Cultural immersion in Qufu, China: Part 2 of 4
Overall I’ve enjoyed my week, it’s been bloody hard work, painful and out of my comfort zone all together in terms of surroundings and peer group, but I’ve learnt a lot and as the days pass the physical side of things gets a little easier. It would be a very different experience if my fellow students weren’t all such a good bunch.
The background to my trip
In May 2014, K2 Corporate Mobility's founder and CEO, Nick Plummer, left for four weeks of total cultural immersion at a retreat run by Shaolin monks, in the UNESCO world heritage city of Qufu, China. Now back in Singapore, Nick shares the business drivers behind his decision.
Extract from my diary: Part 2 of 4
A slightly updated routine this week, rising at 05:30 for running and Tai Chi, before consuming my allotted two boiled eggs. Overall I’ve enjoyed my week, it’s been bloody hard work, painful and out of my comfort zone all together in terms of surroundings and peer group, but I’ve learnt a lot and as the days pass the physical side of things gets a little easier. It would be a very different experience if my fellow students weren’t all such a good bunch.
Initially I struggled with taking accurate instructions and remembering the moves which the masters make look so natural and easy. But as the week progressed I began to finally achieve some of the Shaolin moves- it took me several hours just to get the basics but I felt like I’d at least achieved something. As I write my hamstrings and groin are excruciatingly painful- I’m asking my body to do stuff it’s never done before, but I’ve been focusing on my breathing, and thinking of Teresa and my children, thoughts of Tommy and Jake laughing and playing in the pool hit the spot every time. Whilst many classmates are grimacing, I often have an ear to ear smile.
Several long terms students are leaving this weekend, who have been great company and helped me to conform to protocol- avoiding the standard punishment of 1,000 push ups in the exercise yard, or ten minutes in Mabo (horse stance) which is a lactic acid killer.
The surrounding area is quite a culture shock for me, rural and remote- the farmers dry their corn crops out on the road (initially I had assumed they had fallen off the back of a truck), and almost everything here is handmade, to varying degrees of efficiency. From trucks to motorcycles, gates, warehouses, and even forklift trucks radiators are spirited together.
I do feel like I’ve made some progress this week within myself, focusing on using my sub conscious brain rather than my conscious mind, which is usually the engine behind all my work and business endeavours. This technique allows me to remain a lot more calm and rational thinking.
About the article: This is the second of a four part series on Nick's stay in China. Part three will be available on Friday 25th July 2014.
About the author: Nick Plummer, CEO, K2 Corporate Mobility
Nick has 25 years' experience in the global mobility industry- founding K2 Corporate Mobility in 2002. Nick currently lives with his young family in Singapore, focusing and driving business growth in APAC. In his role as CEO, Nick has led K2 Corporate Mobility's strategic development, opening eight offices and now employing almost 100 people globally. He continues to lead relationships with K2's clients, proud that 80% of K2's first year customers are still engaging our services one decade later.
IMAGE RIGHTS: Jonathan Kos-Read (2012). Red Umbrella. Availabl e at: https://flic.kr/p/dei4BD. License here.