View Full Version : History of Shaolin Kung Fu

02-06-2001, 04:25 PM
If anyone can tell me the history of Shaolin Kung fu, I'd appreciate it


02-06-2001, 06:01 PM
In your profile it says that you have "done" shaolin kung fu. One cannot ever hope to "do" shaolin kung fu even in an entire lifetime, much, much, much less than 7 months. But enough of that on to the history lesson.

There are many stories and legends of the beginings of shaolin. Here is one of them.

A monk by the name of bodhidarhma, a master of yoga, came to the shaolin temple. He saw that the monks were in poor physical shape since all of thier days were spent sitting in meditation and there was little physical activity being done. The monks of shaolin did not want to let him inside the temple since they did not trust him, so he wen to a cave nearby and meditated until the monks accepted him into the temple. The he taught the monks what was to be know as the 18 hands of the lohan excersise. From there the monks developed shaolin fist, and through meetings with many other masters and experts developed the vast number of styles that bear the shaolin name. if you wish to know more specifics please feel free to email me at Long_boxer@yahoo.com

Namo Ahmitabha,
The Crane

02-06-2001, 07:47 PM
In my profile I meant that I did Shaolin Kkung Fu temporarily - 4 years. Sorry for the confusion. Thanks for the info.


Shaolin Temple
02-08-2001, 07:34 AM
What does 'Kung Fu' mean?
Like many other terms used in connection with the
Martial Arts today, the term 'Kung fu' is often mis-applied. Translated literally, kung fu means 'excellence through hard work' or 'skilled achievement'. Therefore one could be said to display 'kung fu' at cooking or at computer programming.

There is nothing inherently martial about the term, but in the 1950s, the Hong Kong film industry started using the two characters 'Kung Fu' for their martial arts action movies and the phrase has been closely associated with Chinese Martial Arts ever since - particularly in the West.

Professionals refer to the practice of Chinese martial arts as 'Wu Kung' or 'Wu Shu' which connote the specific martial (Wu) development of skill (Kung) or art (Shu).

What's the difference between Traditional Chinese Martial Arts and Karate/Judo/Taekwondo?

Chinese martial arts were formalised over two thousand years ago, and were developed primarily by Buddhist and Taoist monks. Thus, the Chinese are universally acknowledged to have have the oldest, best-proven systems - almost all other legitimate systems will acknowledge the debt they owe to the Chinese systems, which spread throughout Asia. Methods such as Karate, Judo or Taekwondo were developed hundreds of years after the formalisation of the Chinese systems, and as such, owed much of their development to Chinese martial arts systems - Karate, as first taught by Southern Chinese monks and practised on Okinawa, was originally called 'Tang Te' which translates as 'Chinese Hand'. The characters were later changed to 'Kara Te' ('Empty Hand') during a period of strong Japanese nationalism.

What are Traditional Chinese Martial Arts?

In Chinese culture, there are the so-called 'five excellences.' These are: Calligraphy, Poetry,
Painting, Music and Martial Arts. The objective in mastering any of these arts is to achieve a state
of calmness and equilibrium which the Chinese refer to as 'enlightenment'.

Mastery of any of the excellences would grant this state of peace and balance; traditional martial arts grant further benefits as well - health, fitness and the ability to defend one's self or others.

In trying to understand these arts, it is important to realise that in China, they were developed primarily by Buddhist and Taoist monks whose goal was to prolong their lives. The key for these aesthetes was to enrich themselves spiritually - self-defence was of secondary concern. However, when monks were sent out from the temples to gather alms, the harsh reality of having to defend themselves arose and the techniques that they had developed and practised purely for health reasons had to be adapted to deal with the threats of the outside world.

The systems that these holy men developed spread throughout China and across Asia, some being
adapted for purely combative use, some strictly for health development, some for theatrical
performance while others retained the essence of the original arts - to prolong and enrich the life of the practitioner, with the added benefit of providing an effective system of self-defence, should the need arise.

What's the difference between Traditional Chinese Martial Arts and Kick-boxing?

Kick-boxing is a sport. It's all about scoring points in competition 'fighting' where there are a clear set of rules, gloves, pads and a referee to control things. Traditional Shaolin training is not concerned with competitions of this nature. The techniques as taught are given to deal with real life situations where there are no rules and no referee to step in and save your life! Traditional techniques were developed to save lives under the most extreme circumstances - no really conclusive test is possible between students of traditional Shaolin, unless they choose to get involved in a all-out, real fight since Shaolin techniques are inherently dangerous and do not lend themselves to control measures.

One Shaolin Master recently wrote: "Shaolin in its orthodox form, is not a game to be played for the
entertainment of an audience or the whims of sports-minded exponents. Although there have been
competitions between Shaolin experts, none of these have proven satisfactory to orthodox