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  • Apparently Shi De Cheng's coming back on the 16th of the month or sometime around period with Yong Hui I imagine. I will give it to you, you were right about it being hot, especially on the fifth floor where the heat is especially oppressive.

    Jia Hao's having relations now, so it seems, with one of the tea shop girls; he's denying anything happened but Yu Fei's keeping me updated. The atmosphere has changed a lot in the past month, Li Shiang left to Zhengzhou to study English for his entrance exams, and a new student came to the school, he's very outspoken and loud, I can just see that being disciplined out of him by Jia Hao.

    You back at college now James, or are in the hotel with your uncle? You know Yu Fei was talking about you yesterday when I was tutoring him, he can't wait for you to help him find a job in Canada!
    Take it easy, Josh


    • The long awaited, highly anticipated, exclusive conclusion to the Shaolin saga, that seems now to be known as "Josh's Journal".

      I'll pick up where we left off... the final month of the three month stint in Shaolin.


      I've got to say by the time it rolled around to May/June, my enthusiasm for kung fu was dwindling. If it wasn't apparent enough in my previous posts, whole days spent learning kung fu had lost their appeal and I traded it in for a more balanced lifestyle, tempered with karaoke bars, fishing, and even a small romance with the tea shop girl from next door.
      Only when I had made a life of where I was living, the school, did I feel completely comfortable there; and only in my last month did I really get to experience the fruits of two prior months of labour, learning a foreign (in the truest sense) language, culture and people.

      Long story short, I didn't do much kung fu in that last month, in fact I did tai ji, but I didn't do even much of that. I became the lazy foreigner that I had seen in James when I had first arrived but couldn't understand; although I understand it now. Don't get me wrong, I went to class, however my focus had shifted from kung fu to getting a girlfriend (good advice Doc, you're right, it really does improve your Chinese) and then improving my Chinese. I'm very glad I stuck it out the three months; the friendships I've since made, as well as the memories, are, and will always be treasured by me. My point is, is that, if you are thinking about a long stay in the Orient, in Shaolin, in Dengfeng, you should consider integrating every aspect into your life/lifestyle, not only kung fu. A nine hour day, six days a week (not at DeCheng's, but you can find it in other Dengfeng schools) is great for a month, but what kind of life is that? I'm not saying it can't be done, and I was lucky enough to meet an Englishman who did it for four years (in Wudangshan of all places) between a number of schools in Dengfeng, but the vast majority of foreigners I've met find that sweet spot when they're living the kung fu dream with the social and just as importantly, romantic elements allowed to fall into place.

      Halfway through June the school recieved an inundation of Americans, including your friend Dimitri Doc. I, now as the resident foreigner, had the pleasure of showing them (there was a family from Illinois doing the kung fu trail) around Dengfeng. At this point my Chinese and more importantly, my bargaining skills were more refined and together we had a lot of fun buying their knick-knacks. There was also another American who was planning on staying in China to train for six months, whose outlook was very similar to mine when I first arrived. Hanging out with them really demonstrated to me the contrast between myself only months earlier and the Chinese shit-talking 'laowai' I had become.

      DeCheng came back in my final week, it was nice to spend some personal time with him. In a way, it was all the more special learning from him because of the celebrity-like status he's given, and living in a school for three months with his posters, photos and medals strewn around the place, I felt fortunate to even have the time I did with him. Before we parted he bestowed upon me one of the vests with his school logo and his mantis DVD, which was lovely and unexpected.

      By the time the 20th of June came, I felt ready. The whole school turned out (don't be too amazed, remember it's a small school!) as well as the other main friends I had made. I sobbed all the way through my goodbyes, especially with my main older coach (coach D) and the kids. Yu Fei and his parents were driving me to Zhengzhou to find a train and as I cried and said my goodbyes from the window of the car, all I heard was 'mosi, mosi' (Henanese for no problem); the personal joke between me and the kids at the school. Boarding the train was no different, I saw off 'aunty' and 'uncle', two very loving people who had made me feel very welcome in their home and in China and together Yu Fei and I walked to the platform. As I hug him he tears up, hugs me and says, "We cannot, we is man", after which he betrays a few stray tears. I boarded the train and left for Wudangshan.


      I'll write up the Wudangshan journal.. soon


      • very nice, interesting though what exactly made your interest for training gung fu "dwindle" was it the fact that you didnt like training fulltime or just training with them at shaolin?

        alot of people dont train fulltime and dont want to untill they do it for awhile, and also dont realise how much hardwork is involved in gung fu and its repetitiveness
        "did you ask me to consider dick with you??" blooming tianshi lotus


        • i think ur right maestro, but, for many at shaolin specifically, i seems to go down that way as the 'smoke' clears.

          anyhow, thanks for sharing josh. i imagine you'll enjoy and appreciate your experience even more as you learn chinese and understand traditional culture. it may be interesting for you to find a teacher/master somewhere outside of a school environment, that you trust, etc...

          just a thought...



          • That was very informative, Josh. I can definately see how a trip to a place you've always wanted to go to for the purpose of doing something specific can become boring until you open up to all that is there.


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