Matt Samson(Australia)



Matt Samson: 23 years old, student
Length of stay: 5 weeks (May – June, 2013) 
Upon arriving at the School I was warmly greeted by Kiah, a more senior who had been there for two months. Within 10 minutes we were on a tour of the School grounds and the quaint semi-rural area where the School is situated. Like Kiah, the other students were all incredibly welcoming. Within a week of arriving, I felt like I had known many of the people for half a lifetime. Everyone was so nice! 
Training was challenging, but not impossible. The Masters – or Shifus - pushed us all to what we thought were our limits, and then beyond. As a result, I became fitter, stronger and more flexible. By the end of my training, these improvements had also translated into my Kung Fu: I was punching harder and linking my movements together with a kind of fluidity that I didn’t think I was capable of when I started.
I began at the School as a complete novice. Although I have always been active, I had never practised a martial art. Nonetheless, the School taught me the basics and, importantly, emphasised the reasons for each movement. Whilst I am still definitely a beginner, I can now understand and execute a lot the movements that are central to the discipline. I can link a lot of these movements together too, to create complex and flowing forms that are as fantastic as they are lethal.
Outside of Shaolin Kung Fu, I really enjoyed learning Sanda (Chinese kick boxing). Sanda requires fleet of foot and explosive power. It offered me a way to release all of the stress and tension that I had carried when I came to the school. The movements are also relatively simple, so I could spend more time perfecting my technique. If I were able to train in Sanda for a while longer, I would have loved to compete in an actual fight! 
Within weeks of arriving I was able to approach both training and my life in general with a clear mind. Deadlines, money and everything else felt less important. No one can achieve enlightenment in the space of five weeks, but I certainly felt that, for the briefest of periods, I took a step in the right direction. It is for this reason, and the other reasons listed above that I describe my time at Qufu Shaolin Kung Fu School as fantastic. It is an experience that I would certainly recommend – it has something to offer people from all walks of life. 

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Experiences of the students

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