Any trustworthy schools in China?
This is my first time writing here and I would like to ask you about the idea of travelling to China to learn Kung-Fu. First of all, I live in Egypt, and I never heard of or found any good schools around me, Egypt is not very big on CMA. As a result I have never received any training in martial arts whatsoever and my general knowledge on such topics is virtually non existent. I'm not a strong guy and I was always interested in the potentials of CMA for its philosophies and teachings. I never achieved this simply because there are no good schools around.
A while ago a friend of mine told me there are plenty of academies in China that teach martial arts. I was very excited to know this and started to search for these schools online. Two schools got my interest, the Shaolin Temple and the Wudang Daoist Kung Fu Academy. I preferred the Wudang Academy to the Shaolin Temple because of my personal preference of Taoism over Buddhism. Of course I have no idea how Buddhist Kung Fu would be different from Taoist Kung Fu in the first place, so I might be wrong about my preferences anyway.
Unfortunately, I've seen a couple of posts online that stated that these schools are mostly a scam and that it's very difficult to find a good school that would teach you martial arts "the right way". This was a big downer since I don't have a lot of savings and I can't afford switching or trying different schools. I was planning on doing this once I graduate from college but now I feel it's gonna be a waste of time and money. I hope I am not right about this.
I would like to know of any good schools that are worth it in China for a complete newbie whose knowledge on these topics is zero to none. Also, are the Wudang Academy and the Shaolin temple merely a scam? They seemed legit and I would really like to learn CMA before it's too late or me getting too old.
Guys please excuse my lack of knowledge on these topics.
I really need your help.
Thanks in advance.
As a general rule avoid things that refer to themselves as wudang. Some of it is ok but most is not. Shaolin is a little better, but not much. These terms have been hijacked for marketing purposes.
What do you want to get out training martial arts?
Go post in Newbietown before it's too late.
There are lots of great schools in China, of course, but the best way to find them to realize what most of them look like. Most of them are just classes held in local parks. The international "Shaolin" and other schools tend to be mediocre, or scammy, or just overpriced tourist traps. Best bet is to head to a major city like Beijing or Shanghai and hang out in the parks and see what happens. I suppose if you're interested in Taoism over Buddhism, you can also go to Chen Village, which is legit if expensive and silly, but you'd be spending thousands of dollars simply to learn horse stance for a month, and then how to raise your arms slowly and bring them back down.
Also, Chinese religious/philosophical culture is heavily syncretic–you'll find a lot of Buddhism in your Taoism, a lot of Taoism in your Buddhism, a lot of folk animism in both, and tons of Legalism everywhere, and all of that swims in a pot on Confucianism. The first exciting move you might learn in Chen village, for example, is "Buddha's Attendant Pounds Mortar", though Chen taiji has a Taoist root and natural philosophy.
But really, just find a big and Westernized city and head to the parks and keep your expectations low. Non-Chinese need to lick a lot of ass to get anywhere without a introduction from another teacher or someone's disciple.
Another possibility would be to locate an interesting school outside of China. There's some action on the island of Crete, in Greece for example. And from there you might meet someone who could get you an introduction to someone in China.
My suggestion is to narrow down the terms of your search. Read around a little, watch quality videos and see what you want to study, you're in the right forum for this.
If you give me some indication of which CMA(s) you want to try study, i'll offer a few suggestions for north eastern China.
Basically, you can find good schools but there are many schools that serve a cultural purpose rather than teaching to fight.
There are full-contact competitions available, semi-contact and point sparring, push-hands and pure forms. Something for everyone in fact, but difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff in terms of school, as many of them will tell you exactly what you want to hear.
So, some quick questions:
What styles are you interested in?
Are you looking for other areas of study? (e.g. language/chinese medicine/philosopy)
How do you wish to train?
Are you thinking of competition?
How long do you wish to stay in China? Are you planning extensive/extended travel whilst in China?
What part(s) of China do you wish to go to?
As i say, If you give me some information, i'll try to offer some help.
Thanks a lot for your reply. Your help is much appreciated.
I have started reading about the styles of CMAs and there seems to be a lot, which is very confusing… In addition, from what you’ve said about being told exactly what I want to hear from people there, I guess I will follow your advice and research heavily about CMAs.
From what I have read so far, I would prefer a Northern CMA style to a Southern one.
I am looking for a school that is as far from urban cities as much as possible. I don’t care for educational “cultural” purposes that much, although I would be very interested in learning more about Chinese philosophies. I am not interested in competitions at all, just in being able to appropriately execute the art I am learning.
To answer your questions:
- I am interested in a style which is suitable for someone who is a complete newbie and lacks physical strength, at least for starters.
- I am very interested in learning Chinese philosophies and religions, if I have the time or the ability, my main priority is learning a CMA.
- I don’t mind the methodology of my training as long as it gives good results.
- I’m not thinking of competition.
- As long as expenses cover it, I am planning on staying for as long as I can. I know it takes years to learn anything right. It would be a nice thing if I wander through China, but if I can't I won't mind it.
- I'd prefer going to Northern China.
Thanks a lot for your help!
I wanted to ask you why you want to go to China and study martial arts.
You can get pretty much every martial art they have there in the US, UK, and Canada, without too much trouble.
Do you speak Chinese? As going to the places out in the boondocks will be hard to find people who speak English.
You will need serious visas to study and stay in China.
Are you going to be working? teaching English?
Again why go to China, when most of the good Kung fu has moved out of China to other nations around the world.
I'm curious as to why.
Originally Posted by teffera