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This training will enable you to do things which most people go through life never knowing to be possible. Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat will teach you to feel chi energy, to see it, and to project it out of yourself and into another person. As you would expect from a course involving meditation, you will be taught to focus your mind, develop your concentration, and become fully aware, fully present. Get in touch with your own chi and heal yourself from the inside out!
You will be staying at Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat. All of the rooms are designed with serious Kung Fu students in mind. Every room has an inspiring mountain view from the front door and a roofed front terrace to sit in the shade and get the benefit of the views and the fresh mountain air. They are within a very easy walking distance of the training facilities and the restaurant.
There are two types of room, shared and private rooms. Shared rooms can accommodate two people. They are spacious, have separate bathrooms and toilet or washrooms, and are equipped with fans. They are arranged in two buildings, each with six rooms. The front terrace is two meters deep and serves as a social area where students can relax and chat outside of training time.
The private rooms are designed for single occupancy. These rooms are finished to a high standard with tiled walls and thicker mattresses. Each "house" has two rooms which are completely separate. They are located slightly further away from the centre of the retreat, which gives a quieter feel. Nam Yang also supplies communal tea and coffee making facilities and fridges.
The rooms are very spacious and comfortable with fan and en-suite shower room and toilet or wash room. Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat have wireless internet which is free to all those staying.
Two large training areas. Both with breathtaking views. One is open air, perfect for early morning chi kung. The other is roofed and matted but unwalled to ensure a constant circulation of fresh air. Ideal when the sun is hot.
This is divided into a matted training area, a hard floor training area and an area with equipment such as the general's pole, punch bags, kicking dummies, weights, parallel bars, chin up bars, gymnastics rings, and much more. It is designed to provide serious kung fu students with all that they need. It is not at all a hotel gym.
Restaurant or kitchen serving healthy food cooked with medicinal herbs. Tea and coffee making facilities. Library, washing machines, and clotheslines. Wi-Fi good enough for video calls and to stream video. The retreat has a good stock of training equipment including weapons, focus mitts, kick shields, skipping ropes, and much more.
The kitchen, gardens, and orchards provide healthy, organic food which you collect and serve fresh. They specialize in growing herbs. Whilst they are not able to grow all of your own food - you support poor farmers in the hill tribe villages by buying food directly from them at market prices ensuring that they get a good income and you get the best quality food.
Additional facilities include a prayer house, which may be used for meditation or prayer, an office, and a huge statue of Tat Moh (Boddhidharma) the Shaolin founder.
The program covers five full days each week with Wednesdays and Saturdays reserved for rest, relaxation, and exploring the local area. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday run as follows:
Many are vaguely aware of the great benefits of Qigong and meditation to health and longevity but do not really understand how it works. Here is an overview. Chi (or Qi) circulates around the body in a daily cycle, mainly but not entirely through pathways called meridians and vessels. Chi is stored in energy centers or reservoirs called tan tiens. The two main sources of chi are the earth (yin chi) and the sky (yang chi). When the chi in the body is circulating freely, and is balanced between yin and yang, you will enjoy good health.
Opening the meridians through stretching exercises and guiding chi through them facilitates strong, smooth circulation of the chi. Drawing in fresh chi from the earth and sky keeps our chi plentiful and allows us to balance yin and yang. Expelling stale or excess chi keeps your chi fresh and prevents it becoming excessively strong. By its nature, Qigong is simple and easy yet amazingly effective. Anyone can practice it successfully, regardless of age or fitness. The essential requirements are a properly trained instructor and good, fresh air.
Usually referred to as "Shuang Yang" (sun frost) for short, this is the internal form of the white crane art. It is performed in a very soft, relaxed way, gently opening the chi flow in the meridians, training elasticity into all of the tendons, and massaging the internal organs. Whilst superficially very similar to normal Tai Chi, it is part of the Buddhist Shaolin tradition, rather than the Taoist Wutan tradition. Many people practice the Shuang Yang primarily to benefit their health, vitality, and longevity. Whilst the slow, gentle nature of the training make it ideal for older or less fit people, make no mistake, this is a genuine martial art.
Weight is sunk down and movement is generated from the core of the body, moving out to the limbs like a wave through water. Training connects all of the tendons in the body into one resilient, elastic network with incredible strength. All movements are performed with the whole body. Benefits of the Shuang Yang art: Shuang Yang training gently stretches and releases the body’s tendons in a slow rhythmic fashion, increasing its strength, and stimulating chi to flow. Shuang Yang practice involves a great deal of flexing and twisting in the torso, as well as opening the meridians and energizing the tendons, which strengthens muscles which we do not usually use.
It also wrings out and cleans the internal organs, pushes fluids along their course and manipulates the joints of the spine, keeping them moving freely to promote a healthy spine and body. Shuang Yang training is performed in a meditative state and is a genuine "meditation in motion". It requires sinking of the chi, calming of the mind, and breathing from the core of the body. Regular practice greatly improves health, vitality, and combats ageing.
In line with a long tradition, Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat takes great care in making their tea!
The meditation program includes mainstream Buddhist meditation for mindfulness and awareness, meditation on the Chi energy - circulating, guiding and strengthening, self-healing meditation, visualization, and manifestation. It shuts down the chatter of the mind and focuses you. Students aim to become concentrated, effective individuals able to work as a force for good.
Vein Tendon Qigong is a simple but effective system which tones all of the fascia in the body and increases its elasticity so that it can store energy. It is a straightforward system which emphasizes reverse abdominal breathing and therefore trains elasticity into the internal organs, energizing them and making them resilient to injury.
Further practice of Sun Frost White Crane Tai Chi. Pushing hands: touch sensitivity exercise with a partner which develops connectedness, stability, grounding, and awareness. Further meditation. On Tuesdays a trip to Mae Kong Temple for a special meditation in a very unique environment.
Beginning with a short physical warm up, this is a very intense stretching session with particular emphasis on hips and spine. It opens the meridians and releases bad energy, bad experiences, and bad emotions trapped in the fascia, especially around the hips. It is also great for improving posture which in turn completely transforms our dominant emotions and moods.
Classes covering advanced breathing techniques, relaxation drills, and further meditation. Tuesday afternoon also includes chanting. Thursday afternoon includes detailed small group tuition on the Sun Frost White Crane Tai Chi.
Early nights are recommended.
Friday is a special day. As usual the training will begin at 6:00 a.m., but you will head out of the retreat to a local beauty spot (different one each week) where you will practice Qigong, sun frost white crane tai chi, and perhaps meditation and appreciate the different energy. Mountain tops, giant Buddha statues, viewpoints, and waterfalls are amongst the venues Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat chooses. You will return to the Retreat at 9:15 a.m. for breakfast.
After breakfast, Friday is mindfulness day on which you will engage in a full day of quiet, deep meditation, and Qigong practice. Meditations include laying, sitting, standing, and walking with a variety of guided journeys delivered by a teacher. You will also engage in quiet, mindful practice of the sun frost white crane Tai Chi, gentle stretching, and active relaxation. Dinner is at 6:00 p.m. followed at 7:00 p.m. by evening Qigong practice.
Master Iain is a Kung Fu philosopher and author with 36 years of living in Kung Fu. Trained personally by Grand Master Tan Soh Tin in Singapore, he’s a two-time world champion and veteran of real street battles. Famous for his high-quality Kung Fu teaching, his instructional films and magazine articles, and for his demonstrations of Iron Shirt Qigong, Master Iain is a mine of information but retains a very practical, down-to-earth, and realistic approach. Most people who meet him are struck by his air of calm, patience, and wisdom.
Craig is a very easy-going, popular teacher who can make complex movements seem easy. He is naturally very athletic and keeps up a high level of physical fitness. He has a flair for weapons training and teaches weapons classes twice a week. He is also interested in San Da (Chinese boxing). He has a deep wish to focus properly on learning and understanding the arts and likes living in the mountains and forests of Northern Thailand with its mix of cultures and ethnicities. Craig is usually present from September to April.
Kanika has a warm personality and is very approachable. She is deeply interested in kung fu in all its aspects including philosophy, culture, and wisdom. Kanika comes from a background in Tae Kwon Do and has great flexibility. She came to the Kung Fu Retreat in 2015 and discovered that Nam Yang’s Kung Fu was her true calling in Martial arts. Aside from English, Kanika speaks Hindi and Bengali.
A.j. first came to the looking for help dealing with combat stress due to multiple deployments in Iraq. After participating in the Shaolin Warrior program, he found it helped me so much that joined the Instructor team and created “Project Hammer” as a way to raise money for post-9/11 Combat Veterans suffering from PTSD, anxiety, and/or depression through the Shaolin Warrior Program. A.J. is usually present at Nam Yang for a few months each year.
Veronica was interested in the comprehensive approach to fitness and the philosophical way of life that Kung Fu represents. Once she came to Nam Yang, she instantly fell in love with the school as it exemplifies these concepts. She enjoyed Nam Yang's dedication to its members so much that she decided to join the instructor team. Veronica is usually present at Nam Yang for a few months at the beginning and end of the year.
Ophir found Nam Yang looking for personal recovery, injury management, and healing. He found our training and stretching routines aided him in this direction and found more than what he was looking for regarding personal development. Eager to make his life better and aid those around him, he joined our instructor team seeing that it would do just this! Ophir is usually present at Nam Yang 4-6 months a year. He also assists with the Children's Classes.
This training will take place in Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat, Pai, Thailand. When Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat set out to design the Kung Fu Retreat, they inspired to make all of their dreams about a perfect Kung Fu, Chi Kung, and meditation school come become reality. They spent many years choosing the ideal location then set about building a full time, a residential school with all of the elements needed by serious students and teachers alike.
The Pai Valley is an area of incredible natural beauty. High in the mountains, it epitomizes the Kung Fu dream of training in pure, fresh air with awesome views well away from the distractions of modern life and the pollution of modern cities. It is easy to grow and prepare healthy, natural food in the farmland around Pai and this allows you to eat the sort of diet which best supports your training.
This area is famous amongst the Chinese for having some of the best chi in the world. It flows down from the plateau of Tibet, high in the Himalayas towards the lower land to the south. This makes it perfect for the practice of Kung Fu And Chi Kung.
Pai is an incredible town with a unique culture. It is massively popular with travelers and has all of the facilities that you might want. Very easy to get by in English. A fun town where everyone wants to stay longer.
The retreat is set on two acres of land on the side of a mountain spur, bordering the jungle, and with awesome views across the Pai river valley to mountains which rise steadily to the mighty Himalayas.
In the early morning, when you begin training, the mountains are usually shrouded in mist which gradually clears as the sun rises. Indeed, the sun rises are a highlight of many people's stay. The school is built in the local Shan style architecture according to Chinese Feng Shui principles.
The views from the retreat are truly awesome and all of the rooms are built so that when you walk out of your front door you get the full impact. Most of their students say that although the pictures look amazing they do not do justice to the reality!
For most of Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat guests, the food is one of the highlights of their stay. Quality food is essential for martial artists in hard training. Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat has their own kitchen garden, herb garden, and fruit trees all of which are entirely organic. Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat is now partially self-sufficient for fruit and vegetables. What they don’t grow by themselves, they will choose carefully usually from the local farmers' market or from people they know well.
The rice is bought from a rather remote hill tribe village in the mountains. By buying rice directly from poor ethnic minorities, they support their families. Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat prepares local style food with an emphasis on the use of beneficial herbs to increase its value. Their diet is calculated to best support your training as they understand that you are what you eat.
Food prepared on site is as fresh, organic and healthy as possible and is usually delicious local Thai or Shan style, or occasionally Chinese or southern Thai style. Meals will start with one or two types of fruit and usually some salad. Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat then typically serves two main dishes with rice. Most dishes are vegetarian but Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat does serve meat. There will always be at least one vegan dish as part of each meal. Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat will also try their best to cater for specialist diets.
Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat supply breakfast daily and evening meals on training days. Drinking water is supplied free with meals and is available from the kitchen free of charge at any time for resident students. They also serve specialist teas two to four times a day. Either high-quality Chinese tea - something integrally connected with Kung Fu training - or herbal tea for health benefits.
The instructors eat in the dining area, together with the students, which is a testimony to the quality of the food and helps provide a good ethos for the school. Almost any style of food can be purchased in Pai, (Italian, western, Middle Eastern, Chinese, Indian, and much more).
The local diet is based mainly around rice, meat, fresh-water fish, vegetables, fruit, and spices. Kindly note that seafood is relatively expensive in the mountains. Local fruit and vegetables are great, fresh, and very cheap.
Pai is a hub for adventure tourism. Most of the students hire a moped so as to get around and appreciate what the area has to offer. Moped hire is very cheap. Safety first is recommended when dealing with mopeds. There is a huge range of activities available locally, including:
There is also a masseuse available on call who specializes in traditional Thai massage, herb massage, and oil massage. The cost of the massage is 200 TBH per hour. Compared to prices in the West, this is ridiculously cheap.
Chiang Mai International Airport
Transfer not provided
Head out of town towards the airport / Mae Hong Son.
On the far side of the airport turn right, parallel to the runway.
We are the first turn on the left, about 400m down the road, on a sharp right hand bend. We have a prominent sign. A little way before our sign is a flashing orange sign signalling sharp bend / left hand turn.
The best way to get to Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat is to fly to Bangkok or to Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is much nearer to the Kung Fu Retreat but Bangkok has more flights and is usually cheaper. There is an abundance of hotels, guest houses etc in Bangkok to suit all budgets, should you need to arrange an overnight stay.
If you are on a budget to get to Chiang Mai, we suggest flying to Bangkok and taking a train to Chiang Mai or a bus. Please be aware that trains in Thailand often run very late. The trains are very comfortable and afford great views of the Thai countryside. If you are on a very tight budget, you can go to Kao San Road in Bangkok and get an overnight coach for about 300 Baht or so. This is the least comfortable way to travel. We recommend the flight, especially if you have not spent much time in Thailand before.
You have a choice between taking a minibus, taxi or flight.
Minibus: The minibus trip from Chiang Mai is about 150 Baht and has awesome views. It takes about three and a half hours, most of which is spent on amazing winding roads through mountains the like of which you have probably never seen before. The views are breathtaking and the journey is an adventure in itself so we recommend that you travel during daylight. We suggest taking a minibus with the provider Prempracha Transport. To get there from the airport, simply take a taxi with a meter or a Tuk Tuk to Chiang Mai Arcade Bus Station. It should take 15 – 30 minutes depending on traffic and cost very little.
You can book your seat in advanced online and pick up your bus ticket once you arrive to the Bus Station. Once you arrive, if you didn’t book your seat in advanced, you will need to book on to the next available minibus.
Minibuses run between about 6.30 am and 5.30pm. If you arrive in Chiang Mai later than about 3.30pm you are likely to need to either stay overnight in Chiang Mai or get a taxi to the Kung Fu Retreat. If staying overnight, which is the cheapest option, we recommend that you still go to the Prempracha office when you arrive and book on to a minibus for the next day. Then look for a guesthouse. You should be able to get a nice room near the centre of Chiang Mai with fan for 400 – 500 Baht. If in doubt try looking on tripadvisor.
Taxi: We can arrange for a taxi from Pai to come to the airport to meet you. Alternatively you could speak with drivers in the taxi rank outside the airport. Recently taxis have been charging about 4,200 Baht for the trip. This does vary and will likely be higher if late at night or in December / January. If we arrange a taxi for you we will need to pay in advance so please do not pay the driver otherwise he will think that he has just got the best tip of his life and likely take a week off! If you do want to give a tip, 100 – 250 Baht would be about right.
Flight: Wisdom Airlines has recently started providing flights from Chiang Mai to Pai for 1790 Baht per flight for 1 person. Currently, you can book tickets in person, online, through a booking agency or by phone. We suggest doing this in person or through a booking agency though as sometimes the website does not always work. Wisdom Airlines is the only carrier that flies from Chiang Mai to Pai.
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