Shaolin Kung fu
Shaolin Kung fu, named after the Shaolin Temple located in Dengfeng County, Henan Province, is one of the most influential types of Chinese martial art. During the Southern and Northern Dynasties, monks in the Shaolin Temple began to study Kung Fu and this tradition still survives. The most remarkable feature of Shaolin Kung Fu is the emphasis on the combination of "Chan" (Simplified Chinese: 禅, meaning the philosophy of Buddhism and a kind of deep meditation) and martial arts.
History of Shaolin Kung Fu
The history of Shaolin Kung Fu is related to the foundation of the Shaolin Temple in Song Mountain, Henan Prov. During the Northern Wei Dynasty, in order to find a place for a respectable monk, Xiaowen Emperor decided to build a temple. After that, many famous monks came to visit and also attracted many others to join Shaolin Pai.
In the Southern and Northern Dynasties, the leader required monks to do some exercise to just to keep fit. At the end of the Sui Dynasty, society was unstable and bandits were constantly roaming the streets. In order to defend themselves, monks started to invent and practice martial arts. In the Tang dynasty, the government allocated a budget for the building of temples in order to encourage Buddhism. This provided material basis for them to do Shaolin Kung Fu. In Ming dynasty, the government ordered the monks to fight for them, to which they were successful many times, only enhancing its popularity. Even though it experienced a decline during the Qing dynasty because of the rules of the government, it has since experienced a remarkable revival.
Features of Shaolin Kung Fu
Shaolin Kung Fu involves many different fighting techniques, consisting of barehanded boxing and weaponry combat. It is also a highly effective method of self-defence and health keeping. It includes both hard and soft, internal and external exercise. The movements and actions of it are strong, quick, and require good flexibility. Shaolin Kung Fu is practical both for defence and attack.
The most remarkable characteristic of Shaolin Kung Fu is that all the movements of the practitioner follow one straight line. It means that no matter how much one advances, retreats, turns around, moves sideways, or jumps, one must only work on one line. The arms of him must be kept slightly bent so that he can stretch out to attack or withdraw freely.
Another characteristic of Shaolin Wushu is that it requires those who practice it to maintain balance and remain as stable as a mountain. As it is a kind of Kung Fu that relates to Buddhism, those who practice it must keep their mind at peace but also should attack with quick and powerful force. There is a philosophy in Shaolin Kung Fu that practitioners should know how to "borrow" their opponent's force. For example, he should not meet or perhaps block the opponent's strikes directly, but take advantage of their opponent's force.
Shaolin Kung Fu is the largest group in the Chinese martial arts family. There is a huge amount of content and many routines. Generally it can be divided into two kinds of exercise: external exercise and internal exercise. External exercises include Minor Hong Boxing, Greater Hong Boxing, Old Hong Boxing and Chaoyang Boxing. Internal exercises are comprised of Xingyi Boxing and Juji Boxing. Shaolin boxing can be practiced independently or in pairs.