The Life Changing Effects of Kung Fu Training [Interview]
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In the spirit of the New Year, the BookMartialArts.com team recently chatted with David Zhou from Tianmeng Kung Fu Academy about their popular yearlong Kung Fu training program located at the footstep of Tianmeng mountain, China. David is the manager of Tianmeng Academy and is someone who has benefited a whole lot from Kung Fu training. He shared with us that Kung Fu has helped him recover from Neurasthenia, a physical and mental exhaustion condition that caused him to be plagued by severe headaches, insomnia, and irritability.
David began his practice of “Meihua Chuan” – a traditional Kung Fu style at the Shandong University, China under the guidance of his brilliant master, Professor Yan. Within just a year of part-time training, David not only found himself cured of Neurasthenia, he had also become physically & mentally stronger, improved his flexibility, and gained an arsenal of self-defense moves to boot! Through our conversation, he would like to invite all of us to take a peek inside Tianmeng Academy’s world of Kung Fu and experience the life-changing benefits it has to offer. Read on!
What inspired you to create this specific Kung Fu training camp?
The fundamental of our year-long training camp is based on the teaching of traditional Chinese Kung Fu which is rooted in the laws of nature. The Chinese experiences four seasons in a year: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter – and the teaching of Kung Fu follows the natural cycle of sprouting, growing, harvesting, and preserving. Traditional Chinese Kung Fu develops both external and internal power at the same time; External training includes progression of physical power and strengthening the muscles, bones, and skin whilst Internal training cultivates the essence of “Chi” and spiritual journey. The obtainment of the balance for both training is only possible through the cycle.
For those who are more experienced in the theory of martial arts would be familiar with the wisdom of “Yin” and “Yang”, - another term to describe the “external” and “internal”. Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends us to always keep “Yin” and “Yang” in balance to get a strong and healthy physique and it serves as a foundation for spiritual development and mental focus. This is why we created this specific 1 year Kung Fu training camp, - to allow you to experience training during the coldest days of winter and hottest days of summer which are the best times of the year for a serious Kung Fu practice.
Our 1-year program is suitable for students for all levels. It is possibly the best way to get started if you have no experience with martial arts and a great way to enhance your skills if you happened to be an experienced practitioner.
Can you share with us an overview of what the participants can expect at the training camp?
We aim to make our students feel like they’re home. Our cooks prepare three healthy daily meals that usually include a variety of rice, steamed bun, bread, Chinese porridge, vegetables, tofu, meat, noodles, etc. Participants are also able to enjoy delicious traditional Chinese dumplings twice a week! We also cater to individual dietary requirements such as vegetarian meals and Halal food. In terms of accommodation, we provide a convenient, clean, and comfortable facility inside the Academy. Throughout the training, each student resides in a nice single room with a window.
One of Tianmeng Kung Fu Academy’s students practicing outdoor.
Training sessions are usually conducted outdoors but when it’s raining, we are equipped with two massive indoor training rooms and we are currently adding on a new training hall. What truly makes us unique however is that each of our students receives an individual training plan based on their previous experiences, physical condition, and personal requests. Here, there’s a wide selection of Kung Fu styles for them to choose from Shaolin, Sanda (Chinese Kickboxing), Wing Chun, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Meihua Quan, Bagua zhang, Xingyi Quan, Ba Ji, Mantis, Meditation, etc. Each style is taught by our best Kung Fu Masters and accompanied by (English-speaking) translators. On a daily basis, students can expect a 7 hours practice which consists of martial arts basic skills, body conditioning, traditional forms, and exercises to enhance health & well-being.
How can the participants best prepare, both mentally and physically prior to the training?
Well, we have individual training options for participants of every level, age, and state of health. So there’s no need for anyone to be concerned about being too old, too young, or feeling physically unfit. Nothing will hold you back because we will guide you to find the practice that would best resonate your needs and preferences.
Group Tai Chi session to kickstart the day.
That said, for older and/or inexperienced disciples, we’d recommend starting with meditation sessions, Qi Gong, or Tai Chi to engage in the practice, step by step. For those who are young, healthy, and willing to train hard, we recommend some basic physical exercises like running, stretching, and power training. You can do all these if you’ve got enough time, but don’t worry if you don’t, as it all will be included in the daily practice at the camp.
Seeing that it’s a year-long program, what are the usual reasons that make it difficult for people to sign up and commit to the full length of training?
We have had students from different countries, religions, cultural backgrounds, ages, professions, and genders. Every life situation is different, so the reasons why some of the students decided to stay the whole year or leave the Academy earlier are also varied. Our job is to provide students with the best experience, - with training and accommodation. If disciples decided to return home earlier, they normally have their own personal reasons. Some students must leave to visit their families or proceed with their education or jobs, whilst some of the students needed to stay motivated by taking a little break to relax and travel around China to return after a few weeks. We do our best to support and accommodate our students in their practice regardless of their situations.
What are some of the biggest gains and/or lessons one may experience from the time spent at the camp?
Participants taking part in daily strength and conditioning training.
There are so many reasons to practice martial arts and to keep practicing for the rest of one’s life. Some of them being: self-defense, disease/ ailment prevention, improving concentration, relaxation, stress management, or simply to obtain inspirations and to reach longevity. Normally, young people would strive to become stronger, to become more physically fit or having a more flexible body to allow them to move elegantly. Women typically enjoy the sense of security that Kung Fu provides - one girl even testified that she practices Kung Fu to be the best in the world, on the worst day of her life!
These reasons are actually only a small part of the positive life-changing effects Kung Fu training inevitably brings. Through daily practice of Kung Fu, students will also enrich themselves with the experience of traditional Chinese culture, peaceful social interactions, gain conflict management skills, self-motivation, and discipline, - some of the important qualities most people seek to acquire in their lifetime. Last but not least, the essence of martial arts practice is to achieve happiness. As they say, “The way is the goal”.
Thanks for taking the time to check out this post! If you’re looking to experience Kung Fu training but don’t have a full year to do so, why not go for Tianmeng Kung Fu Academy’s shorter programs? To check out all the Kung Fu training camps we have on offer!