This week, I’m going to talk about my first months of training. I hope this will help people get a good start in China.
As I said in the previous article, I arrived in Dengfeng and I started my first day of training in a very large kung fu academy. (How i came to china)
We started training every morning at 5:30 am, usually running for physical exercise.
7 am, breakfast. At first, it was difficult, their breakfast was very different from ours in France.
I used to drink chocolate and eat bread, but at school, the breakfast consisted only of vegetables and weird soups. It took me a long time to get used to it
8:30 am it was time for the next training to take place until 11:30 am and lunch. We rested in the afternoon and at 3 pm, we resumed training until 5:30 pm for dinner.
6:30 pm it was the last training of the day until 20h30. Then we could rest.
This was the program every day, except Sunday, our resting day.
When I arrived, I chose to start from beginning, to rework the basiques, even if I had practiced martial arts for more than ten years in France, i knowing that it is very different, here, in China.
I wanted to be treated like a Chinese student and be able to improve my basics.
I still remember when the other students asked me how long did I practice, I always answered: “I’m just starting, only few days ago …”
I chose to forget everything I had learned before to study in their own way.
It was a good choice because I could correct so many basic techniques that I did not do very well and learn all the details ….
Every day we practiced Ji Ben Gong (basic exercises), stretching and physical reinforcement. From time to time we also work basic taos.
Since I was a child, I have always heard that it was impossible to train, physically, like them, that the body could not follow … In fact, this is not the case. Of course, the first month was difficult and I thought that my whole body would break, but after a while, we get used to it and it becomes a daily routine.
So, for all the people who are afraid of not being able to hold physically, rest assured, it is not the most important thing and everybody can do it (in our new school it is an important point for us, we want everyone to progress at their own pace regardless of their physical condition)
The most difficult part is to do the same things every day, the same movements, 8 hours a day … Training becomes a real job, so it’s more difficult psychologically (these are the old methods used in most of the big academies, in hindsight, and from my point of view, it only works when you want to spend many years in big kung fu academies and it’s not the most optimal way to progress and improve your knowledge)
This is one of the reasons we wanted to open our own school with new teaching methods. We want to propose to everyone to learn more varied things so that you can use them to improve your skills (internal, external, combat, technique … everything is linked). It is by bringing them together that we progress even more.
By learning from your skills and training adpated to your need, you can learn faster, have the opportunity to deepen your notions, because doing the same movement every day without explanation is not the best way to improve your skills …
We want everyone to progress (Chinese and foreigners together) faster without having to stay 10 years here, this is one of our big challenges in this new school!
Let’s go back to our history, we were training hard every day and as the only foreigner in the school, a lot of eyes were fixed on me. So I wanted to do my best, never miss the training, I even continued to train during the rest … I finally realized my dream, I had to give everything !
As for daily life, I was really surprised because the Chinese were very friendly to me, even if I did not speak good Chinese, they always tried to talk and if we did not understand each other, they used their hands to try to explain, it has created a lot of strange and funny moments.
My classmates, roommates … often invited me to play Chinese card game, football, basketball …
I always accepted and I tried to speak only with them in Chinese.
In fact, I was trying to look like them even though there were sometimes things that I never thought I would do in France, that it was not the best way to do it, or that some things were not correct in our culture …
I was in China and by respect, I had to do everything like them and on their ways.
It allowed me to get integrate very quickly and they no longer saw me as a foreign student.
My Chinese has also improved very quickly. In just a few months, I could speak fluently.
(So of course now, I’m trying to improve things here, in my own way and bring a touch of Western pedagogy … but it’s a very good advice for people coming to China, do not be afraid to do things differently, exchange and share with locals … These are the best ways to improve your Chinese and integrate you)
A few months later, the school leader invited me to take tea. We discussed my progress and daily life … then proposed to join their show / demonstration team. It was so amazing to me that I would never have imagined, even in my wildest dreams, to have such an opportunity coming to China.
I of course accepted and the following week, I joined their second team of “Shaolin zen music ritual show”.
I discovered a lot of amazing and different things with them but this is another story for another article !!