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Shi YanZhang's School in China

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  • Shi YanZhang's School in China

    Shi YanZhang's Ying Shi school in Dengfeng, China- For anyone considering training in China: I have just returned to London, after having spent the past 6 months training full time at Shi YanZhang's Shaolin temple Ying Shi school. First of all I'd like to let everyone in the Shaolin community know what a pleasure it was to be at Shi YanZhang's school. After considering several places to train (Big internet websites) Shifu Shi Yanzi (Shaolin Temple UK) recommended his Gong Fu brother's school to me. Am I ever thankful to him for that!!
    I can't begin to heap enough praise Shifu Shi YanZhang. I can honestly say, he really made me feel like a family member, in a place where I didn't speak a word of Mandarin (I do now!). He's an incredibly kind and generous man. The teaching there is first rate, and I learned so much more than I ever could have dreamed of before I left. This is a testament to the teaching at this school. My main instructor's name is Shi Heng Xuan. Myself and my friend "Manti" were convinced he could fly!! He was very talented, and a very thorough teacher, who demanded perfection, without being overbearing.
    Shi YanZhang's school is not one of the big name schools, (as far as being easy for foreigners to discover, Internet sites, etc.). It is however big by reputation, and The Abbot Shi YongXin (Shi YanZhang's master) has chosen many people from there to represent the Shaolin temple in demonstrations around the world. Wheel of life, etc. It is also a relatively small school in relation to most in Shaolin, but the size allowed me to get extremely personal instruction. There were never more than 3 of us (the foreigners train together) training together during my stay! Very personal attention! My training program was tailor made to my requests (as long as I was capable). I really consider myself fortunate to have been there, as I heard many horror stories about other schools in Shaolin/Dengfeng. I heard firsthand experiences from students that had trained at other schools. Several students have jumped ship from other well known schools to attend ours, and our extremely happy they did so, and very happy with the training they receive.
    This is not a 5 star hotel type school, so if that's what you're looking for, it's probably not for you. If anyone is planning a trip, my advice is to think about WHY you want to train in China. Personally, I wanted to improve my Gong Fu, and that's exactly what I did. It was all about learning Gong Fu! If that's what you want, that's what you'll get there!
    I became quite close to everyone there at Shifu YanZhang's school, and it was quite difficult for me to say goodbye. I am very happy to hear that there will be a Shaolin Gong Fu performance at the Millenium Dome in London at the end of August, and I will get to see Shifu, and all my friends who will be performing. These masters were all chosen from YanZhang's school, which is also a testament to the quality of training and instruction there.
    I am counting the days to see my friends from China, and enthusiastically gives Shifu YanZhang and his staff 2 thumbs up!! I highly reccommend their school to anyone!! Thank you all so much for everything!! I will never forget you!!

    your friend always,

    Nur Khan

    Interested? Shaolin temple Ying Shi colllege: 0086-371-285-2077

  • #2
    Some great information RE: Shi Yan Zhang's school

    The following is a synopsis of a correspondence between Jay and Hei Hu; they thought that since this email interaction was full of good information, that it would be helpful to the community if it were published on the site. It concerns questions and answers of Shi Yan Zhang's school in Dengfeng. Hope you find it helpful.


    Ive just read your post about training in China. I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions about your experience via email.

    Im going in April next year. And as you can imagine I have alot of questions and decisions to make before the trip. I would be gratefull for any help you can offer!!

    Kind Regards

    Thanks, here goes.
    Ive got a quite a few questions, I hope you dont mind. But Im set to go in April and have gathered little first hand knowledge from people who have been there themselves.

    Ive been training with Yan Zi's schools for a while in the past. And would love to go to China to do some full time training.

    How did you find training longer hours? how many hours would you generally do there?

    Was staying for 6 months fine aswell? Did you have to go through Hong Kong for a 6 month VISA? or arrange that some other way.

    I am looking to go for 6 months. I dont really mind what kind of conditions I live in there. Im going for the training and the experience.

    What kind of training would you do all day? was it mostly forms? or a bit of everything? any weapons at all?
    How did you cope physically?

    Also, was YanZhang's school expensive? Could you offer any advice on how much to budget for 6 months?

    Have you heard anything from people in the area about Shi Heng Juns school . The Shaolin Secular Union, in the old temple, Fa Wong Si (i think thats the name?)
    Thats where im planning to go. Ive heard mixed things about it. Im quite keen to check it out anyway.

    Do you have any tips of travelling to the area? is it easy enough to get by without speaking mandarin?

    Thanks very much for any help you can offer.

    Kind Regards


    answers to your questions: I am 37 years old (just to give you perpsective). Training longer hours was fine. If you've trained with Yanzi, then you know how hard he works his students. If you can handle his classes, then you should be fine. We trained formally for 6 hours a day, broken up into 3 sessions. Then we would usually practice for an hour or so in the evenings. Staying six months was fine also. Definately hard work, but you can really learn a lot in that period of time. Yes, I went to Hong Kong to get a six month visa after my original 3 month visa expired. It was no problem.

    Our day started with morning exercise at 5:00 am. We run, and then run up and down a lot of stairs, Hopping,one leg jumps, Ma Bu jumps up these stairs. Stretch for a little while, then more stairs Qi Gong, Tai Ji and some situps and pushups. It's quite a good workout, but that's the hardest part of the day. i did The Qi Gong and Tai Ji in the mornings because I wanted to, not because it was required. That's just when we preferred to do it. Yan Zhang's school was fairly flexible if we wanted to tailor make part of our training routine, which was great. You won't be able to do that at Secular Disciples Union.

    The other two training sessions were fairly similar to each other. Good warmup, running stretching, Gi Be Gong, Kicks etc. Then we would work on our forms (or what were working on at that point in time) for the tail end of the session. So yes, we trained a bit of everything. Some days we would do Sanda as well. You could even train in the Sanda group (they are separate) full time if you wanted, but we got such personal attention form our trainer, that we sparred with hin and ouselves if we wanted. He is an excellent teacher!!! Yes we did weopons as well. You'd probably start with the staff, and after that you can pretty much choose what weopons you'd like to learn. There were usually three of us (myself included) training together. We all wound up liking different weopons, so after the staff we learned what we wanted. i.e. Dau, sword, spear, steal whip.

    We all left with quite a few fist forms under our belts. Good ones at that!!

    YanZhang's school was a fantastic bargain. It'll cost you 1200 yuen a month a food. It'll probably work out to about £120 pound a month. That's pretty much the real going rate at schools in Shaolin. Anyone who charges you more is ripping you off because you're a foreigner, and they know it!!!! You could live very comfortably on £250 a month ( ie eating out at restaurants, buying weapons vcds etc.).

    Physically, I got into top condition, although I pulled the tendons in the backs of my legs towards the tail end of my stay. My advice is to be careful when you are training (pulling muscles, etc.) as it can really screw your trip up if you hurt yourself. I took my injury as a chance to Learn Tai Ji, while I was healing. I would reccomend a little Tai Ji any way, as it only helps your Gong Fu and your shen Fa. It's a good balance.

    Now, Shaolin Secular disciples union, where do I even start? I was originally planning to go there also, until Yanzi reccommended YanZhang's school to me. It was the best advice I ever received, in regards to my trip. We became quite close to some students at Shi Heng Jun's school, which is at Fa Wang Si. Unfortunately there training was crap. They were being taught by a 17 year old student, who had only been training for 3 years!! Can you believe that?? It was all Wushu, and absolutely no theory or applicatin. I watched them train quite often there, and they watched us as well. We all became quite close, and there are currently 2 students at YanZhang's school who have" defected" from Secular Disciples union to come train with us. They are quite happy they made the move, and are satisfied with their training. Our learning curve (what we were taught) was substantially higher than what they had learned at Shi Heng Jun's school, and we learned much more interesting things. We learned what we wanted (as long as we were capable) after the basics (Xiao Hong Quan, Lohan Quan fist forms).

    Fa Wang Si is very beautiful, but that's about it. If you want to train in a beautiful setting, than that's the place to go, but your training will be very unrewarding. That I can guarantee you. I don't know of one satisfied student from that school. I watched that school drop from 8 students to 1 student, while I was there. They all left because they were being ripped off and they were not happy with their training. I would strongly advise you not to go to Secular Disciples Union. Trust me on that one!! Ask anyone who knows the real deal.

    Traveling's not a problem. I Didn't speak a word of Mandarin before I went, and speak it fairly well now. you'll pick it up fast. That's about it.

    I don't want to sound like a salesman, because I'm not. ... But Yan Zhang's school is great!! I may even go back this month, but nevertheless, I will go back to his school every year, even if it's only for a month in August The people there are so incredibly nice and helpful. They really care about their students.

    Hope that helps!!!

    Yes, I went to Hong Kong to get a six month visa after my original 3 month visa expired. It was no problem.

    How long did it take for the VISA to be sorted out. Im going to fly to Hong Kong from London, and want to spend as little time/money there as possible. Money is a big factor in my trip. Can any hotel arrange it? or are you required to go to a specific office? Is anything other than a Passport required? I heard you need to have business letters etc? Of which i would have none. Oh and how much did the VISA cost if you dont mind me asking.

    Yan Zhang's school was fairly flexible if we wanted to tailor make part of our training routine, which was great. You won't be able to do that at Secular Disciples Union.
    This sounds so good!!! Just had to comment on that

    YanZhang's school was a fantastic bargain. It'll cost you 1200 yuen a month a food. It'll probably work out to about £120 pound a month. That's pretty much the real going rate at schools in Shaolin.
    Sorry, did you mean that price includes food and board? That is remarkably cheap,. How are the living conditions at Zhangs school. Im acccepting the fact that its a totally different standard/style of living.

    You could live very comfortably on £250 a month ( ie eating out at restaurants, buying weapons vcds etc.).
    Wow. Thats really good news as money will be a big issue for me. Im saving my ass off for the next 9 months. And I really want to stay for 6 months. And by the sound of that. I should JUST be able to pull it off.
    Did you try to bring any weapons back with you? if so, did you have any problems with Customs.

    Fa Wang Si is very beautiful, but that's about it. If you want to train in a beautiful setting, than that's the place to go, but your training will be very unrewarding. That I can guarantee you. I don't know of one satisfied student from that school. I watched that school drop from 8 students to 1 student, while I was there.
    This was what initially inticed me, i have seen photos, and the place almost hypnotised me into going. I think even though now ill take your advice and go to yanzhangs school, i would still like to go there (Fa Wang Si) for a month, just to spend the time in the temple grounds, and soak up the atmosphere. Or maybe even just vist for a day!

    Ok, heres a few important questions i would like to ask..

    Does anyone at yanzhangs school speak english.
    Is it down in the city? is it Dengfeng?
    Its it easy enough to get to dengfeng? (if thats where it is?)
    My plan so far is to fly to hong kong. catch overnight train to Beijing, then another overnight train to Zhengshou. And from there find my way. From your experience, is this the right way to go?
    If I arrive in the area, can I phone the number you posted, and just ask for directions, and to train there?

    Once again, thanks for you help. Its greatly appreciated.

    Kind regards

    More answers: Visa in Hong Kong takes 1 day if you ask them to rush next day service. There are plenty of offices (travel agencies) that can do this for you within walking distance from the hotel I stayed at in Hong Kong. It's on Nathan road and it's very cheap. 120 yuan (£10). You will not need anything other than your passport (no business letters).
    YanZhang's school price 1200 yuen is room and board. 200 yuen extra for food if you want to eat there, or you can spend it at restaurants if you prefer. about £120 will cover food, room and board, and training. Believe it or not, that's it!!
    Living conditions. The livng conditions at Yan Zhang's schoolare better than most. It's actually quite nice, and has a much larger outdoor training area than Fa Wang Si. You also don't have all the tourists atring at you all day while you train (Fa Wang is a tourist site open to the public, you could go there anytime you want). At Yan Zhang's school you have the benefit of being able to see the chinese train. Irt's very helpful, and you can see all the different styles, and maybe decide you like something after you see it. Secular Disciples (Fa Wang) is only for foreigners, so all you get to see is what they want to teach you). It's not very eye opening.

    The rooms at Yan Zhang's school (Ying Shi) are twice as big as Secular disciple's, and you have unlimited electricity. You can't use your electricity during the day at Secular disciples.

    Yes I brought a lot of weapons back: Da Dau, 3 Daus, Swords etc. I packed them in my checked bags, but you can also ship them.

    Yes, there is an english translater full time at YanZhang's school. It is in Dengfeng. All schools are in Dengfeng now, as they have demolished everything next to the temple. (except the wushu guan). Why would you o from Hong Kong to beijing? DO NOT DO THIS! Hong kong to bus station. Bus to train station (1 1/2 hour bus ride). Train station to Zheng Zhou (12 hour train ride with beds). Bus from Zheng Zhou to Denfeng. Yanzhang's school is next to the "DranPan" (round about in chinese). It's easy to find. In Chines it's called "Ying Sha Gong Fu shwayshauw" I spelled it the way it sounds. You can phone that number anytime before 8:00 pm.

    Good luck!!
    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

    "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

    (more comments in my User Profile)


    • #3
      Yan Zhang' s school winter training


      In response to your question "is YanZhang's school open in the winter for training".

      I arrived there the first week in December. I was training with 2 other students all winter long. This was quite rare, as most every one else had left to go home to their families until the last week of February, which is when everyone comes back to train. I would bet you could train, but it may depend on whether or not there are any other students who will be training at that time.
      Yan Zhang lives there, but you'd have to call them to make sure. Word of warning....Training in the winter there is pretty hardcore!!...... I doubt I'd do it again!! That was the only time period that I could go to spend 6 months there, though....So that's why I trained throughout the winter. I think they'd make arrangements for you.


      • #4
        Cheers for that ill post in this thread now :P

        In what way is it hardcore? Do you mean because the climate is so cold? Is it really that bad in winter there?


        • #5
          winter training

          It's pretty cold. I have yet to see heated training rooms in Shaolin. So you constanly have to be moving during your training session, to keep your muscles warm, so they don't stiffen up. We were much more flexible once the weather warmed up.


          • #6
            Thank You


            Thanks for providing an AFFORDABLE alternative to the really high prices going around Deng Feng. I hope to be over there sometime in late March so this will be one of my options together with Liang Yi Quan.

            Thanks again


            • #7
              top quality Dengfeng schools

              Wushu Spear,

              Check the prices for Lian Yi Quan's school. I'm fairly certain it's one of the most expensive schools in Dengfeng. It's very large, and there were a few Brazilian students we met who trained there, who were paying some ridiculously high price. I mean something ridiculous like $7,000 for 6 months!!! Just double check prices. When these guys see Lau Wai (foreigners) coming, they see dollar signs!!


              • #8
                Hi again

                I got the quote from on of the post here. It said 1500RMB for 3 months. I hope it was accurate. Liang Yiqun sounds like a great option. If it is some crazy price then it's deffinately out. I think most of the Chinese think we are all well to do Americans and Europeans, but eg I'm from South Africa. It's a huge investment to go and train there seeing as our currency is more or less 1:1 with the RMB. Will check when I get there. I guess it helps if you know someone who can hook up good prices.



                • #9
                  That's a great price! Knowing someone definately helps.


                  • #10

                    Hi again

                    I was thinking about my diet the other day, in relation to training. And was wondering if you get enough nutrition from the food when training in China. It must be a different diet than what my body is used to here.

                    Or did you find it ok?


                    • #11
                      Not enough protein there!! Bring lots of vitamins, and Protein/ Amino acids. The food sucks!! Mostly steamed bread, rice and vegetables.


                      • #12
                        Shi YanZhang school

                        Is there a web site or email address I can connect with regarding Shi YanZhang's school? I have been looking for the right school to attend, in China, and I think I have finally found it here. I see there is a phone # but as of yet I do not speack Mandarin. So any help would be much appreciated. I am hoping to leave the U.S. in a month or two.


                        • #13
                          They are in the process of creating a new website in english. I'm not sure if the old one works still. Try the phone number first. There should be someone there who speaks English. The mandarin word for "english" is "Ying-You". I spelled it the way it sounds. Try to call them, if you're unsuccessful, post another message. The best time to call is between 7:00 am and 8:00pm China time (7 hours later than London).


                          • #14

                            ...I didn't have any problem with the food there at all...of course, I was not in this particular school...but there was plenty of carb/proteins to be had, tea eggs are ubiquitous with congee in the morning, ate a lot of bei chow fan with scrambled eggs, tomatoes, and scallions, that was delicious and nutritious...

                            I guess it depends, bringing along a couple cases of those nutrition bars would never be a bad idea, but they all taste weird to me.
                            "Arhat, I am your father..."
                            -the Dark Lord Cod


                            • #15
                              Yeah, plenty of eggs for protein, but I'm a steak, chicken and burger type guy and I just didn't trust the meat at most places. You can only eat so many eggs, before you get sick of them. Specially after your sixth month there!!


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