Recently, two of our members, Jacqui Lee and Jenny Lau, represented HakkaWA in joining Yarn Yee Tong, led by Master Luong, to Guangzhou to undergo free training at the Chan Wu Centre in Guangzhou.
– Report by Jacqui Lee
Cultural Experience in Chan Wu （禅武）Centre, Guangzhou
From Perth weak wintry sun to Guangzhou blazing heat and humidity. It’s not only the weather that is a huge contrast, the exposure to the Chinese style of Wushu training, is an eye opener. We really have to toughen up!!
The Chan Wu Centre is located within the premises of the Guangdong Overseas Chinese Vocational School. Situated in the outskirt of Guangzhou, in the Tianhe district, it is surrounded by mountains, in a leafy green part of Guangzhou.
The Martial Art Training Centre is well equipped with various traditional training tools on one section and crossing a little bridge leads you to the more tranquil area, where in the midst of fragrant flowers and fruit trees, one can learn the art of tea making, calligraphy, various musical instruments and meditation, fulfilling the centre philosophy of training the mind with Chan (禅) and the body with martial art (武)。
The Chan Wu training camp is pretty regimented. Up each morning at 5.30 am to be ready for roll call just before 6 am. Off to some morning exercises. In this session, we learn the Shaolin Rou Quan (少林柔拳), a form of Shaolin Taiji, accompanied by sounds of monkeys chattering and birds chirping merrily. Though early, the temperature and humidity is already very trying!!
After a short break, followed by a sumptuous breakfast, the second session starts at 0900hrs. Another form is introduced and this time, we get a weapon! The fan! Here we learn the Chen style Taiji fan. We were only given 10 days to master it and then to perform at the closing ceremony, which we did achieve in a way, performed half of it!! The people with better memory and a bit more experience did manage to complete the whole form.
The morning sessions finishes after slightly more than 2 hours followed by lunch. Meal times are pretty silent affairs, we were not encourage to talk but to really savour the food and appreciate what is being laid out for us. Food for thought!! After lunch is a nice long break, a much needed shower, it is into the very welcoming air-conditioned room for a rest or a short nap.
3 pm and we are off again for another training session. Certain afternoons were spent being introduced to some Chinese culture. In our case we had calligraphy, traditional Chinese medicine, the ancient string instrument called Gu Qin (古琴) and the ocarina. All very enlightening, as we not only get to have a go, we also get an interesting history lesson with it.
After dinner, from 7.30 pm onwards is revision time and this is not an option. The next couple of hours are spent going through what has been taught. The steamy conditions continues, this time accompanied by mosquitoes, hence, you not only the sound of fans being opened but a lot of slapping as well. There were a couple of meditation sessions, but it’s really hard to concentrate, when you have sweat pouring out. Looking at the bright side, it is a free sauna session!
Although pretty tough initially, we soon settle, and really begin to enjoy the opportunity to learn and make friends from around the world, young and old. Two weeks went by very quickly. I found the lifestyle suited me; diet was very balance and healthy, regular hours, lots of exercises and a very relaxed mind.
We were encouraged to take this lifestyle home and incorporate as much as we can into our daily life. Not easy when you don’t have to!! Here’s hoping we will retain as much as possible. Thank you Chan Wu for you warm hospitality and hope to be back soon.