It is a fact: The egg preceded the chicken. Unfortunately, explaining why is well beyond the scope of this article. Readers are invited to take as scientific gospel the words of Samuel Butler, “A chicken is simply an egg’s way of making another egg,” and ponder instead the question: Where does Hangzhou get all its eggs? In short: A chicken’s ass. For those of you, however, looking for a more detailed and possibly more accurate explanation, the following is for you.
We love eggs. Poached; scrambled, over-easy, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, artfully wrought into omelets, we are robustly and unrepentantly ovivorous. We consume close to two dozen eggs per-week (excluding those which were essential ingredients in our cakes and baked-goods), and we will be eating even more once we replace our broken blender and can churn half a dozen raw whites into a frothy morning protein drink. Every time the national and local hygiene secretariats announce yet another poultry holocaust, our hearts go out to the chickens, but our concerns, quite frankly, lie with the health of our egg-supply.
China is said to be home to more than 1 billion egg-laying hens – one hen per 1.3 people. That number is just under twice the sum of egg-laying hens in the USA (276) and the 15 EU member states (290) combined. We suspect that these sorts of censuses have formidable margins of error, but whatever the standard deviation that’s still a lot of feathered biomass.
Raising hens requires around four square feet of floor space per bird, while adults can comfortably roost together at one foot of perch-space each. Wing-to-wing, China’s hens lined-up on a single perch would stretch some 190,000 miles. It would wrap around the Earth, at the Equator, seven-and-a-half times. Allowing that your average chicken weighs in the vicinity of four pounds, China’s hens collectively weigh as much as 30,000 Boeing 747-200 jets. Mustered together at once they would occupy en mass nearly 36 square miles (93 sq/km). That’s an area larger than either Gongshu or Binjiang District. And note: that’s not the approximate size of a single theoretical chicken farm for all of China’s egg-laying hens; that’s just how much space would be occupied by the chickens themselves, standing in formation, cheek-by-fowl jowl. That’s a big brood.
China is also the planet’s largest producer of eggs. By one conservative estimate, China’s chickens crank-out over 20 million tons of eggs per annum. That seems like a lot, but worldwide McDonald’s alone uses an estimated eight million eggs every day. China is not yet a major exporter of eggs, and the annual domestic egg output is not the gargantuan sum it appears to be when one contemplates national consumption off eggs and egg-product in the production of other foodstuffs.
With Easter and therefore egg-related festivities marking the month of April, we thought we’d set-out on an egg-hunt of our own. After all, Hangzhou’s eggs have to come from somewhere, and if one-third of the urban population eats one egg per day, that’s two million eggs daily. If the average yield from each healthy hen is one egg every 24 hours, we’re talking about some two million laying-hens. Where are they?
Zhongtai Township (中泰乡) is a good deal west of the city, off of the Hangrui (G56) Expressway, about four klicks west and four klicks north of the Wuchaoshan National Forest Park. If you eyeball Zhongtai’s coordinates on Google Maps, it seems to share nearly the same exact latitude with the location of the Three Pools Mirroring the Moon scenic spot in West Lake, which is about 23 kilometers to the east. We set out from our offices before noon, driving down Tianmushan Road under skies as blue as they’re ever likely to get in this city, and traveled in the direction of Liuxia. By the time we were twenty minutes outside the Hangzhou metropolitan area, the landscape was one of sundrenched fields and buggy, rural air. Smooth paving gave way to rough tarmac, and by the time the highway had become a single-track road, Zhongtai Township was minutes away.
The township stretches across over 70 sq. km. and is home to around 24,000 souls. (Our hometown in New England is 90 sq. km. with a population of around 8,000.) Shuanglian Village (双联村) is one of the ten villages that make-up Zhongtai, and was where we were to look for the Yang family farm.
The Yangs are not commercial farmers. What produce they do turn into coin is sold to neighbors only. Their modest and homey patch of terra firma covers a little more than three acres (1.3 hectares), and is more than enough to sustain their menagerie of around 600 chickens, their small gaggle of geese and paddling of ducks. Their two strong-bodied dogs seem to enjoy their lives as much as any well-fed farm mutts would. Mr. Yang and his wife are well into their 60s, and are the sort of solid, good-natured, suntanned specimens of 21st century Chinese country folk that you could imagine being trotted out for the cameras every so often whenever officialdom wants to celebrate “the new countryside” or xinnongcun, or to publically reaffirm the nongqian shihou policy which translates into, “rural people come first, city-slickers next.” Like their dogs, the Yangs are hearty and hale, friendly, and seemingly not discontent with their earthly lot.
We were here to see the chickens and the eggs, and it was in the context of a few prefatory enquiries about these that we learned from Mr. Yang that he eats two eggs a day, sometimes five. When he mentioned (apropos of nothing except his daily egg-intake) that he takes a swig of baijiu every once a while, Mrs. Yang piped-up and volunteered that she is thinking about getting a cow or goat, so they can have fresh milk every day. This may or may not have been intended as a corrective to Mr. Yang’s confession about his yen for distilled sorghum, or as a prophylactic against possible wrong impressions, but just the same we told her we hope she gets her lactating ungulate soon.
The chickens here are free-range in the broadest sense of the term (just in case there is, in fact, any other sense of the term). They roam their mostly verdant estate as chickens do, now with Gallic aloof, now with aquiline purpose. One contingent galloops up and down a little hill, while by a stream, a small squad pecks at insects in the grass and dirt. Eventually, and proverbially, they will all come home to roost and lay eggs. The coops were as clean as a working coop can be, and if a hen can be said to be happy, the Yang’s hens must be among the happiest in the region.
Though the chickens adventitiously subsidize their protein-intake with worms and bugs, their fodder is a hand-tossed mélange of corn and soybean meal, and not a commercial mixed feed. The Yangs seem not to have set-out intentionally to raise organic fowl per se, and we were pleased they lacked the pretention to describe their farm or modest operations as green. They insisted no chemicals are ever added to the feed, and their hens are never injected with hormones or other drugs. With the return of the warmer weather, Mr. Yang says the hens will lay one egg every day. We think of the relevant biometrics, and wonder whether Mr. Yang is selling more than just a few of the over five hundred eggs per day his hens will yield for him. We hope so. The short tour of the premises leaves us hopeful that the Yang’s egg farm is the rule and not the exception; but whether it is or not, and whatever the final destination of his eggs, we’re hoping to leave with a small basketful. And we do.
Wholesale and market prices for eggs fluctuate like any other agricultural product, and have been known to spike sharply and suddenly, with month-on-month surges as high as 24%. In September of 2011 wholesale prices rocketed to nearly 10RMB per kilo. Counted as a non-staple food by China’s Ministry of Agriculture, wholesale egg prices were around 8RMB/kg at the end of 2013, and at the moment a kilo of run-of-the-mill eggs at the market ring-in at about 10RMB, though we’ve seen both higher and lower prices in at our local green grocer’s. Packaged by the dozen and sold in chain supermarkets, the price can be as high as 3 or 5RMB per egg. Getting street-level intel about whether, or to what extent, recent poultry-culls (etc.) have impacted retail prices at farmers’ cooperatives, or wholesale prices for street-vendors who make danbing (egg-pancakes), proved trickier than we expected.
For the past seven years, we’ve dropped anywhere between 10 and 30RMB per day at the Kedi downstairs from our flat, not infrequently tossing three one-yuan coins on the counter for a rubbery chayedan (“tea egg”) which had been stewing in heaven knows what for god knows how long. Staff are usually chatty and often initiate casual banter, but when we asked about how many eggs they sell each day, they retreated into their shells, and answered with a cool, dismissive buzhidao.
“You really have no idea?” We press.
“No idea.” We’re told.
“Ok. Well, about how many eggs do you cook?”
“How many do you put into the pot each day?”
“A rough guess.”
“Really. No idea. I don’t pay attention to that sort of thing.”
Fifty meters away was one of the city’s many danbing vendors. A round plastic basket on the surface of the cart held a dozen or so eggs, and as he didn’t appear particularly busy - sunning himself like a turtle - we had high hopes for an informative chat. We explained we were writing an article about eggs, and asked him how many eggs he goes through per day and this is what we got:
“Don’t know? Come on. Roughly how many?”
“Are you really telling me you have no idea how many eggs you use?”
“Well how many do you buy, roughly, every day?”
“So, you sell danbing for a living, and you don’t know how many eggs you use or sell?”
By lucky chance, another danbing vendor was just around the corner. Ms. Yan, a native of Guangxi Province, was standing behind her cart, which like nearly every such cart was black from heat and smoke and oil, and looked impossibly heavy and awkward for a woman of Ms. Yan’s proportions. Her child, a friendly and polite girl of seven or so, had just finished skipping rope, and was now sitting on the wall her mother was leaning against.
According to Ms. Yan, wholesale prices of the eggs she buys fluctuate, and it seemed to her there is always a correlation between chicken-culls and upticks in egg prices. She said that she uses around forty or fifty eggs per day, but we were disinclined to enquire as to the profitability of her venture, or to press her too much about materials-sourcing. A single danbing requires but one egg, and Ms. Yan’s danbing sell for four kuai each. (She charges 2RMB for her tea eggs.) After expenses, we reckon her sales of even 50 eggs cannot net her much more than 100RMB.
The sun was as bright, and the air as comfortable, as it was the day we visited the Yang family farm, but it paled in comparison to the warmth found in Ms. Yan’s tired, but not world-weary, smile. She stroked the back of her daughter’s head causally as we spoke. Her daughter split her time paying attention to us, her mother, and the frayed ends of the tattered jump-rope she was wringing and twisting with her little paws. Her smile, like her mother’s, was jumbo-sized, and her little teeth grade-A white. This is what a child raised on eggs looks like.
We couldn’t resist asking about the local authorities or chengguan. Were they a source of bother and aggravation for her. “No, no, not at all,” she said. “They know how hard this is – this work, raising my daughter. They know we all need to make money. They understand. No. Not a problem at all.”
We thanked her for her time, and sensing our imminent departure she insisted we take a tea-egg to try; and though we refused as politely and adamantly as one could, and fished furiously through our pockets for coin, she had scooped-up an egg with a ladle and plopped it into a baggie before our fingers could confirm the regrettable absence of a single yingbi. Though piping hot, we consumed the egg on the spot, expressing our gratitude and congratulating her on the egg’s rich savory taste.
She and her daughter sent us off with a smile, and for a moment our confidence in the local manifestation of humanity returned. One might even say it was resurrected. And in contemplating eggs in their seasonal context, perhaps that is exactly the right word.
Citing an anonymous source, the [Guangming Daily] paper outlined how the fakes were made: prepare a mould, then mix the right amounts of resin, starch, coagulant and pigments to make egg white. Sodium alginate, extracted from brown algae, gives the egg white the wanted viscosity. Then add the fake egg yolk, a different mix of resin and pigments. Once the proper shape is achieved, an amalgamate of paraffin wax, gypsum powder and calcium carbonate makes for a credible shell.
Time, Patrick Boehler, Patrick Boehler 6 November 2012
Over the past eight weeks, the Wellington College International Hangzhou community has rallied together to face and overcome the challenges associated with the COVID-19 outbreak. During this time, Wellington College International Hangzhou is experiencing an increasing number of enquiries for admissions, and from March 30th the entire Admissions team have been back on campus assisting families through the admissions process.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, we are unable to host families on campus for our personalised tours, but that doesn’t mean you cannot learn more about the unique Wellington approach to holistic education. From phone conversations, email and video conferencing, through to our 360-degree virtual campus tours and online information sessions, we can still connect in this digital age despite our distance.
Online Open Day
On Wednesday 8th April, Wellington College International Hangzhou will be hosting an online information session, open to anyone keen to learn more about Wellington.
In this webinar style event, Mr. Paul Rogers, founding Executive Master of Wellington College Hangzhou, will provide a broad overview and introduction to the Wellington College family of schools, our heritage, educational philosophy and values.
Ms. Kathryn Richardson, Principal of Wellington College International Hangzhou, will take a deeper dive into what makes a Wellington education unique, as well as exploring many of the common topics that parents are curious about.
Additionally, you will have the opportunity to take a 360-degree virtual campus tour to view the state-of-the-art facilities we have on offer and how we utilize these facilities to provide the very best possible education for the children in our care.
Finally, we will host a live Q&A session where participants will be able to interact with the speakers and Admissions team, allowing us to address the questions that are important to you.
Scholarships at Wellington
In order to recognise and reward the pursuit and achievement of excellence in pupils at Wellington College International Hangzhou, and to make a Wellington education accessible to a broader range of pupils throughout Hangzhou and surrounding regions, scholarships, awards and bursaries are available to different year levels at Wellington. Awards of up to 100% of the tuition fees will be available to successful applications in Year 7 or above in August 2020. For more information, please visit this link or contact our Admissions team directly.
eLearning at Wellington
Results from our recent parent survey are conclusive. Our eLearning provision is meeting the needs of our families and ensuring that children are meeting their educational needs during this difficult time. 94% of Wellington College International Hangzhou families agree that our teachers have ensured that our pupils, irrespective of time zones, have been able to access all learning materials during this period of eLearning.
Since eLearning started, Wellington College International Hangzhou pupils have been able to maintain their close-knit relationships with their teachers and classmates. These ongoing relationships, personalised learning plans, 1:1 tutoring where required and innovative use of technology to smoothly facilitate learning objectives has ensured that our children are all progressing as they should during this time.
This high-quality eLearning provision is a testament to Wellington’s ongoing commitment to always providing the best possible learning outcomes to the children in our care, regardless of circumstance or challenge. We remain committed to this objective and welcome enquiries from all parents who are interesting in providing a world-class education to their children.
To learn more about eLearning at Wellington College International Hangzhou, please click the links below to learn more;
Top 12 FAQs | All you need to know about joining Wellington!
The Admissions team regularly fields questions from parents who are keen to learn more about Wellington, and as a result have compiled the following useful FAQ. Please click the link below to see what other parents are curious about.
Do you have different questions? Are you interested in learning more about Wellington? If so, we welcome you to join our online open day being hosted at 7pm on Wednesday 8th April. We look forward to seeing you there!
Don’t forget that our Admissions team are available at any time to answer your questions. Due to the international nature of the school, we field questions at all times of the day. Feel free to contact us using any of the methods listed below and we will respond to your enquiry within 48 hours.
The Chinese hot-pot restaurant chain Haidilao is known for a lot of things, except being moderate. They will give you a free manicure and clean your shoes while you’re waiting for your table, provide a big stuffed animal to keep you company if you’re lunching alone, and perform an acrobatic dance if you order noodles.
Haidilao is the epitome of the “client comes first” mentality that will go to great length to provide you with first-rate service. However, as experience shows, some clients find that the best service is when they are left alone and not bothered by pesky over-the-top courtesy.
At one time Chinese Internet was replete with articles titled along the lines of “Don’t let Haidilao know your birthday, it’s too scary” where users would detail their experiences dealing with the restaurant’s overblown birthday service that included singing and dancing waiters holding LED lights and more. Some have even joked saying “If you hate your friend, go to Haidilao for their birthday.”
To tackle the problem and better cater to the needs of different groups of customers, Haidilao recently introduced a witty solution. Tables in some of the chain’s restaurants are now equipped with “Do not disturb” flip-boards. Customers who do not want to be approached too often by waiters can use the sign to fend off their insistent advances.
The flip-board also provides other options such as “I’ll serve dishes myself” meaning that the waiter does not need to help with the dishes frequently or “detailed services are not required” telling waiters that they are only wanted to bring dishes and clean the table.
According to Haidilao, the service is still in the pilot stage, and it will be tried in some stores. It will continue to be optimized according to the needs of customers and different situations. Stores and employees will be continuously encouraged to innovate and provide customers with more personalized services.
Though Haidilao's service has always been known as "perverted", but sometimes it is too intimate and it can cause embarrassment. A while ago, a post named "Don't let Haidilao know your birthday" went viral on the internet.
“I went to Haidilao with my girlfriend, we just asked if we could get a discount on birthdays, then a group of people appeared with LED lights and sang the birthday song, they even gave us a ‘Most Beautiful Girlfriend Reward” and asked us to read the girlfriend vows to each other.’
“Two of us went to celebrate my friend’s birthday at Haidilao, we hid the cake in our bag and sneaked some scoops every now and then, just because we were so scared that the waiters would find out that’s her birthday, then we would be the super star of the night.”
“Look at me, I looked so surprised and happy!”
Therefore, for many customers who like Haidilao, the appearance of "Do Not Disturb" flip-board is simply a relief and has been unanimously appreciated by everyone.
From a steaming glass of traditional mulled wine, brimming with spices, to an indulgent mudslide cocktail, our winter drinks recipes are perfect for seeing in the festive season. Curl up in your fluffiest jumper with a creamy peppermint hot chocolate, or get the party started with a batch of our marvellous mulled gin.
Keep everyone's glasses topped up with our favourite festive drinks, and mouth-watering non-alcoholic drinks for every taste. Find top mixology tips, reviews of our favourite products and even more triple-tested recipes in our cocktails & drinks hub.
Spiced Apple Syrup with Clementine & Cloves
Our spiced apple syrup with clementine and cloves will add a burst of fabulous Christmas flavour to any drink. Try adding to hot apple juice or mulled wine for festive fruit and spice. It's even delicious drizzled over ice cream for an upgraded frozen treat. It will keep for about a month, so store it in the fridge ready for impromptu gatherings.
200ml apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp whole allspice
1 mace blade
2 whole cloves
Small strip fresh ginger
1 clementine, zest finely peeled with a vegetable peeler
100g golden caster sugar
1. Heat the apple juice with the whole spices, ginger, zest and sugar. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins.
2. Remove from the heat and leave to cool, then strain the syrup into small bottles.
It wouldn't be winter without a steaming mug of mulled wine, complete with a glug of sloe gin for a sweet twist. Simply leave your wine, (we recommend an unoaked tempranillo) to infuse with seasonal spices like star anise and cinnamon and a little citrus zest. Keep a batch warming on the stove and let guests top up their glasses. Want to try something different this year?
750ml bottle red wine
1 large cinnamon stick, or 2 small ones
2 star anise
2 strips lemon zest, pared using a vegetable peeler
4 tbsp caster sugar
100ml sloe gin (we used Gordon's) (optional)
1. Put the red wine, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, lemon zest and sugar in a large pan. Cook on a low heat for 10 mins.
2. Remove from the heat and cool, leaving to infuse for about 30 mins.
3. To serve, heat without boiling, stir in the sloe gin (if using) and pour into mugs or heatproof glasses.
Winter Whisky Sour
Warm up from the inside out with our simple winter whiskey sour. Give the classic sour a couple of delicious tweaks and it's ready for the festive season. Add a splash of orange juice to your favourite bourbon, a little sugar syrup, some fresh fruit and some sparkle. Need some more help getting into the spirit?
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh orange juice
½ tbsp sugar syrup
2 slices of oranges
Gold edible glitter
1. Using a small paintbrush (or your finger), brush some honey around the rim of two tumblers and use another small paintbrush to stick edible gold glitter around each.
2. Fill each glass with crushed ice. Put the bourbon into a cocktail shaker with the lemon juice, orange juice and sugar syrup. Shake and strain into each glass, and serve with an orange slice and short straws.
Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Nothing says 'indulgence' like a velvety-smooth hot chocolate, made with rich dark chocolate and double cream. Stir our peppermint hot chocolate with a striped candy cane and let it melt into the drink for a refreshing minty flavour. These delectable drinks are hard to resist. Got something.
200g bar plain chocolate, broken into chunks
150ml pot single or double cream
Sugar, to taste
6 peppermint candy canes, to serve
1. Put the chocolate in a pan with the milk. Gently heat, stirring until all the chocolate has melted. Continue heating until the milk is steaming, then remove from the heat and stir in the cream.
2. Divide the hot chocolate between 6 mugs, add sugar to taste and hang a candy cane on the edge of each. Pass the mugs round and let everyone stir their hot chocolate with their candy cane – letting as much of the sweet peppermint dissolve as they fancy.
Cinnamon Buttered Rum
Once you're tried our super smooth, gently spiced cinnamon buttered rum, it'll be your drink of choice when the nights draw in. Serve up mugfuls of this buttery brilliance for your next party. Neither sickly sweet nor too citrussy, this perfectly balanced tipple will warm you up in no time. Whether you prefer white or dark, spiced or smooth, we have a rum cocktail recipe to get your party started.
2 tbsp golden caster sugar
2 small cinnamon sticks
200ml spiced rum
1. Gently heat the butter, golden caster sugar and cinnamon sticks in a saucepan until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.
2. Stir in the spiced rum, then pour into four small heatproof glasses to serve.
Mulled Pear & Cranberry Punch
Our versatile mulled pear & cranberry punch can be served as a cocktail or a non-boozy version, simply miss out the sloe gin. The beauty of this all-in-one recipe means you can simply chuck your ingredients in a pan, leave to heat, then ladle out as needed. It takes just ten minutes to make, so no need to sweat it out in the kitchen.
1l pear cider
1l pear (or cloudy apple) juice
1l cranberry juice
Good handful fresh or dried cranberries
150ml sloe gin
2 cinnamon sticks
2 vanilla pods, scored lengthways
Put all the ingredients into your biggest saucepan or casserole dish. When you're ready to serve, heat to just below simmering point, then ladle into glasses.
This creamy, coffee-flavoured cocktail is for adults only. Our mudslide is pure decadence, something to be savoured and sipped at your leisure.
50g dark chocolate
60ml coffee-flavoured liqueur
60ml Irish cream liqueur
100ml double cream
1. Put two small tumblers in the fridge to chill overnight. Put 30g of the chocolate in a shallow bowl and melt in the microwave in short bursts. Dip the rim of the chilled glasses in the melted chocolate, then stand them upright so it gradually drips down the sides. Return to the fridge until you're ready to serve.
2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then pour in the coffee-flavoured liqueur, vodka, Irish cream liqueur and double cream. Shake until the outside of the shaker is very cold.
3. Put a few ice cubes in the prepared glasses, then strain in the cocktail. Finely grate over the remaining chocolate and serve with a paper straw.
Winter Pimm's Punch
This archetypal English cocktail isn't just for summer. Our Winter Pimm's punch is paired with sweet brandy and light apple juice for an instant cocktail cabinet winner. You'll probably have most of the ingredients already lurking in kitchen cupboards. It can be served warm or cool, depending on what you prefer.
1½ l apple juice
2 cinnamon sticks
Combine the Pimm's and brandy with the apple juice in a jug filled with ice, cinnamon sticks and a sliced apple and orange.
Looking for something a little different than the standard festive fare? Move over wine, this mulled gin is our new favourite Christmas cocktail. Infuse apple juice with aromatic spices like bay, cloves and cardamom, a few crushed juniper berries and a little honey for sweetness. Cut through rich canapés and sweet treats with this more delicate drink.
400ml apple juice
½ lemon, sliced
1 bay leaf
2 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 small cinnamon stick
3 juniper berries, lightly crushed
½ tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp runny honey
For the garnish
4 bay leaves
2 lemon slices, halved
1. Divide the gin between four small heatproof glasses or teacups.
2. Tip the apple juice into a saucepan with the rest of the ingredients. Heat gently until simmering, then strain into a jug. Pour the mulled apple juice into the glasses with the gin and stir gently to combine. Garnish each glass with a bay leaf and half a lemon slice and serve warm.
Perk up the after-dinner lull with a luxurious Irish coffee. A grating of fresh nutmeg on top of the thick layer of cream adds some seasonal fragrance. Need some help choosing the perfect dram? Read our review of the 10 best Irish whiskies, from light and smooth to rich and spicy.
2 tbsp double cream
150ml freshly brewed black coffee
50ml Irish whiskey
½ - 1 tsp brown sugar
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1. Lightly whip the cream just so it’s very slightly thickened, then set aside.
2. Pour the hot coffee into a mug or heatproof glass, then add the whiskey and sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Gently float the cream on the top and sprinkle the nutmeg over the cream. Serve hot.
My first encounter with Marco was through my friend’s WeChat moments. I can’t really recall for what reason we added each other, all I could remember were his big muscles and that bright smile hailing from L.A. Later on, we had more contact due to a few common friends who are involved with martial arts and I started to know him more.
Who is Marco
Marco has gained quite a reputation in the martial arts world since arriving in Hangzhou in 2018. He used to train at Checkmat Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in USA, an international academy, competition team, and family of Jiu Jitsu practitioners. Founded in 2008 by Master Vieira, Checkmat now has affiliate academies in thirty-four American cities and sixteen countries worldwide. You can find world-class, hands-on instruction that has been tested on the practice mats and proven on the competition field.
In Hangzhou, Marco started his own brand - Marcola Jiu Jitsu. It offers Jiu Jitsu training classes to people of different ages, whether professional or not. As one of the few black belt holders in China, his classes are really popular. Marco’s lifelong love of competitive athletics has molded him into both a lover and a fighter. His passion for athletics and a genuine desire to help people reach their fitness goals motivates him to continue learning each day, and develop new techniques to challenge himself and his clients. You see doctors, lawyers, students, law enforcers, businessmen and women walk into his class for the same reason - to get better at Jiu Jitsu.
Marco’s full name is Marco Alvarado and his Chinese name is rather cute: 马可乐. His Chinese friends would just call him 可乐, same as Cola. Before we tell you more, take a look at his incredible championship records below, the man is a real fighter.
Bronze Medal at International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation Pan American Championship Blue Belt
Gold Medal at North American Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation All Americas Tournament Purple Belt
Gold Medal at IBJJF Pan American Championships Brown Belt
Gold Medal at IBJJF World No Gi Championships Brown Belt
Gold Medal at IBJJF American Nationals No Gi Brown Belt
Silver Medal at Jiu Jitsu World League San Diego Championships Black Belt
Gold Medal at NABJJF All Americas Tournament Black Belt
Marco has been involved in many kinds of sports - boxing, taekwondo, karate, running, American football – and also physical rehabilitation. Like many other athletes, Marco’s first coach was his dad who was a boxer. Marco was just 5 years old when his dad introduced him to boxing. It was the classic story, his parents decided to put him in taekwondo and karate training when they found out that little Marco was being bullied in kindergarten. Six years later, he received his first black belt in taekwondo.
After that, he decided to move on to a new sport: running. From sixth grade till he graduated college, he never stopped running and he became one of the US national athletes in track and field.
Eventually, he knew he needed to find another new sport to challenge himself. One day, he went to a free Jiu Jitsu class at his college. Someone caught him in a choke, he had no idea what to do and that got him really interested. He wanted to know how it happened, how he did it, and how to do it back. He was 22 at the time. 10 years later, he won the Gold Medal at North American Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation Championships.
It’s Ok to Lose, Just Learn From It
As an amateur boxer who has only been training for 4 months, there was a question I really wanted to ask so I brought it up when we were having a lunch break at Blue Frog. “Before you had your first fight, how did you overcome your inner fear?” Marco took a bite of his big, juicy burger and said “My first Jiu Jitsu tournament was six months after I started training, I was very nervous. We sparred every week in college, so I learned how to deal with the fear, but this time was different. I knew who my opponents were, but I didn’t know what was going to happen. I got destroyed badly in two fights, one guy caught me in the armbar in 20 seconds, the other guy beat me so bad like 20-0. I left deflated and frustrated, but I wanted to do it again, I wanted redemption. This gives you more motivation to go back to train harder and learn from mistakes. In the fights later on, I started to get into my rhythm and started doing well. Sometimes maybe you don’t want to tap and lose in practice, because it hurts your pride for a day or two, but you come back for more training. It’s ok to lose, just learn from it. That’s an important life lesson.” During Marco’s career, his arms were almost broken a couple of times, he tore some ligaments on his knees and he got two broken teeth. With all these injuries, he had to learn about physical therapy in order to fix himself.
“Martial arts is more about avoiding problems than anything else. These days, there are always those untrained people or the ones who watched too much UFC and are looking for trouble. If you trained a little, you’ll have respect for your body. This stuff is no joke, it can really be dangerous.” Marco continues, “My teacher used to say if there is a fight, he’ll just run away, because he would feel bad for the guys once he’s had enough. He would turn around and fight.”
Back in L.A, Marco was teaching in a big chain gym where he soon became friends with a Taiwanese trainer. He followed his friend’s journey that brought him to Hangzhou to continue teaching for Checkmat and he became aware that there are a lot of blue and purple belt holders who opened Jiu Jitsu schools in Hangzhou, but there were only 2-3 with a black belt teaching here. Marco thought that he can bring people more advanced technique and professional training. So in June, 2018, Marco came to start his first job in a gym in Xiaoshan, teaching conditioning and creating a Jiu Jitsu program.
MMA vs. Traditional Chinese Martial Arts
I couldn’t help asking what Marco thinks about this outspoken Chinese MMA fighter Xu Xiaodong a.k.a. “Mad Dog”. Mad Dog has made it his mission to expose fake kung fu over the past two years by pulverising fraudulent traditional martial arts “masters”, but his actions have drawn the ire of Chinese authorities. “In my point of view, Bruce [Lee] was the first MMA fighter in the history of martial arts, because he was always so open minded about everything. He took things that he thought were useful and added on something unique of his own. I think Xu Xiaodong’s mission is to show that not one martial arts is dominating. If you know a bit of everything, that is more effective. I think Jiu Jitsu is very useful and complete, cause you go from standing to the ground, you can also go back up to defend yourself, knowledge is powerful. Martial arts is changing, and you need to keep yourself updated. Back home, some guys can use their chi to make someone fall. This is not video games, we call it McDojo.”
The Distance Between China and the World
Many are also immersed in the joy of Zhang Weili who won China’s first Gold Belt in MMA. She is now gearing up to defend her UFC strawweight title against the former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk on March 8, 2020. Marco thinks that China has started to close the gap with the other western countries and now there are more and more young Chinese fighters in UFC. Marco told me, “With Jiu Jitsu, specifically, China is a little bit behind. Brazil and US now are the two countries with the best fighters. There are a lot of 15-18 years old kids that have been training since they were 5. That means they have over 10 years of experience on the mat which is more than me. They have all those tricks that I have never seen, the level is just incredible. Even though China has a lot of catching up to do, they are doing a good job.”
How Did My First Jiu Jitsu Class Go?
I joined Marco’s class at R8 a few weeks ago. I was not only impressed by his superb Jiu-Jitsu skills, but also his passion in coaching. When a fight moves down to the ground, it can be quite brutal, especially in Jiu Jitsu where there are so many different kinds of chokes. It seems that getting bruises, breaking teeth or arms are normal in this sport. Plus, did I mention that if you are practicing with a guy, you’d better get used to some rather odd positions? Even Marco himself admitted that Jiu Jitsu positions can sometimes be awkward.
So I didn’t go in with a lot of confidence, but Marco’s explanation and demonstration of each move made everything seem possible. It is a grappling-based martial art where the central theme is the skill of controlling a resisting opponent in ways that force him to submit. Due to the fact that control is generally easier on the ground than in a standing position, much of the technique of Jiu Jitsu is centered around the skill of taking an opponent down to the ground and wrestling for dominant control positions from where the opponent can be rendered harmless. All those awkward positions can be very effective; the basis behind it is all about leverage. It’s about using the whole body on another body part, even if your opponent is a bodybuilder, he can’t win. If you are skilled in Jiu Jitsu, you can definitely hold yourself against 95% of the population; most people don’t even know how to fall down properly.
The Beauty of Jiu Jitsu
Marco has about 30 tough students at the moment and he’s determined to stay for a much longer time. Recently he took 7 people to attend the Shanghai Tournament and got 10 gold medals, this shows that this tiny team is going in the right direction. For the next step, Marco wants to create a kids’ program. He wants to share what he has with the next generation.
"It's important to stay focused and keep an open mind when it comes to learning Jiu Jitsu." The Jiu Jitsu lifestyle goes beyond just training. It's about taking care of yourself, making friends, and striving to put your 'best foot forward'. Setting your mind to learning and improving every week will help you to improve mind, body and soul. His over-all team goal is to improve at least 1% every week and this requires a positive attitude.
In light of the success of the first online open day, Wellington College International Hangzhou is very much aware of requests for an additional session held on a weekend, to enable more families to tune in and join the interactive Q&A session. The coming online open day will be held at 10am on Saturday 18th April.This event is open to anyone keen to learn more about Wellington College International Hangzhou.
The open day includes;
· A broad overview and introduction to the Wellington College family of schools, royal heritage, educational philosophy and values by Mr. Paul Rogers, founding Executive Master of Wellington College Hangzhou.
· 惠灵顿杭州校区总校长Paul Rogers将对惠灵顿大家庭的姊妹学校、悠久历史、以及我们的教育理念和价值观做整体介绍。
· A deeper dive into what makes a Wellington education unique, and a presentation exploring many of the common topics that parents are curious about by Ms. Kathryn Richardson, Principal of Wellington College International Hangzhou
· 杭州惠灵顿外籍人员子女学校校长Kathryn Richardson将深入阐述惠灵顿教育的与众不同之处以及就家长们关心的一些常见问题与大家进行探讨。
· A live Q&A session where participants will be able to interact with the speakers and Admissions Team, allowing the team to address the questions that are important to you.
All interested families are suggested to scan the QR code on the poster to register. Registered attendees will receive a reminder notification prior to the event starting.
Welcome Back to Wellington
As pupils quickly approach the highly anticipated return to schools in Hangzhou, Wellington College Hangzhou has been strictly following the local regulations on epidemic prevention in order to prepare the Wellington community for a smooth transition back to normality.
At Wellington College Hangzhou, ensuring the safety of the school community and protecting the health of Wellington pupils and staff always takes top priority. Over the past three months, the Senior Leadership Team and a specially appointed school emergency team have implemented a detailed COVID-19 plan that covers all aspects of school life, and ensures that strict guidelines will be followed to minimize risk and increase safety.
The Wellington College Hangzhou campus has undertaken a comprehensive site inspection by both the Education Bureau and the Hangzhou medical authority. Both inspection teams were incredibly impressed with Wellington’s preparations.
Wellington understand that this will be a difficult transition for their children, yet remain confident that with careful guidance, and through demonstrating the Wellington Values of Courage, Kindness, Responsibility, Respect and Integrity, the children will adapt quickly and fully embrace the mission of ensuring a safe return to school.
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