Middle Kingdom Traditional Kung Fu School Review
This post is a Middle Kingdom Traditional Kung Fu School review. The Middle Kingdom Traditional Kung Fu School is a live-in kung fu training center which focuses on a number of disciplines including Sanda, Jeet Kune Do, Wing Chun and Shaolin.
This Middle Kingdom Traditional Kung Fu School review includes my personal opinions on the living conditions and quality of training. It also includes pictures, sample training schedules and other useful information.
The last stop on my Multi-Cultural China Tour Itinerary involves spending focused time to learn Kung Fu and the Chinese Language. I had decided to do six weeks of Jeet Kune Do (the style Bruce Lee came up with) at the Middle Kingdom Traditional Kung Fu School in Shandong.
During the last semester whilst working at Shunde Polytechnic I have been teaching myself basic Wing Chun and Jeet Kune Do (thanks to Sam Fury’s Fight Training Series. It’s been a good start, but now I wish to learn more, and what better place to learn Kung Fu than in China.
Middle Kingdom Traditional Kung Fu School Review
There are a lot of Kung Fu camps all around China. I chose the Middle Kingdom Traditional Kung Fu School in Shandong because it was the only one I could find that offered Jeet Kune Do and one of the few that offered Wing Chun. It also had an hour of Chinese language lessons four nights a week.
My initial intention was to stay about six weeks at the Middle Kingdom Traditional Kung Fu School but unfortunately I could not get my visa extended (due to an out-of-the ordinary government action stopping foreigners from extending visas for a short period of time). It meant I was only able to stay for just under two weeks. Two weeks was enough time to get a good taste of the training and although it was just a short time I learned a lot, and I’d say about 50-60 percent of it I will incorporate into my personal training routine, especially the technical Jeet Kune Do stuff.
The housing in the Middle Kingdom Traditional Kung Fu school is very liveable. It is cleaned by the students (us) regularly. The rooms are big enough for two and you can get your own one if you want (for a little extra cost). The mattresses are a bit hard but you get used to it. You get a fan, a desk and a cupboard. It is your responsibility to keep your area tidy and it is checked every other day.
The housing I stayed in could house about eight people but there is only one shower and one toilet so you have to wait sometimes. The water went out for a couple of hours once while I was there but this type of thing is normal in China.
The food is good. Lots of vegetables and a good variety. Some fresh fruit is served every other day and there are fruit trees around the campus.
For recreation there is a ping pong table, billiards table, and a chill out room with books, TV, etc. The internet works pretty good most of the time and is available over the whole school.
There is a small shop on the school grounds but I never went in it. I think they sell some random toiletries type stuff, training things and some chocolate bars, coke, etc. There is a village about a 15 minute walk away but no-one there sells fruit regularly. From the village you can catch a bus to the next town (Shan Kou 山口) which has everything you need, or Tai-an 泰安 which is a pretty big city or even Jinan 济南 which is an even bigger city. From Jinan you can catch the train (or plane) to where-ever you want to go in China.
The Middle Earth Kung Fu School offers a number of different training styles which you can learn. Jeet Kune Do, Shaolin, Wing Chun and Sanda (Chinese Kickboxing). They also teach Qi Gong (hard and soft) and a number of Tai Chi disciplines.
You are able to cross train also, e.g., train in Wing Chun in the morning and Jeet Kune Do in the afternoon, or whatever mix you like.
General Training Outline
The basic training schedule is the same for everyone.
At 0600 the siren goes off as a wake up call. You don’t actually have to get up at 0600 but you do have to be ready for warm up at 0630. Being late (for any training session) usually results in some sort of punishment in the form of physical activity.
From 0630 to 0730 is a light warm up followed by Tai Chi and/or soft Qi Gong. I managed to learn a short form of Tai Chi in my short time there.
After that is breakfast and time to get ready before starting your chosen style of Kung Fu training at 0830. There is a more vigorous warm up and a good amount of stretching. Training goes until 1200 and there is a break in the middle.
Noon is lunch and free time until 1430 at which time you repeat the schedule of warm up, stretching and training in your chosen style.
Between 1700 to 1800 is free training, and they also offer some additional instructed training if you want. Different days offer different things such as Qi Gong (hard and soft), acrobatics and Sanda.
At 1830 is dinner and lights out is at 2200 although lights out is not strictly regulated, as long as you are quiet so others can sleep.
Chinese lessons are optional and start at 1915. They are very casual lessons.
Jeet Kune Do Training Outline
I ended up just doing Jeet Kune Do so the following training outline is specific to that. Every week follows the same general outline but with various different exercises. It means you have a general idea of the training you are going to do in each session but what you actually do is not exactly the same so it keeps the training interesting.
AM – General punches (straight punch, back-fist.)
PM – Kicking (Front, side and stomp/scrapes.)
AM – Push-ups, Forearms/Grip training (sandbag), Wing Chun Forms
PM – Hip-opening, Shoalin style leg warm-up/stretches
AM – Speed training, Push punch
PM – Tai chi steps, frog jumps/duckwalk, nunchucks
AM – One armed push-ups, Forearms/Grip training (sandbag), Takedowns,
AM – Finger strengthening, Locks, Punch roll
PM – Core training
AM – Free training
PM – Rest
I never got the chance to spar or try the wooden dummy but it is definitely part of the training for the more experienced.
I never actually tried training in any of the other disciplines but from talking to the other students this is what I gathered.
Shaolin has many forms, fitness training, power stretching and acrobatics. Perhaps they concentrate less on forms than other dedicated Shaolin Schools but you do learn them.
Sanda also has a lot of fitness. I imagine it shares a similar intensity as JKD but with techniques relating more to Muay Thai.
Wing Chun is (in comparison to the others) low intensity in the way of physical fitness training. They do more forms and techniques.
From what I saw, all the Masters are extremely well-qualified in their chosen art and they are all very nice people. In fact, all the staff were very friendly.
With the amount of general conditioning involved (as opposed to just techniques) I really feel that anyone coming to the Middle Kingdom Kung Fu School should stay for at least two months (preferably longer) to really reap the benefits. Even in the short time I was there (only two weeks) I learned a lot and have adjusted my personal training schedule of make use of the new knowledge.
I think the biggest advantages are the access to extremely knowledgeable masters and being able to train with other like-minded and dedicated people. I am already quite disciplined from my time in the forces but if your not than this place will help with that also.
I have not been to any other “full-time” martial arts training schools like this but some of the other students had and from what I gathered the Middle Kingdom Traditional Kung-Fu School ranked pretty high on the list of good ones with good training, good food, good accommodation, flexibility in disciplines and value for money. Actually, I think it is co-owned by a New Zealander who traveled China and other places in the world to figure out the best way to set it up.
As you have probably gathered from this Middle Kingdom Traditional Kung Fu School review I recommend it. If you are thinking of training at Middle Kingdom Traditional Kung Fu School but are not 100% sure, I say just go for it. You might feel some pain in your first week or two but you’ll be happy you did it in the end, I definitely was but wish I could of stayed a bit longer. Perhaps I’ll go back one day.
Do you agree with this Middle Kingdom Traditional Kung Fu School review? Feel free to leave your own Middle Kingdom Traditional Kung Fu School review (or anything else you want to say or ask) in the comments 😀 .