Not only does the experience allow you to sharpen your skills and broaden your knowledge scope, it’s also a chance to develop new cultural understandings.
What better place to do this than the birthplace of your chosen discipline? Whether you’re a seasoned martial artist, or are interested in breaking into the world martial arts, an “in-country” training experience could be just what you need to give your practice some edge (and give yourself a break from the daily grind!).
Perhaps less known is the almost unbelievable opportunity to train with Shaolin warrior monks in Songshan Shaolin Traditional Wushu Academy, a school located inside the National Park of the Original Shaolin Temple.
In addition to Shaolin Kung Fu training, the school offers training in other Kung Fu styles such as Wing Chun, Tai Chi Quan, Mei Hua Quan, Ba Gua Zhang, Ba Ji, Praying Mantis, Qin Na, and Xing Yi Quan.
Those interested in putting their skills to the test in Kung Fu competitions or the movie industry can also participate in the training sessions specifically designed with these needs in mind.
Songshan Shaolin Traditional Wushu Academy is the only Martial Arts Academy authorized by the International Liaison Department of the Shaolin Temple to teach foreigners, so if you’re after an authentic Kung Fu training experience which will open doors to new Kung Fu skills and opportunities, this is it.
The Academy’s Headmaster is Shifu Shi Yanjun, a 34th Generation Shaolin Warrior Monk and 17th Generation Disciple of Meihua Quan. As the school covers many styles of Kung Fu, the trainer/s you are assigned will depend on your chosen style. The school houses a number of highly skilled Grand Masters, Masters, and Monks who are noted for their discipline and decades of experience.
Students can choose to stay in a hostel-style dorm room or hotel accommodation. The dorm room is shared with a maximum of four students, and includes basic furniture, necessities, and a shared bathroom.
Those opting for the hotel accommodation can choose from a twin (starting at $10/night) or double room (starting at $16/night), with the option for single occupation at an extra charge.
Numerous packages are available, allowing you to choose the focus of your training, length of stay, and accommodation. Our top picks are:
The “One Day Study: Hotel”, which includes training, theory classes, hotel accommodation, three meals a day, and airport pickup. Price: US $160/day
The “One Month Study: Basic”, which includes training, theory classes, shared accommodation, and three meals a day, and airport pickup. Price: US$1090.
For a full price list, see here.
“Shifu Shi Yan Jun and his school are in my opinion definitely the best for a foreigner to study Kung Fu…He’ll teach you any form you want to learn and he can adjust it to your level and skills.” – N. Mensink.
“If you wish to learn while having fun with distinct direction, I highly recommend this school…I believe that any student who commits to Kung Fu upon arrival will flourish while surrounded by beautiful scenic views.” – J. Fitzsimons.
Featured on various travel shows and documentaries, Tiger has made a name for itself as one of Thailand’s go-to destinations for Muay Thai training. But what sets Tiger’s camp apart from the plethora of local competitors?
Well, its International Martial Art and Fitness complex is a cool 9600 m2, and it also claims the title of housing Thailand’s largest gym. The facilities are modern and well-maintained, and there are separate training grounds for the beginners, intermediate, and advanced programs.
The location certainly helps too – Phuket’s Chalong area, a port town with an abundance of cultural attractions, water sports, fresh seafood restaurants, and a burgeoning nightlife scene. The school itself is situated near the magnificent 60 meter high gold-leafed Karon Buddha, and the short distance to the beach means some classes take place with an ocean view.
The camp also has a very inclusive approach to training. Fitness junkies, holiday makers, and professional fighters are all welcomed in equal measure, and training is adapted to students’ particular level of experience.
There are a numerous accommodation options to choose from within walking distance of the school. Depending on your budget and aesthetic preferences, you can choose to stay in a bungalow resort, guesthouse, or Thai-style budget room (from 12,000 to 16,000 baht a month).
Standard rooms include a large bed, air-con, wifi, TV, DVD, cable, hot water shower, and wardrobe. If you’re after a more premium style of accommodation, there is the option to stay in a local hotel.
Numerous packages are available, allowing you to choose the focus of your training, length of stay, accommodation, and meal options. Our top picks are:
The “All-Inclusive Training Package”, which includes access to all classes at the school. Prices start at 4400 THB per week.
The “Basic All-Inclusive Package”, which includes access to all classes, accommodation, and meal coupons. Prices start at 13400 THB per week.
For a full price list, see here.
“Awesome place! Trainers really help you to improve you and they really correct you a lot. Beautiful facility, huge and very clean with great space for training!” – S. Bersek.
“It was really the experience of a lifetime. Great coaches in all the rings…The Facilities are all top notch so you can focus 100% on training.” – D. Mayonga.
Where better to hone your judo technique than Kokodan, an institution established by the founder of judo himself, Kano Jigoro? Since opening its doors in 1882, Kodokan has continued its legacy as a historic grounds for learning and achievement. It’s name, after all, means “a place to teach the path”.
Now, the 8 storied building in Tokyo is the headquarters of the worldwide judo community, and welcomes countless students for both judo training and research. Students of all levels are can train at the Kodokan’s several dojos, and there are various classes to accommodate specific training needs.
Due to student demand, the school has continued to grow in size. From a modest 12 tatami mats in its opening year, today the Kodokan has 1206 mats across the five main dojo.
Training sessions are conducted by instructors with experience in national and international championships. Classes are grouped into the following divisions: Adults Division, Women’s Division, International Division, and Kata Class.
Accommodation is not provided by Kodokan, however, there are many hotels suiting a range of budgets in the Bunkyo area where the school is located.
In order to train at Kodokan, you will first need to become a member (8000 Yen) and obtain a Dojo entrance card (500 Yen).
The general Kodokan Judo School fee is 5000 Yen a month. However, if you have a certain amount of experience, it is recommended your train in the “Randori” class, which comes at a cost of 800 Yen/day or 5000 Yen a month.
For more information about pricing, contact the school here.
“This is the holy ground which every self-respecting judoka had to visit at last once in its life. For me it was the first visit to the Kodokan, but it certainly will not be the last!” – Nielzs
“The level of the instructors is as good as you expect. They are very down to earth and try to help you to up your game. Randori is tough, challenging but still friendly. Nice atmosphere.” – Uwisser