Vailan (UK)

Date:2009/7/27
Vailan
Length of Training: 3+ months, February - June 2009

My name is Vailan, and I have stayed at the school for a total of three and a half months. Within this time I have learnt an incredible amount, as a week's training here is worth over a month of weekly classes back home. The timetable is structured in order that you develop on a well rounded set of skills and attributes that will allow you to learn and apply the Shaolin basics and forms proficiently. From being able to perform simple acrobatics to improving your strength, stamina, flexibility and overall fitness - the classes here will be sure to improve on both your physical and mental aspects. The training however, is as punishing as much as it is rewarding, which is something I think is very important to understand before you decide to make your journey. My first week here was no doubt my most difficult, as I found myself adjusting both to being in a foreign country and the intensity of training all day and every day (and having seen other people join the school since, this seems to be true with most new students). Yet the first week is the first hurdle to your staying here, especially if this is a new experience for you like it was for me. However, I do honestly believe that anyone can manage with this rigorous regime, as long as they are willing to put in the effort and embrace the lifestyle that comes with living here.

In my short time here, I have seen students with no previous martial arts experience cope just as well, and sometimes better than those with years' worth. At the end of the day, it comes down to yourself as to whether you can find the motivation within you to make the most out of your stay. This includes getting up extra early for the morning Tai Chi classes even when you are already in some pain and discomfort from the day before, and finding the energy at the end of the day to attend the optional classes on offer. One thing I have found is that although each day seems long (and often painful!), my time here overall seems to have flown by, and even though there were times when I have woken up with my body still exhausted, I could not help but get up and attend every class possible, just so I could learn that much more before I return home - as this is for me as it is for many others, most probably a once in a lifetime experience.

Overall though, it is the masters here that ultimately make the school what it is, and it is only once you see them in action that you can understand exactly how fast and powerful they are. They are all very attentive and will help you as an individual as much as they can. In fact, when I first arrived, there were as many masters as there were students, and the attention I received personally was really quite special. I am glad to say that even now, with the increase in the number of people here at the school, I do not feel overlooked in any way, which is a real testament to the way the school is run. Whilst I have been here too, a couple of Wei Shifu's (the school's headmaster) have returned to study with him, which further demonstrates his status as a master well worth studying with. For anyone thinking of joining the school, I would gladly recommend that they do, as I am sure that you will find it a fulfilling and rewarding experience, especially under the guidance of the masters.

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