These Guys Trained Like Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi’ With a Real Shaolin Kung Fu Master

Sheldon Ho, Mike Wu and Edward Leung from the CantoMando channel were so inspired by Marvel’s first Asian-led superhero movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and its jaw-dropping martial arts that they decided to try out some kung fu training for themselves in their new video.

If it looks like we suck,” says Sheldon, “it’s because we do.”

They seek the tutelage of Shaolin kung fu master Yan Di, who eight different kung fu challenges, starting with the bird walk. “This challenge destroys your legs,” says Sheldon, who fares especially badly. After that, Yan Di demonstrates a series of moves for balance training which put their mobility to the test. “I think I stretched my balls out,” says Mike.

The third challenge is the side kick,

The fourth move is the reverse plank, which requires all three of them to lie face-up with their heads and feet supported on raised blocks, but nothing supporting their bodies, challenging both their balance and strength. “This exercise absolutely destroys your neck,” says Sheldon, although they do manage to complete a full minute holding the plank, going some way towards earning the respect of Yan Di, who admonished them for not taking the exercises seriously enough.

The fifth exercise, partner fists, is all about arm strength and agility, and leaves their forearms covered in bruises, while the sixth involves having to catch a heavy log being thrown at them. “Shaolin kung fu is no joke, and we were all starting to realize that,” says Sheldon. “Every exercise that Master Di picked was so physically and mentally challenging.”

The seventh challenge, iron hands, tasks them with hitting a bag of rice 50 times in a row with the fronts and backs of their palms. The eighth is a popular kung fu practice; fighting with a wooden dummy. “The most original kung fu exercises all involve the tree,” says Yan Di. “

The next day, Sheldon, Edward and Mike join Yan Di and his disciple, Hafu Go, at the temple to learn and perform a full traditional Shaolin kung fu routine. In just two days, Sheldon in particular feels that he has shown considerable improvement—and is left with some words of encouragement from the master.

“Improvement doesn’t guarantee lifetime growth,” says Yan Di. “Never give up on yourself. I hope you become better and better.”

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Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues.

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