View Full Version : Train at Shaolin temple and become secular disciple???

10-11-2000, 03:46 AM
I saw this posted on another forum, and it has me curious. According to this website,
anyone can go to the "real" Shaolin temple, train and become "an authentic secular disciple of Shaolin".
Now, I'm probably wrong on this, but I was under the impression that foreigners weren't allowed to train at the actual temple, or if so, couldn't become disciples. (Isn't a "secular disciple" the same thing as a "lay monk disciple"??) Or, is this really a wushu school that is leasing out the temple and running a school for tourists? I know there are a lot of knowledgeable people on this forum, so I'm sure someone will be able to enlighten me on this matter.


10-11-2000, 04:04 AM
As those are my pages I guess I have to reply /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif
If you read the pages carefully you will notice that it is an "infomercial" for Heming's Masters schools.
Maybe the pages are a bit outdated (they are still on old ALMA server and now on the new CyberKwoon.com) since the latest evolution of things in Shaolin Temple (see http://www.russbo.com for more details) but as far as I know they were still welcoming new students and were ready to teach them traditional or/and modern Wushu accoring to the wishes of the student (those who know De Yang are aware of his "Kung fu").
Secular disciples are indeed "lay monk" and foreigners can perfectly become disciples if they find the right teacher at the right time. Some ppl online are fully recognized as "disciples" (Rich Russo and Gene Ching's names come to my mind but I know other did too.)
To become a "complete" Shaolin Monk, you have now to undergo thru a cycle of study in Beijing Buddhist institute then be accepted by the abbot, needless to say that IMHO they will not have a foreigner for a while /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif
Anyway if you are looking for a great experience in china, learning from Highly skilled teachers, this package is a good opportunity.

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10-11-2000, 04:26 AM

Thanks for the info.! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif You certainly enlightened me to the disciple issue; I thought (maybe based on myth or misinformation) that foreigners weren't allowed into the temple to train, etc.
And I'm happy to hear it's "legitimate", for whatever that's worth these days. I might consider going there to train someday, it certainly would be the realization of a dream.


10-11-2000, 05:55 AM
Technically there are very little training inside of the temple. It is usually for Tourists and buddhist ceremonies, and for the ppl who are living there.
Nowadays ppl mainly train in one of the schools leaded by a "Monk" (not as many as ppl may believe) or in the mountain (now THAT is cardio training /infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif )
Training within the temple walls is for "disciples" (not merely student) of a master who wants to show / explain something special related to the place itself. For "secret" training, the mountain is large enough to keep from sneaky eyes /infopop/emoticons/icon_razz.gif

Of course you can "demonstrate" within the temple (quite rare though, schools usually demonstrate in front of the main gate).

Hope that helps

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PS : The name is Richard Russell not Russo (I mixed with his site), I tried to fixed that but this **** server bugged again. Steve, if you read this, you are throwing money thru the windows with Infopop server...

10-14-2000, 12:29 AM
true shoalin kung-fu is not taught at the temple.they teach wushu.If you wish to be a paper tiger and do demonstrations,learn it.I prefer to visit the temple as a tourist.
for true shoalin kungfu go to malaysia and train under Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit the fourth generation successor of Monk Jiang Nan of the Shoalin Monastery.
website: shoalin-wahnam.org

10-30-2000, 03:45 PM
Yes, the temple is a museum with open admission. I spent some time in Henan when i was learning Chen and visited there a few times. It is stunningly beautiful and inspirational. Recently they added some outdoor halls with many statues showing the beautiful modern shaolin signature poses.I think a few years ago there were only 11 genuine monks most of them quite old and a new one age 18. Now they seem to have quite a few more FABB? I saw many young children helping to run the museums. Anyway there are MORE THAN 37 martial art schools in Shaolin Temple Village area, right beside Shaolin. Many of which are run by former "monks"? or graduates of Shaolin. There is no need to choose the most expensive and most famous. How many students (2000) ? and how many schools does shaolin run outside/beside the temple ffab? Anyway, of course secular, it is very profitable, students come from all over China to train, their motiviation is very secular , -fame and fortune. The training is full-time, this is not dicipleship or monkhood. I think the religious element is very sparse.
Anyway for sports-tourism for a china beginner, that offer is ok as stands 15 days, 2000 + airfare, just regard it as fun or an intro, don't expect too much, and steel yourself - dealing with chinese in china is tougher than shaolin training. You may also suffer from price-shock when you see how cheap things really are compared to what you paid and what the chinese students are paying. The national game is profit from the foreigner and shaolin leads the pack.
A cheaper, more serious approach is to back-pack into china with at least a phrase book, spend a week or two on the road talking to fellow travellers and learning to deal with the chinese situation. Go to Shaolin or Wudang yourself and cut a deal for 2 or 3 months with whichever school cuts your fancy.
You can pay $6 a day or $120 depending how you can talk the talk.
No, it's not all fancy Wushu taught in all the schools, but the government does have a stong influence.
I prefer the schools around Wudang mountain, there are 7. Cheng Kuai has 1500 students, Jingwu has 4000, the other schools can range 50 to 1000.
Foreigners are very rare there not like shaolin where they are jaded and have the sh eep shears ready. More in Wudang they will still want to fleece you, but that is very small comparatively, and you will get a lot of "king" treatment and might become the only international rep of some famous kung fu.oa.

[This message was edited by stumblefist on 10-31-00 at 07:51 AM.]

10-31-2000, 01:56 AM
Nice post stumblefist,
I agree that Wudang is also a very and inspirational (??) place to train. And that so far they are much less used to see ppl coming to train MA there /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Now in Shaolin the abbot is kinda "cleaning up" the place but what it will be after is another question.
The have few monks (those who arrived in the 80's) who are above 30-35, those guys are interesting because they know "both sides" demonstration wushu and traditional one. Shi Deyang is a good exemple, so is Shi Hengjun and I heard that in US, the NY guy (name slipping out of my mind, sorry) was good too.
The wushu schools around shaolin teach what ppl want to learn, means 99.9% of the students are chinese kids looking for being the next Jet Li or Little Dragon, for them TCMA is useless,so they don't learn it.
From those kids maybe 1 or 2% will keep doing Wushu long enough to finally get interested in the more "practical" and "esoteric" aspects... and start learning TCMA /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif
At first we proposed this package for ppl wanting to have a "taste of China"
You can do the "hard way", with your Backpack and that is tremendously interesting, but hard, but nice but really hard if you know no chinese language. And of course you need to have time, lot of time, because don't expect to meet a good MA teacher just after you land /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif there is proportionally less chance to meet a MA teacher in china than in NY or even US :

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10-31-2000, 04:17 AM
There is plenty of good Kung Fu in the U.S. Pick a style. Sure it's more romantic to go to the far east and prove your worth and become the only non chinese accepted, spend 5 years as a slave that practices horse stance every day and finally learn some forms and maybe even a weapon set before you die. The reality is that it's gonna be way better to check your Yellow pages, find a reputible Master and stick to them like glue. If you find a good teacher and train hard, your kung fu will be equal or better to whats learned in China and you'll still be able to go to church and ***** about the government or even start a cult.

8Step Sifu

11-02-2000, 11:00 AM
Link to other forum, same question. (http://www.shaolin.nl/board/Forum1/HTML/000581.html)

11-02-2000, 05:34 PM
The biggest advantage to living and training in China is more mental. When I was there I felt that being surrounded by the culture really helped me to be more focused in my training than here in the states. Of course I don't know if I'd want to train at the Shaolin Temple because it sounds awfully commercial.