One of first westerners be made disciple
TOTNES martial arts instructor Matt Bindon has become one of the first westerners to be made an official disciple of the famed Shaolin Temple.
The kung fu expert, who trains in the traditional style founded by the famous Shaolin school in China, recently returned from the temple in the Hubei Province where he trained with masters and monks at the North Shaolin Temple.
During his stay, the Totnes instructor, who has travelled to China on several occasions to perfect his technique in tai chi, chi gong, traditional Shaolin kung fu and sanda or Chinese kickboxing, and attended an official ceremony.
He said: "It was such a privilege and a fantastic experience."
During his stay, Matt was also interviewed and filmed by Chinese TV who were interested in a foreigner studying the traditional martial art.
Matt, who has been training more than 25 years, teaches real authentic Shaolin kung fu in Devon.
He is one of the first western persons to be sworn in as a 35th Generation Shaolin Warrior Disciple.
As part of the ceremony, he received an official Chinese name given to him by the Shaolin Masters from the Temple.
Known as 'Shifu Matt', he trained under Master Shi Yanming Chen and had to start training at 5am for eight to nine hours of intensive training every day.
He said: "Training was very hard and I had to perform in front of other Masters and the Temples Head Abbot.
"I had the chance to train with top Masters in their respective styles which was very special."
Shaolin Kung Fu is the oldest of martial arts and teaches a complete system of martial technique and ability, while overall improving and maintaining health and well being.
Matt said that although it takes years to master Shaolin martial arts, he teaches all levels from beginners to advanced at the Follaton Community Hall in Totnes.
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