I have been asked many times how it was to train in China. How does a typical day in a Chinese Kungfu school look like?
Well, let me tell you, it starts very early. Around 5am in the morning to be exact. It usually differs from season to season. For example due to the extreme cold weather in the north we would start training around 6am during winter, but because of the heat we would start way earlier during the summer time.
The morning lessons are a bit relaxed. Well, sometimes. There are days when we just run a few rounds and then practice our forms, but there are those days when we start the day with a proper power training session. Running around the court, sprints, one leg jumps and my favourites frog jumps and carrying each other. Every teacher has their own evil methods to make you cry. But usually after such a lesson you feel great.
Around 7am we go for breakfast which consists of Mantou, a boiled egg and a variety of warm dishes with a rice soup. I never really liked to eat breakfast.
8am we usually start the second morning training which lasts till 12am. This training can include everything from power training, to power stretching to simple basics training.
The second morning training is followed by lunch and a longer break. During summer time we started very late. Sometime after 3pm because it was just too hot to train. But during winter times the break could be very short. The afternoon training can consist of basics, or form and weapons training. We also did a lot of acrobatic sessions (yeah cartwheel without hands, baby!).
Around 6pm or 7pm is dinner time. And the last training session started at 8pm. Evening lessons were pretty relaxed. You can practice what you have learned during the day and ask if you didn’t understand a move.
Twice a week we would have an evening where we learn the art of tea ceremony, or we would gather and one of the teachers would explain us Chinese calligraphy. The other students had Chinese class twice a week as well. But I never went there in the end. Also many school offer a Buddhist class ones a week. Though I have to say the best class so far we always had in the Baoding school CBISC. Last year we were taught by a Buddhist nun. She was such a great person and had so much wisdom to share.
I think it is very important to have spiritual training next to the training of your body. You need to keep everything in balance. I loved living in all those different Kungfu schools. They all have their pros and cons. But if you are really want to experience the whole package you should try CBISC. They also have the opportunity to go and stay at a real Buddhist temple and live with the monks and nuns there. A friend of mine experienced it, and she said it was amazing. For my part, I just went there for a few visits. But already just eating there was a special experience. When you eat there, you enter with the monks and nuns, and you are not allowed to speak. It creates such a spiritual atmosphere. Everyone is just focusing on eating. We should do that in everyday life. Plus, when they finish their bowls of rice, they pour water in it and drink it as to not waste a little bit of the precious food.
Looking back at everything I have experienced I am amazed how great it was. It was like living a dream. Being able to train everyday. Learn about Chinese culture first hand. I am gonna tell my kids about it later.
I can just tell everyone who is hesitating the step to go to China. Don’t! Just do it! You live today. So enjoy the moment and just go for it.
Anyone has experiences with Kungfu training in China? Would do you like the most? Would don’t you like?
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