussed over the weekend with Master An were his plans to accept an experienced trainee instructor(s) who would be willing to commit 1+ years, and become one of his long term disciples.  If accepted you would be expected to help him teach and manage his school in exchange for free accommodation, tuition and food.

Over the coming month I will be helping Jian Qiu with these plans and assist him in his search to find a disciple(s) and trainee instructor(s) so stay tuned or email me for further information.

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A warm Dezhou welcome (Sharing a meal with An Shifu, two of his students and a number of representatives from Dezhou martial arts community).

Is Practicing Forms Important for Real Fighting?

by An Jian Qiu

In all martial arts, many students will one day ask themselves:

“Is practicing forms important for real fighting? Should I just be performing drills, or sparring?”

The answer to this is not a simple yes or no because it depends on how you practice your forms:

  • Do you let your mind wander, or are you incredibly focused?
  • Do you ‘take it easy’ and treat it as a warm-up, or are you challenging yourself each time with deep stances and powerful movements?
  • Are you just ‘following the motions’, or do you have a specific goal in mind?

At An Wushu, we believe form training done correctly is incredibly important for developing your kung fu:

  • Forms develop what we call your ‘kung fu body’. Strength and endurance are a very important part of kung fu, but can be developed by many activities; the specific attributes you need for perfecting your kung fu, however – such as flexibility, timing & chi skills – can be best developed through forms
  • Forms teach movements in a logical sequence (e.g., “Strike… if they block, then you do this”) and create useful muscle memory*
  • If you practice your forms the way you fight – with spirit, power, and accuracy – then you’ll fight the way you practice your forms

*Many students are also curious about the applicability of ‘grander’ movements, such as flips, spins, kicks and so on. There are a few schools of thought on this:

  1. In years past, it was not uncommon for future masters to be taught incredibly slowly, often learning a single form over five years! If you have practiced a movement 100,000 times or more, you will definitely be able to use it in combat – even if it is perhaps not as efficient as it could be
  2. Many movements are taken to their extreme to better develop the body: e.g., if you train with your horse stance at parallel, spending minutes then hours in this position each day for many years, your legs will become incredibly strong. If you only stand at ‘fighting height’ for these years of training, you will miss out on this strength.
  3. In some styles, there are moves that are simply not meant to be used in combat, e.g., backflips, and are simply there to develop the body of the practitioner. Similar to Point 2, if you spend years training backflips, you will have much more explosive muscles and better co-ordination than if you didn’t. (Note: There are no movements like this in An Wushu, however, as part of a complete training system this is a great way to train.)
  4. Much of the power generated in kung fu is difficult to do in a small way until you can do it in a big way: e.g., even a beginner can sharply twist their body, push off their heel and throw a strong ‘cross’ punch (albeit at the probable cost of their balance). But if they limit their twist to only 1-inch, can they generate power? The answer is no. By starting with an over-exaggerated movement, a beginner is able to gain the internal feeling needed for any movement and gradually refine the movement to its usable form.

So, is practicing forms important for real fighting? As with anything in kung fu and in life, you only get out what you put in.

To learn more about An Wushu or how to study with Master An full-time in China visit www.StudyMartialArts.Org we work exclusively to help dedicated students connect to quality martial arts schools. This includes visa assistance and independent information all at no additional cost to you. Check us out with no obligation.