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China Kung Fu Training

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.

Meet the instructors

Scott & Deng Fu
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Highlights

  • Daily practice from Monday to Friday
  • Real Kung Fu training from the best Kung Fu masters
  • Train at the only western owned martial arts school in China
  • Martial arts training sessions over 6 hours per day
  • Daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided
  • 167 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Beginner

Styles


120 days with instruction in English
The organizer also speaks: Chinese (mandarin)
Airport transfer available:
Dali Airport (US$114 per person)
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Accommodation

The luxury accommodation is limited to two per room, has an en-suite bathroom, a TV, and is located in its main Buddhist Monastery which is beautifully landscaped.

Program

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, handstands, burpees, 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 teacher plan for the day's 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.

Expectation

Medium-term stay (4 - 8 months)

  • Good level of fitness
  • Good level of basics
  • 4 - 9 forms (some of them being weapons)
  • Medium hard qigong (optional)
  • Basic Mandarin
  • Decent knowledge of the style you have studied
  • Increased power and speed

Without a doubt, your fitness will increase by coming here 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 un-fit 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.

Chinese Martial Arts Introduction

Chinese Martial Arts, more commonly known in the west as Kung Fu, has hundreds of styles originating from mainland 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 routines.

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 martial arts combat 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.
  • Southern styles focus more on strong arm and hand techniques, stable immovable stances/footwork, and generally no kicks above the waist.
  • 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 Taijiquan, Tai Chi being the most famous in the west.

Chinese Martial Arts training consists of basics, routines, applications, body conditioning, and weapons. Each style has its own unique training system with a varying emphasis on each of those components.

Sun Style

Sun Style consists of the three major internal martial arts of China, 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 along 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 three 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 Scoot received an award from Sun Lu Tang's grandson. Importantly Sun TaiJi is practiced exactly how it is to be applied in a fight.

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 recognised 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.

Shaolin Quan

The Shaolin Si (Shaolin Temple), is a Buddhist temple located in Henan Province founded by Indian Buddhist Priest 'Bodhidharma' or 'Damo' 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.

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 one finger.

Modern-day Shaolin training is mainly geared towards performance/competition form training with little to no application or conditioning but at Rising Dragon, the 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 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.

Taiji Quan

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 one of the most popular martial styles 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 Taijiquan. The traditional legend goes that the wise man Zhang San Feng created Taijiquan 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.

The training involves two primary features: the first being the solo form Quan (fist), a slow sequence of movements, which emphasizes a straight spine, relaxed breathing, and a natural range of movement. The second is 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.

Bagua Zhang

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 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. Bagua Schools in ChinaThis 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.

Xingyi Quan

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 center.

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 Sun Lu Tang Xingyiachieving 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 one's body as a single unit and the intense focus of one's Qi.

Sanshou / Sanda

Sanshou or Sanda (free fighting) is a modern Chinese self-defence system & 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 Sanda in Chinaguard 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.

Wushu

Wushu is both an exhibition and full-contact sport derived from traditional Chinese martial arts. 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 two 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 in 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 of traditional Chinese martial art style and can be changed for competitions to highlight Wushu in China. Competitive forms have time limits that can range from one minute, 20 seconds for external styles to over 5 minutes for internal styles.

Wushu events / 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.

Rising Dragon Kung Fu School

History

Scott Bird, the president and founder of Rising Dragon Martial Arts School was born in 1982, in 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. In 2006, Scott went on holiday to a UNESCO Global Geo Park called Training Town.

After staying in Training 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 a high up government in Training so he was introduced to the Mayor and other top government who were all very supportive in his idea of opening a martial arts school.

He then went on to spend over the one-year building and renovating Riding Dragon School and have 3 months traveling 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.

School features

  • 24-hour support from a westerner who knows China well
  • A broad selection of styles to choose from, including the rare ones
  • Beautiful and safe training at the foothills of the Himalayas
  • Good modern and traditional training facilities
  • Learning real Gong Fu (not watered down stuff) from some of the best masters in China
  • Reside in a Global Geo Park voted one of the top 3 destinations in China
  • Study Sun Style for 1 year or longer and become a certified teacher!

Instructors

Scott Bird

Deng Fu Ming

Location

The academy's breathtaking location, Yong Ping, is a county belonging to Dali City, located in Southern Yunnan Province amongst the Himalayan foothills. 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 meters. 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 within driving distance to Lijiang and the Burmese border both approximately three-hour drive at a safe speed. Yong Ping and surrounding areas have 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 wildlife, 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 cleanest and freshest of air surrounding the area.

Features

Activities

  • Gym

Services

  • Free Wi-Fi

Food

During the program, you will be served the delicious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 167 nights accommodation
  • 6 hours training sessions daily
  • Daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Real Kung Fu training from the best Kung Fu masters
  • 24-hour Internet access (WiFi)

What's not included

  • Miscellaneous expenses
  • Airfare
  • Private chauffeur service: Dali City Airport / train station – 90 GBP
  • Private chauffeur service: Baoshan Airport - 90 GBP

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Kunming Changshui International Airport (KMG). First, you will have to shop around for the cheapest International flight to either Kunming, Chengdu, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, or even Bangkok. Then you will need the second flight to Kunming City.

From Beijing, Shanghai, and Kunming you can fly direct to Dali City but RDS recommends flying to Kunming and then taking the 2-hour speed train to Dali. Once you get to Dali, if you will make your own way to RDS (it's easy and cheapest) you will need to head to The Dali Express Bus Station (大理快速汽车客运站) and buy a ticket to Yong Ping Town (永平县). There are busses every hour to Yong Ping with the last one approx. 18:30.

Arrival by train

Book your train to arrive at Dali city train station. Pick up service from the train station is available at 90 GBP.

Airport: Dali Airport Airport transfer available: Dali Airport (US$114 per person) Additional charges may apply. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 14% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
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