I had been in Malaysia almost an entire year and had only managed to catch up with the people who had visited from the UK. I couldn’t wait to get back and see everyone have a summer of kung fu but also to get to some classe and train with people. Training with other people is my favourite part of Kung Fu, the atmosphere, the friendships. I love how Kung Fu brings people together.
We were there for 7 weeks, so it was loads of time to get round all the usual places. First stop was Bristol Shaolin, run by Neil Genge. Neil’s been teaching forever and it so nice to be back. Nothing had changed much, same old same old, lots of line work, kicks, walking drills, forms, but lovely to see everyone and go for a nice cup of tea and cake afterwards.
After that it was some Chen style Tai Chi. There is a theory that Chen style evolved out of Shaolin many moons ago and there are quite a few similarities, some of the forms are pretty similar apparently. Frank Pring who teaches this class is super nice, he runs a chilled relaxed class and there’s always time for push hands at the end, which even though I’m appalling at I think is the most important things for me to practice at this class.
After that it was a trip round Neil’s house, he’s got his own mini temple looking training space and I really wanted to nail down some short forms and drills that I could teach to kids when I get back to Malaysia. I’ve been thinking about a kids class for some time so now was the time to get a mini syllabus worked out and make sure I have enough to teach the rug rats.
After that it was meeting up with various different Kung Fu friends, I met up with my buddy Brian who’s trained for longer than I have and now does XingYi. Not a very common style at all and we tend to train our own things in the park, while chatting and making fun of each others styles. Next it was Andy Newey, who I used to do Tai Chi and Kung Fu with years ago. We went off on our own paths for a bout 10 years and have sort of ended up in similar places again. I always rope Andy into a bit of Push hands as his root is amazing and he’s happy to help me out with mine, rather than just shoving me over every 2 seconds.
I managed to squeeze in about 5 sessions a week, which didn’t come cheap but was well worth it, and as quickly as I had settled in, it was gone and we’re on the plane back to Malaysia. Can’t wait to get back and hopefully it won’t the a year this time.