Although China has numerous dialects, the Chinese studied at Shengjing Shan is Putonghua or "common speech". This is the language which linguistically unifies China and will ensure that you are understood everywhere you go.
Generally speaking, learning a language is the key to having the most fulfilling experience in a foreign country but this is particularly true of China and its countryside. The surrounding community really welcomes and even opens their homes to those who have spent the time to learn the language and converse with them.
Long term students are especially encouraged to commit to learning the language; not only will it aid you in understanding more about the art in which you are training, but if you have a genuine interest in gaining an HSK qualification, we will do our best to prepare you to sit the exam at a test centre in Yantai or Weihai. The HSK is an internationally recognised certificate for Chinese language proficiency and is well sought after by employers and education institutes throughout the world, therefore gaining an HSK truly is an investment in your future.
The Chinese classes will be divided into three groups in order to accommodate all abilities:
Those who have no previous experience studying Chinese will start in the beginner group. The first three months of classes will focus on familiarising and reciting tones. Tones are the cornerstone of oral Chinese and it is extremely important to spend time studying them. Students in this category will cover such topics as: Introducing yourself, Numbers, Food and how to order it, Directions, Places of importance, The body, Time and date.
Those who are already familiar with basic Chinese but know less than 1250 characters will be part of the Intermidiate group. We suggest that these students purchase HSK level 3 or 4 textbooks as this will be the syllabus from which you will be working. During class time you will be working on grammar exercises and character writing, with the teaching frequently reviewing and correcting your answers.
The vast majority of your education will be set outside of the classroom as the intermediate and advance students will be encouraged to constantly converse in Chinese. Upon request all the staff at the school will stop addressing you in English in order to simulate total language immersion.
Students who are looking to take and HSK exam can, with the consent of the headmaster, opt to substitute three Kung Fu training sessions per week for persoanl study time.
These students will have already achieved a proficiency of 1250+ Chinese characters and are working towards HSK 5 or above. During lesson times you will be working from your textbook, completing grammar exericses, writing essays and reviewing characters. All of your answers will be checked and corrected at the end of the class.
Advanced Chinese students will be expected to predominantly communicate in Chinese, unless in the case of an emergency or speaking with your classmates. We encourage the advanced students to visit the monks at the temple and engage with the residents in the village, this will help to familiarise yourself with the local accent.
It is said that calligraphy masters will control the flow of ‘Qi’ within oneself whilst simultaneously ‘letting go’ and allowing the flow of energy to carry through to the brush and onto the page. As calligraphy is a distinct form of self-expression, no two styles are the same, with each master’s work having its unique identity and character.
The written Chinese character becomes the physical expression of how the master has focussd their mind, energised their Qi and the degree to which their energy flows onto the page.
At Shengjing Shan, the classes are run by one of the temple-monks who has pleged his life to prayer and scholarly pursuits. Well versed in calligraphic theory, we invite him to our school to guide our students and bring out each individual’s own style and artistic expression.
Chinese massage is an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM). Some Chinese scholars argue that a definitive massage theory had begun to circulate as early as 2700 B.C. and was used in conjunction with acupuncture to cure physical ailments.
The governing principle of Chinese massage is, if a person is experiencing pain or discomfort it is due to the inability of the Qi to flow freely. Therefore physical tension must be released through the stimulation of certain points along the ‘Meridian Lines’ so that the Qi is able to flow. Once your energy is no longer blocked, the pain and discomfort should begin to pass and your body's health will return to normal.
During class time, Master Qu will familiarise his students with Chinese massage theory, as well as allowing the students to explore the practical side of this healing art. Due to the nature of our training, knowledge of the body will serve to speed up your recovery process after intenese periods of training.
Acupuncture has a clearly recorded history dating back 2,000 years although some state that it goes back even further approx. 4,000 years.
It was originally developed by workers in the fields; they would use sharp stones (known as bian stones.) to rub certain parts of the body to cure ailments. Over the years as Chinese society developed these stones were discarded and replaced by stone, pottery, bronze, silver or gold needles and eventually the steel needles of modern day acupuncture.
The needles penetrate the skin at specific points. These points are known collectively as ‘Acupuncture or Acupressure Points’ and can be found at certain points of the body along what are known as the ‘Meridian Lines’, although there are some which are not found on any of the meridians and are known as ‘Extraordinary Points’.
Moxibustion is another variant of acupuncture whereby certain herbs are burnt over but not touching the acupuncture points and the essence of the herb penetrates the skin via the pores.
We believe that Chinese cuisine is one of the most important elements of Chinese culture. Therefore we think it is equally important that our students begin to embrace this rich and unique part of China’s heritage.
Our cook comes from the quiet village which sits sleeply outside of the temple grounds. Using the freshest ingredients, she uses the recipes which have been passed down through her family, from generation to generation.
Those students who wish to learn how to make the dishes which have characterised the Chinese countryside for hundreds of years can do so by assisting the cook in the kitchen every dinner time.
The system of the Dao is the essence of everything that exists in the universe and a way of living in harmony with the surrounding environment. It is the idea of accepting and yielding; seeking a balanced relationship between human beings and the natural world. The Dao is most clearly represented by the Yin-Yang symbol. It highlights the unity of opposites within the natural world, such as the sun and the moon, which follow predetermined, unchanging paths both similar yet diametric opposites.
Daoist thought, for example the concepts of harmony and balance influence to some extent every element of Chinese culture. This philisophy can be seen in cooking, kungfu and even Traditional Chinese Medicine, therefore whilst at Shenjing Shan it is worth exploring some of its core concepts.
Students who attend Daoism class will be introduced and asked to explore the following: -The origins of Daoism -The lives of Laozi and Zhuangzi and their works -Personal interpretations of Daoist works -Speak with the monks in the temple (Advanced Chinese language students only)
Studying Daoism here is particularly advantageous as we are situated on temple grounds. This is to say that we are surrounded by an abundance of knowledge and culture, and for those interested in this field it is a ‘can’t miss’ oppurtunity to lean about China’s most famous homegrown religion.