Kieran Maddy (UK)

Date:2011/7/16

Kieran Maddy – United Kingdom
Length of training: 11 months, September 2010 – August 2011
themadmeister@hotmail.com

 

Dear prospective students and other readers,

Before I embark on telling you more about my experiences I want to make it clear that if you are considering coming here you need to understand that you come here to train in Shaolin Martial Arts, you will not be coming here for a luxury holiday, it will be tough, difficult and will test your limits. But if you come here with this in mind and the mindset to put in the effort and just get straight down to it and train well every day then you can get so much from your time here.

 

 

Being a new student can be daunting but every student is welcomed by applause into the family community here and the students do well to make you fit in straight away and are always willing to help you out whenever you need advice or guidance.

The training at Qufu Shaolin Kung Fu School is of great quality, the encouraging and welcoming atmosphere created by the masters and the students really help you to get settled quickly and start learning fast. Each student goes at their own pace and the masters are very mindful of this and do a good job with teaching methods and finding ways to encourage and help you to learn at a constant rate, they are always more than happy to answer questions and provide details, examples and demonstrations for the applications of the movements to help better understand why you are learning the things you are.

The schedule is well balanced and gives you time to rest between lessons, as long as you put the effort in to train as hard as you can then you are always tired by the end of the day. The training was always difficult, I was always kept training hard, putting in extra effort, as I was constantly using new and different muscles for every new movement.

The Tai Chi is very relaxing and calming and really is a great way to start the day, people used to tell me that but now I know from experience.

The Shaolin Basics are the core of Shaolin Martial Arts and can always be improved; it is essential to have good basics in order to be good at any other area within Shaolin. The basics strengthen your core, balance, footwork, co-ordination and stamina, as well as introducing you to the stances you will use in any and all of the forms you will learn. Shaolin forms was my favourite class, I have learnt a great variety of Shaolin fist and weapon forms such as Continuous Fist, Cannon Fist, Staff form, Broadsword form, Tong Bei Form. Every form combines the basics with co-ordination and balance to help you improve everything at once; I have noticed such dramatic changes in the strength of my legs and my ability to combine speed and power. Combining the movements with the knowledge of the applications for how to use them it really makes a great and thoroughly rewarding achievement to be able to learn and practice Shaolin Kung Fu.

Sanda (kickboxing) was very tough, a rigorous workout and great test of endurance, I learnt a lot very quickly and my master Wei Shifu did an excellent job correcting my form and adjusting my movements to keep me improving to a better quality standard every class. I was pushed to my limits over and over again to improve more and more.

I always dreaded power training, anything from hand stands, frog jumps, bench press, sprints, jumping squats and so much more, this lesson is so diverse in ways to strengthen your core and target multiple muscles at once. I barely made it through all the exercises the first lesson I had, but with the constant encouragement of the students and my master I have dramatically improved in every area of my body strength. Every power training lesson aches just as much as the last but the benefits are worth it.

As much as everything aches, I severely appreciate how much I have been strengthened by all of the classes I’ve done during my time here. I have passed all of my previous limits both physically and mentally, it is awesome to be able to see and feel how much I have improved and I can do just that. I have a great amount of stamina, my legs are stronger than they’ve ever been and I’ve conditioned various areas of my body to withstand punches and kicks without worry, I can now also do push ups on my fists, wrists and fingers. Thanks to power stretching and the sheer amount of kicks I have done every day trying to do better and kick higher my flexibility has surpassed any expectations I had, I started off maybe being able to kick at rib height and now my Sanda kicks are at head height and above.

My advice to future students is to always take care and listen well, do not rush, I injured my thumb because I rushed a sweep rather than doing it properly but it was a lesson well learnt. Rest well, especially at the weekends; it really makes a difference to your training and starting a new week with plenty of energy and well-rested muscles. Take the warm ups seriously to reduce the chances of injury, the masters allocate plenty of time before each lesson for students to warm up properly.

It is an honour and a privilege to have been taught by authentic Shaolin Monks and I have had an outstanding overall experience here and will take away many fond memories and experiences I never dreamt I would. In my opinion it has been the experience of a lifetime.

I would be more than happy to talk more about my experiences and give more advice and answer any questions if you have any, contact: themadmeister@hotmail.com

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