Imagine training 6 hours a day, 5 days a week. After the first day you will be sore, after the second day you are not able to climb stairs anymore, you are going to crawl them up. After the third you probably won’t be able to turn around when sleeping. Day 4 and 5 you’re just able to keep moving because of raw willpower.
Where are you right now? And why would you do that to yourself?
The answer is simple, you are in a martial arts training facility in China ( or you are by any chance a professional athlete) and there are plenty of reasons why you should go there and challenge your body and mind in a way you didn’t even know existed.
Before you call me crazy, read this first. Maybe you will decide that this could be your next adventure.
There are various reasons why I love the Wushu training in China (Wushu is another term for Kung Fu, you can find a short explanation here), there is so much to learn and experience while training there.
1. Improve Wushu
The most important reason why I love the training in China is that you can improve your Wushu a lot.But this is just true if you already trained Wushu back at home. I know a couple of trainer in Germany saying there is no need to go to China, they will scam you blablabla…
Don’t always take for granted what they are telling you. This may sound disrespectful, but while training in China I noticed the reason some of them told me that.
What they taught me in Germany was not even close to proper Wushu training. I won’t say it was better or worse, it was simply not the same. They had adopted lots of things from other martial arts and some trainer were not even able to do a proper mabu(horsestance), which is in my opinion the most important stance in Wushu.
If you are lucky and your teacher in your home country is teaching you the way you would be taught in China, he most likely will encourage you to go to China and to improve your basics.
Nothing makes you improve faster, then training the same move for hours and days. During the short training sessions in your home country it is not possible (just if you are training a lot alone at home).
In China you will have the time and a teacher correcting your moves again and again. You will be able to perform the move in your sleep afterwards.
2. Boot camp
The next reason to love it, is that you always liked sports and you want to challenge yourself on a whole new level (which was my case, I wanted to test if I would be able to push myself through the whole training or if I would give up). Some people I met wanted to lose weight, others to become fit again, some even wanted to improve their fitness to help them with other sports (dancing or free running).
In the end training in China is pretty much like a boot camp. Healthy food(lots of rice and veggies) and training till you break down, not many distractions (usually you are not allowed to simply leave the school grounds, you have to sign out) and if you don’t train, the sifu might will show up and check on you if you are really hurt/sick or if you are just being lazy (muscle aches don’t count as being sick).
If you are lucky your sifu is one of those caring for his students and he will chase you right back out to train, if you don’t have a valid excuse.
There is no way to get out of training, there are no distractions during training time.
If you don’t train properly there, you won’t train anywhere.
3.Try out Martial Arts
Now you are maybe wondering why you should train at the end of the world, to simply try something out?
Well if you are travelling through China either way, it is a great opportunity.
In most schools in China, which take foreigners in, you can stay for how long you want to. Sure you have to tell them how long you want to stay, but you could just stay a week (which I wouldn’t recommend, because it will be just a week of pain and basics, but not so much of the actual fun stuff). If you wanted to, you could even just stay some days (which tend to be rather expensive).
There is no pressure to sign up for the club. You won’t met your coach later somewhere on the street, who maybe wonders why you don’t want to enroll, if you decide it isn’t the right sport for you.
Training wushu in China will give you an idea what the martial art is all about and by watching the longterm students you can see what you could be able to achieve, if you keep on studying.
At home or in China, that will be your choice =)
But the training will help you a lot with your search at home, to distinguish if somebody learned Wushu, or if it’s one of the modern styles from the US (f.e. Jeet Kun Do, a great martial art, the base is traditional Wushu and Wing Chun, but it has many elements from other martial arts like Kali or boxing, too.)
4. Finding yourself/becoming more confident
Some people will say, the schools are too noisy and there is no peaceful atmosphere.They tend to expect a monastery, but after all it is a school, nobody there is planning on becoming a monk.
But still, other people, I am one of them, will tell you how freeing it can be to simply train.
There is just you and your body.
(How social you want to be and how much you will be influenced by the other people in the school, is your choice after all).
No need to worry about food, sleeping arrangements or any other not so fun stuff. While you are in the school you can simply focus on yourself and improving yourself.
Even after a short amount of time you will notice that things which you thought to be impossible for you, actually are within reach.
You are going to be amazed what you can achieve when pulling through things. This will help you in your “real life” too, to difficult won’t exist anymore. Everything just needs work and dedication and then you can make dreams come true.
Also you will notice that everybody starts at the beginning, there is no need to feel bad if you are not perfect right from the start. It just takes time.
Training this much, will give you a great deal of confidence, because you’re becoming more aware of yourself and you start understanding your body and your mind a lot better.
5. Fun holidays
The last reason to love Wushu training in China is probably the most looked down on, but a fairly understandable, reason.
The schools for foreigners are a great place to meet up with people from all over the world, while having a once in a lifetime experience. If you are already travelling China or Asia and are up to settling down for a while, these schools are a great place to go to.
They are fairly cheap, food and accommodation included, and you will probably have a great time there. It is definitely the kind of holidays you are not likely to forget, ever!
But there are also a couple of reasons why you maybe won’t love the training in China.
(This is just a reminder, that there are always to sides to a coin)
You won’t love training in China…
1. …if you expect wonders
There are always some people, who think after a month of training they would be the next Bruce Lee. When they realized that this wasn’t the case they usually were horribly disappointed and blamed the school.
You can achieve a lot when training a month, but the changes are going to be small and each will take time. You maybe suddenly are becoming more flexible, you are able to hold stances longer, you can kick stronger. It’s the small improvements that count.
You won’t be able to do a roundhouse kick, if you never kicked before, you won’t be able to do the splits, if you were not even able to touch your toes before and you, for sure, won’t be able to do any crazy animal form if you haven’t even mastered the basics.
More importantly, you will just improve as much as you actually train. If you stop to train as soon as your teacher turns around, you can’t expect to achieve as much as the guy training alone in the evening to improve even more. Yes you are training 6 hours a day and you will definitely improve in some way, but you can train those 6 hours in many ways and even if you give it your all, the impossible won’t be possible.
Keep that in mind.
2…if you are having a full cup of water
There is this saying to empty the cup, otherwise it will just overflow and nothing will be learned.
This is the case whenever people already had training in a martial art before coming to china. They don’t let go of what they learned and always know everything better.
Some also have a certain expectation of how the training should be and totally ignore the history and training methods foreign to them.
(Let’s be honest, why should they train the same way they did 200 years ago? Methods change. I don’t think Karate students train the same way it was 100 years ago, ninjitsu students for sure don’t. Everybody has to adept to current situations. Don’t expect a old monk teaching you on a mountain, you’ve been watching to many movies!)
Things work different, when training Wushu in China, compared to martial arts training in Europe, partially because of former politics, but mostly because of the different cultures.
You don’t spar straight away, first you learn the movement, then you train it untill you are able to perform it in your sleep, then you train it some more and just when you achieved a high level, you will maybe learn the applications.
In old days when a new student wanted to be taught, some teacher made them stay in Mabu/horsestance for a day and then told them to come back the next day. Sometimes the student had to train the same stance for a whole month or longer. This way the teacher tested who is serious about learning and willing to ignore his pride and to endure pain.
To enjoy your experience in China, let go of what you learned, there is no better or worse, it is different.
If you accept this and if you’re letting things happen, I am sure you can take a lot of valuable lessons back home with you.
3…if you are a picky or whiny person
This one is a reason why you maybe are going to hate travelling in china in general. If you are easily disgusted and a really picky eater, who just eats certain things and gets sick fast, don’t go to China.
In Shanghai and Beijing in the tourist areas it is mostly clean and you will get lots of western food. On the countryside not so much.
The bathrooms can be real nightmares, the people spit on the streets, burp all the time and sometimes you won’t be able to tell what exactly you are eating.
In the schools the beds are often hard, just a polystyrene pad covered with some padded fabric, sometimes the showers don’t work or there is an electricity blackout.
The air can be pretty polluted, so you won’t see the blue sky very often (actually this better on the country side).
And some teacher won’t really care about you. You are one student of many, if you are being whiny and are complaining the whole time, your Sifu(teacher) will probably simply ignore you.
Don’t expect them to take your hand. Sometimes if you are whining too much, he might even push you harder, just because, f.e. he will make you run an extra round.And you better run that round, because if you refuse, you are kind of insulting your teacher, in the worst case you will get expelled (usually just if you make a huge drama or there where already several of these incidents)
The teacher in China teach you how they want too, you have to earn their respect first, if you leave, some won’t care, there are new students coming.
Try to deal with the situations there, it’s not like anything will change if you complain the whole time either way.
Deal with it or don’t go there in the first place.
I totally love the Wushu training in China. I found the perfect martial art for myself, met some great people, was more fit and healthy than ever before in my live, figured out what I really wanted to do with my life and finally accepted and learned to deal with lot of things I was struggling with before.
If you are a bit curious now, here is a post of my first week training in China and if you maybe want to try training in China too, feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I would be happy to help you.
Otherwise happy travelling and on we go to new adventures 😉