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.

Learn Kung fu in China Resources

I’ve been working hard to continue to provide the best resources for martial artists and adventure travellers who want to travel to China for intensive all-inclusive training packages. Here I have managed to update our Guide to learning kung fu in China. Its completely free and easily downloaded.

This guide walks you through, the dreaded Chinese visa, what to pack, health and safety, money and banking, domestic travel, living in China, communications and much more.

You’ll learn:

  • How to prepare in advance of your trip
  • How to keep you and your belongs safe
  • What you’ll need to become an expert traveler
  • How to earn extra travel & training cash
  • Ways to save money

This can all be found on the StudyMartialArts.Org travel resources page. Newly redesigned its packed with links to the most relevant, and up to date articles to help become an expert in no time at all.

Let me know what you think about the design and the content. You can do this by commenting below or by emailing my direct at david@studymartialarts.org – Alternatively maybe you have some requests for particular information?

Review of Tancheng Chan Kung fu School

Check out some of the latest reviews of Tancheng Chan Kung fu School one of the most affordable schools available for learning kung fu in China.

Tan Cheng Chan Wu International Kung fu School 

Tancheng Chan Wu International Kung fu School is an all-inclusive residential kung fu school in China offering food, accommodation, martial arts training and additional classes for very reasonable prices. At this kung fu school you can learn Shaolin Kung fu, Taichi, Qigong, Wing Chun, Calligraphy, and even Chinese traditional music. With 3 meals a day included as well as the choice of rooms or a private apartment students are given a level of flexibility that is not available at some other international martial arts schools in China in terms of accommodation options.

Located in Linyi, Shandong Province and close to Mengshan National Park the martial arts school has a rural feel as well as a good Kung fu Master to Kung fu Student ratio. Living costs at the school are low and the school translators are more than happy to provide students with assistance when necessary either when learning kung fu or for daily life.

Ashraf Abouali, from Lebanon

“The Tancheng Chan Kungfu School is a great place to learn Kungfu and experience the best form of the Chinese culture, it is located in a peaceful place surrounded by farms and large wheat fields, I learnt Wingchun and Shoilin Kungfu and gained a brotherhood that will stay with me for life. The masters are amazing, they care for you alot and they will consider you part of there family, and they will listen to all what you have to say and make you benifet from all you potentials. “

Salman Abouali, from Lebanon

“Tancheng Chanwu international kungfu school is the best place to learn kungfu and the best experience you can make in life with best masters.”

Markus Joohs, from Germany

“Good atmosphere to train and experience kungfu, friendly staff and experienced kungfu masters. Very nice area and real China feeling and great food, nice vegetarian options especially for breakfast. Have been there for a month and hope to go there soon again”.

Kenadid Osman, from Somalia

“A great place to learn kung fu, located in beautiful countryside by lashes and trees, masters are pretty helpful and professional, people at the school are friendly And place is so clean. It doesn’t matter whether you’re familiar with martial arts or not. In just three months i learnt kung fu skills that i will use over a lifetime.”

For further information on this school you can visit the studymartialarts.org website for an independent look at what the school has to offer. For a quick guide to pricing see their monthly prices below.

 

My Journey to China to Learn Kung Fu

by Carmen Isabella

Here in Germany most of the kids do an Au pair year or go to Australia for Work & Travel or just take a break for one year at home to find out what they want to study after it. From my school a lot of my classmates go directly to university because that is the way it is supposed to be if you attended the ‘Gymnasium’ (the version of high school that only lasts twelve years of school and is commonly described as the most difficult one) – according to teachers and principals.

“What are you going to do after your abitur?”

I must have heard that question about a thousand times. My response almost comes naturally:

“I am going to travel to China and there I am going to study Kung Fu.”

Some people gave me a polite laugh and then asked again: “No really, what are you going to do? Which university will you go to?”, others just raised their eyebrows and didn’t ask any further. I think that a lot of people thought it was just a phase I was going through. Last week a friend came to me and asked me if I still wanted to go to Asia. Yes, I booked my flight month ago, yes I do this voluntarily: I want to train the whole day six times a week. Yes, I am a 18 year old girl and yes I do Taekwondo and am really passionate about martial arts. But I am not annoyed. I love to talk about it and I don’t mind explaining every last detail my research came up with to anybody. I know that this is what I want to do after school, what I want to do now.

I am really lucky that my family supports me and my decisions. Almost one year ago I spend weeks researching on the internet for a programme that would allow me to study Kung Fu. The idea came right after I spend my summer break in Korea at the Sehan University with my Taekwondo-Team. I have never been that exhausted in my life. Three training sessions a day (at least) and rice everyday to lunch and dinner. And I loved it.

I decided to try a different style of martial arts and chose Kung Fu. A really easy decision
since I have been dreaming about becoming a Teen-Shaolin-Monk since I was a kid and got obsessed with the ‘Five Ancestors’– book saga by Jeff Stone. I am currently on the last metaphorical meters to finishing my last 3 exams before high school is over and somehow I still find the time to write this article/blogpost and enjoying my
time. I am even enjoying studying. Because I understood and still learn to understand every single day that I live in the present and that I can determine it. So why not take a chance and go to China ;).

I know I can only get to the very top of the iceberg by researching, reading the website of the Yuntai Mountain Cultural and Martial Arts school over and over again, learning the basics of the Chinese language and getting in contact with people who have already experienced similar adventures.

At this point I would like to add that I am really thankful for the help and support with my plans which I got and still get from the website www.studymartialarts.org and it’s operator David Kelly. I can’t imagine how my individual experience will be and how I am going to change. I will probably laugh about the things I imagine now at the time I am there but I do it anyway. This blog is as much for me as it is for everyone interested in the topic for various reasons. If I can make my future self laugh or paint a smile on her face I already achieved something with it.

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Carmen Isabella

Carmen Isabella – Studies martial arts in China. She recently graduated from high school and did Taekwondo in her home country Germany which already led her to Korea last summer. Her interest in martial arts in general will lead her this summer to China where she plans to study Kung Fu for 6 month. As one of her other passions is writing she wants to share her future experiences with detailed reports about her journey to help and give tips to other travellers and especially women who are interested in martial arts. To learn more about Carmen’s journey click here.

My General Travel Tips for Visiting Wudang Shan

1. When travelling, be sure to keep an eye on your belongings whether you take the train, bus or plane. Keep your passport, money, and other valuables on your person at all times.

2. Make sure that you keep your point of contact at StudyMartialArts.Org updated on your travel plans in case of changes. Normally we will add you to a group on Wechat so communication with both the school and us is clear and you always have someone supporting you. This will also ensure that someone is waiting at the train station or airport to pick you up, if you’ve requested it. It would not be the first time that schools have forgot to do this or there has been delays or miscommunications. Article on the Best Travel Apps for China.

3. Be aware of the Great Firewall of China. Some social media sites, like Facebook and YouTube, are blocked. Also if you use Gmail this will also be a problem to access. If you wish to setup a VPN, it is best to do so prior to your travel. And here is an article on the best ones. I highly recommend ExpressVPN.

4. Travel according to the seasons. While cloths can be bought in Wudang, larger size shoes can be more difficult to find. Make sure you come prepared with proper footwear and clothing.​ If you can I always recommend you bring a good all season sleeping bag as it will add some extra comfort and keep you warmer during cold winters.

5. Overall, have a good plan that is well communicated with the your point of contact at StudyMartialArts.Org. We have experience coordinating students from countries all over the world! We won’t let you down!

Master Si Jun Tao – Wudang Taiji 24

This short post is dedicated to Master Si Jun Tao. Who in the video clip performs Wudang Taiji 24 Step. This summer I trained with him on Wudang Shan, and brought a group of students to learn both qigong, taichi at his school.

The school is uniquely located just 3.4 kilometres from the Golden Top. Staying at his school is a unique experience. You’ll be welcomed as one of the family and treated to expert taichi tuition followed by traditional Chinese tea.

Master Si Jun Tao’s daoist name is Li Jing and his lineage is of the Xuan Wu Sect of Daoism. Master Si Jun Tao has won a number of competitions for his Martial Arts. In the Shenzhen 5th wushu competition he received a gold medal for his fist and sword forms. In the Shenzhen 1st traditional martial arts boxing competition he received a gold medal for his staff form and in the traditional martial arts competition he won the 65kg Sanda title in 2007. Master Si Jun Tao focuses on helping his students reach their training goals. Master Si has a very pleasant nature and is currently in his mid thirties and is both energetic and enthusiastic about teaching his students.

www.StudyMartialArts.Org – Best for Martial Arts Adventure Travel & Training.

What are the best foods in Taiwan?

Other must try foods in Taiwan

  • Braised pork with rice (Lǔròu fàn 滷肉飯): this is a typical local braised dish eaten on a bed of white rice;
  • Taiwanese hamburger (Gē bāo 割包): steamed bread enriched with minced meat and vegetables and a dusting of peanuts, so it’s really tasty;
  • Pineapple cupcakes (Fènglí sū 鳳梨酥): Great with a nice cup of tea.
  • Onion pancakes (Cōng zhuā bǐng 蔥抓餅): Fatty and filling.
  • Taiwanese ice (Bàobīng shān 刨冰山): Crushed ice with fresh mango. The hot weather of Taipei makes Taiwanese ice a must for keeping cool.
  • Rice cake cooked in bamboo (Tǒng zǐ mǐ gāo 筒仔米糕): this is a specialty of Daqiaotou, for lovers of mushrooms and the smell of bamboo;
  • Calamari (Huāzhī 花枝): A must try. Simply amazing when done right, and perfect with a Taiwanese Beer.
  • Noodles: (Niúròu miàn 牛肉麵) Beef Noodles and rice noodles, seasoned in oyster sauce (Hézǐ miàn xiàn 蚵仔麵線), are my favourite.

“Enjoy the tastes and smells of Taiwan”. 

What to do in Taipei!

This is a quick guide detailing what to do in Taipei Taiwan’s vibrant capital.

TAROKO-NATIONAL-PARK

Taipei Highlights

  • National Palace Museum (Guólì Gùgōng Bówùyuàn國立故宮博物院): here you’ll find all that was preserved when Kuomintang fled mainland China. This museums is better than any in mainland China.  Tickets costs 250 NT$. To get there you’ll first need to get to Shilin (士林) stop on the red Line 2, then look for Bus R30 (紅30) on the same side of the street (there’s one normally every 30 minutes or less).
  • Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (Zhōngzhèng Jìniàn Táng中正紀念堂) or CKS Memorial Hall: The park (Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Park 中正紀念公園) is very popular especially in the morning and is a great place to see taiji players. The complex also includes a theater (National Theater 國家戲劇院) and a concert hall (National Concert Hall 國家音樂廳). Line 2 red or Line 3 green to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂).
  • Taipei 101 (台北101): a source of great local pride, the skyscraper is earthquake proof and ecologically sustainable; its shape bears homage to a bamboo plant and inside you’ll find a very popular shopping mall and views over Taipei (Taipei 101 is open from 10am to 10pm).
  • National Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall (Guólì Guófù Jìniànguǎn 國立國父紀念館): The Sun Yat-Sen monument celebrates his life; at the memorial there is a changing of the guard which is a highlight of the visit. You can take Line 5 blue to Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (國父紀念館) station.
  • Longshan Temple (Lóngshān Sì龍山寺): is one of the most famous temples in Taiwan; Take Line 5 blue to Longshan Temple (龍山寺).
  • Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines (Shùnyì Táiwān Yuánzhùmín Bówùguǎn 順益台灣原住民博物館): here you can learn about the history of Taiwan, which predates the influx of Han Chinese from mainland China. Today only 2% of the population live in the mountainous regions of the east coast. Shung Ye Museum is located next to the National Palace Museum.
  • Ximending (西門町): is popular among the youth for fashion and subculture. The area surrounding Ximending is a hot bed for clubs, pubs and night entertainment. Get there via Line 5 blue or line 3 green to the Ximen (西門) stop.
  • (Xin) Beitou baths(北投溫泉): in the centre of Taipei is perfect for rest and recuperation. If you can spend the night there. Get there via Line 2 red to Xinbeitou (新北投). Then spend the night in Beitou.
  • Yongkang Street (Yǒngkāng Jiē永康街): is a must visit to eat food.  Check out Din Tai Fung. Line 2 red or line 4 orange to Dongmen (東門).
  • Yangmingshan National Park (Yángmíngshān陽明山): can be combed with Beitou and the baths as they are in the same area. Yangmingshan is perfect for outdoors types with parks, hiking trails, interesting plants and wildlife a plenty as well as internationally famous hot springs.

The Best of the Night Markets

  • Shi-Da (師大) and Gongguan (公館): Close to the National Taiwan Normal University and Gongguan is a nearby neighborhood next to it, a lively place and a great stop for night life. Catch Line 3 green to Taipower Building Station (台電大樓) or the Gongguan (公館) stop.
  • Raohe (饒河街觀光夜市): this market is excellent for food. Line 3 green to Songshan (松山).
  • Shilin (士林夜市): is one of the most popular and crowded night markets. Good for food and shopping. Take line 2 red, but get off at Jiantan (劍潭).
  • Huaxi (華西街觀光夜市): perfect for those in need of yummy snake soup. Line 5 blue to Longshan Temple (龍山寺).

Shilin-Night-Market-in-the-Shilin-District-of-Taipei-credt-Ronnie-Chua.jpg

To find out where to stay and how to get there click here

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Study Martial Arts in China

Here’s a short video explaining why if you want to study martial arts in China you should book through www.StudyMartialArts.Org

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If you book your place before the end of June 2018 you’ll get 5% off your training, accommodation and food. Other exclusive offers can be found on the website’s current promotions for kung fu schools in China.

StudyMartialArts.Org offer – Martial Arts Training and Travel experiences in China and Thailand. With one point of contact and independent information as well as support its not just a booking platform but much more. Contact them now for further information.

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