Valley of peace

A LIFETIME fascination with martial arts led White Gum Valley’s Marc Wohling to create Ye Shi.

A fusion of yoga and traditional martial arts, it’s deceptively gentle, building strong posture with a series of minimalist movements.

“Ye Shi decodes different training regimes into functional movement patterns,” Wholing says.

The focus is on bodyweight exercises, movement and breathing to improve strength, mobility and flexibility.

“The cultures of China and South East Asia have been thinking about, and experimenting with movement for at least two thousand years,” he says.

The classes are held at the creative-community hub Stackwood, a converted factory in White Gum Valley.

Wholing first became interested in martial arts aged 15, and just three years later got a first dan in Tae Kwon Do.

“My teacher was an erudite Malaysian-Chinese man, Master Vernon Low, a 7th dan black belt,” he says.

“He had phenomenal and flawless technique, the most beautiful I have ever seen. He laid the ground work for my pursuit of good technique throughout my life.

• Marc Wholing. Photo supplied

“This was the late 1970s/early 80s…when TKD was like attending a brutal military camp. Training was tough and intense…Only the resilient survived.”

Fitness and movement was an added attraction and as a young university student Wholing would sneak into Australian Dance Theatre classes next door to observe how they trained.

In the 80s he studied a variety of martial arts including Thai kickboxing, Wing Chun, and hsing-I kung fu.

And in the 90s it was Iyengar yoga, Greco-Roman wrestling and the Filipino arts of Doce Pares Eskrima (stick fighting) and pangamot, in which he got black belts.

“As I get older, I work to deepen my practice in both marital arts and yoga by maintaining the ‘beginner’s mind’.” he says.

“I continue to research the culture and history of Chinese movement, integration of the breath with movement and the interface between Indian and Chinese yoga.”

Ye Shi classes resume February 26, Mon 9–10am and Tues/Thurs, 6.30–7.30pm.

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