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Kung Fu: My experience learning about it in a Chinese farming village

| 17 comments | Category: travel, video

[Click "CC" to activate subtitles in either English or in Chinese simplified/traditional. Those in China without a VPN can watch it on Youku]

After getting a train over 2,000km through China, chatting with random people and seeing pandas, meeting a Buddhist monk, and even climbing a mountainside staircase to a Buddhist temple to try and find a guru, one of the other experiences I wanted to have while in this country was of course to get exposure to some real Kung Fu!

Fi3M reader Anna and her husband Ilya invited me to come visit a farming village near the city of Haiyang to give me a chance to see a different side of China.

There, Master Lin sat down with us, had a great meal prepared for us, and chatted a little about how his dialect differs to standard Mandarin. Next, we went outside and he taught me some basic Kung Fu, which you can see in the video. I did a pretty poor job, but I appreciated his patience.

I hope you enjoy today’s video, and thanks again for your votes! If you have any thoughts on what you see, let me know in the comments below!

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  • http://french-learn.com/ Fabrice

    Hello,
    Nice movements.
    Sorry, i didn’t understand: what form of kung-fu, is it ?
    I started Tang Lang since a few month, learning it in France.
    Learn Kung Fu directly in China is one of my goal.
    Good luck for the next days in your trip.
    Fabrice

    • Ilya Profatilov

      Fabrice, this is Meihua (plum blossom) Tang Lang Quan, the oldest style of Mantis kung fu. You can contact me (Ilya from the video) if you’re interested in learning more about Tang Lang. My email address is: shifu@mantiskungfuacademy.com

      • http://french-learn.com/ Fabrice

        Hello Ilya,
        Thank you for your answer.
        For the moment, I learn Tang Lang in Toulouse.
        I keep note of your email adress.
        See you
        Fabrice

  • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.odierno Dominick O’Dierno

    The next time you are in Brazil I want to see a video of  you learning BJJ

    Come to think of it, whenever you decide to do a Japanese mission, “Benny at the Kodokan” would be pretty sweet too.

    • http://howlearnspanish.com/ Andrew

       Of course we want to see Benny getting choked-out, who wouldn’t?! :D

      Actually, I’d rather he try to learn Capoeira, it’d be hilarious seeing him trying to swing his legs up in the air and dance like that.

      • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

        I DID learn Capoeira in Brazil. In Salvador da Bahia no less. And I have video proof: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6W3Cg8NB1Oo

        • http://howlearnspanish.com/ Andrew

           And it’s just as goofy as I imagined.  But very cool that you actually tried it.

  • http://howlearnspanish.com/ Andrew

    Very cool, this actually reminds me of how Tim Ferriss learned Japanese: by going there and learning Judo–the learning of Judo precipitated him learning Japanese because no one at the dojo spoke English, haha.  I think he claims he had a decent command of the language after a month of this.  The argument that you would only learn technical language specific to the thing you’re learning (Judo or basket weaving or whatever) turns out to be incorrect, because although you certainly would learn that terminology you also learn all the basic, fundamentals of the language that are commonly used to communicate: you can’t say “Sit down and stretch”, “Grab his right arm, twist and the waist, and execute the [whatever] throw” without having to learn how to say “sit”, “down”, “grab”, “his”, “right”, “arm”, “and”, “the”, etc.  You end up having to learn the essentials of the language anyway, and you do it by doing something you’re interested in, which is the whole point.

    If your hobby is stamp collecting and you want to learn French, go find a stamp-collecting forum for French speakers, I’m sure they’re out there. Or if you’re traveling to France, be sure to find out about local stamp-collecting clubs and where and when they meet, then go there when you get there and talk to people about stamp collecting which not only gets you to learn the language in a fun and interesting (for you) way but also gets you making some friends who are native speakers and who can help you out later.

    Cheers,
    Andrew

  • http://www.facebook.com/bjorn.hallberg.1 Bjorn Hallberg

    Thanks for a great language blog!
    http://www.native-translator.co.uk/

  • http://flickerofgenius.com/ Jamie Alexander

    Wut, no backflips.

    Nice work, Benny. I’m still amazed you can hold conversations with these people. You should have your videos taught in schools.

  • http://www.fluentin3months.com/ Benny Lewis

    Thanks so much for your help! It was an excellent experience and one of the highlights of my China trip!

  • http://www.native-translator.co.uk/ Shamy

    I’m a big fan of Kung Fu! I used to watch lots of Kung Fu related movies  since from my young age. But unfortunately I didn’t get any scope to learn it from a good instructor.

  • http://www.hotel-matina.com/ Santorini Hotel

    I love Kung Fu and this is a really nice article. Thank you.

  • http://tellmewhytheworldisweird.blogspot.com/ perfectnumber628

    This is so cool!  I speak Chinese but I worry that I’ll only be able to communicate with college students and not older people- maybe I just need to go to China and try!

  • Kung fu Tradition

    Learning chinese through martial arts is a great idea. I’ve already heard of Meihua Mantis style but it’s still a pleasure to watch a chinese specialist in action. 

    By the way I am wondering which kind of micro are you using to recording your videos ? I didn’not see any lapel microphone there… And the sound is quite correct. 

    Anyway your videos are inspiring to share these moments in China. Thanks a lot ! ^^

  • http://www.kungfu-tradition.fr/ Yoni

    Learning chinese through martial arts is a great idea. I’ve already heard of Meihua Mantis style but it’s still a pleasure to watch a chinese specialist in action. 
    By the way I am wondering which kind of micro are you using to recording your videos ? I didn’not see any lapel microphone there… And the sound is quite correct. 
    Anyway your videos are inspiring to share these moments in China. Thanks a lot ! ^^

  • http://twitter.com/FDestinations Famous destinations

    Wow, darn it i want your job!! visiting all the wonderful places on this world. I bet you , you are much wiser and more understanding of the ways of the world now… there is nothing like travel to open once’s mind and heart.
    What do you think o Wise ONE!!
    By the way where do stay when you travel , do you just wing it? or you book your stay upfront?…