1 Month Chinese Culture and Kung Fu Retreat in China

  • Xiangtang Village, 2nd District No. 3 - 6, Changping, Beijing, 102200, China

1 Month Chinese Culture and Kung Fu Retreat in China

  • Xiangtang Village, 2nd District No. 3 - 6, Changping, Beijing, 102200, China

Learn Kung Fu in China

Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat will be conducting A Special 3 Months Program on traditional Kung Fu, Chinese classical philosophy and spiritual culture. Kung Fu is not only about combat, but its essence is in mental purification, physical revitalization and knowledge of self. Therefore, program will comprise of holistic martial arts sessions led by Shaolin and Wudang Masters excelling in self-defense training, qi gong and tai chi, as well as San Huang Pao Chui styles which was developed and used by royal security agents of ancient China.

Master-teachers in classical philosophy, calligraphy, meditation and tea ceremonies will take participants through China’s spiritual sciences and arts. These include the teachings of the Great Learning, the Doctrine of the Mean, Treasures of a Wholesome Way of Life and Preservation of the Life Force. These high philosophies will be experienced through various Zen-based meditation techniques including Vipassana, Koan Zen. This ageless wisdom will be shared from the Taoist, Buddhist and Confucian perspectives.

Highlights

  • Guided internal exercise in the morning
  • Daily evening self-training/meditation session
  • Daily morning and afternoon training sessions
  • Weekly seminars on ancient philosophy (Classics of Confucius / Taoism / Buddhism), Insight calligraphy, Meditation, Chinese tea ceromony
  • Free use of training and meditation equipment
  • Daily vegetarian breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • 29 nights accommodation
  • Airport transfers
  • 22 days with instruction
  • Chinese (mandarin), English
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Accommodation will be in a shared room with two to four persons with a shared toilet and shower in a beautiful traditional courtyard (Siheyuan).

Amenities

  • Use of the laundry room
  • Use of recreation areas (including satellite TV)
  • Western-style showers and toilets

Wugulun's teaching

Wugulun's teaching is very ancient, placing less emphasis on pure physical development and sports, while emphasizing more spiritual development by incorporating breathing and developing internal energy resources. Rather than forcing the students into a certain mold or paradigm, Wugulun works with the unique characteristics of each individual, and thereby allows students to experience a deep personal cultivation.

In addition to the learning of the essence of traditional Shaolin Kung Fu - Chan Wu (Zen martial arts), they have designed several retreat programs consisting of experts to give talks on Chinese culture.

These talks will cover Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism in order to provide students with a deeper understanding of the philosophical foundations of their practices and of Chinese culture. To complete this holistic approach to self-development, they have included insight calligraphy and meditation courses in the retreat program.

Daily schedule

  • 06:30 Wake up for morning exercises
  • 07:30 Breakfast and break
  • 09:00 Morning training
  • 12:00 Lunch and break
  • 15:00 Afternoon training
  • 18:00 Dinner and break
  • 20:00 Self-practice and meditation

Training catalogue

Foundation level

  • Bo da
  • Bow and arrow stance
  • Cat stance
  • Forward and backward steps (Jin tui bu)
  • Gong bu chong quan
  • Han ji bu
  • Horse stance
  • Lian huan zhang
  • Pubu stance
  • Pubu jia da
  • Rat step (Dian bu)
  • Shaolin basics (Ji ben gong)
  • Single attacking movements (Gongfa)
  • Stance training (Zhuang gong)
  • Stepping methods (Bu fa)
  • Tao lu (traditional forms)
  • Triangle steps (San jiao bu)
  • Tiao da
  • Unicom stance

Intermediate level

  • Bai hu xi lian
  • Bai shi Bu fa (stepping skills)
  • Che bu
  • Da hong quan
  • Ding zhou
  • Guo bu
  • Jian bu
  • La gong shi
  • Lian huan dao
  • Liao shou
  • Qi mei gun
  • Que bu
  • San bu hua yi
  • Shaolin mei hua zhuang
  • Shuang tui shan
  • Shuang za quan
  • Single attacking movements (Gong fa)
  • Stance training (Zhuang gong)
  • Tao lu (traditional forms)
  • Tong chun quan
  • Weapon forms
  • Wu bu gui yi
  • Wu xin ba fa
  • Xiao tong bi
  • Ya shou
  • You zhang
  • Zuo you yi zhong

Advanced level

  • Ba duan jing
  • Internal training
  • San xin tiao xi fa
  • Shaolin xinyi ba
  • Tu na dao yin
  • Xu zhuang Yi jin jing

Shaolin Kung Fu

Unrestricted by space, Shaolin Kung Fu footwork is not restricted by space. When the body, mind, and Qi are united, the whole body will become highly coordinated. Hence, punches will become natural and powerful.

The most important part of Kung Fu training is building a good foundation and this comes from the good flow of Qi. Therefore, the practice of Kung Fu is the cultivation of Qi, and this arises from the heart and mind, thus, the cultivation of Qi is also the cultivation of heart and mind.

Zen martial arts

Zen martial arts practice accentuates the absence of desire, ultimate stillness which gives rise to motion, and through motion one reflects upon oneself (body, mind, and Qi), so as to keep body, mind, and Qi integrated. Thus, it is necessary to achieve a pure heart and a clear conscience.

A serious Kung Fu practitioner must be vegetarian. Understanding the importance of adhering to a healthy diet, together with exercises, will help open up all apertures, encourage good metabolism. The body becomes relaxed and natural.

Shaolin Kung Fu principles

According to traditional Shaolin Kung Fu principles, Kung Fu training is also the training of the mind. If the mind is not focused, it will adversely affect quality of ones training. When the mind is at peace and the heart concentrates, the body will be relaxed, and your breathing will be smooth, training will achieve better results. Training is about perseverance, dedication, and diligence. Behold the spirit of constant effort brings success. Haste makes waste and dedication brings success.

Overview of Shaolin Kung Fu

Shaolin Wugulun style Kung Fu is the orthodox Shaolin martial arts. It consists of practical fighting techniques created in the last thousand years by warrior monks of Shaolin Temple through actual combat. Through generations of refinement and extraction, Shaolin martial arts grew into a system of martial arts, which integrates Zen practice and practical combat.

The unique training method has also turned this system into a brilliant health maintenance, and convalescence tool. Kung Fu emphasizes on power, forges the coordination of the whole body through the integration of heart, mind, and Qi, the synchronization of hands and feet, as well as swiftness and the agility of the body without brute force.

One must seek lightness, agility, adhesion, and rotation in practice; start from elementary to complex, from complex to simple, and ultimately return to the core values and true principles.

Xin Yi Ba

Xin Yi Ba is the highest level of the secret skills of traditional Shaolin Kung Fu and is of considerable interest to many people. Xin Yi Ba is also known as Chu Jue Tou. It was developed by Shaolin monks using Kung Fu movements while farming. The exact date of the founding of Xin Yi Ba cannot be traced because of the number of disasters which befell the Shaolin Temple, resulting in the loss and destruction of many valuable historical manuscripts.

The study of Xin Yi Ba is to practice, fortify one's Qi and one's outer strength with the purpose of manipulating that Qi to nourish one's internal organs and to enrich the muscles of the body. Then, one can move the Qi out of the body as well - and, in some situations, protect the body from being injured. Learning to control one's Qi also helps to create a calm mind, prevent illness, and strengthen one's body.

Xin Yi Ba theories and practical training

The three sections (Ming San Jie)

The body has three main sections, namely hands to shoulders (upper section), chest to waist (middle section), and hips to feet (root section). The relationship between the three sections has its own unique function.

For example, when a movement is performed from one of the three sections, the other two sections must be in harmony in order to generate the power from the movement performed. This means, any movements must be supported by the power generated from the whole body. This explains how important it is for practitioners to understand the three sections.

The four extremity sensations (Qi Si Shao)

According to the original Kung Fu theory, all parts of the body are connected to the central nervous system. For example, the hair is assumed to be the ending of the blood, the nails are the ending of the ligaments, the teeth are the ending of the bones, and the tongue is the ending of the muscles.

While practicing, it is possible to experience sensations such as the hair lifting the scalp, the nails trying to penetrate the bones, the teeth biting through steel, and the tongue trying to push the teeth out of place. These sensations are symptoms of the internal power that is being generated.

As the Qi rises from the Dantian (lower abdomen), an involuntary sound is produced with each movement. All parts of the body are set into motion and the internal power can be expressed to maximum effectiveness.

Guarding the five elements (Bi Wu Xing)

The Chinese ancestors used the theory of the five elements to explain the relationship between the five major organs of the body. They believed that the world consists of five elements; metal, wood, water, fire, and earth, which should all exist in balance and harmony with each other. In later years, ancient Kung Fu practitioners used the theory of the five elements in Kung Fu training as well.

For example, the hand is linked to the heart, which represents the element of fire, and the nose is linked to the lung, which represents the element of metal. Fire is capable of melting metal, thus the nose can be damaged easily by the hand. The five major organs are like five entrances of the body, one has to guard one's own entrances and restrain one's opponent from attacking them.

The three voids (San Kong)

The emptiness of the heart (Xin Kong) enables one to purify the heart and calm the mind, which makes one thought-free and fearless. The emptiness of the body (Shen Kong) enables one to release any tightness in the body so that one can move fluently and smoothly. The emptiness of the eyes (Mu Kong) enables one to consider everybody and everything as hidden from view so that one can assume superiority and thus show no fear when facing an enemy.

Importance of theories

When practicing Kung Fu, it is very important to understand the theory behind each method. Only by understanding what every part of the body is used for in each movement will one's practice be effective and efficient. The theories explained above are only some of the requirements of the practice of Xin Yi Ba. There are many more which cannot be put into words but must be experienced personally through training.

Liu He

Liu He means the combination of six sections of the body, of which three are external and three internal. When these six sections are combined, one can develop limitless power within the body. Most people distinguish between external and internal martial arts and think that they are separate. However, they are not. Both the internal and the external elements have to be practiced together. The hardest combination is that of the heart (Xin) and what is known as intent or mind (Yi).

The combinations

Training feet and hands, knees and elbows, and waist and shoulders in traditional Shaolin movements, one learns how to incorporate the three sections of the body, and through constant practice, learns how to set them in motion as a seamless whole. The most important aspect of internal training is one's mind and intention. One's intention must be combined with the Qi and focused on each movement.

Qi Gong

Qi Gong is the art of breathing and although many theories relating to Qi Gong are similar, the methods of practice are different. The immune system is consequently made stronger and more resistant to viruses and illness, and the body can generate more internal energy. This is how some people who practice Qi Gong have been able to cure sickness on their own when conventional medicine has failed.

These forms enable one to manipulate the Qi and produce more physical power in fighting movements. Only when the mind is purified and combined with intent can one control their Qi to the fullest extent, allowing it to flow smoothly through all the nerves. To achieve this power, one's heart, intent, energy, and power must be well combined.

Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat

Founded in 2004, Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat is dedicated to teaching the ancient internal and external aspects of Shaolin culture, comprising three complimentary disciplines which are Chan (Zen) meditation, combat skills, and healthy diet. The academy was founded by an early disciple of Master Shi Dejian, and was originally located in a village at the foot of Songshan Mountain, right behind the world-famous Songyang Academy in Dengfeng, Henan Province.

The academy has now relocated to Xiangtang Village in the lush countryside surrounding Beijing, very close to the Great Wall and directly beside the ancient Shen En Chan Temple. They have brought a superbly talented team to the new academy, with all classes personally supervised by Shaolin Master Xingxi and professor Paul Wang.

Academy rules

  • Arrogance or a vain display of skill is against the rules and conduct of Shaolin Kung Fu. Don't be a show-off as there are many people more skilled than you are.
  • Discipline is one of the pillars of this traditional training.
  • Do not teach others until you know enough. Remember, Shaolin Kung Fu is a vast subject the study of which can take an entire lifetime.
  • No meat products are permitted in the school. Students must follow the Buddhist way and become vegetarians, eat no spicy food, drink no alcohol, and not smoke.
  • Regardless of how much money or power someone has, authentic Shaolin Kung Fu cannot be bought; it requires time and effort.
  • Self-motivation is important. Students should listen to the Shifu and follow his advice. Students must learn how to practice on their own without the Shifu being present.
  • Students must respect and uphold the traditional Shaolin culture.
  • Students must respect and never harm their teacher and elders. They must also be kind and friendly to fellow students and treat them as brothers and sisters.
  • Students must not steal or commit any crimes.
  • Students must obey instructors and learn and practice what they are taught.
  • Students must train hard and with concentration. Traditional Shaolin Kung Fu is for health and self-defence. Only with hard and constant practice will you achieve success.
  • Students must never harm or use their skill against the innocent and helpless. Senior students cannot push around the beginners.

Language course and course preparation

Mandarin Chinese lessons

Private lessons with a qualified Chinese teacher can be arranged at 100 CNY per hour. After about 20 hours of private classes, you can then begin to study by yourself and practice with other Chinese students at the academy.

Training preparation

Physical preparation is not strictly required for this course. However, it will be helpful, as you will get used to the training schedule quicker. Generally speaking, the training is not as physically intense as the training in the wushu schools, but it is difficult at times as it requires a lot of concentration, the training is mentally challenging. The only advice would be to first "empty yourself".

  • Xingxi

    Master Xingxi was born in 1980 in Hubei Province. In 1998, he became a disciple to the great Master Shi Dejian. He quickly stood out because of his intelligence and diligent approach to training, becoming shifu's most trusted student. From 1998 to the end of 2007, Xingxi studied traditional Shaolin Kung Fu under his master at San Huang Zhai monastery, a branch school of the Shaolin Temple. In 2008, he left the monastery and came down from the mountains, where he became engaged in a wide range of work and activities, such as an overseer at a mine and as a bodyguard for VIPs.

  • Paul Wang

    Professor Paul Wang, as a chief master, is now teaching meditation, insight calligraphy, and mindfulness Tai Chi at the Live Zen Center of the China Culture Center. As an invited instructor, he also teaches traditional Chinese thought for international programs at Capital Normal University and the Institute of Education. He has taught international students for over 10 years. His study and practice includes the principal classics of Confucius and Laozi, and three types of Buddhism meditation systems - Southeast Asia Buddhism, Chinese Zen Buddhism, and Tibetan Buddhism.

  • Zhang Wei Feng

    Zhang Wei Feng was born into a Martial Arts family and has been training in Kung Fu since he was 10 years old. He learned and trained in the Wudang Temple and Mountains for more than 10 years. After learning the Taoist style Kung Fu, he turned to the Shaolin Temple to learn Kung Fu under the Shaolin Wugulun lineage. He received many Gold Medals and achieved champion status in various competitions. He is now the Kung Fu Master for Wu Dang Tai Chi, San Huang Pao Chui and Xin Yi at Kung Fu Zen

Shaolin Wugulun Kung Fu Academy is located within Changping district near Beijing in a prosperous rural village with all amenities. The Great Wall of China is visible on the jagged ridges of nearby mountain ranges, and ancient temples are within strolling distance. The school itself is housed within a traditional Beijing-style courtyard with red wooden pillars, sloping slate rooftops, and the murmurs of birdsong.

The setting is ideal for the study of martial arts. The school is just close enough to the modern and international world for convenience, but far enough away to act as an authentic, first-class retreat.

Nearby places

  • Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) - 1 hour
  • Changping - 25 minutes

Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat only provide vegetarian food at the academy and temple. In traditional Shaolin culture, the vegetarian diet that students eat at Wugulun Kung Fu Academy is believed to cleanse the body from impurities in the blood, while making the Qi tranquil and helping to create a peaceful state of mind.

Shaolin Temple vegetarian culture

Shaolin Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple. Shaolin Kung Fu and a vegetarian diet have always been part of its culture. Traditional Kung Fu training is about saving and storing energy for every organ. You eat in order to get energy. Energy in natural food comes from the sun, the air, the water, and the earth. By going directly to the earth for their food, vegetarians receive the purest, best-quality energy straight from its source, not already processed by another being, such as an animal.

Benefits of vegetarian to Kung Fu

It is believed that this energy of a finer quality can be used for a higher purpose like Kung Fu and meditation. During the Ming Dynasty, the Manchurians were trying to seize China by force while the imperial government of the Ming Dynasty was corrupt and incompetent. At that time, scholars who were trying to save the country wrote books expounding theories on how this could be done. They also advocated the practice of martial arts.

When the Manchu's finally invaded China, many people with high ideals and integrity did not want to be slaves under a new regime so they fled to the mountains and lived in seclusion. Some entered into a religious life. They focused on martial arts intensively in order to acquire the fighting skills to regain their country. Many of them already had good Kung Fu skills and brought together their collective knowledge of various local styles of Kung Fu to create a refined form.

Being vegetarian to improve Kung Fu skill

As time went on, Shaolin Wugulun Kung Fu constantly improved and developed. Another important factor in Shaolin Kung Fu reaching such a high level of skill and importance is the vegetarianism of the Shaolin monks who were all Buddhist and followed Buddhas teachings of eating no meat. The monks saw vegetarianism as a means of reaching a high level of training. In addition, being a vegetarian can aid the practitioner in achieving a higher level of endurance while training and fighting.

For example, animals like horses and buffaloes are vegetarian. Their main diet consists of grass and they have a tremendous amount of stamina while running, even when encumbered with heavy things. On the other hand, tigers and leopards, with their diet of meat only, they are only able to maintain short periods of power.

From a scientific point of view, when an animal is killed, it is known that in their state of shock, an animal undergoes a process by which its cells alter and create poisons in the flesh.

Why vegetarian?

Buddhists believe that these poisons represent anger and fear and remain trapped inside the animals flesh. When people eat this meat, the poisons and impurities enter their body and people can easily get sick, angry, and depressed. When the mind and the body are in this unbalanced state, people cannot continue training on a regular basis. For traditional Shaolin culture, therefore, vegetarianism is not only important for religious beliefs, it is important for maintaining a healthy body, as well.

Vegetarianism is a necessary foundation for attaining a high level of Kung Fu skills. Without a healthy body, Kung Fu cannot improve. In addition, vegetarianism helps to cleanse the body from impurities in the blood, while making the Qi tranquil and helping to create a peaceful state of mind.

Morality, ethics, and honor are other related issues. A Kung Fu practitioner spends his life studying something that in a split second, without a second thought, could be used to harm or kill someone. This ability has to be controlled.

Principle of vegetarianism

The answer is the cultivation of a caring heart for all living creatures. The first basic principle should be to refuse to kill and eat animals. The anger that is brought out by combat training must be balanced out with a conscious effort to treat all people with compassion, understanding, and tolerance. Such principles of caring help create a balanced and healthy mind in which there is no threat that a Kung Fu practitioner will consider criminal wrongdoing.

As this level of conscience develops and expands, it helps to diminish negative feelings and behaviors, such as greed, anger, violence, and criminal acts of all kinds. This in turn allows the conscience of the Kung Fu practitioners to rise higher and for them to eventually reach a state of enlightenment. An enlightened being has total awareness of his or her own self, body, and surrounding environment.

Vitalities of vegetarianism to Kung Fu

Enlightened Kung Fu practitioners are aware of fear and danger before ever seeing or knowing the source of those feelings and their reactions to danger, whether in training or in real combat, are much faster. This is essential for mastering high-level Kung Fu skills and vegetarianism is a vital element in reaching this state of total and complete awareness.

It is a concern for many people that vegetarian food does not supply enough nutrition to the body. This is, in fact, not the case. When eating a balanced vegetarian diet, the body will receive ample nutrition for vitality and health. Master Shi Dejian and his disciples are living proof of this. Vegetarianism is essential for those who are serious about mastering the highest levels of Kung Fu.

  • 29 nights accommodation
  • Daily evening meditation session
  • Daily vegetarian meals
  • Free use of internet (Wi-Fi)
  • Free picking up /return transfers from and to Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) or Nanshao train station
  • Master directed training
  • Use of training and meditation equipment Use of recreational areas
  • Weekly seminars on ancient philosophy (Classics of Confucius / Taoism / Buddhism), Insight calligraphy, Meditation, Chinese tea ceromony
  • Airfare
  • Application fee of 100 USD
  • Personal expenses

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK). Transfers from this airport are included in the booking fee. Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat will arrange to pick you up at the airport.

Arrival by train

When you arrive Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK), take the subway line of Changping to Nanshao station, exit B2, and Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat will be meeting you there to transfer you to Xiangtang cutural village either by car (10 minutes) or by bus (20 minutes). The pick up service is included in the booking fee.

  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.

Verified BookMartialArts.com reviews

  • Review by Robert L. from Southampton UK
    10 out of 10

    "I’ve been putting off writing a review as I’ve been busy and wanted to do it justice. Unfortunately I am still busy but didn’t want to put it off any longer, in short this is an amazing place where you will be welcomed like family. Don’t hesitate, go there. If you’re worried about being vegetarian for a week (like I was) then don’t as the food was amazing and I never felt like I was left unsatisfied."

    BookMartialArts.com website, edited

  • Review by Catalina Munozmejia from California
    10 out of 10

    "I leave China with a deeper understanding of its culture and people, thanks to the great teachings from Master XingXi, Master Paul Wang, Master Weifeng and Ms. Naomi Lee at Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat. I learned a ton during the three weeks that I spent there, not only about the beautiful martial art of Kung Fu but also about Health preservation, living a Zen life, Zen meditation, Chinese philosophy, and Calligraphy among other things. I can't thank them enough for all that they have done for me. It was a life changing experience that I will never forget. I highly recommend this place if you want to learn Kung Fu and practice the Zen way of living."

    BookMartialArts.com Website, edited

Testimonials

  • Review by Zeimes Paul from German
    10 out of 10

    "I am very thankful that I was a part of your retreat! It was really exactly that what I needed. I was not that interested in real fighting skills, but I was open to also learn a bit about kicks and self defense. And yes! I enjoyed even this part! I never thought I would be able to kick as high as my head or even further, so thank you! This was a big improvement in that short period of time. "

    Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat website, edited

  • Review by Laurent Paiser from French
    10 out of 10

    "About a month ago I decided to leave France to come to China to study kung fu for 3 months. Those past weeks and since I arrived at the school were truly a deep and beautiful experience. I was greeted well and felt like I was part of the family since day 1."

    "I always felt very at ease and my mind became gradually even more peaceful and calm while my body improved. I got more flexibility, more explosive power and a way better coordination even tough I practiced kung fu for about 4 years already."

    "All of the other students were very friendly, interesting and open minded people, the only recommendation I could give is to bring a good book or something to share about your culture, it will make the experience even more interesting!"

    "And if you’re serious about learning kung fu to reach a high level, then plan to study there many years."

    ""

    "Definitely one of the best life experience I ever had. Thanks a lot!"

    Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat website, edited

  • Review by Robert Lendon from United Kingdom
    10 out of 10

    "I can’t think of any constructive criticism really, it has been a wonderful experience. I found the meditation and philosophy incredibly challenging at first which required a lot of efforts but inevitable in gaining understanding in these areas."

    "As I explained earlier I thought the relationship between all the areas of study and Kung Fu was very good and formed a valuable insight into internal focus. It was very special to feel like part of the family.Thank you for everything I learned and for the experience"

    Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat website, edited

  • Review by Manuel Olivera from Mexico
    10 out of 10

    "It was a great experience, the content was carefully planned and delivered in a good way. The balance between rest and activities is the optimum. food is amazing as well as the location and its surroundings. Although the time on this retreat is short to teach too much Kung Fu, as a Kung Fu practitioner I wished the Kung Fu practice was a little more about sparring and other group or couple exercise."

    "I really think this is a worth living experience and I am grateful to all masters and people at Kung Fu zen.Thank you."

    Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat website, edited

  • Review by Sebastian Prischmann from German
    10 out of 10

    " I joined the Kung Fu Garden Retreat for one weekend and felt warmly taken care from the first to the last minute. I was not sure what to expect but was very positively surprised. I was picked up at Nanshao subway station that worked very well. The Kung Fu Garden Retreat is located in a village on the outskirts of Beijing. The premises are lovely decorated in traditional Chinese style. Though it is not a temple, the whole place calms one down and gives you a relaxing and peaceful feeling. I was welcomed by Naomi and given a comprehensive introduction into the daily schedule and how everything is going on. Naomi is kind of the manager, speaking pretty good English, and translating most of the time. "

    "We were three people in total joining the retreat for this weekend hence I had one room for my own.The daily schedule is fully packed but don't be concerned! There is enough time for relaxing and reflecting. The Kung Fu exercises are very well prepared and the level is slightly increasing during the stay. Watching the masters showing the exercise itself was like a feast for the eyes. The Qi Gong oriented exercises in the morning and evening are relaxing and good to improve concentration. Also, the meditation exercises were a great experience."

    "The food is vegetarian, what I appreciated very much, though incredibly delicious and variedly. Overall, I enjoyed the three days very much and will definitely come back again for a longer retreat. I strongly recommend this retreat."

    Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat website, edited

  • Review by Leonard Stahl from Switzerland
    10 out of 10

    "I had a wonderful time at Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat.The place is probably the most peaceful place on earth. I have been staying there for two months to train my Kung Fu skills. It was a hard but pleasant training with master Xingxi and my Kung Fu brother Weifeng. When you are looking for a Kung Fu School that is not like a military training camp, this is the perfect place for you. "

    "The atmosphere is familiar and uncomplicated. If you decide to take a day off, when you’re exhausted or just up for a weekend trip to Beijing, it’s completely alright with them. But this easy-going attitude does not mean that the training is less strenuous or challenging. Your muscles will definitely enjoy the weekend breaks ;) Not only did I improve my Kung Fu skills, I also learned a lot about meditation, Buddhism, and my own body awareness. The training usually begins at 6:00 a.m. with Qi Gong breathing exercises. After a few weeks with early-morning- Qi Gong, I was able to feel how my Qi was getting stronger and stronger. "

    "The Chinese breakfast is served after the breathing exercise. It's very different to the western breakfast I'm used to. We usually had steamed bread, scrambled eggs, and a lot of different tasty vegetables. The food was mostly bought at the local market and was convert into delicious traditional Chinese meals. Between the training lessons, you have enough time to learn Chinese, meditate, listen to some music, read, or whatever you’d like to do. If you have any questions, don't be shy and ask the school manager Naomi! She definitely has her heart in the right place and will try to help you whenever you’re in trouble. In case you’d like to have some further information, don’t hesitate"

    "to ask Naomi for my email address."

    Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat website, edited

  • Review by Caroline from France
    10 out of 10

    "I have trained two times at the Shaolin Wugulun Kung Fu Academy, once was in August 2013, the recent time is in August 2014. Each time, I really loved my stay, firstly because the academy it is not a big touristy venue, and I realized that is a real chance to get to authentic Shaolin Kung Fu, an incredible opportunity to train with Shifu Xingxi, the disciple of Master Shi Dejian."

    "Master adapts the training on your skills, and you will progress. The training is different from what you may expect, no cardio training, no sit-up, and no push-up. But still, I was sweating like mad! And at the end, I felt like my whole body had work a lot better without suffering so much like before. All the staff is super friendly, make me feel like at home, behaving with me like an old friend. For all that reasons, I believe, I will go back to train at the Wugulun Academy, for the third time."

    Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat website, edited

  • Review by Raju Miah from England
    10 out of 10

    " Kung Fu is my passion. I have not spared time and effort trying to find real Kung Fu. I have trained in many modern martial schools but, time and time again, I was disappointed. I came to discover that most martial arts training were little different to ordinary sports. They were missing something - the essence of Kung Fu!"

    "What is the essence of Kung Fu? It is the awareness of the way the body and its internal organs work together. It is knowing how to build, develop, and understand one's internal energy, Qi. All these steps are essential for one to attain real skill and power in Kung Fu movements and, no less important, to achieve physical and spiritual well-being."

    "Many people think that the real Shaolin Kung Fu is what they see in the performances. I, too, thought so before! However, many monks living at Shaolin Temple today just have partial knowledge of traditional Shaolin Kung Fu. We mostly see modern wushu with most of the Kung Fu forms altered to look nice, fast, and spectacular. Wushu is not about fighting, it is all about showing."

    "Fortunately, through persistent efforts for many years and personal research carried out at Shaolin Temple, I have found a real master who teaches the true meaning of Kung Fu. It is a real honor and formidable experience to learn from the great Master Dejian and his disciples. They teach their unique brand of authentic Shaolin Kung Fu, Cha'n Buddhism, and Chinese traditional medicine. I now want to help those fellow martial art enthusiasts looking for the all too rare real Shaolin Kung Fu. "

    Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat website, edited

  • Review by Remco Falkenburg from Netherlands
    10 out of 10

    "I first got involved with Shaolin Wugulun Kung Fu a few years ago when Naomi Lee, the school's coordinator and also my good friend, introduced me to this style of Kung Fu. I had met her in 2002 in the Shaolin village in Dengfeng, Henan Province, where I had gone to study. A few years later, she showed me some video clips on YouTube and also the website of the Kung Fu school, the Shaolin Wugulun Kung Fu Academy, where she worked."

    "Looking at the clips and the website, the first thing I noticed was the different stances and way of defending. I have been practicing Shaolin Kung Fu for about 12 years but this was really different from what I knew. I told Naomi that if I went to China, I would go to this school because of the traditional style taught there. I prefer the traditional style to the wushu look-a-like Shaolin Kung Fu that you see in most Kung Fu schools in and around Dengfeng. I wanted to learn the true essence of Shaolin Kung Fu in its more original state."

    "It was very odd to start all over again after twelve years of experience doing another form. During my stay in Dengfeng in 2002, we used to wake up early in the morning and go running up the mountain for half an hour and then start stretching and doing basics movements for about two hours. At the Wugulun Academy, they start with standing in different stances and breathing exercises for at least one hour. I have been told that the reason for this is that, according to the Wugulun teaching, the morning is the best time to receive and store Qi energy. Heavy running in the morning is a waste of the energy we have got from the whole night’s sleep and people can feel exhausted for this reason. Some light jogging is, however, acceptable."

    "It was pretty strange for us to train like this because usually, we run around a lot, do a lot of stretching, push-ups, fast movements - hard training that makes you tired. This was completely different! There were more slow movements, no focus on stretching or muscle training and no endurance training. The way they moved was hard to follow - it took almost a week for us to get the same feeling. Also, they walked very lightly but firmly on their feet and were able to move around very quickly. Some forms (taolu) are not fast but very powerful. You can notice it by the way they breathe while doing a form."

    "Although I knew all the stances, I had to learn them in this style. It is possible that some people, if they have been training for a long time in the more usual Kung Fu forms, will find this form strange and maybe uncomfortable. I didn’t mind because I didn’t have any expectation of what would happen so I emptied my mind and let it all come to me."

    "To be honest, in the beginning, it did take a few days for me to feel comfortable with the Wugulun Kung Fu movements. Now it feels almost second nature. For the short period that I stayed, I learned a lot - but that doesn’t mean I know a lot! I had a great time while I was there. The lessons were great and the people were all very kind and fun to hang out with even after the training."

    Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat website, edited

  • Review by Cleo Eleftheriades from France
    10 out of 10

    "My stay at the temple was a true life changing experience! It was not only about the Kung Fu, neither the beauty of the environment and the temple. I got to explore my physical borders and stretch my mental and sentimental borders. This has made me feel extremely revitalized after a very challenging phase in my life. Now I have discovered new ways of thinking, feeling, and exercising. It is a complete re-boot for the mind, the body, and the soul. I thank the temple and Naomi for making this happen."

    Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat website, edited

Beijing, China

Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat is an internationally renowned organization for traditional Chinese Kung Fu and Zen practice dedicated to the promotion of Chinese culture through Kung Fu and Zen.

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29 days / 28 nights

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