A Travellerspoint blog


(Traditional Martial Arts)

The next day we woke up pretty early and headed out to meet Master Li, a man that Master Yang told us about when he first taught us Xing Yi. When Master Li was about 40 years old the doctors told him that he was dying and didn't have very much time left to live, maby a few months, maybe a few years, but the end was coming soon. On the way home he passed a park where we saw someone practicing Xing Yi. Never having learned Kung Fu before, he wanted to experience it before he died. So the man in the park taught him one element from one form. Every day he would practice the Wood element from Xing Yi, and eventually the years passed, and he still lived. He went on to learn all of Xing Yi, and now at the age of 104 years old, he is a master of the art. He runs a school in Jinan with his son, the yonger Master Li, and now it was finally time for us to go out to there training grounds and see some real Chinese Kung Fu!

Wei Ping dropped us off at a park called Hero's Hill. This hill (more like a small mountain) is where many fallen solderers are burred and there is a monument to all who give their lives somewhere on this hill (we never saw it). The hill was terraced off as if for growing crops, but instead of crops we passed loads of people practicing Kung Fu, and on each new terrace, there seemed to be a new group of people doing something different. Some were playing with those double cones attached on a string, and you toss them into the air, and catch them like you see at festivals or entertainment parks, and others were practicing Tai Chi, etc. We came over to a group where Master Wong was hanging out with a bunch of his “friends” he introduced us to (but I believe that they were actually students), and next to his group was the young Master Li's students. Master Wong talked to them all a bit, and introduced us etc, etc. Unfortunatly Master Li's father only recently started not coming to practice, so he was not there, but we have more time in China and Master Yang said that we would maybe be able to meet him sometime later. Then, everyone stopped practicing, and a full blown demonstration started!

First, to twist Mr. Allen's words: Who says there isn't anyone who practices martial arts in China:

Chain Whip:

Ba Gua:

Xing Y (Metal, Water/ Screw):

Long Tassel Sword:

Chen Style Tai Chi:

Rope Dart:


Xing Yi Connection Form (All the elements):

2 Person Xing Yi Form (young Master Li on the right):

Wu Shu Sword (Master Wong):

Xing Yi:

“Go ahead and pick who you want to learn from. These are all my friends, so if you want to train with them, they have to train you guys because you are my students.” Master Yang told us.
Joe felt a little bad for the Xing Yi group Master Li taught, because Master Wong's group was much more of a demonstration group, while the internal styles really weren't as flashy and entertaining to watch. But still, at the end of the day I was excited to learn from Master Wong, and Joe really wanted to learn from Master Li.

At lunch we met this guy who trains the Chinese army with martial arts and we had a book signing where he passed us each out a copy of the book he wrote. Then he let Joe feel his shoes (heavy weighted soles for weight training). I made Joe let him feel his own shoe... which was a crock (light weight for easy traveling).

Haorongs mad photographing:


Then after lunch both of them preformed some martial arts.

Joe's strange and not his best improve and this guys strange and interesting mix of quick and light mantis movements with strong and sturdy stances:

Next Master Yang tells us that we need to pack our things and that he has a place for us to stay for the next month! He said that he could find us work and a place to stay in Jinan, and he was delivering. We were actually going to move into WeiPing's best friend's father's apartment! Haorong (WeiPing's best friend's son) would stay with us there to make sure that if the Red Guard ever came to our door wondering if we were squatters or something, he could enplane to them that we were his guest. I didn't understand that this was the arrangement at first, but then after Haorong's parents left the apartment with WeiPing, and Haorong was still there, I got the idea.

But first, in the evening we had one last dinner with Mr. Yang, and Wei Ping gave us back our calligraphy all ironed out and set on large scrolls. He said it was 200 yuen, but when I tried to give him the money he said that Mr. Yang already paid him. I tried to give it to Mr. Yang, but the little old man wouldn't budge. “Gift, gift, my gift to you!” He really was the sweetest thing, and not because he gave us a gift, because everyone did that in China, it was because he did it with the largest grin on his face that said he knew that we were American's and would be embarrassed by all the gift giving, but that we were his son's students and were going to get this gift and like it if we liked it or not... but she smile went all the way to his eyes, which then said that he knew we would love the gift.

Haorongs mad photographing part 2:


After dinner WeiPing drove us across town to Haorong's grandfather's place, and we got set up in the master bedroom. Haorong's grandfather has 2 apartments in different cities he travels between, and since he was here last week they told us that it should be a month or so before he returns again. Haorong set up on the cot between the kitchen and the living room. I felt bad that this poor kid who only knew us for 2 days had to move out of his bedroom at his parents and into his grandfather's place without any privacy.

At this time Master Yang was only in Beijing. He would be there tomorrow as well because his plane didn't leave until the morning of the 15th, so the next morning I called Master Yang and told him that while it was extremely nice of them to let us stay for free, that the $10 a day apartment he had told us about earlier would be a more preferable situation. Master Yang seemed to understand and said that he would have WeiPing make some calls. Little did I know that leaving the apartment would bother Haorong's family more than having us stay. Having us stay was no problem at all, in fact, it was necessary. Having us on our own would cause them so much worry, they wouldn't know what to do with themselves! This, being independent from the age of 5, was a hard concept for me to grasp, and to this day I only grasp it, I still do not embrace it.

After getting off the phone with Master Yang, Haorong said that it was time for breakfast, and his mom was cooking. His place was only about a 10 min. walk away, so we headed out of his grandfather's first floor flat, down the street through the morning market, across one of Jinan's main streets (raised high way above the BRT bus line that acts like a metro with 3 lanes for normal car and bike traffic on either side of the BRT lanes), through the gate to Shandong University (his father was a professor there so the school provided them free housing on campus), to the 3rd apartment building complex, then up 5 flights of stairs (no elevators).

His mom was an extremely good cook and she made all sorts of steamed vegetables, dumplings stuffed with carrots, onions, beef, and cabbage (I love the carrot ones probably to death), steam buns, and eggs. His parents didn't eat the eggs because sunny side up eggs were not something you ate in China, but Haorong likes them, and we were western, so she would actually continue to make us sunny side up eggs at every meal she prepared for us. She also gave the 3 of us milk boxes (you can't buy milk in anything bigger than a juice box in any Chinese city we've been too). Haorong's father made fun of him the whole meal of how his son already eats like a westerner so he will fit in well when he goes to Canada. Haorong's family was one of the few people in Jinan who didn't have a car because they saved that money to pay for Haorong to go to Canada to study in the fall. Because of this, his mother's brother came over after breakfast to drive us around.


It was very cold this morning, so I was grateful for the heat he turned on (Chinese people only turn on heat in their cars if there is a westerner onboard. Air conditioning they will use 24/7, but heat was something they simply never used). He took us to the north side of Jinan to where the Yellow River runs through. All their water comes from the Yellow River now because the government is protecting Jinan's natural springs as a national landmark (probably why China is so intent on Tibet not separating from China. Everywhere you see signs for Tibet Spring water... I guess those don't fall under national landmark status).

Big Dragon wall protecting the river:


The river low b/c the rainy season isn't until summer:


Yellow water:


Statue only recently uncovered and then new copies were made all along the river. It is a distinct animal concoction that was designed by the ancient people of Jinan to guard and protect the river from evil spirits of drought and contamination:


Laptop statue:


Beached ship:


Joe begged to pose in a pagoda:


Then they were going to take us to Diamond Lake, but Joe begged them not to make his nose fall off (his nose was a little ice-sickle). So they took us to lunch in the city at ta place where his mom has an in with the staff. We got a private room and they brought us all sorts of hot soups that you put your raw food into, and the soup water boils it! So they had raw veggies all over the table and raw chicken, and you put it into your soup, wait a minute, and then it comes out all well cooked and safe to eat. They also brought us special Jinan potato noodles that Haorong's mom was very proud of as being a signature dish of Jinan.

They wanted to keep going with the touring around Jinan, but after spending 15 days tourning with Master Yang, we were both kinda ready for a ½ day in. So they drove us back to Haorong's grandfather's place and we chilled with him the rest of the day.

Posted by - Rain 07:37

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I love the statues, especially the dragon wall. Pretty awesome. Good pics! And an excellent one of Joe in the pagoda. I can't wait for you guys to have time to catch this journal up to date. But I guess that might not be for a while yet.

by Laurr

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