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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.
|Activities ||General |
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 Nanjing Airport the staff can pick you up or you can catch a 25 minute train to Zhenjiang.
Getting from Nanjing Airport to the train station takes approximately 45 minutes.
Direct from Nanjing Airport, there is a bus you can catch to Zhenjiang City for 60 CNY.
When you come out of arrivals turn right, walk approximately 200 meters and you will be at the bus ticket / waiting area. The bus takes 1.5 hours.
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.
"Before attending Rising Dragon School I had a few years of Wing Chun training, 6 months of Muay Thai and some Tai Chi and Qigong training. I was lucky enough to learn White Crane Gong Fu for 2 weeks at the Rising Dragon School taught by master Yan Da Shi. Amongst learning this very effective close combat Kung Fu, a specialty of the local area, I achieved fitness goals I never thought I could achieve, including scaling the fantastic local mountain 1700 meters high and preparing my fitness for learning Kung Fu. The school was everything I had imagined it to be and more but I was very lucky to learn White Crane Kung Fu whilst the school was new and remained unpopulated in wintertime. Although a Westerner owns the school it is a very authentic school for martial arts and for experiencing the wonderful Chinese culture. I will be back!"
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"Before attending Rising Dragon Martial Arts School, I had trained in Seiken-Ryu Karate to a 1st kyu level and to 5th kyu In Aiki-Jujitsu. Being very used to the rigid form of Japanese style martial arts, the switch to the more beautiful flowing Chinese style, for me, was not an easy one. Choosing to learn internal Sun Style Xingyi under Master Deng Fu Ming meant constant diligence, both physically and mentally, to perfect the fine level of detail required in each technique. Since leaving the academy, the patience and endurance that I learned there has rewarded me in my life every day. While I was at Rising Dragon Martial Arts School I studied extensively in the use of Chinese swords, and since returning I have continued to train in various different sword styles (nine in total). I took up fencing, and with my martial arts training I quickly became one of the best at my university. I still occasionally use borrowed moves from Chinese sword to confuse my opponent. The other students of my 'generation' are all still in touch, many of us try and see each other at least twice a year, we meet up, have a huge party and swap all of those great stories that begin "There was this one time out in China..." My advice to anyone looking for any kind of adventure out in the world is that this is it, the one, no experience in the world teaches you more about who you are. How far can you go? What can you do? How much can you take? And trust me, throw yourself fully into this, and you will have a lot of fun finding out."
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"When people ask me what my favourite part of my trip is so far I always cite my time at Rising Dragon School as one of my highlights. I'm still not sure what kind of parallel universe I decided to enter when signing up. The most exercise I'd done before that was more than a year ago and amounted to a weekly zumba class! But after getting over the sheer pain, horror, and abject dread about everything Shaolin Kung Fu and the 5:30 a.m. morning circuits could offer - I actually really enjoyed it. I was one of those kids at school who was absolutely terrible at aa sports - and always got picked last for every team (no surprise there.) Well I don't think any of my sporting skills improved that much and I'm pretty sure i was still the slowest, weakest and definitely the oldest at the school, but I was never made to feel like that by the other students. And for probably the first time I got to experience what doing sport in a non-judgmental and supportive environment felt like - where doing your own personal best was what was encouraged. I'd never done any running before so even for me just completing 13 kilometers without stopping was an amazing feeling and taught me such a valuable lesson - about what we and aren't capable of achieving if we put our minds to it. I thought the way that all of the students helped and coached each other made for a really great culture and they certainly kept me going for the short time that I was there. So thanks to you and also to them for a fantastic experience and wishing you the best of luck for the future with the school and any other projects you may have on the go."
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"Before I came to RDS I had no real martial arts experience and wasnt completely sure what I was getting myself into but I was ready. When I finally got there I knew it was the right choice, for the first few weeks it felt as if I was in a kung fu movie, very cool!I chose to learn the internal martial arts; Sun Style Taiji, Bagua and Xingyi Quan. It had always been a dream of mine to learn Taiji from a Chinese master, and here I was able to do that but it wasnt all I learned. I was at RDS for about 14 months and with all the other masters and students around me I never stopped learning. I am still amazed at what I saw; Its not the same as seeing it on TV!During my time there I got to meet and see some of the best martial artists Ive ever seen, Meeting the Sun Style Association at Sun Lu Tang's 150th anniversary and going to the Northern Shaolin Temple are just two of the trips I took with the school and they are certainly events I will never forget.One of the highlights of my time in China was performing with Jackie Chan on live TV and in front of an audience of 17000 people and it was all thanks to The Rising Dragon School! I spent about 14 months at the school; I trained hard and learnt a lot. The one thing I really understood is that the learning process will never stop. For me thats the challenge, I hope you find yours."
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"I started practicing Karate at the age of 14 and did some other styles on and off till my late twenties, after that I let myself go a bit like most people in their 30s. I always planned of doing something big for my 40th so with my love of Martial Arts it was an easy choice to make, head to Asia to study martial arts! I researched dozens of different martial arts schools in Asia but I found myself drawn to the Rising Dragon Martial School in Taining, China!From the start I found Scott the owner very helpful answering all my emails I sent asking different Question about the School and China itself, so I made my mind up and booked a place for three months. At the age of 40 my friends thought I was crazy going to china for Martial arts study, But to be totally honest it was the best decision in my life so far, from the moment I landed in China I have been made feel very welcome by everyone!I was met at the airport by one of the school drivers, which gave me peace of mind of a safe arrival. I got to the school late at night and was shown my room which was basic but comfortable, after a good night sleep I met Scott in person and he showed me and the other new students around the school.He told us about the different styles which the school had to offer and after that we was taken into Taining the nearest town and was showed around for the rest of the day, this helped a lot from where to eat, banks and getting the basic things you needed for your stay at the school.My first taste of training was the morning circuits at 5:30am, which was quite hard but was very good! I knew before I came it was going to be hard and I wasnt disappointed! After the 30 minute Circuit session I went to my first class of the day, as I could not make my mind up which style to choose, Scott suggested doing two days training in each style before making my mind up. After trying all styles offered at RDS I could honestly say that there is something on offer for everyone all under one roof.I enjoyed the very physically demanding Shaolin classes but I think at the age of 40 I am a little too late to be doing it day in day out! The White Crane was very enjoyable and Im pretty sure that if I had of stayed with it for the 3 months my physical strength and power would of increased ten fold due to the type of training and conditioning they do. Finally the internal group (Xingyi, Bagua & Tai Chi) is the style that I decided to stick with..Out of the 3 internal styles on offer I trained in Xingyi Quan and Tai Chi, I feel that these are styles that I can do well into my later years and they will keep improving my health the more I practice them! My 3 months is nearly up and I feel great in both body and mind!During my stay here I have learnt the 5 fists of Xingyi Quan and the full Sun Style Taiji formI have enjoyed every moment of my stay from organized trips of a weekend to my training, the staff and fellow students have made me feel more than welcome! If you ask me would I do it all again the answer would be yes, as I am planning to come back again next year. I would just like to say thanks to Scott and the masters for showing me so much in such a short amount of time!"
Rising Dragon School website, edited
"Before I came to the Rising Dragon School, I thought, What have I let myself in for? I knew that I would be sharing a room and living with people Ive never met, in a remote part of the world, for two months! And the trainingwhat would it be like? I was so scared. Little did I know, however, that I was in for the best time of my life!Ive been lucky enough to have been travelling to various continents, for various reasons (i.e. placements, backpacking, trekking and holidays, skiing, etc.), but my trip to China has never been far from my mind. During the stay, we all had to get up early to go for morning runs, followed by some Tai Chi before breakfast. You had the option of choosing to study an internal style or an external one. I chose the external style, and it wasnt easy!I was a black belt in TaeKwonDo when I went out there, with experience in Judo and a couple of other styles. But after this adventure I really wanted to learn more! I now study kickboxing and a little Shaolin in my hometown in England. Its up to you how serious or intense you want your training to be, but everyone benefits, in terms of fitness, inner wellbeing, and just having a good time!The training involved sparring, gymnastics and learning forms. Wed do this all day, with a little break for lunch. The weekends were always cool! Wed all take the bus through the beautiful hillside to the nearest town, Taining. Wed stay there over the weekend in a hotel, and the rooms were pretty cheap! Once we took part in a local dragon boat race against the locals; we lost, of course, but it was an amazing experience!We also took some trips to The Golden Lake and that was absolutely beautiful. We trekked the second highest mountain in the Fujian Province, which is an all day affair. And not only that, but the friendships I made were phenomenal. I really grew close to some people and my time in China was my first step towards developing inner confidence and self-belief."
Rising Dragon School website, edited
"I was on my first year of break from studying (starting again summer '11), and had decided to do some traveling during this time. I found the Rising Dragon School by searching on the Internet, and after reading through the site I thought it would be a great idea to spend some time there. Prior to my arrival I wasn't completely sure what to expect, I thought I was quite fit to begin with, but once I started on Shaolin I quickly discovered there was lots of room for improvement.I stayed with Shaolin for the two months, and saw my fitness improve greatly. When I returned at home I was even more astonished at how much my level of fitness had improved, suddenly I felt able to run forever and never get exhausted! The Shaolin classes were good, I felt a lot of respect for our admirable master Jin, who, although he rarely showed off never ceased to amaze when he did.I imagined the training would be hard, and it lived up to my expectations. The level of difficulty and the methods were all part of the experience, and I thought it was great. I was taught one fist form, and one staff form during my 7 weeks, and of course a lot of different kicks, combinations, Sanda techniques etc. When you first get there, I think its important to not let any discouragement get you the first few days.There is a lot to get used to in the beginning, your schedule, the food, new people and lots of other things that you aren't really accustomed to. Lots of things are different in China, and life there is obviously not as luxurious as I've been used to back in Denmark. Despite that I still think the school had a great standard! In no time you'll be used to it, and appreciate it all. You'll meet lots of great people and Scott and the staff are all wonderful people.I really felt that it mattered to Scott that his students got something out of their stay, and he is always there to help. The masters were also very talented, and great teachers. A few months later after coming home, I had to join the military for a while. During this time I could really feel the benefits of having been to the school.Of course my stay at the school didn't just benefit me physically, I also met lots of great people, experienced a completely different culture and way of living, and I will certainly miss the great people who I met during my stay. Some general advice from me would be to do a good amount of cardio, and also stretching before your stay here. Its much easier to do lots of the stuff if you already have a good range of movement.Also don't forget to see some of the attractions there. Just walking up the big mountain next to the school with some people was a really great experience that i wouldnt want to have been without. Good luck to all the future students, I hope you'll have a great experience as I did. If I have the time again I will definitely consider coming back. "
Rising Dragon School website, edited