A bird's-eye view of Shaolin style
Last Friday five junior reporters tested their skills at a Shaolin kung fu workshop in Ngong Ping village. Here they recount their experiences.
After a breathtaking cable car ride, we arrived at the village of Ngong Ping.
There, some young kung fu masters were already waiting for us.
They were all enthusiastic about promoting kung fu and the spirit of Shaolin among Hong Kong youngsters.
They told us they hoped to follow in the footsteps of Bruce Lee and Jet Li onto the big screen.
Despite their youth, they all demonstrated steely eyed resolve.
Even on a blisteringly hot day, they hardly broke a sweat during their challenging demonstration.
In the crystal cable car, which has a floor made of glass, I felt as if I was floating on air.
During the workshop, we were taught a few moves in qixingquan ('seven stars fist'), a famous Shaolin routine.
It seemed easy when our tutor demonstrated it, but proved more challenging when we tried it.
We were told the exercise helps the circulatory and respiratory systems.
Our Shaolin tutor went on to tell us about the other health benefits of the sport.
Both of the young masters started practising kung fu when they were just six.
They told us their parents have been very supportive and proud of them for learning kung fu.
It is not easy to learn kung fu. Qixingquan requires a mastery of basic techniques. Even Shaolin masters need years of practice to do it perfectly.
Yet, thanks to the professional teaching from the masters, I learned to do the first few steps.
The masters explained that the most important thing to learn is de - virtue. Having de, a master would never use his or her skills to hurt others or cause trouble.
After a brief introduction to qixingquan, I realised how important it is to be fit physically and mentally before you can learn martial arts.
After you master the basics, you also need to become more flexible.
Our young Shaolin masters told us: 'There is only better, but not the best.'
In other words, gaining absolute mastery of the art is impossible, but we should never stop trying to improve.
The point of kung fu is to undertake a lifelong quest of self-improvement.
It was a clear, sunny day, and on the Ngong Ping 360 we were able to see all the way to Macau!
The young kung fu masters then told us about their lives.
We learned that they follow a strict regimen. They train for several hours every day besides studying at school.
They want to achieve greatness in both wen (literary arts) and wu (martial arts).
Later, we were given some time to walk around Ngong Ping village.
I rushed out to buy a postcard to send home, and then returned to see the young masters perform on stage.
I was especially fascinated by the routines in which their moves imitated various animals.
One routine, which was clearly inspired by monkeys, reminded me of the Monkey King, a legendary warrior.