Friday, November 27, 2015

Learning Kung Fu with a Shaolin Monk in Wexford

Shaolin Monks Wexford Kung Fu Niamh Griffin

I'm always up for trying new sports but it doesn’t always mean I'm any good at learning them as I found out when I had my first ever Kung Fu lesson!

It was pretty special, as I learned with Master Zheng Xiaohong from the Shaolin Temple. He and one of his students Wang Jinlei spend three months in Wexford every month at Monart Spa. Most people do Qi Qong and meditation with them, but how could I turn down learning a little Kung Fu from the very best?

Master Zheng was so polite, he smiled and clapped his hands when I got anything even half-way right. He said: “I like teaching, I love even with the people who cannot do it, it’s fun.” Hmm, very polite. And good-humoured for a man so long away from his wife and two children.

The hour-long lesson it felt more like 15 minutes. We went through Bow, Horse and Crab stances (confusing!) and then together in a sequence. He looked amazing, so elegant and swooping close down to the ground. Me? I did a pretty good imitation of Kung Fu Panda as I scraped and twisted my way across the floor.

I would have been fine except there were full-length mirrors so I couldn’t avoid myself! What a treat though. And a serious work-out, these moves may look gentle but my quads and biceps were aching next day.

We went outside after the class to take photos (see more on my last Wordless Wednesday post). The two monks were so serious, but I couldn’t stop laughing at how surreal it all was.

I was writing about the spa for the newspaper I work at – have you ever managed to drag sport into your everyday job??

Disclaimer: I spent the day at Monart Spa in Wexford courtesy of the Spa for my job with a newspaper. This is my honest opinion!