Martial Arts Training in the Far East

Date: 11th July 2017
Author: Master Bonthuys

As an established 3rd dan black belt instructor, I started martial arts training in the far-east (Kunming, China) in 1997. I was privileged enough to train for six months. It was very tough, but great fun. I was the only white man on the block!!!


Training took place in a very large, old, dusty and cold concrete building. There were about 150 white belts and a handful of black belts.

What I did not realise was that the white belts trained every single day, and some had been training for a number of years… the Master simply awarded the black belt when he felt that you were of the required standard (NO time limit), and that your attitude and humility were regularly demonstrated.

So… when I first started sparring with them, I had a real shock!

It was a very different concept to western training. Training started with a five-mile run in barefoot through the cobbled street. This was followed by 30 minutes of body conditioning (striking each other repeatedly in the body, arms and legs). We then moved on to an hour and a half of basics and sparring, finishing with meditation in a group.

These guys were tough, resilient and very humble… I learned such a lot… these guys simply lived and breathed Tae Kwon Do and trained EVERY single day!


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