First week of training in China Part 1

I knew the first week of training was going to be tough, but no matter how much I mentally prepare for it was even tougher than I imagined. By the end of the week my roommate was swearing and complaining about how hard the training is with such a poor diet, and that it would not be allowed to be this bad in the west. I kept quite this was my baptism under fire,  private events that happened to me a year ago, I was living the dream, and facing the challenge with full steam, no matter how painful it was.

We got up at 5 in the morning to get ready to start the first and usually the worse part of the day, morning fitness. It is when all the kung fu groups get together and train, and they might do running, stairs (1000 times worse than when we do stairs in England) chest, legs, circuit, abs. It sounds like what every martial artist normal does but it is magnified when the owner of the school is taking the class and he was in the SAS reserves, trained in Shaolin kung fu in China for 4 years prior to opening the school and has done Shotokan karate since he was a kid. Because of his background you often had to commit over 100% effort, and if you looked like you weren’t, he would soon make it known; you often had to push yourself over what you could actually do to save face. We often breathed a sigh of relief when someone else ran the morning circuit, not because they weren’t hard, but because they were slightly more forgiving that we weren’t all super machines.

On our first morning fitness time we had the bleep test, where you had to get from one side of the court to the other before the beep. Each beep gets faster and faster so first you walk, then run, and then a little bit faster and faster. Let me tell you I was super hyped up, I had been getting more and more excited training all the weekend and I was almost shaking with adrenaline. I was bouncing up and down ready to go and when the first beep went, everyone walked, and I couldn’t contain myself I sprinted, and I kept sprinting to each beat, people told me to slow down and I knew I should listen to them but I couldn’t, I kept sprinting to each beep until I completely blew out of gas. It wasn’t a terrible score, but not the greatest. One of the senior students commented that I was like a mad excitable puppy, which leads to my first and most well-known nickname at the kung fu school. Puppy.

After my over the top performance I had to choose a style to learn first, I was torn between Shaolin and White Crane. I decided to do Shaolin first, as that was my dream ever since I was a kid, the plan was 2 weeks of Shaolin and four weeks of white crane and then go home. But the need to explore the ancestor style that influenced White Crane was too great, so I did Shaolin for a week, and moved on to White Crane, and my trip to china changed from 6 weeks to nearly 4 months.


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