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My Quest for Shaolin Mastery

"Awakening the Dragon: My Quest for Shaolin Mastery" takes you on my extraordinary journey of self-discovery and determination, from the streets of London to the sacred Shaolin Monastery. As a young boy, I dreamed of becoming a Shaolin warrior, and this captivating story follows my transformation from a London schoolboy to a dedicated disciple of the Shaolin Temple, under the guidance of the revered abbot, Shi Yong Xin. Along the way, I faced numerous challenges and setbacks, explored the breathtaking sights of China and Asia, and had unexpected encounters that shaped my path.

From enduring broken bones to finding love and starting a family, my journey showcases the resilience of the human spirit. The power of Kung Fu and the teachings of Shaolin philosophy brought me fulfillment and purpose, inspiring me to continue the tradition of teaching and sharing my passion with others. Despite the twists and turns of destiny, I returned to China, navigated a global pandemic, and continued to live the life of my dreams.

"Awakening the Dragon: My Quest for Shaolin Mastery" is a testament to the pursuit of dreams and the transformative power of following one's path with unwavering determination. Join me as I recount my incredible adventure, fueled by the strength of my spirit and the teachings of Shaolin, as I strive to awaken the dragon within.

Dreams Unveiled:

The Path to Becoming a Shaolin Monk

Step into my captivating world as a young boy, where my aspirations take flight. Immersed in the mesmerizing world of martial arts movies, I discover a deep connection to their philosophies and the positive messages they convey. These cinematic heroes become the positive male role models I long for, guiding me on a path of transformation.

In the vibrant era of the 1990s, when kung fu movies and anime reigned supreme, I find solace and inspiration within the pages of Iron Fist Chinmi and the animated realm of Dragonball. These art forms ignite a flame within my heart, nurturing a profound love for the ancient traditions of martial arts and the wisdom they hold.

Fate intervenes in the most fortuitous way, when I am ten years old. My mother, an avid reader of The Guardian, introduces me to an article that changes the course of my life forever. The article unveils the Shaolin Soldier Monks and their breathtaking show, the Wheel of Life. A passion ignites within me, indescribable and powerful.

With tickets in hand, I eagerly embark on a journey to London's prestigious Dominion Theatre on Tottenham Court Road. As the curtain rises and the performance unfolds before my eyes, I am left breathless. The Shaolin monks astound me with their mesmerizing acrobatics, gravity-defying leaps, and extraordinary displays of martial prowess. Something stirs deep within my soul, forever altering the path I will tread.

From that day forward, my dream takes on a new form and purpose. At the age of eleven, my heart is set on a singular goal: to become a Shaolin Warrior. This chapter is a testament to the incredible power of inspiration, showcasing how a single experience can shape the trajectory of one's life. Join me as I embark on an extraordinary journey of self-discovery, discipline, and unwavering determination.

A Journey Ignited:

Section 1: The Power of Cinematic Heroes

As a young boy, I found solace and inspiration in the captivating world of martial arts movies. The action-packed scenes and heroic characters became my guiding lights, shaping my dreams and instilling in me a deep connection to the philosophies and positive messages they conveyed. These movies were more than mere entertainment; they were a source of guidance and inspiration.

Bruce Lee, with his unparalleled skill and charisma, became my ultimate idol. I watched every one of his movies, marveling at his mastery of martial arts and his philosophy of self-expression and self-improvement. His dedication and determination resonated with me deeply, and I sought to emulate his unwavering pursuit of excellence.

In addition to Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan's "Drunken Master" and the classic "Shaolin vs Wu Tang" opened my eyes to the artistry and versatility of martial arts. Jackie Chan's unique blend of comedy and acrobatics showcased the importance of agility, creativity, and adaptability in combat. These movies taught me that martial arts is not just about fighting; it is a form of self-expression, discipline, and personal growth.

Another film that left an indelible mark on my young mind was "The 36th Chamber of Shaolin." This masterpiece depicted the arduous training and spiritual journey of a young man in the Shaolin Temple. It taught me the importance of discipline, perseverance, and inner strength. The idea of mastering different chambers, each representing a specific skill or virtue, resonated deeply with me, fueling my desire to embark on my own martial arts journey.

Even in the realm of cartoons, I found valuable life lessons. "Thundercats" showed me the power of teamwork, loyalty, and courage. The Thundercats, with their unique abilities and diverse backgrounds, taught me that unity and collaboration are essential for overcoming challenges and achieving greatness.

Awakening the Dragon

As a young boy, I was captivated by the adventures of Lion-O, the lead character in the animated series "Thundercats." Lion-O had been entrusted with the extraordinary responsibility of wielding the powerful Sword of Omens, granting him the ability of "sight beyond sight." Enthralled by this concept, my sole ambition at that time was to possess my own Sword of Omens and unlock the hidden perspectives that eluded others. Little did I know, this fascination would not only shape my childhood but also become a guiding principle in shaping my future, allowing me to perceive the unseen and write my own destiny with clarity and foresight. To this day I still have my Sword of Omens.

As I delved deeper into the world of martial arts movies, I began to learn the importance of self-discipline, respect for others, and the pursuit of personal and societal harmony. These teachings provided a moral compass that guided me in my own journey, shaping me into the man I am today. Looking back, I realize that these movies and philosophies were more than entertainment for me. They were transformative forces that ignited a passion within me, instilled values of discipline and perseverance, and taught me valuable life lessons. They became the foundation upon which I built my dreams, aspirations, and personal growth.

Section 2: Nurturing the Flame

During my early years, I stumbled upon a Manga book that would forever shape my journey. It happened when I was 11, wandering through the school library, and by chance, I discovered "Iron Fist Chinmi." Despite not being an avid reader, this captivating series instantly captured my heart, leading me on an exhilarating adventure within its pages. I devoured the entire series within a few weeks, and it quickly became my personal bible.

"Iron Fist Chinmi" became my sanctuary, where I immersed myself in the world of martial arts training. Its vivid illustrations and compelling storytelling guided me through the basics of push-ups, handstands, stances, strikes and even, what I thought then to be “just cartoons”, the magical powers of Qi Gong like the iron finger and iron head-which both became goals and visions of mine in the future. But it offered much more than physical techniques. The series acted as a paternal figure, with the wise old master imparting invaluable life lessons through the ancient culture of Kung Fu. Overcoming fear, using challenges as opportunities for growth, and the importance of perseverance were just a few of the profound teachings woven into the narrative.

Mj reading Iron Fist Chinmi Temple Kung Fu

The book sparked my artistic side as well, inspiring me to recreate scenes, draw characters, and even develop my own stories. I vividly recall creating a full-length comic about a young boy who traveled to China to learn Kung Fu and later established his own temple. Little did I know that this seemingly imaginative tale would eventually become my reality. As a teenager, I made the bold decision to move to China, study Kung Fu with the old masters, and eventually return to London to open my own temple. Looking back, it's astonishing to see how closely the drawings from my youth resemble the temple I have now built as a man.

People often inquire about the secrets of Shaolin, expecting tales of ancient scrolls and revered masters. While it's true that some ancient scrolls exist, my personal journey didn't heavily focus on that aspect. Many Kung Fu masters in Shaolin were not formally educated and placed their primary emphasis on physical training. Instead, it was through books like "Iron Fist Chinmi" that I delved deep into the secrets and training techniques of Kung Fu long before setting foot in Shaolin. These cherished books, which still hold a special place in my heart, are the true manuscripts that guided my early understanding of Kung Fu.

Moreover, these treasured books have been passed down to my son, T, who, like me, finds inspiration within their pages. They continue to kindle the flame within him, nurturing his own love for martial arts and shaping his aspirations, just as they did for me during my formative years.

Section 3: A Journey of Martial Arts and Love

Dragonball, the iconic anime series, holds a special place in my heart, as it ignited my passion for martial arts and shaped my perspective on life. The story revolves around the adventures of Goku, a young Kung Fu prodigy with a pure heart and an insatiable thirst for self-improvement. From his humble beginnings as a martial artist-in-training to his evolution into a powerful warrior, Goku's journey resonated deeply with me.

Goku's daily pursuit of martial arts excellence served as a constant reminder of the importance of discipline, perseverance, and continuous growth. His unwavering dedication to his craft inspired me to strive for greatness in my own life. Watching him face formidable opponents, overcome unimaginable challenges, and push himself beyond his limits instilled in me a belief that anything is possible with hard work and determination.

Throughout his journey, Goku learns invaluable life lessons that extend beyond the realm of martial arts. His encounters with wise mentors, such as Master Roshi and King Kai, impart teachings about humility, respect, and the power of friendship. These principles resonated with me and influenced the way I approached my relationships and interactions with others.

One of the most significant aspects of Goku's journey is his encounter with Chichi, a feisty young girl who becomes his future wife. Their bond grows over time, and together they start a family. Witnessing their love story unfold, I realized the importance of finding a partner who shares similar passions and values. Like Goku and Chichi, I aspired to build a meaningful relationship and create a loving family of my own, where the principles of martial arts and personal growth would be passed down to future generations.

The vivid orange clothing that Goku wears throughout the series had a profound impact on me. It became my favorite color, a symbol of my connection to the martial arts world and a constant reminder of Goku's vibrant spirit. Today, orange permeates every aspect of my life, from my training gear to my car, serving as a visual representation of the inspiration I drew from Goku's journey.

Dragonball taught me that having children is not a daunting prospect, but rather an opportunity to nurture and guide the next generation. Just as Goku nurtured his son Gohan, I felt a deep desire to pass on the principles I had learned through martial arts and inspire my own children to embark on their unique journeys of self-discovery. The series instilled in me the belief that having a family was an integral part of creating the life of my dreams and shaping the world for the better.

As I reflect on my personal growth and the profound influence Dragonball had on my life, I am grateful for the adventures, lessons, and inspiration it provided. Through Goku's journey, I discovered the transformative power of martial arts, the importance of personal growth, and the pursuit of meaningful relationships. Dragonball sparked a fire within me, driving me to live the martial arts life, train diligently, embark on exciting adventures, and nurture a family of my own.

In the end, Dragonball taught me that the real magic lies in the journey itself—the growth, the connections formed, and the impact we have on others. It continues to inspire me to awaken the dragon within, strive for excellence, and make a difference in the world, just as Goku did.

Section 4: Dreams take shape

It is against this backdrop that fate intervenes in the form of a fortuitous moment. At the tender age of ten, my mother, an avid reader of The Guardian, introduced me to an article that would forever alter the course of my life. The discovery of the Shaolin Soldier Monks and their awe-inspiring show, the Wheel of Life, ignited an indescribable passion within me.

With tickets in hand, I eagerly embarked on a journey to London's prestigious Dominion Theatre on Tottenham Court Road. As the curtains rose and the stage came to life, my young eyes were instantly captivated by the extraordinary display of the Shaolin monks in "The Shaolin Wheel of Life" show. The atmosphere in the Dominion Theatre was filled with anticipation and excitement as the audience eagerly awaited the commencement of this remarkable performance.

The show began with a breathtaking showcase of acrobatics that seemed to defy the laws of physics. The Shaolin monks leaped and twirled through the air with effortless grace, displaying their incredible agility and flexibility. As I gazed upon the spectacle, my eyes widened in amazement. Not only did I witness a man break iron bars on his head, but I also saw one individual effortlessly perform a finger stand. It was a scene straight from Iron Fist Chimni. However, little did I know that this seemingly fictional technique was actually a attainable tangible skill. My previous assumption, likening it to the flying abilities of Superman, was proven unequivocally wrong. In that very moment, I began to grasp the astonishing truth that superheroes do exist among us, and I was fortunate enough to witness their awe-inspiring feats unfold before my eyes.

But it wasn't just their physical prowess that left a lasting impression on me; it was the deep-rooted discipline and spiritual devotion that emanated from every movement. The Shaolin monks embodied the centuries-old traditions and philosophy of the Shaolin Temple, which has been a bastion of Kung Fu and enlightenment for generations.

Amidst the awe-inspiring spectacle, my attention was drawn to a group of children, just my age, performing alongside the monks. These young disciples exhibited a level of skill and dedication that filled me with both inspiration and a sense of possibility. Seeing children my age manifesting the movements I had only dreamed of ignited a fire within me.

From that moment on, my perspective on Kung Fu and the Shaolin way of life took on a new dimension. The live experience of witnessing the Shaolin monks and their young disciples in action created a deep yearning within me, a dream to one day become a part of this extraordinary lineage.

The impact on my mindset was profound. The show not only awakened my fascination for Kung Fu but also instilled in me a newfound determination and purpose. I realized that becoming a Shaolin Warrior wasn't just about physical training and martial arts skills; it was a path of self-discovery, discipline, and spiritual growth.

The dream to move to China and immerse myself in the life of a Shaolin warrior became a beacon of light guiding my future aspirations. I began to research the rich history of the Shaolin Temple and its monks, delving into the philosophical teachings and rigorous training regimens that had shaped these extraordinary individuals.

As I embarked on my own journey of self-discovery, I embraced the values of discipline, respect, and perseverance, mirroring the principles upheld by the Shaolin monks. Though my path would be challenging and require unwavering dedication, the experience of witnessing the Shaolin Wheel of Life show had given me the courage to pursue my dreams, no matter how audacious they seemed.

The story will continue with | Chapter 2: Crafting a Canvas of Dreams

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