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There were not many people at the school, maybe around ten. Most of the students went to the competition or were traveling. My dad and I arrived on the same day as a german girl and a guy from Angola. She became my roommate, and he became my father’s roommate. The first week every newcomer trained with Master Du. It was almost all day learning Shaolin customs and Shaolin Kung Fu basics. Below, I present all the Shaolin Kung Fu basics that I have learned during my first year of training in China.

Greetings in Kung Fu

Coming to Shaolin School, I had to learn that each time before and after the class, and also when I meet any of the Masters, I should show him respect – bow and hold my hands in greeting lotus position.

行礼 [xíng lǐ] – greeting lotus/ Kung Fu salute

The other common greeting in Kung Fu is called the Baoquan ceremony. I was introduced to it a bit later when I performed the forms in front of the Masters. Also, during the competition, the performer has to use this bow to greet the judges.

抱拳礼 [bào quán lǐ] – Baoquan ceremonysourceS1

Hand Forms

Shaolin Kung Fu Basics

冲床 [chōng chuáng] – long fist; horizontal punchS1S14

推掌 [tuī zhǎng] – push palmS2S14

勾顶 [gōu dǐng] – hook handS14

Five Stances

Shaolin Kung Fu Basics

马步 [mǎ bù] – horse stanceS2

弓步 [gōng bù] – bow stanceS2

仆步 [pú bù] – flat stanceS2 

虚步 [xū bù] – empty stanceS5

歇步 [xiē bù] – rest stanceS2 

High Kicks

Shaolin Kung Fu Basics

正踢腿 [zhèng tī tuǐ] – front kickS3

外摆腿 [wài bǎi tuǐ] – outside circle kickS3

里合腿 [lǐ hé tuǐ] – inside circle kickS3

侧踢腿 [cè tī tuǐ] – sidekickS3


The missing masters and some old students arrived. We were welcomed and presented to everybody. I became a student of Master Yu – a very flexible, skinny Kung Fu Performer. Before, he had traveled with a Kung Fu team around the world. His kicks and jumps were very impressive.

Being assigned to a Master meant as well that I was assigned to my final group. There was no more separation between advanced and beginners. As so, during the Kung Fu Basics class, we were set in rows, and everybody was performing the same routine. This meant four high kicks, two snap kicks, push kick, slap kick with jumping slap kick, and new basics, which we – newcomers – had to still learn.

Low Kicks

Shaolin Kung Fu Basics

弹腿 [tán tuǐ] – snap kickS4

蹬腿/ 蹬脚 [dēng tuǐ] / [dēng jiǎo] – push kickS3

The Chinese names of the two kicks presented above refer only to the position of the feet. In our training, we do a snap kick with a punch (left image) and a push kick with a push palm (right image).

单拍脚 [dān pāi jiǎo] slap kickS6

单拍脚加二提[dān pāi jiǎo jiā èr tí jiǎo]

3 x (right leg, left leg slap kick → Jump slap kick) → MaBu


Shaolin Kung Fu Basics

前扫腿 [qián sǎo tuǐ] – front sweepS3

后扫腿 [hòu sǎo tuǐ] – back sweepS3

4 Ma Bu → Gong Bu Basics

Shaolin Kung Fu Basics

I personally call it Ma Bu → Gong Bu Basics because this is what they are about. They train us to use Ma Bu → Gong Bu positions while punching.

My Master would call them:

步法练习 [bù fǎ liàn xí] – the literal translation is step training.

1. 弓步斜形 [gōng bù xié xíng] – which would be translated as bow stance diagonal shape. We never, though, use this English translation.

2. Ma Bu change Gong Bu Punch, Kick Punch & Ma Bu Punch…

3. Ma Bu Block change Gong Bu Punch

4. 上步斜角冲床 [shàng bù xié jiǎo chōng chuáng] – 45° Ma Bu → Gong Bu Punch

Shaolin Kung Fu Advanced Basics

Over time, we learned more advanced routines. I really enjoyed it.

翻腰 [fānyāo] – waist wheeling exerciseS3

仆步穿掌 [pū bù chuān zhǎng] – pubu stance with threading palmS4


旋风脚 [xuàn fēng jiǎo] – tornado kickS3

Its advanced version is called whirlwind kick. See how it looks in the video below:

腾空外摆腿 [téng kōng wài bǎi tuǐ] – lotus kickS3

侧空翻 [cè kōng fān] – aerialS3

ultimately, but for now 侧手翻 [cè shǒu fān] – cartwheel

腾空飞脚 [téng kōng fēi jiǎo] – flying slap kickS3

Although I got used to the Master Du way of teaching during one week, with the next few days, I started to like Master Yu and appreciate being in his group.

This was when the training started according to the schedule (see my training plan below). Each morning at 6 a.m., everybody had to show up to line up.

Soon, the days became shorter and nights longer. For this reason, after two months, the school abolished the rule. The strict lineup was at 8:30 a.m. Both morning and afternoon Tai Chi classes were optional. For me, there was no other option than to participate in every possible class. Thus, I ended up with around six-seven hours of diversified training a day. Which was equal to 30-35 hours of physical activity a week. Below you can see the length of each class, the time of day I had it, and the total time of training a day.

The strict lessons were 6 hours a day. Sometimes, I extended it by staying after the classes, doing exercises to strengthen my abs or/and improve my handstand. This is where the additional hour of training comes from. It was the first three months when I trained between the classes almost every day. The reason for that was my training companion – Sif, the girl from Denmark. After she left, I stopped doing it.

Sif arrived a couple of days after me. We were each other’s motivators. Each time, running, doing abs, push-ups, or spider crawl, we tried to be faster than the other, pushing ourselves over the limits. I was upset when she left the school.


At the end of the day, the mandarin class was available. But the school made a rule that the course would take place only when three people were present. Many students had a good attitude to learn the Chinese language at first. However, as they started to train intensively, most of them gave it up.

Learning mandarin was one of my main goals, defining the decision to come to Qufu Shaolin Kung Fu School. After a few weeks, it became very tiring each time to beg for mandarin class because I was the only one who wanted it. My motivation dropped. I was upset, but I didn’t have the energy to fight about it. Moreover, the classes were not organized, so we were repeating the lessons each time the new motivated students came. It was annoying and took away the eagerness to learn. Accordingly, during the wintertime, I end up participating in just a few mandarin classes.


Similarly, acupuncture class. I was so enthusiastic about it at the beginning. However, again, the classes were one big mess. Very quickly, I stopped participating in them. Instead, I bought a book, „Chinese acupuncture and moxibustion, “ and I started to study it alone in my room.

Fists to heart!
Elbows to knees!
Shoulders to groin! Heart to mind!
Mind to breath!
Breath to strength!
Train in its way!
Move in its cycle!
Dance in its passion!
Learn its wonder!
Awaken in its spirit!

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Shaolin Kung Fu


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