Ye He Area
The Northern China Si Ping City Shaolin Marital arts academy is located next to the Ye He Ancient Castle, approximately 5 kilometres (3 miles) from the Ancient Jai Lan Temple, in Ji Lin Province within the Chang Bai Mountains. The people of the area are quite friendly and have maintained a good sense of rural hospitality still to this day.
The history of the Ye He area and tribe spans back many hundreds of years and is linked as an important facet to the establishment of the Qing dynasty. Over the span of Chinese history, the castle was destroyed and rebuilt many times. Conflict within the Ming Dynasty was the root cause of first destruction of the castle. It was ordered rebuilt in the Qing dynasty by the emperor Pu Yi because his grandmother Cu Xi came from the Ye He area. It was once again destroyed during the cultural revolution in the 1970s, but once again was restored to its former glory in the year 1995, much better than before, complete with stone walls (the old walls were constructed from mounded earth). Within the castle many historical artifacts are on display that survived over the years. There is also the tomb of a princess that lies within the castles grounds, but its location is kept secret, so that the soul of the princess may rest in peace.
Since our facilities are located in northern China, we experience all four seasons in approximately equal lengths, in all their beauty.
The springs at the academy are cool in the mornings, warm throughout the day and cool off once again after sundown, the temperature throughout the day fluctuates between -5 to 15 degrees Celsius. This is a good time of year to train, for it is not too hot or cold. One can see the landscape and the valley below come to life in a lush green landscape, flowers blossom and the lovely fragrance of the trees flowering hang in the air for about 2 to 4 weeks.
Summers at the academy are rather hot and is the perfect time for hard training, for the weather builds ones endurance and is also easier on the joints than the cold months. The valley and surrounding mountains are covered in a blanket of vibrant green from the trees, rice and corn fields. The temperature at this time of year will range between 20 to 32 degrees Celsius. The weather is a bit humid from time to time, considering that it rains between 1 to 3 days a week. In some years there are dry spells though and it can become a bit arid.
The Autumn at the academy is still quite warm at the beginning, temperatures ranging from 10 to 20 degrees Celsius and towards the winter become more cool, usually ranging between 10 degrees in the day to -5 degrees at night. The colour of the fields change in the valley from green to a sea of gold right before the harvest, the trees raining down their red, gold and yellow leaves. One can take advantage of the endurance they have gained throughout the summer in this time of year and really work up a sweat without overheating.
The Winters at the academy are cold but quite beautiful. With a blanket of white snow covering the land, it gives the area a sense of calm and purity. We heat our training hall in this time due to the temperatures usually settling between -10 to -25 degrees Celsius. There is the occasional cold snap that comes through that can push the temperature down below -30 degrees Celsius athough this is quite rare. We strongly advise students to have clothing appropriate to endure such weather if they should take the trip into the nearby villages or city on the weekend. One must pace themselves while training in this time of year, which makes winter is the optimal time to train ones strength, fine movements and practice meditation.
Food and accommodations
Most of the cooking is in Chinese style. In the morning, the breakfast consists of rice porridge, hard boiled eggs and steamed, rice flour buns. For lunch and dinner, we serve a variety of dishes that contain meat, eggs, vegetarian dishes, fruit and rice. Sometimes our academy cook likes to treat the students with either dumplings, sweet and sour chicken, Chinese style bacon (pork belly), fried chips or soup; either egg, seafood or sweet soup. The cook will also provide chillies, garlic, malt rice vinegar and soy sauce for those who would like it. If there happens to be few foreign students at the academy, they will mainly eat what the Chinese students, masters and workers eat, which is a more simple diet consisting of two dishes for each meal, containing either vegetables with a bit of meat and/or Tofu.
Since the Northern Chinese cuisine is traditionally prepared with more oil and salt than most people are accustomed to, it is advised that you drink a bowl of hot water or a cup of tea after your meal in order to aid your digestion.
Vegetarian diets are available for those who do not wish to eat meat. Due to the availability of ingredients and local cuisine, a pure Vegan diet is not possible to prepare, but the cook will provide raw vegetables, tofu and rice for vegans. For protien, people on Vegan diets can buy nuts from the Ye He villiage or city of Si Ping.
For those who have peanut allergies. Peanuts are a common part of the diet here and come in contact with many of the kitchen utensils and other food. Be sure to tell us if you have any food allergies before you travel here.
Throughout the year, there are feasts that happen along with the festivals. A lovely variety of local delicacies are eaten, in which the masters, Chinese and foreign students all eat together and enjoy a celebratory drink.
Our drinking water is taken from our own well. It is fresh and drinkable, but due to the local bacteria in the water, it is recommended that the water is boiled prior to consumption.
In order to have a healthy stomach for the duration of your stay, it is recommended that you purchase Ginger to make tea out of. You may purchase ginger at the markets in either the Village of Ye He or the city of Si Ping.
While our academy will does its best to accomodate you in your living conditions, keep in mind that we do not provide many of the creature comforts that you enjoy back in your home country. Our facilities are quite spartan in nature compaired to western living standards.
Students will typically live in rooms that hold between 1 to 3 students. Depending on the volume of people we currently have in the academy, the newest students will be the first to get a roommate.
There is toilet paper provided in the water closet free of charge, when it runs out you only need ask our translators and they will give you more so you may re-supply the toilets.
There is a washing room for one to clean ones clothes, brush your teeth, shave (if need be), and clean up in.
Due to the academies simple accommodations and distance from major medical facilities (the closest hospital is a 30 minute drive by car), the academy cannot accept students with serious illnesses, disabilities or mental conditions. But if one wishes to, anyone may come to visit the academy, at any time.
Training/Living facilities and equipment
In our training hall, exercise equipment is available in the form of three stationary bikes, a universal gym, large, medium and small sized tires for strength training as well as a large range of free weights and mats for acrobatic, tumbling and throwing practice.
For Sanda (Chinese kickboxing) exercises the training hall contains 6 punching bags, three wooden dummies (for Wing Chun practice) along with an official sized boxing ring in order to ensure that our students have access to quality equipment which assists them in training for competition fighting, if they should gain the skill to do so.
Personal equipment such as: Boxing gloves, torso armour, groin protection, shin guards, mouth guards, head gear and training weapons are available for purchase. You can buy this equipment through the academy or the markets in the city of Si Ping.
From Sunday through Friday, hot showers are provided between 7:30 till 8:30 PM. From Monday through Friday, cold showers are provided in the warmer months from after lunch till 1:00 PM so students may rinse off during their mid day break.
There is a Public pay phone at the academy for personal use, pre paid cards are available for purchase in the office.
At any point in time there are between 10 to 40 foreign students studying Chinese martial arts at the academy. Between 3 to 6 Masters teach our students a variety of skills, from Shaolin Kung Fu, Taiji Quan (Tai Chi), Qi Gong (breathing, stretching and circulation exercises), Sanda (Chinese Kickboxing), Baji Quan and a variety of other martial art disciplines.
The academies yard is approximately thirty thousand square meters in size, along with over ten thousand square meters of living and training facilities located on the castle mountain.
There are private rooms available for students, but depending on the influx of students throughout the year there may be up to 2 or 3 students living in each room.
Since free WiFi is provided in the dorms, it is recommended that students bring their own laptop computer or other wireless devices. If a student does not have their own laptop or wireless device, a computer is available in the academy office if a student needs to use it for official use, such as checking emails or booking flights.
A quiet meditation room/academy temple is open 24 hours a day for those who wish to practice meditation. All students in this room must show respect for others practice and keep silent in the hallways and meditation room. This room is always open and is heated during the winter.
There is a washing room and wash bins available for students to clean their clothes. A pay service is available for students who wish to use the academies washing machine. You will have to purchase your own laundry detergent.
A common room/library is located on the top floor of the dormitories for students to converse and socialize during their rest periods. Many English, some German,Hebrew, French, Mandarin and Korean books are available to borrow.
Since there is a language barrier between our masters and students, the academy provides English speaking translators during training times, the translators also help students with visa renewals, hospital visits and other situations students may require assistance with. Since the academy founder, Mr. Che, some of our office staff and most of the foreign students speak English, it is the second language used at the academy, next to Mandarin Chinese.
Translator services are available for visa renewals and hospital visits if one should become ill or injured during their stay.
Our academy has a Mandarin language class from Monday to Thursday in the morning from 10:30-11:30am and in the afternoon from 5 till 6 PM for those who wish to study Chinese language. The class is led by one of our translators in the academy who take great care in ensuring proper development of Chinese language skills. If one puts effort in their language studies, students can attain a good grasp on Mandarin language in a relatively short period of time.