The Great Wall of Awesomeness!!!

Unbelievable!!

Kung Fu training on the Great Wall

The Great Wall of Awesomeness

 

The Great Wall of China is a “must visit” location… Although the walk up was very arduous the effort was handsomely rewarded (I later found out that you can take a cable car, I’d recommend that unless you like a trial by steps).

Our whole party was accompanied by a cameraman from Chinese Education TV who unfortunately for him had to carry quite a lot of filming gear with him.

I must say a congratulations to Michelle who made the climb through sheer willpower.

Once you get to the Great wall you feel as though you’ve entered another dimension.. the views are incredible and there is a feeling of being separated from everything else.  I liked the plaque that said something along the lines of “The wall was created to keep people out, now it brings people together from all over the world”.

Kids Kung Fu Lessons on the Great Wall of China

Connor Defending a Kick & about to counter punch

We managed a lot of filming.. starting with the Kids going through a few basic Kung Fu moves.  Rather than just have it posed, I want the kids to improve their Kung Fu as well as have great experiences.  So regardless of the camera I gave pointers and made minor corrections, with the aim of lifting their standard while here in China.

Then they filmed Lindsey going through some self defence ideas and techniques for women. Quite a few people stopped to watch and I could see several ladies that looked very interested.  The Brucey Bonus, not just the Great wall but helpful tips & advice on how to protect yourself.

Lindsey working with Sifu Paul on the Great wall of China showing the dangers of an attack

Should I throw her over the wall?

The day started a little slowly because my first visit was to London South Bank University that’s based in Beijing to see if I could upload my video files.  Unfortunately dropbox which I use is blocked.. so they suggested a similar site based in China.. small problem.. it’s only written in Chinese, luckily a member of their team signed me up.  I’m waiting to see if it’s going to work.

 

There was a brilliant thunder storm when we first got to the wall, with a real downpour of rain.  However it passed very quickly and gave way to an incredibly hot sunny day. Leo was pretty good and Vicky who is one of our guardian guides walked along most of the time holding an umbrella to protect him from the very strong sun.

Off to grab a bite to eat, it’s 9.30pm,  I’ve not eaten since breakfast and had a hectic, physical day.

Tomorrow we’re off to The Forbidden City & Tian’anmen Square.. definitely no filming at Tian’anmen Square.

Kung Fu Class in Beihai Park

What a great day!! I spent most of the day at Beihai Park in Beijing.  Looking around seeing beautiful temples, peaceful scenery, watching folk dancing from

Crawley Kung Fu Class in Beihai Park China

Kung Fu Classes in Beihai Park

specific regions of China and teaching Dara & Connor from our Kung Fu School.

 

It’s been a hot one, but fortunately there was a nice wind plus quite a lot of shade although Leo’s getting a bit grumpy as his routine is all over the place.

Lindsey was suffering as the Wu Shu lesson yesterday has taken it’s toll.  We don’t do that many kicks and certainly not in the rather flamboyant way they were training.  With the Great Wall tomorrow, Lindsey’s been doing all she can to breath some life back into her traumatised legs.

The kids trained well and picked up another part to one of the forms they train.  Both Connor & Dara are very keen students who always show masses of enthusiasm and are never daunted by watching crowds.

We grabbed a very quick lunch then whizzed off to Shichahai Wu Shu School for their Kung Fu lessons.

I was a little concerned because the documentary is going to be on their

Kung Fu Kids in China

Kung Fu Kids in China

training in China including within this class.  However this class is no ordinary martial arts class.  The children in it, attend it full time and on top of training in their own time they attend a minimum of 6, 2.5 hour classes a week!!! It was plain to see a marked difference between them and our students, however that’s not surprising when you’re in a class with students who aspire and train to be in the next National Wu Shu Team for China.

However Dara & Connor loved the training and you could see an improvement from the first day, the repetition and familiarity really helped. They’re busy practicing a few of their favourite new Wu Shu moves.

Kung Fu Schools with Wu Shu Class in China

Kung Fu Schools with Wu Shu Class in China

 

 

I have loads of great photos that I’d like to share and starting to think that I’ll have to wait until I get back to England to upload them.

If anyone is commenting on Facebook, I’m not ignoring you… facebook, twitter and youtube are blocked here so it’s best to email me paul@kungfuschools.org if you want to get hold of me.

 

Zoo, Teddies, Temples & Kung Fu

Beijing is a wonderful city to visit… I’m here with my wife Lindsey, our 9 month year old son Leo, two 7 year old children from our Kung Fu School in Crawley, Dara & Connor and their mums, Michelle & Carol.

We’re here to be filmed for a documentary by the Chinese Education TV as The Kung fu Schools a Confucius Institute Classroom… they want to film Lindsey & the children training Kung Fu in China.

Connor & Dara with their Teddies from West Green Primary School in Beijing

As well as Kung Fu training we’re also being shown around Beijing and having the wonderful opportunity to visit many of beautiful places such as Yong He Gong Temple, The Great wall, The Forbidden City, Temple Heaven, The Summer Palace and more.

Zoo

We’ve visited Beijing Zoo which the children loved.  I’m not that keen on zoo’s however I liked the setting and the people were incredibly friendly.

Teddies

Dara & Connor are taking 2 teddy bears from West Green Primary School that have traveled all over the place. They’ve been asked to take photos where ever possible to tell the other children back at west Green Primary School all about their trip.  They’ve been honing their presentation skills in front of a video camera, recording messages for fellow students and teachers at school and the Kung Fu School.

Temples

Sifu Paul & kids from the Kung Fu Schools at the Temple of Heaven

Dara, Connor, me & Leo at the Temple of Heaven - nice green ear

Yong He Gong Temple & The Temple of Heaven are both beautiful.  Personally I could have spent much longer there, but time was against us.

On the Temple of Heaven I hired an automated tour recording that is programmed to give specific information at certain areas of your tour.  It’s a great idea and one that I’ll definitely do again.. Although I couldn’t take full advantage as juggling Leo and taking photos of everyone didn’t allow for full concentration.  It also has the added bonus of making me look even more foolish in photos as I have a green ear piece.

 

Kung Fu

Lindsey & the kids were all a little nervous and excited about their Kung Fu lesson with Wu Shu national coach Ms. Jianghong ZHU at the prestigious Shichahai Wu Shu School where the phenomenal martial arts film super star, jet Li trained and graduated from. .  They had no idea what to expect, other than the fact it would be very different from their Wing Chun Kung Fu training.

Before their class was due to start, members of the current National Wu shu Team were practicing… it looked liked scenes from the Chinese movies… they were somersaulting, flying kicking, twirling sticks at high speed, throwing weapons up in the air, rolling, spinning and catching them… very impressive athleticism.

Kung Fu Schools ladies instructor, Lindsey. Training in China at the Beijing Wu Shu School.

Lindsey getting a few pointers from the Wu Shu Natioanl Coach

Even Leo loved watching them, letting squeals of delight as they tumbled jumped and generally made loads of noise with their swords and staffs.

 

The ciach introduced herself and explained that they would be participating in a class.  However it wasn’t the usual class at that time, because the film crew were there, their more talented children were present.

The kids loved every minute of it and despite it being very different and involving a lot of kicks, Lindsey did as well.

The skill of some of the childen was incredible.  When I asked the coach how often they trained, she replied “2.5 hours a day, 6 days a week”  wow!! once again the secret formulae to excellence shows itself…. hard work, commitment and perseverance.

we’re back there tomorrow afternoon for another lesson, after visiting the Prince Gong’s Palace & doing our own Kung Fu training in Beihai Park.

 

I’d planned on writing the blogs earlier.. the combination of loads going on, a restless baby and awful internet connection have all conspired to make it a little more challenging.

I’ll add photos as soon as the internet connection speeds up.  It’s even slower than me getting to the washing up bowl.

 

Little Dragons Travel to China… Good Luck Connor & Dara!

Only 7 days to go before 7 year olds – Dara Kearns & Connor Wicks – pack their bags and fly off to China for a taste of the East.

The two Little Dragons who train here at the Kung Fu School on Tuesday & Saturday have been practising Kung Fu for close to 2 years now and will joining a TV crew as part of a documentary on Kung Fu and the West.

Accompanied by their mum’s – Michelle & Carol – Sifu Paul Hawkes, Lindsey and little Leo — they’ll be taken to some of China’s most famous landmarks to video the footage.

Training on the Great Wall of China, visiting the Forbidden City and of course checking out a few Kung Fu Schools along the way.

It all promises to be a real experience they’ll never forget – learning about foreign cultures and of course superstars of the TV show.

Watch this space for updates on their trip and photos of their training in the home of Kung Fu!

Sleep Disorder Clinic by the Confucius Institute – Friday 20th May

An incredible 25% of the UK population suffer from a sleep disorder leaving them excessively tired during the day – and – incredibly frustrated at night.

Common sleep disorders include… snoring, sleep apnoea, insomnia and restless legs syndrome.

On the 20th May the Confucius Institute for Traditional Chinese Medicine will be visiting the Kung Fu School in Crawley to run a 1 hours workshop on Sleep Disorders.

They’ll be sharing an alternative view to treating sleeping problems – taking an Eastern viewpoint and using all natural methods you can use at home.

The Clinic is completely free – though spaces will be limited.

To register your interest and reserve your space simply email: perfectnightsleep@kungfuschools.org

You’re welcome to bring friends & family members who will benefit from the clinic.

All you need to bring is pen & paper to make a few notes and an open mind!

See you at the Clinic

Sifu Paul Hawkes

Sleep Disorder Clinic

Where: Kung Fu School HQ, Unit 1A Spindle Way, Three Bridges, Crawley, RH10 1TG , 01293 544 333

When: 6.30pm to 7.30pm on Friday 20th May 2011

How Much: FREE

Sifu Paul talks to Sifu Sergio About His UK Visit

6th & 7th November @ the Kung Fu Schools!

Sifu Paul speaks to Grandmaster Sergio Iadarola about his up & coming visit to the UK.

If you were blown away and inspired by previous seminars from Sifu Sergio – then he calls them a breeze in comparison to what’s he’s going to beteaching on the 6th and 7th November at the Kung Fu Schools.

Click play to stream the audio interview

[audio:http://blog.kungfuschools.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/9/2010/10/a-conversation-with-sifu-sergio.mp3|titles=Sifu Paul Interviews Sifu Sergio Iadarola]

This will be an inspirational seminar as you get to see and train with a real Wing Chun Master who pracitises what he preaches, trains 4 – 5 hours per day, lives and breathes Kung Fu.

CLICK To find out more and register for this Novembers Seminar

Sifu Paul

P.S. The seminar will be on the 6th November in Crawley and the 7th November in Croydon.  You can come along to one or both days (and if your are only coming along to Sunday – dont be shy to ask who else is coming – maybe you can car share).

Sifu Paul Chats to Radio Mercury about Confidence Building

Emm partner training at the Kung Fu Schools

Emm punches Greg intraining

Thursday 15th July and Sifu Paul pays a visit to Radio Mercury to talk through the benefits martial arts can have when it comes to confidence, self-esteem and feeling good about yourself.

Most people associated Kung Fu with cheesy flicks, somersaults, backflips and crazy kicks which couldn’t be further from the truth.  For centuries they’ve been used as  a great way to look after yourself from physical violence, to protect your body from illness and disease by keeping it health and rooted in ancient wisdoms and philosophies.

An all-encompassing activity – they’re a great confidence builder and when you feel good about yourself life’s less a

chore and a lot more fun.  And it’s a shame that so often confidence building is seen as

Kirsty trains with Chris at the Kung Fu Schools

something useful for kids and

that we automatically assume adults ‘are done’ and either have it or don’t.

Truth is – confidence levels change.  You only have to look at professional football players – when they’re on top of their game, n

othing can stop them.  But a couple of injuries, set-backs or a few bad games and that can all disappear.  It takes time and effort to stay on top of YOUR game and feeling good.

You can listen to the interview where Sifu Paul is joined by students Emm and Kirsty who’ve been training at the Kung Fu School for some time.

They talk about their experience at the Kung Fu School and how it has helped them in day to day life

Listen the Kung Fu  Schools on Radio Mercury

Hong Kong Trip: Kung Fu Lesson with Sifu Sergio in Mainland China

Whilst in mainland China we spent time at Sifu Sergio’s new Kung Fu School.  It’s almost ready to open and is looking really good.  While there we had some lessons from Sifu Sergio on forms and two man sets from older Wing Chun lineages (some refer to it as Siu Lam Wing Chun).

Here’s a few short clips of Sifu Sergio with Dave and myself during the lesson … if you recognise the form and set then make sure to leave a comment of what you think it is!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6ZIIr4Dhnw[/youtube]

Keep an eye out for more clips of the Kung Fu training we had in Hong Kong, we’ve got hours of footage to edit and upload and will get it up as soon as possible!

Hong Kong Trip: Ip Man 2 and Meeting with Sifu Cliff Au Yeung – Wing Chun Kung Fu Film Consultant

I’ve lost track of what day it is … the past week or so has been very intense, meeting with lots of different masters from different lineages.  Listening to them talk openly about Wing Chun theories and concepts, demonstrating techniques and forms.

It was also interesting to hear lots of different stories about the history of Wing Chun, where it came from, how it evolved and what their current research leads them to believe.  It was all very convincing.

To top the day off Sifu Sergio and myself went along to the newly released “Ip Man 2” movie.  I’m a huge fan of the first one and couldn’t wait to get in their and watch the sequel.  The second film focuses on Ip Man’s life after he moved to Hong Kong in 1949 and starts to propagate Wing Chun Kung Fu.

It’s a shame that they couldn’t spend more time on his relationship with Bruce Lee and it only has minor references to him as a child.  In my opinion – not as good as the first Ip Man movie but definately still worth seeing on the big screen.

And then …

The day got even better as Sifu Sergio, Dave Bright and I met up with Sifu Cliff Au-Yeung.  Sifu Cliff is the film Wing Chun consultant for Ip Man 2 and probably one of the nicest guys you could meet.

Here’s my video blog …

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Id02I8sIjDk[/youtube]

Hong Kong Training: Short clips from my kung fu lesson with Grandmaster Cheng Kwong

During a visit to see Grandmaster Cheng Kwong – on of Hong Kongs most famous instructors – I was lucky enough to receive an impromptu lesson in Kung Fu from GM Kwong and of course jumped at the chance to be corrected.  His enthusiasm for Kung Fu is unreal and he’s crazy about martial arts which is so inspirational.

It all started as we were sitting talking, the he’d show some techniques, then we stood up and started going through some movements and ended up inside where he practises Traditional Chinese Medicine.  Fully equipped with a wooden dummy!  How’s that for a place of work!

Here you go … enjoy!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ze5UmEA8QnI[/youtube]

Today Dave and I started working hard on some of the two man sets we’ve been learning … keep your eye on the blog because there’s some footage heading your way soon!