That’s it?! My ‘Kung Fu Commute’ is over. Gutted! Don’t get me wrong, I’m really excited to see my family and mates, but these Masters, these Kung Fu brothers have been my world for a very intense time period, so the feeling after leaving is (for lack of a different word) weird. I have had a some time to reflect on leaving such a monumental place for me so please read on for the conclusion to my journey.
I woke up at 6am feeling really groggy, but also immediately sad. I knew I was going to cry, it was just a matter of who was going to set me off. Turnaround was quick. A quick wash down and then I went to say goodbye to the two rooms that I stayed in. It was like when Ross in FRIENDS said goodbye to his hotel room in Barbados – “thank you..so much” while I weirdly touched the door (God, I’m so odd).
Before I knew it 6:30 rolled around and I was outside saying goodbye. The custom is to go around each perdon, a hug and a little sentence to say bye. I couldn’t really speak, and this started straight away saying bye to Steve. I ambled my way around but when I got to Master Wang I nearly cried alot when he said he would miss me (probs just miss a person to demonstrate on!). I held everything in until I got to the end and said bye to Thijs, it just came flooding out eh. Culmination of a great friendship with Thijs (and the others) conceived in a niche situation, making the bond super tight. Morten started a tradition with a stuffed bear you give to a “family member”. I had some good people in my core group that all were family, but because of our time training and starting together, I gave it to Thijs. He is not like a little brother, but I like to think I’m the older cousin that gets into mischief with him. Months ago I asked Master Du for his kungfu top when I left (kinda said it as a joke), and he remembered and when he hugged me he presented me with it, awesome! Shaolin Master’s top! Sabine and I were going to spend a few days in Shanghai (held off saying a teary goodbye to her for the time being) so off we went waving goodbye to the others. In the ride to the train station Sabine checked on me, but I was uncharacteristically quiet. I was swirling all the friendships and memories in my head, really making myself upset. The disbelief that I was actually leaving was so odd! Alas, goodbye to a big chapter in my little life.
I want to take this time to thank my Masters. Master Wang! What a guy!!! Never have I met a man who has the playfulness of a child in an Iron Man suit, but with techniques as deadly as a viper on steroids. Your cheeky smile always brightened up training, and when I use to see you going up and down the corridor laughing hysterically (like you were about to battle Batman) it always meant I was going to enjoy your company that day. Thank you making me your “monitor/lord commander”, your second in charge, to help newbies and help myself deal with responsibility again. I loved it all and what you have done for me to help me develop is something I value so much!
Master Du, aka THE most caring man in the world! I cannot thank you enough. From the walks to calm me down, to the techniques you showed me that would help me defend against trickier opponents, to the time you chased me across different rooms to apply medicine to my dangerous knees! You are a man I look up to, respect and had some of the best jokes with!
To the Headmaster, Master Bao, thank you for allowing me to train in your school, your home, your life. Without some of your tough teachings, the unexpected horse stance punishments, the early wakeups to tell some people off, your patience with me in Tai Chi and Baji…I would not have grown as a person alongside those other great students. If you will have me, I would love to visit again to see how more beautiful you make the academy!
Mini Mona! The young lady who tried to teach me the “Charm of Chinese” as a language. I can understand some important Chinese because of you, AND we use to have a lot of jokes about growing up, and keeping secrets! Thank you for the Mandarin, the friendship and introducing me to K-Pop #BigBang. I will send you stickers on WeChat #WeChatIsLife.
A thanks to ALL the people I met on this journey, yes, even the ones I thought were in the wrong place and, in the words of my Kung Fu brother Matt, were “c**nts”(there were only a couple!), because it reminded me that no matter where you go, you cannot get along with everyone, but there are still things I can do to ensure everyone can at least be civil and live together. Those closest to me at the academy know what you mean to me so don’t want to list the specifics (those Lols are for us to know!). So here goes a shout out to everyone that I met and served as part of the ‘Maling Kung Fu Class of 2016’ (arguably the best class in its history?!); Bragz, French Greg, Paris, Komal, Mattias, Frode, Tom, Ivan, Tony, Tyler, Henry, Nemr, Kasia, Morten, Phil, Kenneth, Astrid, Kristian, Chinese-but-not-Chinese Emma, Matt, Michael, Steve, Thijs, Shane, Jim, Joanne, Marcel, Terya, Jauffrey, Sabine (I really hope I didn’t miss anyone?).
Have I done what I set out to find?
Simply, yes! Not any one thing helped though, it was an accumulation of everything I experienced to accomplish this. To calm myself and take a more thoughtful approach Tai chi, Qi Gong and talking through things with Master Du (through a few mindful long walks) were the biggest contributors. The training in extreme temperatures proved that all those times I sacked off doing training at home, I will NEVER do again! I use to wake up before work and if it was slightly raining and cold, sack it off! Now I have run in -10°c and 35°c…so extreme! I know I have it in me to push myself and I will put this mindset into EVERYTHING I do! I hope the stress of the world I am from doesn’t affect me as before, however I know deeply that I have the energy to deal with it if it does.
Obviously I wanted to write a true experience so you could understand this adventure BUT I have many a juicy stories that cannot be written down, so if you meet me know that some UNSPEAKABLE things happened…that I am willing to speak about…in person! Ha! Thank you if you have been reading about this experience. I hope it has been entertaining, informative and most importantly;
I hope it inspires you to do something different in your life that can add value to your future!