“Do your best!” That’s what our Kung Fu master said to us each time he showed us a new form or kick. The week went by amazingly quick. We were picked up in town at 8:30am and driven to Master Jason’s Dojo out in the countryside each morning, we spent 2 hours working up a sweat; running, stretching, punching and kicking then we would be driven back to town for about a 2-hour rest. At 1:30 we were picked up again and then driven back to the Dojo for two more hours in the afternoon. From the first day I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy, ‘lets get to know each other course’ . . . it started with a “good morning” and then an “okay start running”. On the second morning all of our muscles were aching when we woke up but after our warm up we felt good and went again. It was a great week of learning how hard we can all be pushed. It was the four of us, our Master Jason (who is an 8th generation Shaolin Master) and another guy from Holland (so no hiding in the back row). The mountains and valley that surrounded his Dojo were breathtaking and I must say I would daze off into the scenery as I did some kicks contemplating “how did I get here?” Kung Fu is a great exercise for flexibility, muscle strength as well as mental capacity as you need to remember the forms and the order they are performed. We did not do any sparring but Jason would show us how the form would be used as defense or offense in a sparring situation.
We stayed in the town of Yangshuo, it is a quaint tourist town but since we arrived on the boarder of season is was very quiet and calm – also it was rainy so that kept things low key. The weather was cool – in the 50’s and rainy. We had read that it can be a bit of a loud area in the center of town, where we stayed, but we did not have that experience. It was a pleasure to spend our time in this very pretty town in China. The people seem quite content and happy to have the tourists. One thing that seemed odd but then we found true throughout rural China is the energy conservation. No hallways, lobbies, retail, or even restaurants were heated. If we came into a restaurant they would either put on a small electric heater or light a little fire and place it near our table. The people all wear coats, gloves and hats all day long. By the end of our time here we were pretty cold to our bones and looking for some warmer weather.