Best Kung fu Schools in China during Winter

I often get bookings from people keen to take advantage of their winter holiday, get fit and experience a life less ordinary. Their questions will often be, where is the best training options during winter? What’s it going to be like? How is the heating?

In this article I focus on a few kung fu schools where training is less likely to be affected by the cold. Therefore you can get the most out of your time and the experience in general. When asked these questions I often have to explain its not training in the cold thats uncomfortable, its having down time in the cold that tends to gets to people more. Heating in generally is non-existent making many of the kung fu schools in Northern China not the most attractive option if you’ve only a few weeks or 1-3 months between December and February.

Here is my list of the best kung fu schools in China during winter that offer intensive training. At these schools you can focus on your training, and for the most part avoid the bitter cold, rain and snow.

6 Productive Reasons to Show MMA Training Is Not Just A Workout

When you join the MMA training class, most of you have similar aims like becoming stronger, getting fitter, shedding kilograms of fat, etc. Surprisingly, MMA training is going to offer you many other advantages even beyond the physical benefits that we are mostly interested in. Don’t consider an MMA class just as an activity to become physically strong, as it is not just a workout. I’ve come up with 7 exciting reasons to show that MMA training is not just a workout.

Decrease Your Stress Level

You must already know that working out releases stress in you because the body reduces adrenaline and cortisol which are stress hormones. However, this phenomenon goes quite far when we talk about MMA. MMA gives you a chance to release your aggression through intense training. It is best to pent-up all your aggression on a bag and become calm. This is the reason; every day you take your stress out and feel much calmer after MMA class. Furthermore, it tends to bring positivity in your life and in your precious relationships due to your reduced stress. Other aspects associated with reducing stress through MMA include socialization, wearing comfortable workout clothes, achievement of fitness goals, and enhanced self-confidence.

Makes You Disciplined

MMA is mostly about intense physical training which requires great dedication and efforts. From time management for finding time for training to eating healthy food timely, MMA teaches you discipline. This way, your life becomes more organized as you train MMA. Preparing your MMA gear for the class and wearing workout clothes, cleaning them, and learning all tips and tricks to become more efficient teaches you discipline. Similarly, the hard work you do to maintain such a lifestyle to become more efficient in MMA training prepares you well for the other aspects of life as well. You will notice that with time, your life will become more disciplined which will enhance productivity in all the aspects of life. Along with improved fitness, becoming disciplined is a bonus that MMA offers.


When you join an MMA class, you might not know anybody but within a few weeks, you would definitely be a friend of everybody. The reason behind this fact is the type of training MMA offers. The MMA training requires pairing up with different mates to learn how to fight and hence with time you get to know everybody. Once you become friends with other mates, your MMA training becomes a fun part of the day. This way, it reduces your stress level, allowing you to have a fun time while forgetting the tough realities of life.

MMA class helps you to socialize and spend time with likeminded people having the same goals. Imagine, how good it would be when you won’t have to fight for not having junk food with your friends. Your mates will have the same eating preferences when you go out and that’s the reason you will feel great. Furthermore, you can talk about what is best for your training such as food, sleeping time, what to wear, etc. So, this time you don’t have to be worried about dressing upright for the winter workouts.

Enhances the Confidence Level

Undoubtedly, when you know you’re strong enough to save yourself from dangers, you feel confident. MMA class teaches you skills and techniques that can be applied to have self-defense and hence it gives you self-confidence. Furthermore, as you train a lot, you become physically fit and attractive. Anyone who looks at you will praise you for your fit physique and such an appreciation brings confidence in you.

Makes You Aware of Other Cultures

As people from different backgrounds join the same MMA class, you get to learn a lot about their cultures. When you socialize and spend time with your mates, it would give you exposure to other cultures as well. Moreover, you learn different forms of martial arts in your class such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai and learning their cultural history will make you aware of different cultures and their origins. You can say that MMA class is not just a physical activity but it enhances your knowledge as well.

Can Be Made A Family Time

If you’re spending a lot of time at work and then at MMA class, it does not mean that you have to neglect your family. In fact, it is even more productive if your family members join the MMA class with you. This way, the MMA class can become a family time where you can enjoy as well while having other MMA benefits. This will lead to having more consistency, as your family members will have the same goal as you.

The Transformation of Chinese Martial Arts During the Song Dynasty — Kung Fu Tea

Introduction I have always wondered about the Song period (960-1279) and its connection to the modern Chinese martial arts (let’s say 1850 to the present). One could be forgiven for placing the genesis of our current systems sometime in the final century of the Ming. Afterall, this is when we see the very first […]

via The Transformation of Chinese Martial Arts During the Song Dynasty — Kung Fu Tea



– 拳經捷要 THE BOXING CLASSIC (KEYS TO NIMBLENESS) (紀效新書卷十四) (Chapter 14 of New Book of Effective Methods) 戚繼光 by Qi Jiguang [1560] [translation by Paul Brennan, Aug, 2019] – 此藝不甚預於兵能有餘力則亦武門所當習但衆之不能强者亦聽其所便耳於是以此為諸篇之末茅十四 拳法似無預於大戰之技然活動手足慣勤肢體此為初學入藝之門也故存於後以備一家學拳要身法活便手法便利脚法輕固進退得宜腿可飛騰而其妙也顛起倒挿而其猛也披劈橫拳而其快也活捉朝天而其柔也知當斜閃故擇其拳之善者三十二勢勢勢相承遇敵制勝變化無窮微妙莫測窈焉㝠焉人不得而窺者謂之神俗云拳打不知是迅雷不及掩耳所謂不招不架只是一下犯了招架就有十下博記廣學多算而勝古今拳家宋太祖有三十二勢長拳又有六步拳猴拳囮拳名勢各有所稱而實大同小異至今之温家七十二行拳三十六合鎖二十四棄探馬八閃畨十二短此亦善之善者也吕紅八下雖剛未及綿張短打山東李半天之腿鷹爪王之拿千跌張之跌張伯敬之打少林寺之棍與青田棍法相兼楊氏鎗法與巴子拳棍皆今之有名者雖各有所長各傳有上而無下有下而無上就可取勝於人此不過偏於一隅若以各家拳法兼而習之正如常山蛇陣法擊首則尾應擊尾則首應擊其身而首尾相應此謂上下周旋無有不勝大抵拳棍刀鎗𨥁鈀劔㦸弓矢鈎䥥挨牌之類莫不先由拳法活動身手其拳也為武藝之源今繪之以勢註之以訣以啟後學既得藝必試敵切不可以勝負為愧為竒當思何以勝之何以敗之勉而久試怯敵還是藝淺善戰必定藝精古云藝髙人膽大信不誣矣 余在舟山公署得参戎劉草堂打拳所謂犯了招架便是十下之謂也此最妙即棍中之連打 (These skills will not prepare you for battle, but they can supply you with extra strength. Therefore they too should be a part […]

via QI JIGUANG’S BOXING CLASSIC — Brennan Translation

Never Forget to Do These Things Before Going to Bed If You Are A Runner

Do you hassle up in the morning when you do not find a workout shirt to wear for jogging and then you waste your precious time? Has it ever happened to you that you’re just on the track and the song stops and then you find that the battery of your mobile phone has run out? Then what do you do in such situations? Of course, you feel bad and get frustrated. Well, if I’m not being harsh, let me tell you very straightforwardly that it is your own fault. Don’t be worried, as most of you encounter the same problems every day in the morning when you’re going to running. Therefore, to take you out of these terrible situations, I’ve come up with a list of things that you should never miss to do before bed. Check out these!

Check Weather Forecast

Always check the weather forecast for the next day and if it’s going to be rain, try to adjust your jogging timings before or after that. If it’s going to be raining for a long time then you should know so that you can at least sleep well or do some other chores. It’s extremely hard to go out for jogging in winters when the temperature goes to negative degrees. In that case, read great ways to stay fit and active this winter season.

Take Out Your Running Clothes

Once you have checked the weather forecast, take out your workout clothes accordingly. If it’s going to be a very low-temperature next day, prefer wearing a workout hoodie. You should be well prepared so that you don’t hassle to find appropriate clothes and end up going to the park wearing a t-shirt at low temperature and then end up falling ill.

Charge Your Devices

Any devices that you use to aid your running such as GPS watch to count steps, iPod for songs, or mobile phone for both of these, always charge them before you sleep. If I tell you about me, I can’t imagine running without music, so those days when I don’t have access to songs for whatsoever reason, my productivity declines to a minimum. This is what happens to most of us, perhaps. Similarly, if you’re making extra sprints someday and you don’t count how many calories you burnt that day, it demotivates you. So, avoid all such problems that lead to have lower productivity on the track by charging your devices before going to bed.

Fill Up Bottles

Water intake during running in small amounts is something everyone needs and without which you simply cannot do long runs on the track. If you’re leaving home without having a water bottle then it is damn sure that you’re not going to make more than 2 to 3 runs on the track. So, whatsoever the reason is. whether your water bottle is in the dishwasher or has been misplaced, it must be an unproductive day for you in terms of running. Therefore, I would strictly recommend to find the water bottle and fill it up before you sleep. This way, all you have to do is to pick up the water bottle rather than finding it and filling it up in the morning which only wastes the time.

Don’t Use Screens

It is now a commonly known fact that using laptops, mobile phone, or tablets before going to bed activate your brain cells that later make it tough to fall asleep. As the brain becomes more active and you face trouble in falling asleep, you ended up having a shorter sleep in the night. As a consequence, you will be tired and you will not be able to run properly. So, stop using screens at least an hour before going to bed.

Contact Your Running Partner

If you’re lucky to have a best friend with whom you run regularly, consider it a miracle. Anything done with a best friend is not a hectic work anymore. So, running is no exception and you can have a lot of fun with the best friend on track while having the same fitness goal. However, don’t make this strength as your weakness. Never miss your running session if your friend is unwell or can’t come that day. In such a case, always ask your friend before going to bed and confirm the next day’s plan. If you’re going on his car and he is not coming, you should arrange your own one for the next day. This can only be done if you already know that he is not coming tomorrow.

Running is one of the best cardio forms of exercise due to its utmost benefits especially when it is done outdoor. In order to make it even more beneficial, do implement these tips and you will see that you’re feeling even better every day. Always prepare all the things that are required for running the next day before you go to bed and keep them together in one place. So, the next day, simply get up and pick the things and go to the park on time.

Learning Wudang Kung fu, and Taoist Culture.

Qin Tze Wudang Mountain Retreat offers the unique opportunity to learn QigongGuqin, and Taiji Quan on Wudang Mountain. A step back in time the retreat is nestled on the hillside of a beautiful valley on Wudang Mountain. From Master Qin Tze’s retreat you not only have stunning views, but also can enjoy hikes all over Wudang Shan and up to the Golden Peak. The Retreat is not only a great place to learn it is also a fun, very authentic place to study Wudang Martial Arts, Music and Longevity practices. Master Qin Tze has a huge wealth of information to share. Students attending this retreat can expect a curriculum that is very heart, and culture centred through Taoist philosophy and Qi cultivation.

Below is a video giving a glimpse of life at the school.

Below is an example of the retreat time table

– A normal training day would begin at 06:30. From 07:00 to 09:00 you will learn Taiji Quan and Qigong.

– From 09:30am morning practice will include personal study, farming and daily Taoist Health practices.

– After lunch you will take part in afternoon study meditation and tea culture.

– Dinner starts at 16:30. After dinner training in Xuan Wu, Wudang Sword, and Taoist Baguazhang.

– From 19:30 to 21:00 evening Gu Qin class.

– This is followed by free time. Bedtime is normally 22:30

The King (Netflix 2019), a short review — The Tai Chi Notebook

The King (Netflix 2019) is the story of the rise of King Henry V and the battle of Agincourt against the French (1415). Prince Henry is portrayed as a wayward teenager, who dislikes authority and has no desire for the throne or the complications of court politics and international diplomacy. Suddenly this emo teenager has […]

via The King (Netflix 2019), a short review — The Tai Chi Notebook

Essentials of Rest and Recovery at Martial Arts Camps

Here’s my latest article on the essentials of rest and recovery. Check it out.

Rest, and recovery are critical components of any successful training program at an intensive martial arts training camp. In my experience it is a component under-utilised in intensive training environments. Students want to get the most out of their time, so push hard. In this article I discuss the ‘Essentials of Rest and Recovery at martial arts training camps’.

Rest to enhance performance

As a way to enhance performance rest and recovery is too often overlooked. Understanding the difference between rest and recovery and how to properly implement them both is the key. If you’re training 5-8 hours per day for 5-6 days a week, you have to consider how sustainable that is. Making the most out of your rest, and recovery time is essential. If you define rest as a combination of sleep, and time not training then the quality of your sleep, and the time you spend not training will be critical. With many full-time martial arts schools packing their timetables with morning, afternoon, and evening training sessions. How you sleep, and spend the time in-between these classes is even more important.

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Anxious Black Belt — “Something like that”

I’m very excited about publishing my book on the subjects of Karate and Anxiety. Below you can find an excerpt from the book. Please let me know what you think. I started writing this book as a therapeutic exercise, to find out more about why I was suffering from a fear of the smallest things […]

via Anxious Black Belt — “Something like that”

Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Lightsaber: Fetishism and Material Culture in Martial Arts Studies — Kung Fu Tea

“The lightsaber has become an important touchstone, both within the films and within our culture…They serve as a source of identification and identity. They are the ultimate commodity: a nonexistent object whose replicas sell for hundreds of dollars. This is not bad for something that defies the laws of physics and cannot and does not […]

via Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Lightsaber: Fetishism and Material Culture in Martial Arts Studies — Kung Fu Tea