When me and my buddy Bert were leaving Master Hu’s school in April, Bert was saying how much Master Hu liked to travel. “I should invite him to Malaysia” I said, partly as a joke. I barely knew Master Hu really and had only been at the school for 5 days at this point. “Definitely” said Bert “he’d be well up for that”
A few weeks later, back at home, I put the idea to Joël in Switzerland, who deals with all the foreign students, and it was all agreed. As quickly as that. My thinking was it’d be easier to have Master Hu to come and visit me, I’d pay his flight, put him up, feed him, show him round and hopefully get some Kung Fu in exchange. The ball was rolling and the plans were starting to formulate. A message came through, “Do you think you get some people together so Master Hu can get the Kung Fu out to a few more people other than you?” Ah! Problem! Trouble with this is I don’t really know anyone in Malaysia, we hadn’t been there that long, I didn’t teach a class there. Getting some like minded Kung Fu bods together was going to be tricky.
I’d run events before with my shop in the UK so was pretty confident I could put something on and drum up some interest. Plans started chugging along, I set up a Facebook event, got a good little advert running within Facebook, got some leaflets printed up, found a venue, made a little promo video and whatever else was needed as I went along. In the mean time, Master Hu said he’d be bringing one of his top students, Tyson. Tyson is a traditional Kung Fu nut and has taught many of the top foreign students at Master Hu’s, he’s also got good English, so it’d be great to meet him and see what he’s like. I’ve heard he’s full on Kung Fu! So that’s pretty exciting. On top of that Joël said he’d come too. Partly for a Kung Fu holiday, but also to help out. Master Hu doesn’t have any English and Joël is fluent in Chinese so good all round. Joël is also a Kung Fu nut and has been with the school from ages so he’s pretty far along with the style. Great person to meet and train with.
Interest was building and I was starting to panic a little bit. We had 50 people saying they were definitely coming and another 310! people interested on Facebook. I was getting loads of enquires and answering loads of questions. Two of my wife’s friends were flying in from Vietnam for the Master Hu seminar as well. The house was starting to look pretty packed. On top of that my buddy Bert really wanted to come but was a little strapped for cash. I was panicking there would be too many people and, as I am sort of on my own in Malaysia, I decided to take a risk and bought his flight for him. My thinking was the ticket sales would cover the flights so no problem. It was also a bit of ‘rent a friend’ going on too.
The week before the seminar, Master Hu and Tyson arrived at the airport. Due to their visas we had to stay in Singapore for a few days so I took them sightseeing. We visited the National Orchid Garden, Buddha’s Tooth Temple, Merlion park and spent a bit of time shopping. On the second day we picked up Bert and went for Satay by the Bay and to the Supertress. Then back to my house for a bit of down time. Joël arrived the next day and we spent the next two days training Kung Fu and going in the pool. Heaven.
The day of the seminar arrived, I was worrying about the numbers, no one else was, “whatever happens will happen” they kept saying. However many we had, I was really hoping it would go well. It was lovely having everyone in Malaysia and hopefully it could become a thing and be regular event. The other thing I was sorting hoping for was if we had the numbers I might be able to hook up with a few other Kung Fu bods and start a class or at least a group of people to regularly train with. But it was not to be. The event was a wash out. Only three people came, in fact there were more teachers than participants. I was gutted, beyond gutted, I felt a little ashamed, I’d been hyping up the event and in my mind, justifiably from the numbers we had on Facebook and nothing came of it. I waited for latecomers but there were none. Couldn’t believe it. How can there be that much interest and so few people turn up? It was bonkers. Even now writing this a few months later I still can’t get my head round it. Maybe Johor Bahru is not ready for it yet, maybe people aren’t interested, maybe people just like clicking stuff on Facebook they have no idea about. God only knows.
After I got over myself the weekend was actually really good, the venue would have been way too small for even 30 people so that worked out well and we got really good one-to-one tuition. There was a really good spread of Chinese speaking and English speaking people so Joël didn’t have to act as translator the whole time and we all got loads of training in. I managed to pretty much learn Cha Hua (Luohan 18 hands) and go some new Gong Fa drills or ‘skills’. Stuff I have been looking for ever since I left Lee style Kung Fu about 10 years ago, something Shaolin Temple Kung Fu doesn’t seem to have.
And as quickly as that it was finished, Master Hu and Tyson flew home, Joël a few days after that and Bert stayed on for another 3 weeks, partly to keep me company in my Malaysian isolation and also, and more importantly, to train more Kung Fu, geek out on Kung Fu and fill the rest of the time chatting about Kung Fu. Post seminar I’m money poorer, Kung Fu richer, friends made, good memories. Happy Days.