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3 Days Zen Meditation and Kung Fu Training in China

  • Xiangtang cultural village, Changping, Beijing, China

Weekend Zen and Kung Fu Retreat China

As you all know, taking care of your bodies is essential and caring for your mental well-being is even more important in a modern world with its trials, temptations, and stress. However, many of you ignore looking after your hearts and minds. As a matter of fact, the long lineage of Shaolin masters was aware of the importance of body and mind. That is why they brought up the philosophy of Chan Wu, which means Kung Fu and Zen.

Highlights

  • Daily Kung Fu training
  • Training by Kung Fu masters
  • Zen seminars and meditation sessions
  • Basic step work and body movements practices
  • Complimentary subway transfers
  • 2 nights accommodation
  • Daily vegetarian meals
  • 3 days with instruction
  • English
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For this retreat, the accommodation will be in a shared double room. The room includes a toilet and a shower.

Amenities

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

In this Kung Fu and Zen retreat program, Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat places great emphasis on balance in life, health, and mental strength. Health revitalization is so important in the day-to-day battle to counter the harmful effects of modern day stress. Their past retreats have shown that the exercises in their program are very helpful for those suffering from problems with their back, neck, and shoulders that resulted from long hours in the office.

The academy has designed a series of exercises for health preservation and seminars to illuminate the ancient Chinese philosophy. Master Paul Wang and Master Xingxi’s program uniquely expresses the essence of Chan Wu with a focus on healing, based on their deep understanding of Zen Buddhism and the many years of meditation practice and dedicated study of traditional Kung Fu.

Daily schedule

Day 1, Friday  

  • 17:00 Meeting at Nanshao subway station then transfer with group to Xiangtang village
  • 18:00 Meet and greet at a vegetarian banquet
  • 19:30 Orientation and meditation Zen seminar 1: The Vippassana meditation and four mindfulness

Day 2, Saturday

  • 07:15 Consciously guided breathing exercise and basic stance
  • 08:00 Breakfast (vegetarian)
  • 09:00 Basic step work and body movements              
  • 10:00 Break
  • 10:30 Shaolin traditional strength training
  • 12:00 Lunch (vegetarian)
  • 12:30 Nap and free time
  • 15:00 Stretching and warm up exercise
  • 16:00 Break
  • 16:30 Simple application of traditional Shaolin Kung Fu in actual combat
  • 18:00 Dinner (vegetarian)
  • 19:30 Zen seminar 2: Chinese Zen meditation and four immeasurable minds

Day 3, Sunday

  • 07:15 Stance training
  • 08:00 Breakfast(vegetarian)
  • 09:00 Step work and body movements
  • 10:00 Break
  • 10:30 Shaolin traditional strength training and traditional combat training
  • 12:00 Lunch (vegetarian)
  • 12:30 Nap and free time
  • 15:00 Summary of all learning
  • 16:30 Travel back to the city by taking subway at Nanshao station

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. In order to facilitate the practice and teaching, they gradually compiled such these techniques into Kung Fu forms.

As vegetarians and practitioners of meditation, Shaolin monks are able to defuse the hostility arises in martial arts training. 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.

The main character of Shaolin Kung Fu is simplicity. It focuses on practicality, internal and external cultivation, and equal attention to hardness and softness. Thus, it improves one’s physical fitness, enlightens one’s spiritual wisdom, and purifies one’s body and mind.

Shaolin Kung Fu emphasizes on power, forges the coordination of the whole body through the integration of heart, mind, and Qi, the synchronizing of hands and feet, as well as swiftness and 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.

History and origin of Shaolin Kung Fu

The history of Shaolin Kung Fu is deeply intertwined with the history of Buddhism in China and with the history of the Shaolin Temple itself. There is a Chinese saying that Kung Fu takes its name from the temple and the temple takes its eminence from Kung Fu.

The fortunes of the temple and of the Kung Fu that was practiced there, waxed and waned over the centuries depending on whether the emperor of the time was either supportive or hostile to Shaolin. This historically pattern of rise and demise would be repeated throughout the whole history of the Shaolin Temple.

The Shaolin Temple was initially founded by an Indian monk who came to China to spread the word of Buddha 1,500 years ago. The temple was built under the patronage of Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei Dynasty around 495 AD. Thirty years later another Indian monk, Bodhidharma, settled in Shaolin in Henan Province after coming to China to preach Buddhism in about 527 AD.

He developed a series of exercises designed to promote health and fitness and to improve the practice of meditation. He then developed a set of exercises that later became the foundation of the unique style of martial arts at Shaolin. It is thought that some of these forms were the foundation of Yijingjing and Xisuijing, both highly advanced internal forms of Shaolin Kung Fu.

Because of constant attacks waged on Shaolin Temple by robbers and thieives, the monks evolved these exercises into a method of self-defence. At the same time, other martial art practitioners came to Shaolin and became monks to avoid persecution. They brought with them advanced fighting skills that were incorporated into the Shaolin form of Kung Fu, furthering its development.

Shaolin Kung Fu styles

Footwork

The practice of traditional Shaolin Kung Fu is not restricted by space. One can advance or retreat at ease on a line, or flip, skip and rotate on a fixed spot.

Hand skills and body skills

When practicing, arms should not be too straight nor too bend, over straighten arms restrict rooms for manoeuvring. It is also vital that strength is exerted from the push of the heels, delivered by the body and express in the fists. Feet are the roots, the waist is the axis, hands synchronize with the feet, elbows with the knees, shoulders with the hip, heart with the mind, mind with the Qi, and Qi with strength.

When the body, the mind, and Qi are united, the whole body will become highly coordinated. Hence, punches will become natural and powerful. The most important of Kung Fu training is foundation building and good foundation comes from good flow of Qi. Therefore, the practice of Kung Fu is the cultivation of Qi and Qi arises from the heart and mind, so the cultivation of Qi is also the cultivation of heart and mind.

Master Miaoxing of Shaolin Temple once explained that the head shakes like waves, the hands move like meteor, the body shifts like willows, and the feet step like a drunken man. All moves arise from the heart and executed instinctively. It looks hard, but not, it looks solid, but empty. Exercising in such manners, through time, one will gain deep insights and attain self-enlightenment.

Heart skills

Zen martial arts practice accentuate the absence of desire, ultimate stillness gives rise to motion, and through motion one reflect upon himself (body, mind, and Qi), so as to keep body, mind, and Qi integrated.

Moral virtue is the source and Zen is the root of Zen martial arts. So, it is necessary to achieve pure heart and clear conscience. A person without martial virtues is an adversity to himself and others. People with good martial virtues are contented and calm at heart. Calm at heart brings about harmonious Qi and cultivating this Qi well enables one to attain supreme martial skill.

One should not train when he is emotionally down for it will affect his training adversely, and brings tightness to the chest and shortness of breath. This will cause hazard to his health. When one’s mind is at ease, Qi will flow smoothly and abundantly. The body will become better coordinated, eyes and ears become sharp and sensitive, and movement become swift and responsive.

Diet

It is important for practitioners to pay attention to their diet. Some people think that eating meats can provide substantial nutrition and without it will significantly reduce the vital nutrition the body needs. In fact, these animal comestibles are difficult to digest and generate toxic acid substances, which will slow down the flow of Qi. It is no good for martial arts training. So, a serious Kung Fu practitioner must be vegetarians.

Eating too much meat or spicy food can impair digestive function and hinder the ability to direct Qi in the exercise. Failure to direct Qi causes heat-toxicity, blocking of stomach, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, and potential nose inflammation.

The nose is the pivot among the seven apertures in the human head. When nose is clear and fine hair is slack, the whole body is relaxed. In case of snuffy nose, the whole body will feel uncomfortable feeling, inconsistent limbs, stiffness, stagnancy, and lack of flexibility. Progress will be difficult and slow. Understanding the importance of adhering to a healthy diet together with exercises will help open up all apertures, encourage good metabolism. The body becomes relax and natural.

Summary

There is saying in China that all martial arts in China are originated from Shaolin. According to archives of Tripitaka Sutra Pavilion in the Northern Song Dynasty, Zhou Tong learned general gesture of Shunba, who later taught a good number of outstanding disciples, such as Lu Junyi, Wu Song, and Yue Fei. Xingyi hand posture is owed to Zhou Tong’s origination.

In the Yuan Dynasty, Zhang Sanfeng learned major style of Xieba, adapted it, and founded Wudang internal Kung Fu. In the late Ming Dynasty, Chen Wangting learned the skill of Xuzhuang and created Tai Chi. As the saying goes, waist of Tai Chi, leg of Bagua walking, and hand of Xingyi hand posture. Lots of famous styles of Kung Fu schools benefited from the teaching of fore-masters of Shaolin Kung Fu.

According to traditional Shaolin Kung Fu principles, Kung Fu training is also the training of the mind. If the mind does not focus, it will adversely affect quality of one’s training. When the mind is at peace and the heart concentrates, the body will be relaxed and 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.

The future of Shaolin Kung Fu

Today, Kung Fu has become most well known as a form of cultural exhibition. The sport of combat fighting, Wushu and Sanda, is something that people watch, not something which people think about participating in. Increasingly lost behind this flashy artistic show is the Kung Fu lifestyle, which is a way of being in which combat fighting comprises just one of many components.

The long history and development of Chinese martial arts has reached a point where it is imperative to distinguish between the traditional practices, like the Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Xing Yi, and Bagua, and the modern evolution of that art (present-day Wushu sport), and to acknowledge their differences.

Traditional Shaolin Kung Fu, otherwise known as Wugulun Kung Fu, is a practice focused on promoting health and fitness and creating an internal state of meditation, in addition to being an effective combat art. This form is currently practiced by a small group of people from the Shaolin Wugulun lineage, popularized by leading Chan Wu Yi figures, such as Master Shi Dejian. The now-popular Wushu is a regulated sport that might one day be accepted as an Olympic sport.

The global popularity of different practices all casually uttered in the same breath as Shaolin has made it more difficult to determine what authentic martial arts truly are in their purest form.

In the words of Mr. Weijizhong, Kung Fu movies, television shows, performances, and opera are very popular in China and overseas. Especially overseas, Kung Fu, Shaolin monk skills, and similar names have gradually taken the place of (Chinese) martial arts. This phenomenon has caused you to take (modern) Wushu as a national tradition and promote it as such to the world. Should this make you happy or worried? They are afraid that the (Chinese) martial arts community hasn’t taken time to ponder this situation.

Shaolin Wugulun Kung Fu Academy has taken the time to ponder these important questions and cares about promoting and spreading authentic teachings. The academy believes that the world today is a place where sharing these skills and imparting this sacred knowledge on an interested global community should be welcomed.

The Shaolin Kung Fu lifestyle does not just belong to the Chinese, but it belongs to the world. The more people who study traditional martial arts, the better these treasures of human development and ability will be preserved.

About Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat

Founded in 2004, it was called Shaolin Wugulun Kung Fu Academy before they relocated to Beijing in 2014, "Kung Fu Zen" was dedicated to teach the ancient internal and external aspects of Shaolin culture, comprising three complimentary disciplines, which are Chan (Zen) meditation, combat skills, and healthy diet. In addition to learning the essence of traditional Shaolin Kung Fu and the Chan Wu (Zen martial arts), they have designed several retreat programs with experts giving talks on the building blocks of Chinese culture. Talks will cover Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism in order to provide students with a deeper understanding of the philosophical foundations of Shaolin practices. To complete this holistic approach to self development, they have included internal calligraphy and meditation courses within the retreat curriculum. 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. They have 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 academy, with all classes personally supervised by Shaolin Master Xingxi Wu Dang Master Zhang Weifeng and professor Paul Wang.

  • 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.

The Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat 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.

There are regular buses to Changping town and only 25 minutes from the school to the Beijing subway network where you can freely explore the capital of China and all it has to offer. Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) is about one hour drive away. They are 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
  • Beijing subway network - 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.

  • 1 training t-shirt
  • 2 nights accommodation
  • 3 vegetarian meals daily
  • All seminars and meditation sessions
  • All training by Kung Fu masters
  • Free pick up and drop off at Nanshao subway station
  • Use of training and meditation equipment
  • Additional meals
  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses
  • Personal toiletries
  • Transportation to Nanshao subway station
  • Travel insurance

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK).

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 deposit is fully refundable if the booking is cancelled up to 1 days before the arrival date.
  • 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 Great Britain
    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