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Thread: The Only Truly Authentic Shaolin System

  1. #1
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    The Only Truly Authentic Shaolin System

    I know this has been debated ad nauseum, but it still bothers me that what the majority of people are calling "Shaolin" these days is NOT the oldest, most complete, and authentic system that bears that name.

    Gan Fengchi taught everyone the style he learned at Shaolin Temple in the early 1700's. It was the culmination of centuries of kung fu knowledge and it was truely the only style that could be called just "Shaolin" at the time. The PRC basically banned it (and all other martial arts) during the Cultural Revolution. This caused many sifu's, including Yim Shan Wu of my lineage, to leave the country and live in places like Hong Kong, Taiwan and elsewhere.

    So what are the current monks doing

    Anyone familiar with the recent history of Shaolin's revival would know that what they're doing isn't a completely authentic Shaolin system. Maybe it's turned into that because of all the propaganda but as a complete system it doesn't go back to the 1700's and earlier. To me it looks like they're doing "wushuized", Shaolin-like moves, with Chi-Gung, Chin Na, and San Shou. I know it probably won't happen but I think the PRC and The Shaolin Temple should acknowledge Bei Shaolin (Bak Siu Lum) as the original style for the temple in Honan, period.
    The three components of combat are 1) Speed, 2) Guts and 3) Techniques. All three components must go hand in hand. One component cannot survive without the others." (WJM - June 14, 1974)

  2. #2
    Rou Quan, Tai Tzu Chang Quan, Xiao, Lao and Da Hong Chuan, the various Cannon and Tongbei fist forms as well as much of the Louhan is all ancient Shaolin.

  3. #3
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    Unless there is a direct lineage going back to 448-1732 AD I still don't feel the ancient styles currently being taught there come up to par in authenticity. During the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) there were five Shaolin Monasteries and only the style at Honan temple was considered the original Shaolin style. Back then it was called Song Shaolin style. Eventually it became a culmination of the five mother styles: Ch'a Chuan, Wah Chuan, Hua Chuan, P'ao Chuan, and Hung Chuan. These styles are so ancient, that many of the forms were completely lost to posterity.

    When the Shaolin Temple was destroyed in 1732, this was the style that was taught by monk Chih Yuan (one of the few monks to escape the temple) and it's believed that it's the style that Gan Fenchi taught before the temple's complete destruction.

    Even what's considered Bak Siu Lum Lohan is different from the current style of Lohan that is taught at Shaolin. The Lohan of my lineage comes from a monk named Yuan Tung T'an who lived before the 1920's.

    These were the styles that were considered authentic Shaolin before Mao decided to have a "cultural revolution". At this time there was no real activity at the temple at all and it was decrepid and run down. The few old men they could find afterwards who knew some of the local styles that were being practiced there, were the ones who helped create Shaolin Temple Boxing into what it is today.

    I'm not saying some of the forms don't have an authentic Shaolin "flavor" to them, but it's still not what was considered THE Shaolin system before The Cultural Revolution. Therefore, by default, Bei Shaolin is the real Shaolin.
    Last edited by Siu Lum Fighter; 07-17-2007 at 05:43 PM. Reason: clarification
    The three components of combat are 1) Speed, 2) Guts and 3) Techniques. All three components must go hand in hand. One component cannot survive without the others." (WJM - June 14, 1974)

  4. #4
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    this is facinating stuff. It's about time someone having the original one, true Shaolin Style came forth. Where is your website?

    You realize, this is history in the making, don't you?

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the sarcasm bub. Don't forget when I'm talking about "Shaolin", I'm talking about the 10 core handsets and all of the myriad weapons sets that are and were a part of what the people knew as the "Shaolin" style of kung fu prior to the The Cultural Revolution. I'm not talking about Hung Ga, Northern Longfist, Choy Lay Fut, Five Animals (although Five Animals was one of the styles practiced at Honan), or any of the local styles in Honan. We're talking about the 10 sets that all of the monks and lay disciples were most likely required to learn. If you want to say that all of the Shaolin related styles are authentic Shaolin, then why not just call Karate, and Tae Kwon Do authentic Shaolin?

    http://jingmo.org/curriculum.html
    http://ezine.kungfumagazine.com/ezin...hp?article=158
    Last edited by Siu Lum Fighter; 07-17-2007 at 07:20 PM.
    The three components of combat are 1) Speed, 2) Guts and 3) Techniques. All three components must go hand in hand. One component cannot survive without the others." (WJM - June 14, 1974)

  6. #6
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    what are the ten forms? Are they the same ten forms as Ku Yu Cheong's?

  7. #7
    so....why do you believe your lineage and not someone elses lineage?
    anyone can easily claim they learn from blah blah in the year yada yada and learn from who who doing this time..blah blah blah
    who cares
    NO ONE WILL EVER BE ABLE TO PROVE WHICH IS THE AUTHENTHIC STYLE OF THE ORIGINAL AND FIRST SHAOLIN
    these debates are stupid and pointless.
    china been corrupted so many time, and chinese people lie and scam a lot, you never know who to beleive, sad but true.

    and here we go again with the new shaolin being all wushu stuff, mang you people need to go behind the scene and actually see that there is tradtional inside and only mostly wushu is performed BECAUSE THAT WHAT CATCHES THE "GENERAL" AUDIENCE ATTENTION and that wat pays and make the money...........
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  8. #8
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    TenTiger:
    Yes, I am talking about Kuo Yu Chang's (or Cheong's) 10 sets. These were directly passed down from Gan Fengchi and/or Chi Yuan. There are two versions of what happened during this tumultuous time for Shaolin. They go something like this:

    Theory 1: This one was originally published in New Martial Hero in the 1970's by Ou Hu Shou who was a classmate of GM Yim Shan Wu. This one is very popular with GM Yim Shan Wu's generation and maybe even earlier generations before Yim's.

    Monk Chih Yuan to Feng Shao Ch'en to Hsu Wen San to Yim Po to Yim Chi Wen to Kuo Yu Chang.

    Theory 2: This one is popular with the next generation after GM Yim Shan Wu, namely Sifu Chan Kwok Wai who is the lower classmate of Sifu Wong Jack Man.

    Monk Chao Yuan Ho Shang to Gan Feng Chi to Wan Pang Ts'ai to Yim Te Kung to Yim Chi Wen to Kuo Yu Chang.

    Here's another interesting page about my original sifu:
    http://www.geocities.com/jadedragona...k.man_txt.html

    Pk_StyLeZ:
    There has been some confusion when it comes to the lineage before Yim Chi Wen and that's only because no one remembered exactly who taught it to who before the 1800's. All of the above mentioned masters were known practitioners of the same style though. Are you saying that all of these venerable masters were corrupt? Bei Shaolin is closer to what the monks were actually using and studying all the way up until the 1700's. And since when were the original shaolin monks interested in making money and paying bills?
    Last edited by Siu Lum Fighter; 03-24-2009 at 11:15 PM.
    The three components of combat are 1) Speed, 2) Guts and 3) Techniques. All three components must go hand in hand. One component cannot survive without the others." (WJM - June 14, 1974)

  9. #9
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    Ch'a Chuan, Wah Chuan, Hua Chuan, P'ao Chuan, and Hung Chuan. These styles are so ancient, that many of the forms were completely lost to posterity.

    Reply]
    First, these are what make up today's Northern Long Fist. They were not nessasarily created by Shaolin. *Cha* Fist for example was a Moslem style that was used during the Ming dynasty by the MILITARY, and has nothing to do with Shaolin other than they may have absorbed a bit of it.

    NO ONE WILL EVER BE ABLE TO PROVE WHICH IS THE AUTHENTHIC STYLE OF THE ORIGINAL AND FIRST SHAOLIN


    Reply]
    Not really true. It's pretty widely known what was at Shaolin in the past. Many of the old records survived (Monks copied scriptures after all), and it is widely known which sets were developed, by whom, and *When* they were developed.

    In addition, although the Temple *Grounds* were decimated, the surviving Monks all went to the local villiages and taught openly, so true Shaolin was preserved in the whole area surrounding the Temple grounds, and has flourished for centuries.

    Researcher's like Sal Canzonieri can go on and on untill you are down right dizzy with all the historical facts fact that are known about Shaolin, it's evolution, what styles were there, and how each style influanced the ones born after it...and I am not talking vauge general stories, I am talking detial apon detail apon detail (The man is a living encyclopedia). So this No One Really knows sillyness just reflects those who haven't actually tried to school themselves.
    Those that are the most sucessful are also the biggest failures. The difference between them and the rest of the failures is they keep getting up over and over again, until they finally succeed.


    For the Women:

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  10. #10
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    we and them

    The problem here is one of discrimination. It's what goes on inside Shaolin Temple vs. what goes on outside and it's been an issue for centuries. It even precedes the development of BSL.

    Siu Lum Fighter, I'm glad you liked my first part of Bak Sil Lum vs. Shaolin Temple above. Please read the second and especially the third part. The two systems are harmonious. If you want to draw lines between inner temple and outer temple, you might as well draw lines like inside China vs. outside China, Chinese practitioners vs. non-Chinese practitioners, men vs. women practitioners, ad naseum. Shaolin is a huge concept and can easily encompass both BSL and Songshan. Shaolin has darted in and out of the temple for generations; of course it has or BSL wouldn't even be a style. It's not just about the monks at all. It's not just about we and them. It's about all Shaolin family. There's room for all of us.

    I've practiced both BSL and Songshan Shaolin. A few years ago, I was doing a lot of work with BSL as the head Shaolin instructor under Sifu Wing Lam. Nowadays I seldom do BSL anymore, although it's not out of any loss of respect for the system. It's a great system. Right now, I'm training Songshan under Shi Yanfei and Shi Yanxing. Why the switch? Personally, I like Songshan more right now, but that's just me. For a spell, I was very into xingyi. Life is like that for me. I move forward a lot. That's what allows me to do what I do. It's not the best strategy for everyone, but it works for me. The only time I really criticize other people's practice is when they spend too much time criticizing other people's practice. The only time other people's practice is really of interest is when its better than mine. When it's worse, I could care less. It's just your ego that needs to put others down.

    I like the fact that Songshan Shaolin is so open-ended, that there isn't this false sense of completion when your finish your BSL 10. I was just talking to a BSL shimei who seemed fixated on learning the BSL 10, but doesn't have a teacher. She was trying to persuade me to return to teaching, but I'm not going to do that right now. The BSL 10 are fine goal, but don't be so attached to it that you fail to learn what is in front of you. We had a related thread with one of my BSL shidi a while back too.

    I hear BSL is doing fine in PRC. There's Ku Yu Cheong school in Guangzhou is thriving apparently. Every monk that I have shown BSL to has acknowledged that it is definitely part of the Shaolin system, however I don't know of anyone who has formally brought it back to Songshan temple. Perhaps that's a goal for you, Sil Lum Fighter. My BSL is way too crappy now to try to teach to the monks, but I'm sure if some one had enough talent in the style, they'd welcome it back into the fold.
    Gene Ching
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Royal Dragon View Post
    NO ONE WILL EVER BE ABLE TO PROVE WHICH IS THE AUTHENTHIC STYLE OF THE ORIGINAL AND FIRST SHAOLIN[/I]

    Reply]
    Not really true. It's pretty widely known what was at Shaolin in the past. Many of the old records survived (Monks copied scriptures after all), and it is widely known which sets were developed, by whom, and *When* they were developed.
    if it is pretty widely known, what was taught/known in the shaolin in the past, then why dont the current temple just adopt/go back to whatever it was that was "known" in the past, so arguments like this wont happen? so the current temple teaching can be the *original* teaching
    unless what is currently being taught is the original......

    me personally, i can careless if it was the original or not. as far as i know the shaolin i practice now, i like it and im glad i got to learn some of it and get to practice it. im happy enough with it. i can careless if it just made up wushu stuff or actually the real original tradtional stuff.
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  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Siu Lum Fighter View Post
    I know this has been debated ad nauseum, but it still bothers me that what the majority of people are calling "Shaolin" these days is NOT the oldest, most complete, and authentic system that bears that name.

    Gan Fengchi taught everyone the style he learned at Shaolin Temple in the early 1700's. It was the culmination of centuries of kung fu knowledge and it was truely the only style that could be called just "Shaolin" at the time. The PRC basically banned it (and all other martial arts) during the Cultural Revolution. This caused many sifu's, including Yim Shan Wu of my lineage, to leave the country and live in places like Hong Kong, Taiwan and elsewhere.

    So what are the current monks doing

    Anyone familiar with the recent history of Shaolin's revival would know that what they're doing isn't a completely authentic Shaolin system. Maybe it's turned into that because of all the propaganda but as a complete system it doesn't go back to the 1700's and earlier. To me it looks like they're doing "wushuized", Shaolin-like moves, with Chi-Gung, Chin Na, and San Shou. I know it probably won't happen but I think the PRC and The Shaolin Temple should acknowledge Bei Shaolin (Bak Siu Lum) as the original style for the temple in Honan, period.
    Interesting point. The current monks are doing what the political powers at shaolin want them to do. It's not easy to prove or disapprove what constitutes "authentic". The majority of what is seen is called "shaolin wushu". I am not saying that traditional doesn't exist but it's kind of like you have to dig before you find it. So yeah it is "wushuized" to an extent. Just don't expect the PRC to slap any endorsement on any particular style.

  13. #13
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    Ocean of skill

    Couldn't we say that Shaolin is like an ocean. Constantly flowing like the tide. Transforming and seperating from the source, then returning back later to the new source.

    Since Shaolin is so old, there must be many snapshots of it. From the styles of Gan Fengchi, to the Lohan styles, the Luk Hop Styles, add infinitum.

    When was the ocean first formed, and where will it lead ? Its just like Shaolin and all other martial arts.....forever in transformation. Don't we all tend to get stuck in the Old Times, and forget about the present ?

    There is an old motivating Chinese saying I love:

    "The Great Times create the hero, but the Great Hero creates The Time"

    Just some thoughts.
    "In heaven and earth no spot to hide;
    Bliss belongs to one that knows that things
    are empty and that man too is nothing.
    Splendid indeed is the Mongol longsword
    Slashing the spring wind like a flash of lightning !"

    Monk Wu-hsueh Tsu-yuan - Reciting as the Mongol sabers slashed towards him. The Mongols spared him out of respect. For no ordinary man recites a poem facing death.

  14. #14
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    IMO Shi Suxi is one of the key figures that allow us to determine what and who is "authentic" Shaolin today.

    It is well documented and accepted that Suxi, who entered Shaolin in the 1930s, was one of the few and most prominent monks to learn from the last remaining monks of the 1800s, and to pass that knowledge to the first of the "modern" generations, De and Xing.

    So I think it should be safe to say that certainly one of the strongest remaining traditional Shaolin lineages is the one that sees Suxi as the "bridge" between the old authentic Shaolin and today. The current most prominent exponent of that lineage is of course Shi De Yang, who happens to be one of the most respected traditional Shaolin KungFu Master in Shaolin itself.

    Just my thoughts on authentic Shaolin and its lineage today.

    Wall
    > it is your mind, that creates this world >

  15. #15
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    Sil Lum Fighter -

    Whatever you say or believe is always subject to perception.

    What I mean by that is:

    People believe what they want to believe no matter what you say or do. So the best advise I can give you is, if you believe in your heart what your sifu taught you is genuine then thats all you need. You will never be able to change the hearts of those individuals whom do not wish to subscribe to what you are proffessing.

    One of my Tai Chi students wanted so badly for people to believe that CHI exists that he went to a proffessional debunker (I forgot ther guys name) to prove to him that it does. When the Debunker made him do some outragious proceedure to prove that CHI is a real thing, there was really no way for him to truly prove it.

    I told my student after that: No matter how much you want people to believe in CHI, 50% of them do not care and the other 50% will never believe even if you prove it them.

    Sil Lum Fighter - do not worry about what other people are doing... whether it's shaolin Wushu or Kung Fu Do or Bak Fu Do... who cares ! Just continue to practice and pass on what you have.

    BTW I am a Wing Lam Lineage student and I like your curriculum. Ours is very similar.

    Ginosifu

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