Training Starts at the New Temple with the Shaolin Summer Camp
After two years of kung-struction, the USA Shaolin Temple’s new 80-acre branch in Fleischmanns, NY finally began full operation and hosted the first ever Shaolin Summer Camp.
Five teenagers came to the temple to experience a week of living like a Shaolin Warrior Monk. The campers woke early every day at 7 AM for a 1.5-mile morning run, and filled the rest of their day with training in qigong, taijiquan, gongfu, and Chan philosophy. They also got to relax with games of basketball and soccer, hiking, and a trip to the nearby public lake for some swimming.
The camp staff was made up entirely of dedicated temple disciples, including the medical director and chef. Chef Zhong prepared a wide variety of delicacies, from Vietnamese style beef soup (pho) to tacos to thai-style curried veggies to hotdogs and hamburgers. No matter what was being served, the campers and counselors always had enough chi to train harder!
Heng Zhan, who recently arrived from China to help teach at the new temple, shared a huge amount with the kids – in addition to many kung fu basics, Zhan showed them the qigong form Baduan Jin (8-section brocade), a Shaolin tai chi form, and a tiger claw kung fu form.
Each day after training, the campers and counselors gathered around the fire to talk philosophy and share the history of the Shaolin Temple, each sharing stories from a variety of religious traditions reflecting the universal truths contained within all.
After 5 intense days of training, it was almost time to go home. But before that, the campers were in for a surprise – they would be tested on what they’d learned. With some of their parents in attendance, the campers lined up and one by one demonstrated each of the 3 forms they’d learned. This experience reinforced what they’d been learning all week – that confidence is the most important thing, both in training, and life.
Once the campers had finished showing their forms, they were presented with certificates commemorating their participation in the first ever Shaolin Summer Camp. With sore muscles and big smiles, they got into their parents’ cars, all talking about how great next year would be.