Shaolin Kung Fu, at its most basic, is a means of
self-defense - first for the human body and second, to protect the Buddhist
Temple. It is also a physical exercise that a allows a person to enter a
meditative state through physical movement, resulting in the development of a
human being's fullest potential. The Kung Fu forms lay the foundation
or core on which the more esoteric aspects of the complete practice is built
These forms are so potent in their practice that even people
with little physical health and internal stamina can, with consistent effort,
fully blossom into strong human beings. The Kung Fu forms can develop a person with no power and no
inner confidence into one who can, for example, fully engage in real combat if
Under careful examination, one can see the physical sets are
not diluted with empty and flowery movements, loud extraneous noises or sloppy
or muddy techniques.At their
highest level, the Kung Fu forms are a series of simple and unadorned physical
movements embodied with spirit.These are the Shaolin Kung Fu form's most defining characteristics.
To build a solid Kung Fu practice, the Shaolin Temple has
three stages involved in forms practice.
The first stage consists of the practitioner's outward
appearance. The movements are drilled over and over to perfect thecoordination, contour and alignment of
the physical structure of the exercise.This is done to correct and ensure the person practicing develops the
correct physical strength, flexibility and connective tissue strength.
The middle stage involves uniting the spirit with the fist.To transform that which is
of the spirit, which is in essence invisible, into the sphere of activity and
conduct.To be able to transform
incapability into capability.In
other words, to make the impossible possible.To practice the belief in possibility and potential.
This means to be able to create a shield against harm when
there appears to be none.To
control the enemy in imperceptible ways, in ways they cannot fully
comprehend.To strike a man
without appearing to strike him.Tohave the ability to meet
the opponent with formlessness.
The last stage involves learning how to be diligent, careful
and attentive in everything one does according to the Buddhist way.To bring into the "fight" a combination
of the Buddha's instruction of the Eight-Fold Path with the development of the
Buddhist heart and mind.This
"fight" or "struggle" is the struggle against evil or wrong-doing among
mankind.Shaolin Kung Fu is a
method ofusing the doorway of
martial art exercise as a means of entering the practice of Chan meditation.
Throughout this three stage process, a higher intelligence
is being developed.This higher
intelligence is the unification of martial practice with universal wisdom.
Shaolin Kung Fu form exercises consist mainly of small but
robust, concise but powerful movements.The combinations recruit powerful momentum within terse and compact
organization. The entire sequence is meant to be executed in a brief period of
time.The main focus of the
exercise is to concentrate as much force or energy within the human body
towards a single objective or target.The entire sequence should be completed with one breath.
This exercise is beneficial to produce vitality, health and
stamina for all kinds of tasks, not only martial arts.The process of training this way also
increases a person's strength of mind and spirit in any type of endeavor they
pursue.Their internal energy will
increase. Once this vigor is developed, a lack ofpractice will result in a noticeable decrease in health and
Forms practice also teaches the concepts of front line and
angled attacks, when to advance and retreat, and what velocity to come in at in
order to exhaust your opponent.It
teaches when to "disappear" and when to take advantage of favorable
To understand the form is to understand the power that
resides in the body.One
learns to produce the utmost amount of momentum and power in orderto trick your opponent and prevent your
capture. One aspect of the practice is to develop the highest degree of
destructive force. The other aspect is to develop the highest degree of
benevolence to others and the ability to defend others.
The Shaolin Temple did not always exist as a place to
practice Kung Fu.Exterior pressures,chaos and politics
sometimes forced its near extinction. (Over the years of its long history, like
a bull laying in the grass, it rose up again and again.) One only needs a rectangular space about 6 meters longand a half meter wide to practice Kung
Fu.Because of this, large
training areas or elaborate Temples do not need to be the setting for the
Shaolin Kung Fu, and all the abilities it can develop, can
be practiced anytime, anywhere.