Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Shaolin training with Buddhist Monk Xing Rong

While in Xi'an, I had the opportunity of training with a completely crazy buddhist monk. He taught me some basic stances, punches, kicks and strengthening/flexibility excercises of Shaolin. He called this basic training "Wu Gong" and told me that in order to study Chinese martial arts properly, then these basic excercises must be mastered. It was very strange how I met him, I was visiting a Buddhist temple with one of my students, Li Yi Lin (or Vivian), and we just saw this monk sat in front of a shrine. So Vivian started talking to him, and somehow kung fu got brought up, She told him that I study Wing Chun in England. The monk had never heard of it and claimed that it was not any good because it wasnt a famous style. He asked me to demonstrate a form, so I showed him Siu Lim Tau, after which he told me that I had a weak stance, and the form was useless as it contained no footwork. I humbly agreed with him, despite not believing him! So, he agreed to teach me some excercises to strengthen my stance and arm. He said he regretted that i wasnt staying longer, as he wanted to teach me "the 5 famous styles of Shaolin". So I made an arrangement that every other afternoon I would visit him in the temple, with Vivian to translate for me. He didnt charge me, but seemed very proud of having a westerner as a student and took me to meet all the other monks. Training always began with a long period of horse stance training. After that I would have to do alternating splits and then more horse stance. Then I would learn some other stances and have to hold them for a long period. He also taught me some basic kicks and punches and I had to punch out candle flames from a distance.

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