George Kao (UK)


George Kao
Two months (August 13th-, 2009-October 3rd, 2009)

I came to Qufu Shaolin Kung Fu School with no prior experience in Kung Fu or martial arts.  I decided to come here because I believed it would offer a traditional and authentic experience in learning Kung Fu the Shaolin way.  The Shaolin Monks have an extensive history dating back over 1,500 years when the Shaolin Temple was founded.  Shaolin martial arts were developed over the years for the purpose of defending the Temple from invaders and for protecting themselves from wild animals when hunting (hence they developed the infamous ‘animal forms’ such as Tiger Form).  These days they are famous for going round the world doing performances demonstrating their many Kung Fu forms such as Fist Forms, Animal Forms and short and long weapon forms (such as sword and staff).

When I first arrived, we watched a video of the Shaolin Monks training at the Temple. I was amazed to see them doing various exercises and disciplines such as hopping on one foot up the side of a mountain as part of endurance training and to practice Qigong so that they could channel their inner energy to reduce pain and exert much power (such as breaking bricks with your hand).  The one finger press up was the icing on the cake. 

I had the honour and the privilege of training under Wei Shi Fu and Zhang Shi Fu. They both spent considerable time at the Shaolin Temple where over many years have developed into Masters of Shaolin Kung Fu and have won various Kung Fu tournaments in a number of disciplines. 

I found their teaching methods to be excellent as they were able to train students with or without previous martial arts experience and ensure that you were constantly making progress. Over the two months that I was here, I learned the 24 step Tai Chi form, two fist forms and one staff form.  In addition, my fitness, strength and flexibility also improved a lot given that we had classes in Power Training, Endurance Training and many stretching routines. I found the Sanda (Chinese kickboxing) and Xingyi (straight line boxing) classes a great way to apply the kicking and punching forms with increased speed and power.

The training was intense and tiring. I found the first two to three weeks very demanding both physically and mentally but after the ‘initial suffering’ I began to feel more confident and satisfied that I was making progress.

Aside from training, I enjoyed life at the school. We had 3 decent meals a day and the bedrooms were spacious. In the evenings, we had the option to learn Mandarin and do calligraphy.  I found the mandarin classes extremely useful in terms of learning basic phrases to get around town and so forth. Currently, the Masters are making improvements to the school such as installing heating in the bedrooms and refurbishing the shower room.

The school is only a short distance away from Qufu City which is a nice traditional Chinese city.  It is the birthplace of Confucius who has had a major influence on Chinese society and education.  Many people visit Qufu to see Confucius Temple, his mansion and the cemetery where he is buried. Not far from Qufu is Mount Tai Shan which is a holy mountain where all the Chinese emperors climbed before they started to rule the country. Some believe that if you reach the summit, you will live to be at least 100 years old. I did make it to the top so I guess I should expect my letter from the Queen :)

All in all, I have enjoyed a very unique and rewarding time here. I have met some great fellow students who have come from all over the world such as Slovakia, Italy, Russia, Switzerland, Luxembourg, USA, Sweden and the UK. The Masters and the family that live at the school all treated us kindly and it is the sort of place where you could live in harmony for many months or even years.


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Experiences of the students

Read about the experiences of over 70 students from 20 different countries
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