Shaolin 2015: Check :)

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Hey everyone! Well, I can check Shaolin off of my 2015 list. It was bittersweet to leave, but I’ll probably be back next year. Despite the rigorous 8 hours a day training, I always have fun. I have to say though, this year was probably one of my best at Shaolin! I had many adventures hiking, color run, learning different forms, flips, sparring, and coaching! Here, allow me to reminisce through my adventures this year:

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Well, to start off, I met amazing people this year. I coached one French martial artist named Kent, and I taught him one of my signature forms, Tiger fist! Speaking of coaching, I got quite the experience this year with coaching! I’ve coached several tourist groups like this group from Kenya!

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I even had a group to myself! The Harvard-Beijing Academy students that were here for about a week! #HBA # 哈北班

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I probably had the best time with these people! Between our 8 hour hike, late night serenades, and dinners, these amazing people became more than my students, but my friends!

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Speaking of hiking, we hiked up the highest mountain in the Shaolin area! 1500 meters up! By the way, hiking isn’t the same in the States as it is in China. In China, it means about a million stairs to climb up on! I think we climbed a total of about 300 flights of stairs or something? or 300 stories? I don’t know, but it was a lot. Hey! We made it though, and that’s all it matters! We conquered Song Mountain!!

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Of course, I also hiked some smaller mountains. My favorite was probably when I went swimming in the spring at 5 dragon springs! (For more about this adventure: Click here There are more pictures too!)

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Oh! I also did a color run up a mountain! Yes….a 5k up a mountain. It was awful, but still pretty fun! I got first!! 🙂

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Now, I want to give a shout out to my roommate, Jacob Bower! How many roommates study abroad in China and meet each other in front of the Shaolin Temple? Not many!! It was also touring the temple with him that day!!

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Alright..aside from all the fun I had, I did actually do some training! I mean, I coached so that was my mental training, and I trained 8 hours a day physically. Anyway, I focused a little bit more on sparring than anything else. I did learn a double broad sword form, and broke a sword in the process…. (If you are curious about a few double broad sword movements: click here)

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I also learned Southern Shaolin style forms, so that was cool. I liked being able to branch out! (If you are wondering what are some differences between Southern Shaolin and what you are used to seeing in Northern Shaolin: Click here)

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Additionally, I also learned a bit of Chinese medicine like the Fire and Alcohol Massage Therapy! (Click here for more information) (For how: Click here)

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Finally, my adventures this year (and every past year) would not be complete without my coach. We’ve been through thick and thin in the past, and training is always fun with him.

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Well, that’s all folks! I’ll be back in the states in about 4 days, in the meantime I’m going to be spending time with family. If you want to see a little bit of what my room was like and the view and everything, click here. If you want information about how to go to the school and get the Shaolin experience yourself, feel free to shoot me an email at lemonlime7421@yahoo.com. I can’t wait to be back in the States, and I’ll keep all of you posted when I can! 🙂

A Tribute to Bruce Lee

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On this day in 1973, one of the greatest martial artist died. Bruce Lee was a man who accomplished unbelievable things in the field of martial arts. He made many movies to showcase his talents, and he also created his own style of Jeet Kune Do. To me, this man was a legend and a hero. I’ve always and always will strive to be at his level. Today, I want to share a few of my favorite quotes by Bruce Lee. These quotes aren’t just words by a famous man, but they are a way of life to me.

  • “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”
  • “Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.”
  • “Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”
  • “If you always put a limit on everything you do, physically or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

I’ll just leave it short and simple today. Lately, I’ve been crazy busy with my last week of training here. Instead of the normal 8 hours, I’m doing 10 hours! Yes…I know, I’m pretty crazy, but since I’m leaving Shaolin in 3 days to go see family, I might as well try to get as much as I can, right?

WuShu 1101: Success!

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Hey everyone! So, for the past week, I had the opportunity to have my own class! I usually do a lot of coaching in my international training group, but with my coach’s help. I went in this coaching this class without a set standard or schedule, so it was all on me. I didn’t know what to expect, and I was really nervous about it. But, I just went in and tried my best to coach this amazing group from Harvard’s Study Abroad program!

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I am more than impressed with what this group had accomplished in just 3 days of training. They learned some basic kickboxing moves, basic stances, 2 forms, and we even had a little flips class! I really hated that we only spent 3 days with each other training, because there was so much more that I wanted to share with all of you. Anyway, to the students in this program, aside from training I had an amazing time with you guys. It was my best week here in China. From the meals that we shared and hiking up the tallest mountain in the Shaolin area to the mid afternoon and night jam sessions, I will never forget the memories that we made. We are more than just coach and students, but we are all friends. I really hope that I was able to give you guys the Shaolin experience that you guys wanted to see, and hope that we will meet in the future!

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My Favorite Art?

Hey everyone! For all those who have been keeping up with me, you guys know that I’m fairly well rounded in martial arts. I have Tae-Kwon-Do, Gong Fu, Wu Shu, Shitoryu, Karate, and whatever else in my background. Well, I was talking to a few people about that, and the question was what is my favorite art. Well, to be honest, I don’t have one. I am a firm believer in that every style has its weaknesses and strengths. There isn’t one martial art that is better than another, but if I were to describe what I like to do in martial arts, well my favorite thing is probably learning the traditional ways of each style.

Karate has taught me that martial arts is infinite. Meaning, there is an endless amount of techniques that you can do. My favorite thing to do is learning traditional forms, then trying to figure them out and dissect the forms movements. Stances are cool and are important during competitions and performances, but my interest lies solely in the hand movements. Of course, sometimes stances can play a role in the technique, but generally stances are used as a base for forms. I’ll demonstrate a few of these techniques in later post, but for now, to all my fellow martial artist, think about what you do in your forms! A punch isn’t just a punch, and a kick doesn’t have to be a kick.

Chinese Fire and Alcohol Therapy (Theory)

Hey everyone! So, about a week ago, I posted about me practicing and learning the ways of Chinese medicine. Well, today I want to discuss the theory behind the Chinese Fire and Alcohol Therapy! Oh, if you missed last week’s post about the Chinese Fire and Alcohol Therapy, here’s the link! (Click here) Please check it out! I’m actually really proud of what I’ve learned.

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I know this a very unusual because most of us see fire as a hazard. Well, on the contrary, most Chinese medical specialist believe that fire is healing element. The massage therapy that you see in the GIF above is just one way the Chinese use fire in a healing process. Most commonly, the Chinese use fire in a cupping therapy. You’ve probably seen it in the karate kid, it’s actually really cool. Anyway, the thing is, the theory is that fire is used to get rid of the cold that’s in your body. In a way, think about it as if the cold spot is where the pain or illness is. It’s honestly still a weird concept to me, but that’s how my coach explained it…so I’ll just go along with it. I’m sorry if that part was unclear, but here’s how what I felt happened with my knee:

In my case, I twisted my knee. Generally, when you twist you knee, you stretch (sometimes tear) ligaments that hold the bones together. What do people generally tell you to do when you twist your knee? Ice it? Apply heat? Rest? Right? Well, this massage therapy is like all in one. Fire is obviously used as heat, but since it is direct fire and not like a heating patch or something, it is said that the extreme fire causes an adrenaline rush and improving your body chemistry, which also makes your body stronger and immune to things like colds. The alcohol is being rubbed through your skin and it is used like a relaxing factor. How? Well, think about when you get drunk (if you are of age reading this). When you drink, you feel relaxed and you just want to have fun, right? It is kind of the same concept using alcohol here. Finally, after the process is done, naturally let it cool down and rest.

Sorry if that was unclear, I wanted to share this because I did get a few questions about what is it actually doing to my knee. To those people who asked me, I hoped this helped a little bit. I again am sorry for being all over the place with my answer, it is still a fairly difficult concept for me to grasp. If you guys have any questions, please feel free to comment below! Thanks for all of the support 🙂