What our students say about their experience


"The Shifus are all very skilled and attentive to every student’s needs. The program is very diverse – we learn a variety of different styles, including Shaolin, Qigong, Taichi, and Meihua Quan. The culture/medicine classes are informative and discussion is encouraged. The training itself is hard, but also very rewarding. I found my body on fire in the first week, but as time went on the training was improved me in ways I could never have imagined. My strength, stamina, flexibility, and balance all improved under the Shifus’ watchful guidance. I was present during the coronavirus outbreak and I was very impressed by how Yan Jun Shifu made sure to put our safety first. The temple was quickly put into quarantine (despite us being nowhere close to the epicenter of the virus, Wuhan) and we followed strict procedures to keep us all safe from infection. The training was also changed, we focused a lot on softer styles, qigong, and taichi specifically to focus more on building chi and improving our immune systems, rather than putting more strain on our immune systems and increasing our susceptibility to disease. Overall, I was incredibly impressed by this place and the overall experience."
Samuel Bancroft, UK
18 Years Old, 6 Months of Training
"My experience surpassed any expectations I had. I'm a 38 old man, having had a quite sedentary life, decided to change that realizing the old Shaolin dream. I knew that without previous training I was going to suffer to adapt to the intensive training…The fact is I didn’t suffer, I could adjust on my own phase without hurting myself trying to be where I was not. Of course the first week there was some soreness involved, but the most fantastic part was that every morning I felt like new. Maybe because of the good sleep, maybe the balanced food and even do the high energy of the temple, all helped me push forward and awaken my chi. The learning was not limited to forms, which I learnt…and many, but also Shifu’s emphasis was on the philosophy and state of being that one had to cultivate to practice in the right way, something ones learn can be carried for life! The challenge was intense, but I managed to finish it having my heart full of thankfulness to myself for having taken part, to the 3 shifu’s that teach... with fun and patience, they are really freaking amazing, no joke! to Andy who helped along the way to reach and in the daily life….  Made life friends from all over, became fit and reduced like 8 kilos… 3 months is very little in the Kung Fu lifestyle, but surely I had a taste of it and will continue at home. Highly recommended, will come back for sure, and no matter the age, everyone is welcome! And the temple, beyond words… Magical!"
Andrea Curri, Argentina
38 Years Old, 3 Months of Training
"When I arrived at the Temple there was a very warm welcome from Manon and Andy. Thanks a lot. From the first minute I feel comfortable. The place here is very nice and calm. What I really appreciated that there were no prejudices. Suddenly I was part of the Family and the team. Amazing. Thank you for that. So, I felt really happy in the Temple. I could write a long letter to say about Shifus. First: THANK YOU SHIFU SHI YANJUN! I think I cannot grab in words what you taught me from my life from you. And I mean not only about the Kung Fu. You showed me every day to be sincere, to be healthy, to live at the moment. You trained me in willpower. I never saw a person before in my life who is so present with everything. The eyes, the body and the Qi. I always will remember you and see you as a big Teacher for life. Thank you. I really liked the life inside the Temple. The monk woman Heng Wu Shifu is really nice. The dorm was perfect, the shower with hot water nice. Enough space, washing machines, toilets, everything ok. I also would like to thank you that I could let my bike inside the Temple. Thank you, Manon for helping me a lot. Thank you, Andi for the talks and the organization. Thank you Shifu Shi Yanjun for everything. Will miss this place."
Maria Zwyssig, Switzerland
34 Years Old, 1 Month of Training
"Well from the start being greeted at the airport by the Translator and driven by taxi to the Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng, where I was welcomed by another member of the School, Gary, a very friendly and hardworking young man who always found time to help others in any way he could. I was welcomed at the School also by Andy who provided a meal for me after my journey. Then Andy took time to give me a personal tour of the training grounds and the Shaolin Temple. Andy was extremely helpful to me during my stay, allocating her time between being a Student herself and the Administrator of the School, keeping everything running smoothly, even taking shopping lists from me and all students and travelling to the city to bring us back everything we required from watermelon to fire. Andy is truly an honest and caring human being. I spoke with Andy and told her my body was broken from 33 years of fighting in Martial arts and I wanted my training there to be more spiritual and weapons. Shifu Shi Yan Jun designed a Programme specific to my needs and indeed designed Programmes to suit the needs and levels of ability of all the Students there. I found Shifu Yan Jun to be an encyclopaedia of Shaolin Kung Fu, a mild mannered, patient and understanding man with immense skills in all aspects of Martial Arts training and a great Philosopher and Teacher. Tai Ji Master Sun is amazing at the age of 75 years, he has the health, agility and flexibility of a man half his age, and such a humble man with immense knowledge of Tai JI, Chinese culture and Calligraphy. The food was extremely healthy and plentiful. The students at the school were also a great help to me. Overall my stay in China was humbling and life changing on many levels. I would have no hesitation in recommending the SongShan Academy to anyone from the absolute beginner to the very experienced Martial Artist. I went to China with an empty cup to fill with as much knowledge as possible during my stay, and now I am looking forward to returning to China next year."
Michael Allen, Ireland
49 Years Old, 1 Month of Training
"I came to China for a change in my life. I was not sure what it was, but I needed a change of pace. The one thing I did know was that I did not come here for Kung Fu. The first school I went to was focused only on Kung Fu and nothing else. I found myself bored and unsatisfied. Once I came to SongShan Shaolin Traditional Wushu Academy, that all changed. The surroundings are simple yet beautiful. The mountains, green trees, Shaolin Temple, and people training diligently all around you are an inspiration for daily life. There was a community, family like feel to the school that made this place home for me. After my first week of training I already learned more here than I had in my 2 months at my last school. The combination of meditation, tai chi, Qigong, and kung fu was just what I needed. The group was encouraging and so helpful that it made we want to press on and do more. The jewel of the place is definitely Sifu Shi Yan Jun. He is always smiling and cheering you on. He teaches you without judgment and works with your shortcomings- whether that be a lack of qi for the day, lack of experience, or an injury, he can adjust your lesson to suit your needs. Soon I found myself in love with Kung Fu. I wanted to learn as much as I could, and challenge myself harder than I ever had. The staff is always there to help and listen. If you have an issue it is addressed right away. Our group went through a lot together and I would not give the experience up for anything. I will definitely be coming back in the future!"
Tanya Figueras, USA
34 Years Old, 6 Months of Training
"I needed a big change in my life, and decided to pursue a dream of Kung Fu in China. But to be honest, I did not really know what to expect here, except the fact that I was going to live here for 6 months training Shaolin Kung Fu. Shifu and Andy received me with open arms, and I felt welcome and at home right away. As my life at the school started to evolve, I realized that the school was not like anything, I have ever imagined. The atmosphere is very cosy, and due to the fact that it is not a big school, you quickly start to bond with everyone and it quickly starts to feel like one big family. That aspect was also visible in the training as well; people were really nice and kind to one and other and if anybody had struggle, one would be ready to help out. I feel fortunate, that I got to train with Shifu Shi Yan Jun. He is a great teacher, and has an awesome personality, which affects the persons around him. During training he made sure I reached my full potential, and the training never got boring, you basically never really knew what was going to happen. He had a great way of making up new things for training, which meant that it never got anyway close to being boring. At the same time, he would often join in and motivate us. I was surprised how fast I improved at the academy. While training hard you need food that provides you with good energy, and the school really made sure of this. The breakfast was my favourite and something I am going to miss a lot, but all the food is awesome actually – really healthy and fresh without any fats! And if you had any suggestions the staff would listen, and if we came up with reasonable ideas, they would do everything to please us. My stay went beyond all my expectations, and it was hard leaving a place I had really come to love! At the moment, I am already planning my return, and hopefully Shaolin Academy will be a place, I will keep in touch with for many years to come."
Nikolaj Jelsbech, Denmark
25 Years Old, 6 Months of Training
"Life-changing experience! I loved the training and all the different martial art techniques. The instructors are incredibly competent, kind, and patient. Instructors push you to your potential. ( i can see my abs again, yay). I think I am the fittest I've been in years in just 3 weeks! There is no limit on age just have the right attitude. Instructors and students make it feel like a family and everyone’s supporting each other. Students are unique each bringing positive energy to the temple. Food is better than expected, healthy, and tasty. Accommodation is basic as expected but does the job and has everything you need eg kettle, washing machine, beds, etc Monks are very friendly and sweet. Language is not a barrier as they have translators to help. Overall brilliant experience and would recommend this place to anyone who is open and has a good attitude. I would have loved to have stayed longer."
Kristina Kennedy, UK
1 Month of Training
"Hi everybody! My name is Nick Mensink and I’m from Holland. I’m 25 years old, graduated in Physical Education and use that as a base to teach in many sports like swimming, free running and gymnastics. I’ve always wanted to do this and worked my way up until it was the right time, had enough money and was prepared. I came to China 10th of September 2013.  I had trained before I came because I read many personal stories about how hard Shaolin Kung Fu could be. Nevertheless, the first 2 weeks of training were tough, I felt sore and tired. But after that i got used to it and trained my endurance and flexibility. It’s true, the stories about how hard it can be, how hard you have to push your limits with a little help of Shifu and how much you can improve your body and mind. Shifu Shi Yan Jun and his school are in my opinion definitely the best for a foreigner to study Kung Fu. He is patient, skilled in many ways, joins in during training, and even practice Sanda with his students. He has a good feeling about what’s best for the group, and individually. He’ll teach you any form you want to learn and he can adjust it to your level and skills. The schedule is really good divided. Tai Chi, Qigong and meditation in the morning, and after breakfast forms, stretching, basics. Then a nice break what you can use to recover (sleep) train extra or review your forms. And the afternoon training is mostly Sanda, power training and the mountain run on Friday. The accommodation and the food are good! Especially the food is good, nice taste, healthy, protein bean milk and pancakes in the morning which makes a good start of the day. The working staff is really nice and taking good care of the environment, food and rooms. The people I’ve met were mostly awesome, helpful, and sportive and what the most important thing for me was that they had the same kind of motivation or mind-set. Training and living with people who are more or less the same like you make me more motivated. I’m grateful that I’ve had the chance to be a student of Shifu Shi Yan Jun, He taught me so much in a short time and it’s all about happy kung fu. His way of teaching was eye opening, his personality is respected and his Kung Fu is awesome! I hope that I can come back in the future to learn a little more!"
Nick Mensink, The Netherlands
25 Years Old, 11 Months of Training
"In 11 months at this academy I learned way more than I was expected. My Kung Fu of course improved a lot but I also learn about the culture of China and of Kung Fu, the spirituality, the discipline and a lot about myself. I understand now why masters learn Kung Fu all their life, because is not only a sport, it’s a way of life. Shifu Yan Jun is a really good master, not only because his Kung Fu is impressive but because he understand the students. He see each student in their true nature and help them improving their Kung Fu and the most important to help them finding the true path to be happy. Even if he doesn’t speak English really well, we learn a lot from him because of his character. The Academy is located next to the Shaolin temple and the mountains where Dharma meditated during 9 years. We are living in a really spiritual place, the peaceful energy from the mountains, the temple, and all the monks resting in the Pagoda Forest."
Alexandre Sac-Epee, France
20 Years Old, 11 Months of Training
"Shifu Shi Yan Jun is an expert at not only understanding human behavior and your personal issues but also in communicating with you, heart to heart. He can read what is in your mind and heart. When I came to China I was obese and 41 years old. No chance I will accomplish many my friends told me! But hey, now after 4 years of training with Shifu Yan Jun, my life has changed. He forces you to step aside from the situation you got yourself into. He does it so carefully but so effectively and you realize that nothing is the way it is for any reason then you created that for yourself. I learned Shaolin forms and their applications, I do splits and I’m very flexible, I participated at Competitions for Tai Chi Quan and won first place twice (competing with Chinese as well) but mostly I am in great shape! Have been on TV shows and give Interviews, I learn to cook healthy Chinese food and I’m fluent in Chinese! I recently had the opportunity to meet one of the legends of Chinese Kung Fu – Sammo Hung, one of my childhood heroes. I also had the opportunity to meet some of the biggest names in Chinese Kung Fu such as Grandmaster Cai Longyun which holds 9 Duanwei, Grandmaster Han Baiguang which is Number one in China for Meihua Quan, The Venerable Abbot of the Shaolin Temple, Shi Yongxin, just to number some. The latest great achievement is that I was offered the position of Deputy Director for the Cultural and Teaching part of Meihua Quan for the International Meihua Quan Federation! So for me was not only a learning experience. Here you can have an opportunity to have a new change of career and life overall. Shifu’s teachings help me always be at my BEST. I am very grateful for this amazing journey in China."
Andreea McCurry, UK
45 Years Old, 4+ Years of Training
"I have trained in another school in China for 3 months and joined Songshan Shaolin for 2 months. After living and breathing Shifu’s mantra of happy Kung Fu, my whole experience in Kung Fu here felt complete. I found the Shifu Yan Jun Kung Fu experience very balanced, relevant, and complete. My favorite part about his training was likely the fact that no class was ever the same. His variety always kept the students on our toes. And if any person got injured, Shifu would make sure to always take good care of his students, ensuring that we are all happy and healthy at any given time. The training itself was a lot of fun. I personally really liked performing fundamentals, drilling in the same techniques until we got them perfect. Shifu would often yell compliments during training and even sometimes jump into training to get our energy pumping. He was a great leader in that he was ever-present in class (never distracted), always smiling and always feeling out what students enjoy. Sometimes during a class, if he found the students having fun kicking targets, he would shift the class to jump kick drills. He knows how to make the class enjoyable, informative, and memorable. My absolute favorite Kung Fu experience is getting one-on-one time with Shifu. The main fact that he is always smiling makes the training all worthwhile. Energy is captivating. Even magnetic. My time with him will be cemented with his genuine smile and belief in happy Kung Fu. The Academy is very nice. I was very impressed with the food. The chefs here prepare fresh meals at every meal. The breakfast pancakes were likely my favorite meal every day, along with the freshly prepared hot-porridge. They put a lot of love and energy into making very well-rounded students and it was all well-received by students and guests. I have to say that the fresh watermelon during lunchtime is the hit item during any mealtime. I appreciate Shifu's love of detail for the school including all the plants in the area and making sure it is nice and clean. The Temple is great."
Christopher Lee, USA
25 Years Old, 2 Months of Training
"My experience was transformational and everything. Best trip ever!!! Shifu Shi Yanjun is one of the best highly skilled instructors and martial artists I have ever met throughout my nearly two decades of training. Shifu Yanmian is a competent and intelligent physician that I would trust with my life. I had the privilege of being treated by him and was very impressed by his expertise and techniques. Shifu Yanyi was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. He embodies everything we should strive for. His presence, smile and life lessons are exactly what most of us need for assurance and realization. Shifu Yanshi aka “Happy Buddha” is a spiritual guide, mentor and friend. His deep understandings of the universe are unparalleled and refreshing. His always there to help and is the kindest soul. The academy is located in the perfect place! Away from the tourists and right on the mountain, yet in walking distance from the Temple and everything else. The hiking is spectacular, the Dengfeng city is a fun visit that is not overwhelming like some big cities. History, culture, art, spirituality, breath-taking views, friendly people and a relatively inexpensive price make for a great adventure!"
Dr. Jonathan M. Fields, USA
37 Years Old, 17 Days of Training
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