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If you are looking for a place in Morocco that teaches traditional internal martial arts, Sufism and embraces the protection and unaltered transmission of the arts, Koom Retreat and Training Center in Marrakech completes your search. The aim of Koom is upholding martial arts, advocating morality, and educating people with moral integrity. Surrounded by the majestic and deeply spiritual High Atlas mountain range, the training center offers you every opportunity to learn Kung Fu and expand your horizons. Koom is a Shaolin martial institution authorized to receive and teach the internal martial art of Xing Yi in Africa. You will be initiated to both martial arts and a Sufi path of devotion with monthly offsite trips.
Koom Retreat Center features spring drinkable water and, on top of being a retreat center and a training academy, is also a farm. They plant olives, pumpkins, fava beans, figs, peaches, citrus, oranges, lemons and more. That makes it the perfect spot to train. The academy also provides students with tableware, bedding, washing machine, and wireless internet.
Participants will stay in private single rooms which are bright and located within the school. The private cozy rooms are equipped with a dresser and a study desk, simple and neat. Bathrooms are shared and equipped with Western bathrooms and 24 / 7 hot water. Each room offers one single bed, wardrobe, as well as table and chair.
You will have the option to stay in a private single room or a suite with private bathroom and a study room that accommodates three persons.
The curriculum of Koom's academy includes several known fist forms in China including Shaolin fist, Xing Yi, and Sanda. Apart from those styles, students in the academy may learn a high-level internal Qi Gong - kinkong ligong. All the fist forms and the Qi Gong come from their original birthplaces and their pure inheritors, embodying their conventional feature in teaching and learning.
Since the founding of the academy, Koom has been based on the tradition of never losing the basics. In martial arts teaching, they require every master to not only teach students every movement and every form well but to also teach them the meaning of the attacks and defense methods as well as the cultural connotation behind the movements. They are dedicated to helping every participant to achieve this purpose: learning the external forms, understanding their spirit, and truly experiencing the awe of martial arts.
Traditional martial arts are the fighting techniques developed by ancient people for survival in battles with bare hands or with weapons. It consists of kicking, striking, takedowns, catching grappling, and others. It achieves the purpose of self-defense, improvement of physical fitness, and the cultivation of willpower.
It does so by way of forms and methods of resistance: attack and defense techniques of bare hands and weapons. Therefore, martial arts never get separated from combat. Its first aim is to spar to achieve the capacity of self-defense. Martial arts without fighting can't be real martial arts.
Koom has specific plans for the participants who have different aims here. For example, the students who are interested in kickboxing will be given more Sanda and application training, as well as more internal exercises and conditioning practice, to help them get more explosive power and resistance.
Through the training of internal exercise, the students can heal themselves at the same time. For the older students who prefer keeping in good health and fitness to kickboxing, the master will arrange for them to do more Qi Gong and Xing Yi fist, using the soft and peaceful martial art forms and internal exercises (including static and dynamic). These two systems in conjunction help both students and masters have good training.
One of the oldest forms of martial arts in Chinese Kung Fu is the Xing Yi Quan. It started in the Southern Song dynasty 10 centuries ago. Xing Yi Quan’s theories and scientifically-accepted precepts are founded on a comprehensive and sound school of thought. The Xing Yi Quan masters have knowledge and skills of various forms of Kung Fu that have originated from different people.
The renowned masters trained soldiers to apply this art of fighting during times of war in the Southern Song dynasty. This type of Kung Fu was widely accepted as wounded soldiers could not exercise Gongfu - a conventional and popular way of fighting during combat. The soldiers had to learn this art in order to defend their territories.
A renowned patriotic Chinese general who braved many wars found it advantageous to train and enhance his soldiers’ art of war by applying Xing Yi fist form. This form is a witty blending of Wu Xing with actions imitating the motion of specific animals. The art of Xing Yi Quan Kung Fu evolved from making subtle movements to using the mind to control the inner and outer actions.
The name, Xing Yi fist, was founded by Guo Yunshen who is credited for refining the art of fighting. He is regarded for modernizing it to include the five major constituents: metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. This is also known as Wu Xing in Chinese lingo and is similar to the five forms of Xing Yi fist including chopping, Beng, Zuan, Pao, and Heng fist.
The associated theories inspired the Xing Yi fist and accompanying weaponry, and the whole concept is based on contemporary Chinese doctrine. Overall, there are other twelve imitative techniques that are based on the movements of the following animals: the dragon, tiger, horse, cork, pear, sparrow, hawk, monkey, eagle, swallow, crane, cat, and snake.
These movements have six associated combinations. They can further be divided by half into internal and external combinations. The internal combinations include the following:
The major concept of Xing Yi Quan is to maintain the flexibility of a dragon, the firm shoulder of a bear, the agile nature of an eagle, and the sound of thunder. Xing Yi Quan concentrates on mind controlling the Qi to collaborate with internal strength and physical motion. This is the fundamental concept of studying Xing Yi Quan: uniting external acts and internal energy. This renders it a unique and efficient form of fighting. Additional benefits include general improvement of the trainee’s health and taming the soul.
Shaolin can be traced from around 1,500 years ago. The first original Shaolin temple was located at the foot of the Song Mountain. Historically, it was established by the Indian monk who had come to spread Buddhism in China. However, the temple was later closed. Later on, the temple was reopened after two years.
Ta Mo, a Buddhist, is believed to have been admitted in the first temple in northern China. However, during this time, most of the monks used to fall asleep during training. At other times, he would notice that the older monks developed frequent physical problems due to the extensive training and meditation.
To alleviate this, he introduced postures designed to keep people awake. Some of these were the very first forms used in Shaolin training. Despite the slow initial take-off, Shaolin martial arts now have modern techniques that have been found to be quite effective.
There are huge content and forms in Shaolin martial arts, some of the main ones include internal Gongfu, external Kung Fu, hard one, light one, Qi Gong, etc. Internal Shaolin Kung Fu training is different from light Kung Fu. The former focuses on practicing the strength of one's body, while the latter focuses on the jump - especially Qi Gong, which helps in maintaining Qi.
Shaolin Kung Fu teaches the use of hand-to-hand defense, the use of weapons, or a combination of both. Forms used include a straight sword, spear, combat, and performance sparring among other forms. Once a trainee is trained on one level, they proceed to the next depending on their mastery. It is progressive and trainers put effort to ensure learners get from one level to a more advanced level in an appropriate amount of time.
Aggressive and direct, Xing Yi is one of the few boxing arts known to have been used in preparation for organized warfare. Its emphasis on straightforward practicality was combined with enough subtlety to earn a reputation as one of the original Chinese internal martial arts. Xing Yi is a rare traditional and cultural treasure of the Chinese nation.
The charm of martial arts is due to its deep cultural connotation. Now, Chinese martial arts have been spreading across the world with the development of the globalization. If you want to practice martial arts well, you must understand martial arts morality.
Only those who possess excellent moral characters can have a positive heart and a clearer, broader, and more unselfish mind. They are capable of abandoning all distracting thoughts and external disturbances to practice hard and focus on exploring the essence of martial arts.
Thus upholding martial arts and advocating morality is regarded as the basic principle of the academy as well as the characteristic of operations. All the students studying at Koom will first be unified by the great cultural value, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, or origin.
In order to better inherit the teachings you are about to acquire, Koom requests that masters and translators give special care to foreign participants who came a long way to Morocco from home and may encounter many differences.
When this happens, all masters and translators are their relatives who are happy to help them and accomplish their training schedule. At Koom, there is mutual respect between masters and students, making this school a harmonious training and living environment.
There are strict rules in the academy to help participants attain more disciplines and focus on training to improve themselves. Those are as follows:
Koom trains all week-long from Monday to Friday. The training starts at 06:00. It is advisable for students to wake up earlier in the morning so that you can get fresh air breathing along the farm to walk or run. During the week from Monday to Friday, it is better for students to sleep before ten at night so as they are able to recover energy to study the following day.
During the weekends, there are master and translators on duty. Questions about training can be asked at any time in a normal class. There is free time for everyone other than the kitchen staff on weekends. Every Friday afternoon, you can go explore a new space to discover such as museums, cafes, scenic places, garden, stores, and luxurious guesthouses as part of exploring the beautiful region of Marrakech.
Sufi meditation. Initiation to Sufi seated and standing meditation involves learning breathing techniques and body positions to quiet the nervous system and learn how to welcome, accept and benefit from the images of the mind.
Benefits of Sufi meditation include but are not limited to:
Koom offers instructions to beginner students with no or limited martial arts experiences to gain more skills through martial arts training. They welcome participants who are healthy mentally and physically. The training plan is also very flexible according to students' different needs.
There are courses of different lengths that span from one month or less to five years. The student's ages range from 21 to 70 years old because what they teach is suitable for all ages to learn. There is no maximum of age to come, but there is a minimum of it. For kids, it is better to come with a parent. Each year, they have family groups to come here to train with their kids together.
Younger students of less than 16 years old are accepted if they are accompanied by their parent or older relatives particularly a brother or a sister. Ensuring there is good quality teaching, every master is supposed to manage seven students in the winter and less than 15 students in the summer. This will ensure high-quality martial arts training on a personal level and assure a close family atmosphere in the group.
Many martial arts are mostly developed for the middle age and seniors to grasp. They include the old Qi Gong, Xing Yi, and meditation that gives students a chance to have better health and aids in developing Kung Fu skills. Every student can get a customized plan for training. The students may choose the length according to their personal schedule and unique passion for training Kung Fu.
You will learn and enhance basic punching and kicking, Qi Gong (all include healing Qi Gong) and Xing Yi, Chinese kickboxing, basic Arabic, calligraphy, herboristery, sports massage, Moroccan culture, and acupressure.
The main parts of the massage are the belly and the spine, and human limbs are auxiliary. The main characteristics are:
In Koom's training hall, there is a set of fitness training equipment, power training equipment, mats, pads, punching bag, and gloves that are provided during the training. You can also buy your own one if you want during your training.
During the winter, students can practice in the facility's warm temperature as they offer heating. The presence of a translator in the academy is also good as it facilitates the smooth running of activities.
Koom offers free optional traditional Moroccan cultural lessons here in the evening from Monday to Friday. After the students finished the afternoon training, you can choose to attend according to your interest. The available classes are Arabic (classic and Moroccan), writing workshops, sustainable farming and medicinal herb studies, and massages.
Students often ask about the kind of preparation they should make before coming to the academy. At Koom, they place a high priority on physical preparations before arrival. This is done by practicing healthy dieting, long distance running, swimming, sprinting, Ping-Pong, sit-ups, cycling, and other forms of exercise before your arrival.
All forms of stamina training are good as they help students learn martial arts easier. All sports that help your body build muscle and get stronger are recommended, as are sports that help increase your aerobic ability. If you'd like to attend training at the academy, please apply.
Once you received your application form, they will reply to you within one business day. Submitting the application form one to six months prior to the target date is recommended however not required. This is to give you time to process all the needed travel requirements e.g. visa and plane tickets, once you get accepted to train at the Koom.
Born in Morocco and a 46th Generation Sufi, speaker of 5 languages, educated in the French system and holder of a bachelor's degree in finance, Sham lived for 20 years in California. After a successful career in real estate financing & restaurant operations, Sham has been called to live and learn from live masters from Hindu, Taoist, Sufi and Buddhist traditions in China and Morocco. In June 2017, he received authorization by his Taoist and Sufi masters to share and teach the techniques he learned.
Master Khalid was born in 1971 in Marrakech. He has taught Kototama, Qi Gong, Chakra yoga, Aikido, and Kyosho (art of self-defense). He was fortunate to have teachers who received their teaching directly from the source. He started Aikido at a very young age, 13 years old, and was able to draw all the secrets of this discipline to become today an Elkidoka with verified aptitudes. He is today a recognized aîkidoka with tested powers and skills. At the source of Aikido, there is Kototama, an art form which Master Khalid was able to discover inochi therapy and create his own art Aikishendo.
This training will take place at Koom Retreat Center. Koom is located in the beautiful climate of Sidi Abdallah Ghiat (20 kilometers from Marrakech), Morocco. The village hosts every Sunday the best-served farmers' market of the entire region.
The farm is surrounded by luxurious properties with restaurants, cafes, and hammams (Moroccan sauna), mini golf, and more. The village has extremely affordable grill houses. Sidi Abdallah Ghiat is renowned for its blend of old rural Morocco and outstanding natural beauty.
Koom Retreat and Training Center dietary team can accommodate all dietary restrictions and will work with the training team to achieve your goals.
Massages are available upon request.
Marrakesh Menara Airport
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