View Full Version : Shaolin Kung Fu

03-26-2000, 10:06 AM
ok, i have a question for everyone.
i am knew to kung fu, so i don't know
all of the different types by far.
one of my friends from work keeps
insisting that there is a type of kung
fu specifically called shaoling kung fu.
i tried to tell him that there isn't just
one shaoling style, because i thought
that when the temple was destroyed the
monks went out and taught their styles
to lots of people causing many styles
to be formed. am i right? or is there
a generic shaolin kung fu?

Very Ignorant Mantis
03-27-2000, 03:26 AM
From what I understand, which is really very little, saying that you practice Shaolin Kung Fu is like saying that you drive a Chevy. There are all kinds, and not just one kind of Chevy: Pick-up to Corvette.

This label is used to describe styles that were practiced at or originated in the Shaolin temple. The line gets blurry, however. You could call lots of GF Shaolin. There wasn't just one temple. Also, there were many different types of "monks". Also, politics played a role in how the temple interacted with the rest of society. The temple (as an institution) had its ups and downs as well.

It is also my understanding that the temple was not the origin of all martial arts, as legend would sometimes have you believe - though some martial arts were developed there (some of the animal styles, I think around 200 AD) through the monks' study of nature and Buddism. I think that Chinese boxing can be traced back to the days of Socrates (500BC?). I think the original "Shaolin" styles were the deer, bird, monkey, tiger and bear.

So I guess to answer your question there is not one STYLE called Shaolin, though it could be called a category. Also, a SCHOOL could claim to teach Shaolin Gung Fu - not specializing in any particular style. In that case, if you asked the student what he studied he would say "Shaolin Gung Fu". I see that a lot, though its not usually the better schools that do this.

Humbly / IM

03-27-2000, 03:31 AM
thank you VIM, i figured there wasn't a
generic shaolin style, but wasn't absolutely


Very Ignorant Mantis
03-27-2000, 06:46 AM
You should ask as many knowledgable GF practitioners as possible. That's all I do. I ask as many people that I think are in the know and try to sift the facts from the BS. I've heard lots of different things about shaolin. I would be interested in hearing from others who have knowledge of the temple as an institution and how it affected the development of Chinese martial arts and society.

Humbly / IM

03-27-2000, 08:09 PM
Just got in some books I ordered last night and I think you should check the following:
Chinese Boxing Masters and Methods by Robert W Smith
Cmprehensive Asian Fighting Arts by Donn F. Draeger and Robert W Smith

The later book has pictures of one of the only verified students who studied at Shaolin- and he only studied for 2 years because the training was too harsh.
Robert W Smith has a sometimes biased view; favoring the internal arts, and he goes out of his way to say some bad things about Shuai Chiao (a bad idea if you ask me) in favor of the Judo he studied.
I read the first book the first night, the second book I may never finish- it's got a lot of info on styles I'm not interested in.

03-27-2000, 08:55 PM
Shaolin is just about as generic nowadays as "Karate" or "Kung Fu." Since the history of martial arts gets really hazy at the early days of the Shaolin temple, who can say for sure what styles are truly of Shaolin origin or not. Arguably, the history of Chinese martial arts may even date back to the Shang, or even earlier-the Xia dynasty, way before Shaolin. When the Shaolin temple was sacked, all the priests who could get away fled to wherever and many passed on their skills to others. One priest might have known several styles and just passed one on to a disciple and thus this guy became a master of that nad so on. I guess you could say that all, many, few or no styles may be shaolin in origin. It is possible that many arts that predated Shaoiln may have become institutionalized there. It really doesn't matter.

Very Ignorant Mantis
03-28-2000, 01:45 AM
Judo? Hhhhmmmpphhh.

04-01-2000, 06:22 PM
YES! In one sense there is a distinct form of extant living shaolin kungfu.
What is now practiced there by:
The offical temple monks
The 37 or so private schools surrounding the temple at shaolin village
Other private schools and teachers in Henan province in such cities as Luoyang.
All these schools can be considered a modern "Men Pai", they have distinctive common methods, distinctive signature poses and movements, etc. etc.
It is a matter of acceptance, the chinese people here refer to this as "shaolin" which the government defines as "an ancient form of longfist".
I know, I know... the history, the variations, the diversification of the style, the "claiming of lineage", the claiming of heritage, the certificates bought from the temple etc etc....
but the fact remains that currently, now in China there is a irrefutable distinct official (government backed - lots of $$$ in it) style called Shaolin with common practices, routines etc.
I live in China and have spent some time in Henan.
Comments... stumblefist@mailcity.com

Shaolin Temple
02-19-2001, 07:05 AM
There is a person who calls himself one of the following...goktimus/ego maximus/bestallstyle/calmguru/5 star praying mantis/mercilessfighter...****!!! Forgive my French but how many more personalities can you ask for?
His had enough fun stirring up trouble everywhere in this forum and start more useless threads?

Hey everybody, the @rsehole have started new threads in other discussions!!!

For those of you who are out there and are beginning to get annoyed with this @rsehole...there's only so much a monk can tolerate...Amitabha...check Muhammed's reply in

http://forum.kungfuonline.com/1/OpenTopic?q=Y&a=tpc&s=126197291&f=196199028&m=71919378 21 (http://forum.kungfuonline.com/1/OpenTopic?q=Y&a=tpc&s=126197291&f=196199028&m=7191937821)


and Goose's reply in:

http://forum.kungfuonline.com/1/OpenTopic?q=Y&a=tpc&s=126197291&f=196199028&m=8891 902621&p=3 (http://forum.kungfuonline.com/1/OpenTopic?q=Y&a=tpc&s=126197291&f=196199028&m=8891902621&p=3)

That photo had just put me off food...that's enough vegetables for me today...

Which Shaolin is authentic. North or South.
As Sifu would say...there is no permanence and there should not be any discrimination.
The point is therefore, who cares.
The more Shaolin there are, the better. Be civilized and chivalrous in your behaviour. As martial artists, we are supposed to not forget that we learn this art to help others and ourselves in times of need...not be a thug!!!

02-19-2001, 08:11 AM
There's a book titled "A guide to Chinese MA" by Li Tianji & Du Xilan. It generally covers wushu but describes Shoalin Quan as an alternate name traditional Chang Quan.

Kung Lek
02-19-2001, 11:17 PM

There are many styles of Kung Fu that all fall under the auspices of Shaolin (Sil Lum) Kung Fu.

Hung Gar is considered a Shaolin style as is Wing Chun, Choy Li Fut, Bak Sil Lum, Cha Chuan, Wa Chuan, Fa Chuan, Pao Chuan and many others.

Some are village styles of Hung, Choy Li fut, Wing Chun and so on but all trace their roots to Shaolin.

The derivations of style are generally geographic.

Hung Kuen, Choy Li Fut and Wing Chun are considered Southern Shaolin Styles although Choy Li fut has Northern principles and practices within. There are many sub-styles of these.

Bak Sil Lum (or Bei Shaolin), Cha chuan, wa Chuan, Fa Chuan and Pao Chuan are all Northern Shaolin styles.

Sil Lum Kung Fu principles and training methods are employed by all these styles.

Other shaolin styles are Black tiger (Northern and Southern styles a few variations), preying mantis, five animals, four lower tigers (same as five animals), white crane, snake fist and others.

Shaolin kung fu was also influenced by Taoist arts over time and even muslim fighting arts.
Tai Chi and Pa Kua are considered nei Ja (internal) arts but there is a link to Shaolin also. it is said that Chen Tai Chi was derived from its founders lessons in Shaolin. From Chen sprang Yang (according to legend) and so on.
Muslim arts like Hsing I and Tan Tui also became incorporated into Shaolin styles as time went by.

Shaolin itself was a huge repository for many martial styles and many martial arts were kept alive and preserved through Shaolin Temple.

It is confusing, but a person who does , say Wing Chun can say the practice Nam Sil Lum or Southern Shaolin Kung Fu, while a person who practices preying mantis can say they do Northern Shaolin Kung Fu.

That's what time does! Things start to meld together.


Kung Lek