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
Manager
Siping City Shao Lin Martial Arts Academy
Ye He Ancient castle, Siping city, Jilin Province
P R China
Postal code:136523
Website: http://www.shaolins.com/

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
China

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
Yantai
China

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.

Architecture

Architecture

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.

Culture

Culture

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.

People

People

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.

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!

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

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 http://www.liyuantheatreopera.com Thank you!

Shows in Beijing: Red Theatre Kung Fu Show

We have reviewed quite a few night shows from Beijing but couldn’t help thinking that some event is missing… In fact I cant believe we haven’t reviewed this sooner, but here it is. The Travel Ball Directory is presenting to you the magnificent Kung Fu Show Beijing which when looking for something with action and tradition will be your best choice.

Probably everyone has seen Kung Fu artists doing some incredible stunts on a TV program or a movie. Not until one sees that stuff live, you realize what mad skills they possess. The show at the Beijing Red Theater however is much more than that, it’s a well balanced choreographic and beautiful play. There is a story, actors, dancers, lights the crowd goes wild and we have a standing ovation every single night when the performance is made.

This show needs little introduction in text form and should not only be admired in pictures & video but also visited on the spot. Please enjoy the carefully selected pictures.

Two young kung fu practisioners posting in front of a big chinese drum

Young kung fu practitioners.

The Show has some incredibly talented children as actors. These are kids who have practically started to practice Kung Fu since they could stand, this is the only way to become so good in such a fast time. They also have a bright future ahead of them as adult actors.

The theater building itself is very impressive. Surrounded by a maze of steel bars, the building comes to light with the red lights shooting out of the building.

These actors have every reason to feel proud of their job and so it is reflected on their poses. Also a traditional Kung Fu performance would not be complete without the Chinese dragon dance!

A wise old man in the story, looks after the young one in his journey into becoming a Kung Fu master. Touching story with many lessons to learn even for the viewer.

Chaoyang Theatre Has Returned From Its Winter Sleep

Worries over the future of the Chaoyang Theatre in Beijing have settled as the theatre has finally made its comeback after more than a month of absence. As the touristic season is starting to kick in Beijing, at Chaoyang they have prepared with an improved and dazzling show. We at travel ball went to have a look and found ourselves impressed and moved in the midst of the fully packedtheatre. Many old visitors are expected to come and see the show again.

The show filled with color consists of the following 8 parts.

A young woman jumps on top of a wooden trampoline that’s lifted in the sky. She makes the most amazing loops and tricks in the air, with no support or safety mechanism.

An elegant ballet scene where a girl and a boy make jumping and balancing on top of each other look unrealistically easy. The girl balances herself on top of the boys forehead, using only the tip of her foot!

A man balances himself on numerous chairs and climbs until the roof of the stage, making dangerous stunts.

The steps trick where a skillful acrobat jumps steps up and down, while upside down and using only the hand to lift him!

The comedy hat trick is a very funny and playful scene where 8 guys practically fly around the room chasing after their hats in the air.

Traditional Chinese umbrella act where women use extreme precision to balance umbrellas with their feet. Sometimes many at the same time.

The Chaoyang classic where you can see how many women can ride a single bicycle at the same time, while maintaining their smile:)

The biggest addition to the performance is the iron ball. A crazy motor cycle stunt that you must go to see to believe it.

Shows in Beijing: Legend of Jinsha

We would like to take this opportunity to present to you another acrobatic spectacle in Beijing. Less known than the Chaoyang performance but it also has had a very long run of more than 10 years in the Beijing Workers’ Club.

These experienced Chinese acrobats have had time to perfect their skills and is now the best show running. This is because sadly the Chaoyang Theatre has been closed, for “renovation”. As everyone waits for news on what’s going to happen to the future of the most famous Acrobatic show in Beijing: “The Flying Acrobatic Show”. Some doubt that Chaoyang might even have to relocate since they are located right in the middle of the business district of Beijing. Which is not a good location for older buildings as far as the city construction policy is concerned.

But this is a great time to get to know the many other great acrobatic performances in Beijing of which Legend of Jinsha is definitely up there with all the best shows. However the future of even this show is still unclear location wise. Beijing Workers’ Club is an old building surrounded by an old area with still hutongs and the original buzzling Beijing life! So why not catch a glimps of the area while your at it.

Also Chaoyang being pretty expensive this show is a more inexpensive option for an acrobatic show.

See their website at http://www.thelegendofjinsha.com

The show has a lot of female performers

Some performers are very young yet incredibly skilled

A lot of acts are with a lot of stretchy stuff

Human pyramid

Shows in Beijing: Chaoyang Theatre

A small girl already as good as any highly trained professional.

The acrobatic show in Beijing is not for those who are firm believers in the laws of physics. Swaying from chair to chair by piling them on top of each other only using the corner of the foot of the chair while hula hoops whirl in the feet is the kind of daring action one might except at the show. I will introduce to you one of the best shows that Beijing has to offer.

The theatre is HUGE and that jump is HUGE.

The style of Chinese acrobatics differ from the west in that it is very traditional and based on the honor of your own body. To this day it continues to respect the few thousand year old history of Chinese acrobatics. It all began from the times of the tang-dynasty, when performances were played out on the streets. This is why a lot of common day objects are used even up to this day. The difference from todays Acrobatics is that the stunts are trained to the ultimatum (yes, it’s too late for you to compete..:-) and are done indoors. Such as the most famous acrobatics theatre in Beijing, the Chaoyang Theatre.

Prepared to be surrounded by beauty at the show.

Common objects are tables, cups, plates, chairs and bicycles. Bicycles have become a favorite and one of the main highlights of the show in Chaoyang. The stunt involves dozens of bicycles and even greater number of women who join together for a ride of a lifetime. Not to spoil to much of the show I will let the rest be a surprise. Two shows are performed daily and throughout the year. First show at 5:15 and another one later in the evening at 7:15. One might think that such a physical strain would wear them off. Actually the second evening show which we recommend can be even better as the performers are well exercised and in tune.

The famous bicycle stunt: Oops, is that one more woman going to fit or not.

The price ranges all the way from 180 to 880 yuan. The cheapest tickets are reserved quickly, so it is recommended to book at least a day before the show. Like many theaters in China, the Chaoyang Theatre relies on a commission based deal with tour companies all around China. That’s why there are many discount ticket services available, which have significantly lower prices than the box office.

You can get discount tickets at the following websites:

http://www.chaoyangacrobaticshow.com

http://maytoursbeijing.info/beijing-acrobatic-show-tickets

Now for some more goodies.

These guys can jump through anything.

This stunt with the mouth leaves you breathless. Remember to breath with your nose!