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If you are determined to learn Kung Fu in China, traditional Chinese Martial Arts from Tai Chi to Shaolin Quan, then you have found it with Rising Dragon Martial Arts School, the number one martial arts school in China for your practice! Without a doubt, your fitness will improve by coming here, but if you already have a good level of fitness before you arrive then you can expect to improve massively and learn a lot quicker than if you start your training in a less fit state.
The luxury accommodation is limited to 2 per room, has an en-suite bathroom, and is located in it's main Buddhist Monastery which is beautifully landscaped.
At RDS you will train roughly 6 hours per day with rest / free time during weekends. The training starts every morning at 05:30, so most students will wake up at 05:00 to prepare for morning exercise. Regardless of which style you are practicing the 05:30 circuit training is compulsory unless you are 40 years or older then it is optional.
The circuit training is different every morning but consists of some of the following exercises: jogging, sprinting, bear crawls, push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, squats, hand-stands, bur-pees, planks, jumping, gymnastic rings, etc. After circuit training you will go to your chosen style / group and train from 06:00 to 07:20.
Breakfast is at 07:30. By 09:00 the second morning session starts, and before this lesson starts all students will go for a run from 1 km up 20 km depending on which group you are in and depending on your teachers plan for the days training. This lesson has a 20-minute break included and finishes at 11:30 Lunch is at 12:00.
Afternoon training starts at 02:30 and finishes at 05:00. The afternoon training also requires students to go for a run and also has a 20-minute break inside. The evening meal is served at 06:00. Of an evening at 07:00 offer the following optional classes free of charge: Mandarin, calligraphy, and Buddhism classes.
Although you can learn a lot in 1 or 2 months, you are barely touching the surface of the basics in whichever style you choose to learn. Sometimes it can take weeks just to learn the stances and be able to do them correctly.
You may be able to pick the movements up, but your real aim should be to perform the movements correctly especially in styles like XingYi and Taiji Quan, where it is vital to have the correct body alignment in order to benefit from it.
If you would like to perform hard Qi Gong in 1 - 3 months, it is possible to do some of the basic ones in that time, but you will still have to train very hard to get your body ready. After a few months training, you will know if Kung Fu is for you or not and decide whether you would like to continue your training or come back in the future to improve yourself.
At least 2 fist forms
Basic calligraphy (optional)
Basics in which ever style you choose
Basic hard Qi Gong (optional)
Basic Mandarin (optional)
Increased health and fitness
Without a doubt your fitness will increase after training for 4 - 8 months, but if you already have a good level of fitness before you arrive then you can expect to improve and learn a lot quicker than if you were unfit starting your training. By now your basics should be pretty sharp and a good example to others and new students arriving. The forms you are now learning will get more difficult and your master will expect more from you.
4 - 9 forms (some of them being weapons)
Decent knowledge of the style you have studied
Good level of basics
Good level of fitness
Increased power and speed
Medium hard Qi Gong (optional)
Chinese martial arts more commonly known in the west as Kung Fu has hundreds of styles originating from main land China, which is commonly related to in China as 'Zhongguo Wushu' or 'Gong Fu'. Zhongguo Wushu literally translates to Chinese martial arts and Gongfu means hard work. Wushu is a more precise term for general martial activities.
The term Wushu is also the name for the modern sport Wushu also known as contemporary Wushu or Modern Wushu, an exhibition and full-contact sport of bare handed and weapons forms. China probably has the longest history of martial arts with many distinctive styles with their own sets of techniques and ideas.
Some focus on mimicking animal movements, some focus on harnessing Qi (energy), while others just concentrate on performance for competitions and exhibitions but no matter which style you choose to learn they all have their own approach to solving common problems such as self-defense, health, and self-cultivation.
Chinese martial arts can be split into different categories such as external, internal, Northern and Southern. Northern styles are fast with powerful kicks, high jumps, acrobatics and generally more fluid and rapid movements. While Southern styles focus more on strong arm and hand techniques, stable immovable stances/footwork and generally no kicks above the waste.
External styles are characterized by fast and explosive movements and a focus on physical strength and agility, most Chinese martial art styles are classified as external styles with the most famous being Shaolin.
Internal styles focus on awareness of the spirit, mind, Qi (Energy) and the use of relaxed leverage rather than muscular tension. The 3 main internal styles are Xingyi quan, Bagua zhang and Taiji quan, Tai Chi being the most famous in the west.
Chinese martial arts training consist of basics, forms, applications, body conditioning and weapons. Each style has its own unique training system with a varying emphasis on each of those components.
Bagua is a major internal Chinese martial art. Along with Tai chi and Xingyi Quan, Bagua Zhang is one of the three major internal Chinese martial arts and literally means eight trigram palm, referring to the trigrams of Yijing, one of the canons in Taoism. The practice of circle walking is Bagua's characteristic method of stance and movement training. Practitioners walk around the edge of a circle in a low stance, facing the centre and periodically changing direction as they execute forms.
Students first learn flexibility through such exercises, and then move onto more complex forms and internal power mechanics. The internal aspects of Bagua are very similar to those of Xingyi and Tai chi, eventually many distinctive styles of weapons training are practiced, sometimes including the uniquely crescent shaped deer horn knives, and the easily concealed scholar's pen.
Bagua zhang is also known for sometimes practicing with extremely large weapons such as Bagua Dao or Bagua Broadsword. In many schools students study both Xingyi and Bagua. These may be used together in fighting, as they are often complementary. Bagua contains an extremely wide variety of techniques, including various strikes, low kicks, joint locks, throws and distinctively evasive circular footwork.
Bagua zhang practitioners are known for their ability to "flow" in and out of the way of objects. This is the source of the theory of being able to fight multiple attackers. Bagua zhang's evasive nature is also shown by the practice of moving behind an attacker, so that the opponent cannot harm the practitioner. At Rising Dragon School you will be taught Sun Style Bagua.
Wushu is an exhibition and full-contact sport derived from traditional Chinese martial art. Created in the Peoples Republic of China after 1949, Wushu has spread globally through the International Wushu Federation (IWUF), which holds the World Wushu Championships every 2 years. Wushu is composed of two disciplines: Taolu (forms) and Sanda (Chinese kickboxing). The forms are similar to gymnastics and involve martial arts maneuvers and patterns which competitors are judged and given points according to specific rules.
The forms comprise basic movements, stances, kicks, punches, balances, jumps, sweeps, and throws based on aggregate categories traditional Chinese martial art style and can be changed for competitions to highlight one's strengths. Competitive forms have time limits that can range from 1 minute, 20 seconds for external styles to over 5 minutes for internal styles.
Wushu events and categories
Bare handed: Changquan (Long Fist), Nanquan (Southern Fist) and Taijiquan (TaiChi Fist); Short Weapons: Dao (Single edged sword), Jian (Double edged sword), Taiji jian (TaiChi double edged sword) and Nandao (Southern single edged sword); Long Weapons: Gun (Staff), Qiang (Spear) and Nangun (Southern Staff); Sanda: Chinese kickboxing/Free Fighting.
Most of the events were set up in 1958. These events are performed using compulsory or individual routines in competition. Compulsory routines are those routines that have been already created for the athlete, resulting in each athlete performing basically the same set. Individual routines are routines that an athlete creates with the aid of his / her coach, while following certain rules for difficulty, number of acrobatics, etc.
Shaolin Kung Fu as self-defense
The Shaolin Si (Shaolin Temple) is a Buddhist temple located in Henan Province founded by Indian Buddhist Priest 'Bodhi dharma' or 'Demo' over 4000 years ago. In the early years immediately following the founding of the Shaolin Temple in 495AD, the first soldier monks created a set of eighteen different actions (the original Kung Fu), which utilized all parts of their bodies. These were combined with the use of various weapons made from simple farming tools and were initially a means of providing daily exercise and as a form of meditation, later they were used as a means of self-defense.
The Northern and Southern Shaolin Kung Fu
Northern Shaolin Kung Fu is known as an external martial art and emphasizes long range techniques, quick advances/retreats, wide deep stances, high kicks, leaping / jumping, whirling circular blocks, quickness, agility and aggressive attacks, it is considered to be the oldest martial art in the world therefore the root of all martial arts.
Shaolin is also famous for its amazing hard Qigong performances such as bending a spear on the throat, breaking wooden poles over the body, smashing stones and bricks to pieces with the bare hands and standing on 1 finger. There is also a Southern Shaolin temple (Nan Shaolin Si) located in Fujian Province, which is approximately 5 hours drive from Rising Dragon School.
Modern day Shaolin training is mainly geared towards performance/competition form training with little to no application or conditioning but at Rising Dragon, all Shaolin masters try to keep the training as traditional as possible with iron palm/body training, applications to the forms/basics you learn and hard/soft Qigong.
The Shaolin training at Rising Dragon is physically demanding and very tiring with many students opting to join another style but if you can stick with the training you will be rewarded at the end of your time here with a very fit, healthy and strong body. Rising Dragon School is now officially connected to The Shaolin Temple and the Song Shan Shaolin Warrior Monk training base.
During 2010 Scott Bird had several meetings with Shaolin warrior monk general 'Shi Yan Lu' and it was down to Yan Lu's support that Scott and the Rising Dragon students got to meet and perform with Jackie Chan. Due to the constant promotion of Chinese martial arts including Shaolin Quan at Rising Dragon School, on behalf of the Shaolin Temple and Warrior Monk training base Shi Yan Lu supports and offers their best Warrior Monks to teach at Rising Dragon School.
Sun Style Quan
Sun Style consists of the 3 major internal martial arts, TaiJi, XingYi and Bagua and was created by Sun Lu Tang (1861-1933). Sun Lu Tang first mastered the arts of XingYi Quan and Bagua Zhang and a long with his study of Wu Yu Xiang TaiJi under Hao Wei Zhen, master Sun Lu Tang developed an extremely sophisticated yet practical synthesis: Sun Style TaiJi Quan.
Recognizing the principles of XingYi, Bagua and Tai Chi as fundamentally the same, Sun Lu Tang was one of the first masters to begin referring to these arts as being "one family" and it is due to him that the 3 styles are customarily referred to as "internal" styles to this day. Sun Style Taiji is unique in many ways with its inclusion of Bagua footwork, XingYi's hand and waist movements, and most famously the stance 'San Ti Shi'.
Sun TaiJi is well known for its smooth and flowing movements, which omit the more physically vigorous crouching, leaping, and deep stances of other styles of Tai Chi. The footwork of Sun style is deceptively simple looking but very practical for when one foot advances or retreats the other follows.
It also uses an open palm throughout the entirety of its main form, and exhibits small circular movements with the hand. Its gentle postures and high stances make it very suitable for geriatric exercise and martial arts therapy. Last but most importantly Sun TaiJi is practiced exactly how it is to be applied in a fight.
Sun style training
As the Vice President of the International Sun Lu Tang Martial Arts Association, Scott Bird is now offering students who study for 1 year or longer the chance to become certified Sun Style teachers recognized by the Chinese Martial Arts Association and the Int. Sun Lu Tang Martial Arts Association.
At the end of your stay you will go to one of many Sun Style training bases around China and take part in a one-week special training course and finally be tested at the end of the week by Sun Style Masters. After passing the course you will be awarded an officially stamped certificate from the association proving your status. Certification can be done in all 3 internal styles of Sun Style Quan.
Taiji Quan is one of the most popular martial arts style. More commonly known in the west as Tai chi and famous for its Yin/Yang symbol, Taiji Quan literally means "Supreme Ultimate Fist" and is a Taoist Internal Martial Art. There are different styles of Tai chi such as, Wu Dang San Feng Taiji, Chen style, Yang style, Wu style, Wu Yuxiang style and Sun style Tai chi. Taiji is practiced today by millions of people worldwide and is very good for both health and combat. There have been different stories on the origin of Taiji quan.
The traditional legend goes that the wise man Zhang San Feng created Taiji quan after he had witnessed a fight between a sparrow and a snake. While modern Taiji originated from the Chen family Style during the 19th century and Yang, Wu, Wu Yuxiang, and Sun style Taiji can all be traced back to Chen Style Taiji. Tai chi martial art is a very powerful art, for both internal power and longevity. Taiji Quan is a Martial Art, which embodies Taoist Philosophy and when Tai chi was developed, Martial Arts were very aggressive.
Ones proficiency was measured by the strength and aggression of attack, In terms of Taoist principles of Yin and Yang this was a purely Yang conception of Martial Arts. What was revolutionary was the incorporation of the Yin element to fighting. In Tai chi one uses a balance between yielding and attacking. It is for this reason Tai chi is described as a needle in cotton or hardness concealed in softness. Taiji follows the simple principle of "subduing the vigorous by the soft."
Clinical studies have shown that Tai chi can lower blood pressure, reduce nervous tension and benefit the immune, digestive, cardiovascular and respiratory systems and is all round good for keeping your body young and healthy. Tai chi can be practiced for health benefits and to circulate Qi around the body and it is said that if you practice Tai chi as a Martial Art for ten years you would be an amazing fighter.
Taiji Quan training
The training involves two primary features: the first being the solo form Quan (fist), a slow sequence of movements, which emphasize a straight spine, relaxed breathing, and a natural range of movement. The second being pushing hands for training stickiness and sensitivity in the reflexes. Through various motions from the forms used in concert with a training partner you learn leverage, timing, coordination and positioning. Rising Dragon mainly teaches Sun Style Taiji.
Xinyi is one of the 3 major internal Chinese martial arts. Xingyi means form / mind, the Form of thousands of things that show outwardly and the heart and the thought of the Mind inwardly and is another of the 3 major internal Chinese Martial Arts, Xingyi's attack goes straight through the centre, Bagua goes around the centre and Tai chi gives up the centre.
Xingyi is based on the Taoist concept that natural forces are composed of 5 elements. This view of nature is related to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). In relationship to the Martial Art principles, each of the 5 elements applies to a specific organ as well as to different energies expressed by the forms of balance, and by the cycles of creating and destroying.
Xingyi is characterized by aggressive, seemingly linear movements and explosive power. Xingyi Quan features aggressive shocking attacks and direct footwork and the linear nature of Xingyi hints at both the military origins and the influence of spear technique alluded to in its mythology.
Despite its hard, angular appearance, cultivating soft internal strength or Qi is essential to achieving power in Xingyi Quan. The goal of the XingYi fighter is to reach the opponent quickly and drive powerfully through them in a single burst, this is achieved by coordinating ones body as a single unit and the intense focus of ones Qi.
Baji Quan means "Eight Extremes Fist". It features explosive, short-range power and is famous for its elbow strikes and shocking power it develops. The essence of Baji Quan lies in Jin (Power). Most of Baji Quan's moves utilize a one hit push strike from a very close distance. The bulk of the damage is dealt through the momentary acceleration that travels up from the waist to the limb and further magnified by the charging step.
Jin has many forms and is developed through many years of practice and horse stance. The major features of this powerful Art include elbow strikes, arm/fist strikes, hip checks and strikes with the shoulder. All techniques are executed with a very distinctive form of short power, developed through rigorous training. Baji focuses on in fighting, entering from a longer range with Baji's distinctive charging step and issuing power from up close.
Pigua Zhang or chop-hanging palm due to its emphasis on palm techniques is often practiced along with Baji quan and features explosive, long-range power. It originated in Hebei Province of North China, but today is also well known in other places. Pigua's power is from the acceleration force of the arms, which are often in rotation.
The hip movement in Pigua is more subtle and gentle compared to Baji quan because you only need enough to guide the big chops whereas in Baji quan, the hammer punches, elbows and swings rely completely on the quick and powerful rotation of the hips and sink to bring its power out.
It is often said that originally Baji quan and Pigua zhang were the same art but split hundreds of years ago. Li Shu Wen remarried the two systems in the late 19th to early 20th century and today these two styles are often taught as complementary arts. There is a Chinese martial arts proverb that goes: When Pigua is added to Baji, gods and demons will all be terrified. When Baji is added to Pigua, heroes will sigh knowing they are no match against it.
Sanshou or Sanda (free fighting) is a modern Chinese self-defense system and combat sport; it is considered China's answer to Western kickboxing or Thailand's Muay Thai boxing. Before Sanshou was made into a sport their used to be bare handed fights with no rules, this was common in the military between soldiers to test and practice martial skills, ability and techniques. In Contemporary Wushu tournaments you will have the main Taolu events (forms) and then the Sanshou event.
In these Amateur Tournaments contenders will wear protective martial arts gear, fight on a raised platform (Lei tai), and can use kicks, punches and throws. The professionals on the other hand always refer to the sport as Sanda; they wear only gloves and a mouth guard for protection and fight in a full size ring similar to a boxing ring and also can strike with the knees. Both Professional and amateur Sanda is a full contact sport. As a self-defense system you can use all of the above strikes as well as elbow strikes, chokes and joint locks.
Scott Bird, the president and founder of Riding Dragon Martial Arts School was born in 1982, Birmingham England. From a young age he became interested in Martial Arts and it wasn't long before Scott started his training in Shotokan Karate at the age of 11. After 6 years of training, he achieved the grade of 2nd Dan black belt and was successful in numerous Kumite and Kata tournaments including the nationals and international matches in Europe.
In 1999, Scott lived in Portugal and taught Karate privately. Then returned to England and had a short spell in the British army in 2001. By 2003, Scott found a Shaolin Academy on the Internet and within 1 month he was in North China learning Shaolin Kung fu. Although he stayed at the Siping Academy for just over 1 year, many westerners cut their time short because of the bad management and lack of communication.
After Scott's time was nearly up, he thought it would be nice to open his own Martial Arts School in China and put things right where many other Chinese owned schools go wrong. So Scott and one of the masters from Siping got together and decided to open their own Martial Arts Academy in a city called Yantai, Shandong Province.
After several months of working with Master Su, Scott soon realized their views were different on how to run a Martial Arts School for westerners. When Scott left the Kunyu Mountain Shaolin Martial Arts Academy, he carried on living in China trying different businesses and training by himself. During 2006, Scott went on holiday to a UNESCO Global Geo Park called Taining Town.
After staying in Taining for a few days, he knew that it was the perfect location for martial arts practice and so he started looking at possible locations to build a school. Scott's in laws used to be high up government in Taining so he was introduced to the Mayor and other top government who was all very supportive in his idea of opening a martial arts school.
He then went on to spend over one year building and renovating Riding Dragon School and have 3 months travelling around China, interviewing and searching for good masters. Now, Scott currently owns the only western owned Martial Arts school in China, which can accommodate nearly 100 students, and is always being improved. To own and run a Martial Arts School is a dream for Scott but another reason he wanted to open a school is for westerners to be able to come to China and get the training they want and not worry about being ripped off.
Miao Wen Cai
Master Miao, 6th Duan, is a master in Baji Quan and Pigua Zhang but also proficient in Tongbi Quan, Yi Quan, Northern Praying Mantis and Yanqing Quan. He has over 50 years of martial arts experience, had numerous articles written about him, trained under some of the best masters in Asia and has lightning speed and tremendous power even though he is in his 60s.
Deng Fu Ming
Master Deng Fu Ming born 1955 in Tang Shan City, Hebei Province was interested in martial arts from a very young age. When he was 16 he met Internal Sun style Master Liu Guo Xin and for the next eight years Deng fu Ming studied Sun Style Xingyi Quan, Bagua and Taiji Quan. Deng Fu Ming trained extremely hard during these 8 years and dedicated all of his time to training.
The academys breathtaking location, Yong Ping, is a county belonging to Dali City, located in Southern Yunnan Province amongst the Himalayan foot hills. Yunnan or 'South of the Clouds' is a very mountainous province in Southwest China, which borders Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam with an average altitude of 1980 m. Yong Ping is a small, friendly, and quiet town with a population of around 170,000.
Located roughly in the middle between the two Cities Dali and Bao Shan, which are both no more than an hour's drive away and both conveniently have airports. The school is also in driving distance to Lijiang and the Burmese border both approximately 3-hour drive at a safe speed. Yong Ping and surrounding areas has heaps of famous temples, mountains, and lakes to visit, as well as natural relaxing hot springs, which have been known to heal certain illnesses.
Rising Dragon Martial Arts School itself is positioned just 15 minutes away from the town, inside a million square meter private park filled with beautiful multi colored plants, amazing wild-life, statues, forests, lakes, wild bamboo, and of course The Rising Dragon Martial Arts School Temple and accommodation.
Although the school is at an altitude of 1700 m, there are many neighboring mountains that tower the school with altitudes reaching 4000 m, which make for challenging hikes during your free time. Considering its remoteness this school is quite easy to get to with airports in BaoShan, Dali City, and Lijiang, which is an International airport.
The capital, Kunming City, only a 40-minute flight from Dali or Baoshan also has an International airport making travel very convenient. There are many Kung Fu schools in China, but very few can match the carefully selected peaceful grounds of Rising Dragon Martial Arts School. Unlike most parts of China for example Beijing, Hebei, Shandong, and Henan Provinces to name a few, here in Yong Ping the school has zero pollution with the most cleanest and freshest of air surrounding us.
During the program, you will be served the delicious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
First you will have to shop around for the cheapest International flight to either Beijing or Shanghai International airport and then you will need an internal flight to Nanjing Airport or catch a bus/ train direct into Zhenjiang city where the school can pick you up if requested.
It is recommended that you book your international flight to Shanghai as this is the closest International airport to the school but if you happen to already be in China dont worry as Zhenjiang () is an easy city to get to.
Although they can meet you and pick you up from either of the two Shanghai airports at a cost, the closest airport to Rising Dragon Martial Arts School is Nanjing airport which you can fly to from anywhere in China.
From Shanghai station and Shanghai Hongqiao station there are dozens of fast trains all day long starting at 6 am and the last one at 20:36 in the evening, the train takes anything from 1 to 2 hours depending on which train you catch.
If you would like the school representative to meet you at Hongqiao or Pudong Airport let Rising Dragon know at the time of your booking but if you arrive before 11:30am you may have to wait in the airport to be picked up, as it takes you a few hours to get there.
It is recommended that you make your own way to Zhenjiang as it is not difficult and will work out much cheaper.
The metro is by far the easiest and cheapest way to travel from Shanghai Pudong Airport to Hongqiao Airport or Railway station.
You need to get line 2 (green line) that will take you all the way to Hongqiao railway station.
Once you get to Hongqiao Railway station you will need to buy your ticket to Zhenjiang .
From Beijing South Train Station there are 5 fast trains per day, which take roughly 4.5 hours to get to Zhenjiang South Train Station.
The first is at 07:00 and the last at 17:32.
Once you arrive in the city, the school will pick you up free of charge and take you back to RDS, just make sure you have given Scott Bird your arrival details so they know when to expect you, and whether you will arrive in either Zhenjiang station or Zhenjiang south station. You can call the school anytime if you need assistance, if you havent already emailed them your ticket info then you should call or send the school a text message with your arrival time as soon as you have purchased your ticket.
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