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Learn more about the Yuntai Mountain International Martial Arts School at https://www.shaolin-yuntai.com
where for under $500 US a month you can learn martial arts and Chinese language 7-8 hours a day, 6 days a week in China, with room and 3 meals a day included.
In June of this year I was invited to join a Shaolin Kung Fu school on their two-week trip to visit the Shaolin Temple in the Henan province of China,. This temple is considered the birthplace of Shaolin Kung Fu 1,500 years ago.
Since I hadn’t studied Kung Fu before, I trained under a Tai Chi instructor along with other adults on our trip while my 12-year-old son and other students from the school in the US learned Kung Fu at the Yuntai Mountain International Culture and Martial Arts School.
Instructing them was Kung Fu Master, Yale Yuan, who goes by the name, Master Yuan.
While in China I was astounded how children as young as 5 begin their Kung Fu discipline of between 5-8 hours of Kung Fu, 6 days a week, while adults study Kung Fu 8 hours a day, 6 days a week.
When I say Kung Fu, most people in the west think of Bruce Lee and his martial arts. However, after our visit to the Kung Fu schools and learning under various instructors, I came to understand that Kung Fu is a way of life - encompassing the martial arts, but also philosophy, tea ceremony, calligraphy, language and other cultural elements.
As I awoke in the early morning, we could hear the instructors of schools in the distance instructing over public address speakers and the students shouting their response. Some schools in china, like the school at the Shaolin Temple, require students to be out on the field at 5:30 am and final training of the day in the training field ending around 10:30 PM. Rain or shine, 100 degree heat or 20 degree chill. Be on the line at attention for your Shifu (or instructor) or be reprimanded.
I know of no discipline like this in the United States. Perhaps in some elite military academies, but even that not for children.
These schools are Olympic focus on learning their art.
China is still a Communist country, closed off to the west in many ways. Fortunately, with the popularity of Virtual Private Networks or VPNs, I was able to connect with Master Yuan over Skype - a service normally blocked by what many call “The Great Fire Wall” - China’s government restriction of outside information and communication through not allowing the use of sites like Facebook, Instagram, Google, and others.
So, here is my conversation with Master Yuan. You’ll notice in the background occasional sounds of their almost 700 students shouting as they train. Toward the end, you may hear his young daughter chime in too. Interviewing someone IN China was a little more difficult than I first thought. And I’m so grateful to get this time with Master Yuan.
Let me tell you a little more about him.
Master Yale Yuan 袁雅乐 is Shifu at Yuntai Mountain International Culture and Martial Arts School. for more than 20 years he has trained full time with 15 years of training both Chinese and foreign students.
He is well known for his skill in different Kung Fu fist and weapon forms especially the Kung Fu fighting with pudao and spear.
He has participated in numerous competitions and has also has traveled throughout Europe both to perform and teach.
He won’t tell you himself, but as a child on the Shaolin Kung Fu performance team for the school at the Shaolin Temple, he studied with over 3,000 other students. Out of those students, the best were asked to join the 30 performance team. Master Yuan is truly one of the elite Kung Fu Masters who are passing on the traditions and culture of Shaolin Kung Fu in its purest form to the next generation.
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