Soo Cole

Started training with Shifu Yanzi in 1998 when he first arrived in the UK. I had seen a show with Shaolin Monks and also lots of films with Shaolin martial arts and had wanted to train but always thought I would have to go to China. When Shifu Yanzi came to UK I realised what was in the shows and the movies was very different. I had done some other martial arts before training with Shifu Yanzi (karate, and Lau Gar Kung Fu) and had started at age 10years old but I was never confident I could defend myself in an emergency. I remember Shifu Yanzi explained a punch in class and he broke it down into tiny details. He explained how the punch power began at the foot (the roots of the body) and travelled through the body to emerge through the fist. I knew at that moment that I wanted to understand the techniques and I could tell Shifu Yanzi had a wealth of knowledge and experience and hopefully I could learn some of it.
3) In the early days I trained as much as I could fit in around my job and other commitments. I had booked the full year training and for a number of years I trained 15 hours a week. Shifu would also run workshops and also there were courses (Woldingham, trips to Shaolin Temple in China) and the morning classes (6.30am-8am Mon – Fri).
4) Since training with Shifu Yanzi over the years I have managed to improve my flexibility and could do all the full splits, entered the BCCMA National Sanda competition in 2003 and 2006 and won, took part in interclub competitions, participated in demonstrations. The first demonstration Shifu Yanzi had us do was in London Chinatown where he said “don’t worry there will only be 80,000 people watching”! Through the training I have learned to have more confidence in myself especially when I have challenging situations. I have learned basic Mandarin and more about Chinese culture and in 2015 along with 12 other students that year became a disciple of Shifu Yanzi as Heng Shui. I have helped with some administration, fight coordinating, in the early days I wrote a newsletter to let all students keep up-to-date with exams , courses, and parties. From training at Shaolin Temple UK I have not only learned that if I put in effort, focus, determination and reflect back on my training I can often surprise myself (in a good way) with what I can achieve. I have met some of my best friends at Shaolin Temple UK and they are my Shaolin family.

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