Home. What is home? Where is home?
I’ve heard: “home is not a place, it’s a feeling”. Also: “home is where you can look ugly and enjoy it”. We all have different interpretations of the word home.
For some, home is where it all began, where they were born. For others, it’s where they finally settled down. For E.T, it was only a phone call away, and for me, a plane ride.
My home is where my heart is.
Family is another word we can interpret in many ways, and all families are different. I concluded that my family consists of the people who love me for who I am.
While I was travelling, my family was growing with people from all corners of the world. And it hit me that all human beings are one, and that we should be united as one. Instead of fighting and hating each other, we should help and love each other. We are part of the same world and we consist of the same thing: love.
“The more you are motivated by love, the more fearless and free your action will be.” Dalai Lama, my man!
Now, from that digression, let me return to the story of my second home and my Kung Fu family.
A delicious smell of street food, of forest and trees, mixed with a faint smell of garbage meet you when you’re entering the small village right outside the famous Shaolin Temple. Build uphill and surrounded by lush, green vegetation and beautiful mountains.
Everywhere you see children running around in their little Kung Fu outfits and dogs trying to find a patch of shade to escape the sun.
It’s an active village, with a certain calmness to it nevertheless. Like protectors of the village, men are sitting in the street, either fascinated by foreigners’ white skin or consumed with finishing their cigarette in peace.
Apart from a couple of restaurants and some hostels, the village consists of Kung Fu schools.
As a foreigner, you can attend “The Songshan Shaolin Traditional Wushu Academy” where Shifu Shi Yan Jun, a 34th Generation Shaolin Warrior Monk, is the headmaster.
Shifu is the title of a Kung Fu master. In China, people traditionally respect their teachers equally to their own parents. 师 shī means teacher, and 父 fu is like a father. Shifu Shi Yan Jun introduced himself as a skilled master who could teach us Kung Fu, but also as a caring father figure who wanted the best for his Kung Fu family. And that how I saw him: A great teacher and a man full of understanding, compassion and a great sense of humour.
As for the rest of my China family, I quickly realised that we were not gathered here by coincidence. We were from different parts of the world, with different cultural rules and upbringing. Nevertheless, we were there for similar reasons, like a broken heart, escaping a brutal past, a chance for a new beginning.
Through training and meditation, we grew stronger together. We shared experiences and helped each other in times of difficulties. Beautiful bonds were created, and a lot of everlasting friendships.
If you are interested in learning Kung Fu, I would recommend from the heart The Songshan Shaolin Traditional Wushu Academy. Check it out: