Spirituality is not the same as religion. While any religion has spirituality as a core part of its offering, it also has other elements like concepts of faith, morality, doctrine. On the other hand, people can find a spiritual experience in everyday non-religious pursuits. This non-religious type of spirituality was the topic of a festive broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, on the 28th of December 2017 guest edited by poet Ben Okri. You can still catch it on the BBC iPlayer – the relevant segment is in the last 30 minutes. Ben Okri asked the Today’s programme reporter, Sangita Myska, to interview practitioners of a range of non-religious pursuits and she approached Fujian White Crane Kung Fu Instructor Danil Mikhailov for an interview about spirituality and Kung Fu. Only part of their interview made the final broadcast so in this article Danil delves a bit deeper into how the practice of Kung Fu can be a spiritual experience.

“I have practised White Crane Kung Fu for over twenty years, martial arts of any type for over thirty. In fact, my first memory from when I was around four years old is of my father teaching me how to punch correctly Read More

It is late November 2017 and a group of Instructors and Students gather once more in an airport to travel back to China for a week of soaking up the culture and training. Led by Chief Instructor Dennis Ngo our destination is Yongchun in Fujian Province – a visit to Mr Su Ying Han of the Yongchun Yi Yun Society. Mr Su and his family have trained in the White Crane System of Kung Fu since Mr Su was a young man over 60 years ago. But their traditions go back further than that. Amongst the group travelling was Instructor Crofton Black. And he took the opportunity to learn not only more Kung Fu but about the history and culture of this corner of South Eastern China – and why it is so famous for its fighting styles (including our own White Crane Kung Fu).

“We’re lined up on a wooden walkway spanning several hundred yards of the Tung Ch’i river. The waters flow muddy beneath us. The banks are lined with banyan trees, their branches bearded with aerial roots. A kingfisher perches on a protruding rock and keeps an eye on the shoal of little fish carelessly congregating beside it. On the signal of Mr Su Ying Han we salute and step into the first pattern, Read More

It feels like your chest will burst as a jet of joy shoots up through your body – you did it! And then the gremlin sneers “Pride comes before a fall”.  But if we do not take pride in our achievements how are we to know where to go next on the stepping stones of our life? This is a dichotomy at the heart of progress. If we do not feel any pride how do we know if we have made any progress? If we do feel pride in something that was not really a step forward then are we fooling ourselves? It’s a psychological minefield – whilst it’s not the same as losing a limb to a real landmine, it’s a real blockage to our self-realisation.

And so we come to poppies. Chief Instructor, Dennis Ngo, takes up the discussion. Read More