So my time in Qufu Shaolin school has come to an end. Our final day was spent with blue sky (no pollution!) and very hot again. I worked really hard in the forms class this morning, repeating over and over until my knees asked me not too! Fortunately during Sanda this afternoon our master decided to get people to wrestle! I say fortunately because he didn’t pick the girls to fight. I’m not a floor fighter! Part of Sanda is take downs you see. Although today was a bit of a “fight and see what happens”
I have loved the detachment to my daily life and focusing just on training. Whilst I have not learnt anything practical in Kung Fu, it has further strengthened my discipline of mind and challenging some fears. This will only benefit me further in my ECKA training. In fact, I believe coming here with a martial arts background serves you well, not because you will be able to easily do the moves but because your mind has discipline which you can apply here (and in all walks of life!).
Dedicating a month to any martial arts will not give you any skills, but just a glimpse into Shaolin training. I won’t be bringing anything in particular home with me, which I know may come as a surprise, but really the dominant training here is forms.
My only negative and due to my Karate background, is the lack of application or explanation, of what and why we are doing moves. The language barrier will be one reason for this, also perhaps because I did not fully appreciate that Shaolin kung fu is all forms, many for show and the Sanda is how they fight.
I have been asked would I return? …..No. I have no need to. My heart and passion is with karate and ECKA, this was just an experience. I am in complete awe of Shaolin Warrior Monks and their breathtaking skill, ability to appear to defy gravity, strength and dedication. Their life from childhood has been only this one focus, which is hard to imagine, their life would have been so different to most of ours. We are all capable of greatness though, just a matter of finding your greatness. I wish I could sit down and talk with my master as the conversation would probably never end with all the questions I have but alas that isn’t possible.
There are so many brilliant martial arts. There can also be snobbery in martial arts, where one style claims to be better than another. I’ve never subscribed to this attitude and welcome all experiences and viewpoints. For me, it is what lights a fire inside of you, not which would win in a fight. Its so much more than fighting. So try everything if you wish. That’s what life’s about.
I’ve absolutely loved this experience and will treasure the memories made. I’ve met some varied and colourful personalities, been challenged, faced fears, been in pain and trained under a 34th Shaolin Warrior Monk! I now look forward to returning to my beloved karate!
Life is an adventure, so plan yours!
Looking forward to being back in the ECKA dojo with you all!