Kun Khmer Weight-loss & Siem Reap Fitness Camp

More and more people are contacting me to book places at weightloss and fitness camps focusing on martial arts. One of the best in terms of fun, training and location is Kingdom Fight Gym’s camp in Siem Reap close to the famous temples of Angkor Watt.

Kingdom Fight Gym aims to restore the ancient fighting art of Kun Khmer. At Kingdom Fight Gym you can learn this ancient martial art from the Khmer Empire. The Gym offers Kun Khmer (Khmer Boxing) intensive training camps which include two 2 hour long classes per day. In addition to that it also offers group classes for kids and adults, Private training with experienced coaches (active and retired fighters, local and foreigners).

Kingdom Fight Gym, Siem Reap is run by Mark van Dongen and Kwok-Leung Tsang. Their aim was to create a social, cultural sports centre that partners with the local population and existing, sustainable organisations in Cambodia and Netherlands in order to contribute to the lives of Cambodian youth. The Gym provides them with a place to learn mutual respect, how to defend themselves, connect to their culture, gain self-confidence and develop as a well rounded individual.

Here are three of the latest reviews from people who have attended the camp and trained at the gym.

‘Everything was amazing: the atmosphere, facility, equipment. The real gems are the people; coaches, fighters and the gym community. Super friendly and approachable. The coaches have extraordinary amount of experience and I liked the different techniques they introduced. The trips were organized perfectly. Such a treat to see the beauty of Cambodia and how much it can offer to a tourist like myself (… including .50 cent beers)!!!’

Joanna from the United States

‘Excellent organization, great communication, wonderful and helpful staff, well equipped gear, attention to each individual. We have never done something like this, and would definitely do it again. A big thank you.’

Cécile from Switzerland

‘I spent one month here and it was the best investment in myself I’ve ever made, so rewarding in many ways. Daz, Rith and Bora are all amazing coaches that make you train hard but still have a really good time and laugh a lot. I will surely try to come back at some time, thank you guys once again for an amazing time!’

Jon P from England

The Ancient fighting art of Kun Khmer and the Temples of Angkor

Experience an Amazing Training holiday in Cambodia. This martial arts adventure includes 6 days of professional training in the ancient fighting art of Kun Khmer, as well as K1-style kickboxing. Training will be tailored and adjusted to your fitness, and training level. This training camp includes 10 nights accommodation in a 4-Star Hotel, high quality tours to historic sites of interest, and much more. You’ll visit Angkor Archaeological Park, Kompong Khleang, Tonle Sap, and Phnom Kulen National Park. You’ll experience top training sessions in a friendly atmosphere, and you’ll enjoy the rich music, dance and history of Cambodia while getting fit.

For this Training Camp you will be based in Siem Reap. Siem Reap is a friendly backpacker town. This region was the ancient capital of the Khmer Empire from the ninth to the 15th centuries. The ruins, of these successive capitals are collectively known as the Angkor Archaeological Park. The Angkor Archaeological Park is located about four miles north of the city center. The 150-square-mile complex, which includes the famous Angkor Wat Temple, is Siem Reap’s biggest tourist draw and will be one of the memorable sites that you will visit when on you join this tour. Siem Reap is your gateway to Cambodia’s glorious past and a vivid present.

A journey of activity, culture, and wonder

Check out the Destination Guide below providing you details of what you will visit and experience.

Angkor Archaeological Park

Angkor Archaeological Park, is one of the largest religious and historical complexes in the world, both buddhism and hinduism are represented here. The temples vary in style and age from the 9th to 13th century. All these temples were built by the kings of the once great Khmer Empire.

The Angkor Archaeological Park is breathtaking, and is a principal draw for anyone visiting Cambodia. You can visit these temples by local tuk tuk, motorbike or even fly past them in a hot air balloon. For this tour the best local tuk tuk drivers and guides will take you to the main temples were you will be able to take wonderful photographic opportunities.

Here the monuments and the surrounding jungle afford unlimited textural and lighting opportunities for composing the perfect picture.

Kompong Khleang, Tonle Sap

Is one of the largest floating village communities on the Tonlé Sap, Kompong Khleang (កំពង់ឃ្លាំង) it is more of a town than the other villages, and comes complete with several ornate pagodas. Most of the houses here are built on towering stilts to allow for a dramatic change in water level. There is only a small floating community on the lake, but the stilted town is an interesting place to explore. Fewer tourists visit here compared with the floating villages closer to Siem Reap, this is a reason to visit in itself. The village is relative untouched and pertains its authenticity, which makes for a non-touristy experience. Kompong Khleang is one of the most beautiful. Travel here and gawk in awe as there are not just houses but also schools and pagodas floating above the water. The village moves in unison with the current depending on which season the lake is in.

Tonle Sap is directly translated into ‘large river’, yet it is more commonly referred to as the Great Lake. Occupying the floodplain in the lower Mekong basin, Tonle Sap is comprised of a river 120 km in length connected to the Mekong river and a freshwater lake of the same name, which is flooded on a seasonal basis. Tonle Sap, has the highest concentrated biodiversity in many regions, and was chosen as UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1997. Located South of Siem Reap, it is also home to a great number of species, roughly 300, including fish, birds and vegetation. Part of the Great Lake is dedicated to the Preak Toal Bird Sanctuary.

Phnom Kulen National Park

Is a playground for locals, Phnom Kulen (literally Mountain of the Lychees). This will be a gorgeous day out for relaxation and sightseeing. The main attraction is the waterfalls at the top of Kulen Mountain, and it’s also a great picnic spot; well set up in Cambodian style with hammocks and shelters to keep you shaded from the sun.

Phnom Kulen National Park is a very sacred site with multiple temples easily accessible. Two sites most noted are the Thousand Lingas at Kbal Spean, within the Kulen National Park site and Preah Ang Thom pagoda with its giant reclining Buddha. The area is a magnet to “kru khmer” (natural medicine doctors), and it attracts people seeking blessings from its holy waters, particularly the potent life-giving waters at Kbal Spean, that are said to help couples conceive.

Kingdom Fight Gym

Kingdom Fight Gym aims to restore the ancient fighting art of Kun Khmer. At Kingdom Fight Gym you can learn this ancient martial art from the Khmer Empire. The Gym offers Kun Khmer (Khmer Boxing) intensive training camps which include two 2 hour long classes per day. In addition to that it also offers group classes for kids and adults, Private training with experienced coaches (active and retired fighters, local and foreigners).

Kingdom Fight Gym, Siem Reap is run by Mark van Dongen and Kwok-Leung Tsang. Their aim was to create a social, cultural sports centre that partners with the local population and existing, sustainable organisations in Cambodia and Netherlands in order to contribute to the lives of Cambodian youth. The Gym provides them with a place to learn mutual respect, how to defend themselves, connect to their culture, gain self-confidence and develop as a well rounded individual.

Siem Reap

During the 20th century, Siem Reap ‘Thailand Destroyed’ grew from being a small village into a vibrant city catering to tourists visiting Angkor Wat. In the city you will find a variety of cuisine, accommodation options, shopping, and adventure activities from motorbike tours, to hot air ballon rides.

In Siem Reap there are a number of distinct shopping, drinking and eating areas. In the south of the city there is the central shopping and restaurant area next to Phsar Chas (old market). This area comes to life after sunset. The area is filled with bars, massage spas, and restaurants. The busiest and most popular place in the city after dark for backpackers and party goers is Pub Street.

Pub Street

Pub Street is 100m long stretch of pubs and nightclubs stretching from the Red Piano Restaurant to the Banana Leaf Restaurant. Two of the biggest clubs on the street are the Temple Club and Angkor What? And if you’re hungry you’ll find local food, western favourites and even insect snacks that can be washed down with 50 cent draught beers.

If you’d prefer to rub shoulders with the locals a night out at Khmer Pub Street or a visit to the Siem Reap Container Bars would be great alternative option. Located just off of Charles De Gaulle and the Tara Angkor Hotel you’ll find a plaza made entirely of cargo containers and over 20 container bars. Towards the front of the plaza is a huge stage, where performers sing every weekend. This is a Siem Reap must see attraction.

Phare Circus

More than just a circus, Phare performers use theater, music, dance and modern circus arts to tell uniquely Cambodian stories; historical, folk and modern. The young circus artists will astonish you with their energy, emotion, enthusiasm and talent. Phare artists are students and graduates from Phare Ponleu Selpak’s vocational training center in Battambang.

The association was formed in 1994 by 9 young men coming home from a refugee camp after the Khmer Rouge regime. They were greatly helped during that time by an art teacher using drawing classes as therapy and wanted to share this new skill among the poor, socially deprived and troubled youngsters in Battambang.

They founded an art school and public school followed to offer free education. A music school and theatre school were next and finally, for the kids who wanted more, the circus school.

Today more than 1,200 pupils attend the public school daily and 500 attend the alternative schools. Phare Ponleu Selpak also has extensive outreach programs, trying to help with the problems highlighted in their own tales. Phare The Cambodian Circus offers these students and graduates somewhere to hone their skills and a place to earn a decent wage. Money that will take them out of poverty and give them self-respect and freedom.

Want to book your place?

Visit this page and learn more about this martial arts travel and training experience. 

Training at Dragon Muay Thai, Phuket

Recently I went to Thailand to meet my first BJJ coach Paulo Tavares do a little training, relaxing, and catch up. For this experience I met up with Nano and a few other guys from Big King Muay Thai & BJJ, Beijing and stayed at Dragon Muay Thai, Phuket.

Phuket Top Team Schedule

As a training option its in a great location within walking distance to a number of other top rated gyms such as Phuket top team, Tiger Muay Thai which can be very helpful if you are looking not only for Muay Thai but for other training options like BJJ, MMA or Wrestling. This whole are of Chalong is packed with fully equipped gyms, cross fit centres, great eateries for health buffs, as well as places those looking for protein laced ice-creams, or shakes to fuel oversized muscles. All of which are very affordable and of very good quality. The only downside is the distance to a good beach or place to walk, or run. For that a scooter is essential. At only 800 Baht per week and 35 or 40 baht for a bottle of petrol, transportation under your own steam is the best option providing you can ride a scooter.

Other fun things on offer in this part of Chalong within walking distance include access to a reasonably priced sensor deprivation chamber, ice-baths, and massages a plenty starting from 300 Baht.

Accommodation at Dragon Muay Thai was basic, and is similar in nature to the single accommodation on offer at other gyms. What you can expect is a clean double bed, shower, large fridge, satellite tv with plenty of channels and air-con.

The closest quality beach to Chalong for swimming or other water sports is Kata Beach. To get there quickly take the 4028 over the mountain. For a quieter vide Kata Noi is much nicer than Kata beach. My favourite beaches where Nai Harn and Karon beach.

If you’re up for some scuba diving I chose Andy O’Callaghan’s Dive Centre, AoK Diving. Not only does Andy have the best coffee in Phuket he has the knowledge, and skills to not only make you feel comfortable, in good hands. But really makes a positive effort to teach you the craft of diving.

On this trip I signed up for a night dive at Kata beach, my first time diving at night and also to go to Koh Racha Noi. Although I very almost signed up to do the Advanced Diving Course. Maybe next time. Phuket is definitely worth a second trip not only for the top quality training available but also for abundant activities available for relaxation and fun.

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.

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.