Martial Arts Training in China: Chinese Kung Fu Schools

There are various martial arts styles that are taught in China and come under the broad umbrella of Kung fu or Wushu. These styles developed in China over centuries and incorporate various philosophies, legends and religious elements along with the physical training part.

Chinese Kung Fu Schools

Classification of Chinese martial arts

Chinese martial arts classification is diverse due to the diverse history of China. Geographically we can divide the styles into northern and southern styles.

The styles focusing primarily on the qi manipulation are termed internal arts, while the ones focusing more on the physical aspect are called external styles.

Chinese martial arts schools in China

Nothing can be obtained better from anywhere other than the source itself. There is apparently no comparison of Kung fu that’s practiced in China with the rest of the world. So the practitioners who’re serious about acquiring some serious skills and knowledge of martial arts can get the training from the martial arts academies inside China that welcome the foreign students and have organized and streamlined the stuff for them. Some of the academies include:

1. Northern China Si Ping City Shao Lin Marital Arts Academy

They claim to be the first martial arts academy in China to open their doors for foreign students with courses specifically designed and tailored for them and include courses for both beginners and seasoned martial artists.

The academy is located in a rural region with an address:

Che wen long
Siping City Shao Lin Martial Arts Academy
Ye He Ancient castle, Siping city, Jilin Province
P R China
Postal code:136523

2. Tianmeng Kung Fu Academy

Tianmeng Kung Fu Academy, founded in 2009, is located at footstep of Tianmeng mountain and Tianmeng National park in the Shandong province of China.

They claim to train using authentic methods of teaching Kung Fu. They train the stuents in the art of Meihua quan, which was secretly handed down in China for thousand of years. Meihua quan also includes training between and on special Meihua poles.

They provide training in various famous styles of Kung Fu including:

  • Shaolin quan
  • Wing chun
  • Sanda
  • Tai Chi
  • Xingyi quan
  • Qigong
  • Bagua zhang

The address of this academy is:

Tianmeng Kung Fu Academy
Zhangzhuang Town
Feixian, Shandong Province

3. Kunya Mountain Shaolin Martial Arts Academy

Located in Kunyu district, the academy provides courses for foreign students for up to a year. The Kunya mountain Shaolin Martial arts academy teaches traditional Shaolin martial arts and their facility has been authorized by the Ministry of Education Sports Department of China too along with acknowledgement by the local government.

  • Their training includes a lot of stuff, such as:
  • Wing Chun, Tai Chi, Preying mantis
  • Sanda, kickboxing, Xingyi fist
  • Shaolin Kung Fu
  • Calligraphy, acupuncture and massage

The academy is located at:

Kunyu Mountain Shaolin Martial Arts Academy
Kunyu District

Red Theatre Kung Fu Show

These, and various other academies in China provide martial arts training and welcome foreigners. However before proceeding on training to any of these academies, make sure that they serve the desired purpose and teach what interests you, as not all academies might be teaching what you’re looking for. Also perform a thorough ground check and do your homework before choosing any academy too.

As for those who are stil new to the ways of Kung Fu, and perhaps traveling around China. A wonderful place for martial artist inspiration is at the Beijing Kung Fu Show, which shows you what it’s all about in a form of a show spectacle. While it’s not for the serious of practicioners, creating acts that are meant to look good rather than showcase the most original disciplines. Nevertheless the show at the Red Theatre venue is well worth it and high on our list of recommendations on fun things to do in Beijing. Have fun and stay safe while traveling in China. It’s a ball out there!

Beijing vs Shanghai: Differences in Architecture, Culture & People

Beijing and Shanghai are China’s two most widely recognized and arguably most important cities; one being China’s capital and political center and the other being China’s economic center and financial conduit to the rest of the world. In this short article we compare two of China’s and the world’s largest metropolitan centers and help you understand the differences between their architecture, culture and most importantly people.



The physical spaces of Shanghai and Beijing are worlds apart and reveal a great deal of China’s history and where it as a country is headed in the future. Much of the architecture in Beijing’s center is in the Soviet style with massive and imposing block like structures patrolled by blank faced guards from the Peoples’ Republic Army. It seems as if the goal of many of the designs of buildings in Beijing is to instill an air of authority and occupy/control as much space as possible. Architecture in downtown Shanghai is completely different in this respect with its skyscrapers looking upwards and being stylistically modern and with a global feel. The objective of the architecture of Shanghai’s center is to promote it as being a cosmopolitan city with global links and connections.



The culture as well as the buildings in Beijing and Shanghai of course plays a massive part in making these two cities unique and different from one another. Firstly the styles of cuisine are worlds apart with Shanghainese food being lightly flavored and at times sweet in comparison to the heavy flavors of sauces used in many Beijing dishes. In other respects Shanghai is seen by many in China as the fashion capital in China due to its international connections and flavor. Beijing on the other hand is generally accepted as the art capital of China as it has a varied and busy music, art and performance scene.



Shanghai and Beijing have had a long standing rivalry in China with the citizens in both cities at times looking down on their northern/southern counterparts. In general Beijingers often see people from Shanghai as being overly obsessed with money, greedy and tricky when doing business. As the stereotype goes Shanghai men are controlled by their “dragon-lady” wives who bully them into making as much money as possible by any means necessary. Conversely people from Shanghai often look down on people from Beijing as being uncultured and uneducated “country bumpkins” who may have made it off the farm but have still retained their rough peasant ways!

Chinese New Year Celebrations Acrobatic Show Innovations!

Chinese Acrobats go Wow!

So we asked you guys where we should go for our next destination. To be honest, we had already decided where to go.. but were thinking that if any OTHER good ideas would come up.. we could put that in the later box of places to go. Sorry, it was not our intention to mislead you or anything.. we were just having fun. Since the only place we could even think of at that moment was the amazing new year in China. We headed straight to Beijing for the celebrations.. and it’s been a crazy few days with people enjoying the festivities around the clock. Yet the party has just started, as it will be a week long thing. We are in Beijing, and what we can see now different from previous years is that there are more and more people who don’t go to the countryside but choose to stay in Beijing. Of course, there has always been a big population of original Beijingers that don’t have to move to be in their birth place. So what has happened.. the trend of people from the countryside like parents and other folks, to come to Beijing and enjoy the comforts of a new year in a city. Now that is actually creating some balance between the move of people.. not just everyone wanting to leave the city. But actually some people wanting to go in as well. But it’s far from perfect and still to leave the city is pretty chaotic. That’s why we are definitely not moving anywhere from Beijing.. and will have to listen to the fire crackers for a whole week. It’s fun but, can be tiring so watch out if you are planning to come here.

Basically the deal is that you wonder around the city at night, looking at people blow things up.. you go to restaurants, drink a lot, eat a lot, chat a lot. And well.. that’s about it! If you would go to the countryside, you have more more traditional stuff going on. But in the city of Beijing, it’s all about the exiting nightlife. Which of course, is very enjoyable for tourists and other visitors because you can enjoy your time very easily. If you have the energy that is! It’s equally understandable that some choose to leave the city, or even the country for a peace of mind… but for us, it’s fun, fun, fun.

And since the nightlife is at it’s best during the week, we went to see the Chinese acrobatic show everyone is talking about. Located at the Chaoyang District of Beijing, this is the premier acrobatic theater known as Chaoyang Theater. We previously reviewed this amazing venue, but felt that it needs another visit. Well, it’s just one of those things in the city, that you want to go to everytime.. or more like have to go for us. This time, the theater atmosphere was very special, and we were absolutely loaded with a sense of exitement that we never felt before. It was probably after eating all that great food, including a special neck delicacy from a duck which we are not sure if it’s locally produced. At least we stayed away from the giant penis that was offered to us by the next door table… and in stead, ended up doing something even worse. Which is a lot of “Ganbei” drinks. Basically it kind of means “cheers”, but the actual meaning is more like “bottoms up”.. when people are in the festive mode, they come up to you and say ganbei!! If you return the word, you will have to do as they say and drink up buddy. Expect to get super drunk from hard Chinese wine.. which has a way bigger alcohol percentage than western wine. In fact, it has little to do with it since the color is clear.

Therefore we were feeling the effects of festivity pretty hard core as we entered the beautiful and old Chaoyang Theatre to see the Beijing acrobats. While not sure if everyone else was in the same “mood”, it felt like we were just one big group of football hooligans chearing for the team or in this case, acrobatic troupe. Or was it “Peking Acrobatics”, I do not exactly remember.. either way, we were up for it and decided to stand up throughout the most of the performance. And while this is starting to sound like a drunken story, it’s not just that but in fact a beautiful way to unite with the Chinese population. This acrobatic show deserves the merit of a thousand Peking ducks! We are still wondering how could they ever manage to make all those amazing feats.. I could almost imagine myself on the stage, performing for the crowd. Just imagine, how that would feel like.. to be on the top of the world. And all during the flashy Chinese new year!

Do check out the fantastic acrobatic show video on YouTube we found below if you don’t believe us. Although it will only give you a small glimpse of the big picture. Enjoy..



All we could say was, “wow”. Best of all innovation had struct the troupe, since the flow of the show had been improved tremendously. This experience made us think that 2015 is going to be alright.

Happy Chinese new year everyone,

Anaya & the bunch.

Where do you want us to go!?

Airport control tower

It’s been some years that we have been running the travel blog. While we haven’t been as active as we would have wanted or intended to.. still we have had the opportunity to share important destinations with you all. It’s really been a pleasure and we will continue to produce quality content for you guys. Be it that you are interested in travel and just starting out or a professional backpacker doesn’t matter really. Our content is intended to be a pleasure for everyone, and especially us because we so enjoy writing it. In fact, because you guys have been so great and stayed on board with us.. we wanted you to tell us what destination you would like us to cover. The limitation being that it’s somewhere in China, South Korea or Japan. If we get an idea that inspires us, we will do it and report back to you with a blog post. Sounds great? Great!

So forget your pens and papers.. just use the comment form below and you could be in for a treat. We have been lying on our asses for enough time now so it’s about time we hop on an airplane and do something about it. Now that the Chinese new year is kicking in, we are feeling the power of the new winds and the moon. It’s the time of the year again, to travel, explore and best of all learn something about ourselves on the way. Oh! And almost forgot, produce amazing blog posts of course.

Also if there is any kind of feedback you would like to leave us, concerning the travel ball directory.. please do. We are all ears, eyes and brains for your suggestions. You never know what ideas we might get for the website. Just like backpacking, you just gotta keep moving on. Life is not some fixed thing, we must adapt change and enjoy every second of it. Tells about it in the comments, please!

Thanks. Yours sincerely,
Travel Ball Staff.

Ancient Peking Opera at Huguang Guild Hall

Huguang Guild Hall

We are often asked, if you go to Beijing, which Peking Opera venue should you choose. I have to say, that it is a very difficult question as there are so many well respected theatres out there. All of them are very old, because a new theatre would never survive in such a competitive performing art industry. Therefore you can expect each and every one of them to have a close connection with tradition and often with tradition comes skill.

But it’s good to know that there are many different styles of opera as well as different school of thought. Meaning that each theatre will have it’s unique style of what version or aspect of opera do they want to bring their visitors. So it really comes down to the question, what kind of Opera do you like?

But for those who like to see a truly ancient and famous theatre, that is most popular with Chinese  opera fans we recommend The Huguang Guild Hall opera theatre. It is known as the most renowned Peking Opera theatre in Beijing. It was founded in 1807, also making it one of the oldest that are still standing in the city. While the performances are not the most humorous or light hearted. Expect a lot of singing and dancing.. but that being said, these performances are some of the most beautiful and elegant. So if you like western opera, you will most likely love it’s Peking equivalent.

Head on to Xuanwu District in Beijing for your culture dose. See you at the Huguang Guild Hall!

Exited About Kyoto

Kyoto View

All over Japan you can see the modern collide with tradition, but there are some places that remain somewhat unspoiled. At least in terms of general appearance when looking at the typical street view. This place is Kyoto and it’s one of the most popular turistic destinations in Japan.

It’s packed with old houses, one after another.. in fact the whole city is one big wooden museum. But there is a lot to the city than just visiting temples and shrines, the city has a big student population as well as hosts a wide variety of artists, artisans and those who think out of the box. It’s the melting pot of creativity with one contradiction however that is unique to the city.

The old people who live there have a very traditional style of living, especially in ways of thining. Appearance is important to the peope of Kyoto and many rules of conduct as well as behavior can be observed. While the young people have to obey some of these rules, the already blooming artistic culture has it’s totally new way of thinking. It wishes to create new, while respecting tradition and picking up the customs that are benefitial.. the first step is to understand them, and later on transform these ideas into benefitial concepts in modern society.

Indeed, Kyoto is an exiting place to visit and live in Japan!

The Brilliant Shanghai is a Must

For those traveling to China, even the once that are mostly interested in tradition.. do not dare to miss one of the greatest cities in the world.. The Chinese pride of Shanghai. This port town has seen the light of wealth starting from it’s early days sense the war.

We had the pleasure of teaming up with Show Shanghai to find out just what this city is about. To our surprise it was much more than skyscrapers and shopping malls. Shanghai is all about it’s people who are in the midst of all the commercial buzz, still very Chinese. But wherever you go in the country, you can different personalities and different kinds of people. For the Shanghanese, their mentality is very relaxed and close to the warm sea breeze.

Indeed the first thing that will change when you arrive to the city is the air. Despite the sea not being very clean and very unpopular amongst tourists, you can still get a gentle warm breeze that makes the atmosphere of a big city rather pleasing.

We loved the contrast between the tall buildings and the dirty streets which offers tourists the possibility of taking their pick among many things. Especially the restaurant life as well as other nightlife offers much variety within the well lit up streets.

If you are staying for more than a day or two, then checking out an Acrobatic Show in Shanghai is an absolute must for most visitors. There are other shows as well, but the acrobatics is probably the best entertainer in the city.

After catching a show, just head on to the nightlife or visit some traditional temples that are still left within the city. This city is to be enjoyed, but budgets are flexible for those with less or more money to spend while traveling. Just remember this one rule, don’t miss Shanghai if you are in China!

Here are a couple of interesting pictures of what kind situations you can except to encounter on your visit. As you can see the mix of scenery is vast!

Show Shanghai

Show Shanghai

Show Shanghai

Show Shanghai

Japanese World of Yurukyara 「ゆるきゃら」and Tobitakun [とび太くん」

彦根市 ゆるきゃら

Just recently Japan celebrated the biggest Yurukyara (ゆるきゃら) festival in Japan. Yurukara refers to mascot characters in Japanese. Yurui meaning gentle and Kyara meaning character. These characters are indeed soft and cuddly.. as well as most of them look adorable.

At the Hikone (彦根市) festival, the most famous mascots from all over Japan gathered together for their loyal fans in 2013. All kinds of events take place, but most importantly this is the chance for fans to buy goods of their favorite mascots such as stickers, t-shirts, pens, posters and books.


One of the most interesting characters at the event was Tobitakun (とび太くん) which is already 40 years of age! But he hasn’t been a yurukyara all this time, instead the face is more known from street corners and intersections around Shiga (滋賀県) and surrounding areas. The purpose of tobitakun, is to remind drivers to be careful not to run into accidents. Especially concerning smaller kids who are crossing the row.

Because it’s historical significant as the first of such characters in Japan, there are already numerous fans around the country. Also the tobitakun goods being sold are becoming popular. See their homepage for more information.

On The Road

The road is filled with captivating moments which are hard to capture with a camera. But the feeling on the road is something that most of us have experienced and share feelings with. When you see that long strip of road and know that there is something waiting for you at the end of it.. it’s the indescribable feeling that you will hopefully feel when you see these great pictures we took “on the road”…

On The Road On The Road On The Road On The Road On The Road On The Road

A trip to Beijing Opera and one of it’s homes the Liyuan Theatre

The Opera Beijing or traditionally known as Peking Opera (in Chinese: 京剧) is far from the western traditional sense of the word, in fact it is sometimes refered as “oriental opera”. It is a deeply cultural Chinese artform of which name originates from where it has been formed. Therefore it is is a mix of old Chinese opera forms that came together in the melting pot of the capital city. One of the most long standing Peking Opera theaters in Beijing is the Liyuan Theatre venue in the Xicheng District of Beijing. Previously known as the Xuanwu District, it is said to be the birthplace of Peking Opera.

The history of Opera in Beijing is more than 200 years old. The longest treasable roots are of the Hui Opera, which first came to Beijing in 1790. It was performed to entertain the emperor and other high officials, soon it became implemented in local culture and also ordinary people could watch the show which evolved to what is still up to this day.

It’s influence has even been significant later in other Opera forms around China. Therefore it is undoubetly one of the most famous performing art forms in the whole of the republic.

Beijing Opera is a comprehensive spectacle that combines many different art forms into one. For example, reading, singing, performing, martial arts, dancing are all parts of the act. The performance is a well intricate balance of the feminen and the masculine, also known as Jing & Yang.

To catch one of these incredible shows, head on to 175 Yongan Road (address In Chinese: 北京市西城区永安路175号). You may also spend the night at the luxirous and classic Qianmen Jianguo Hotel (chinese name: 前门建国饭店) which hosts the Liyuan Theatre venue.

If you are not yet convinced, have a look at some of these amazing shots from the act!

Liyuan Theatre Act

Liyuan Theatre Beijing Opera

Liyuan Theatre Peking Opera

Liyuan Theatre Performance

Liyuan Theatre hosts daily shows at 7:30PM the famous Peking Opera venue. See the official website where you can reserve your seats before the show. Tickets are also available at the hotel before the show, yet there is no guarantee that any tickets are left during the high season. See more information at Thank you!