View Full Version : What does "Shaolin" mean to you?

01-14-2001, 04:57 AM
What does "Shaolin" mean to you?

Is it just martial arts, is it religion, or is it nothing?

To me, "Shaolin" embodies a smooth way of living that seeks to get the most out of every moment.

This practice is facilitated by the constant and joyous practice of "Shaolin" kung fu, though any other art could be used in such a manner.

Shaolin kung fu opened my eyes to the other styles. Once my eyes were open to the other styles, opening my eyes to the rest of the world was not difficult.

01-14-2001, 08:29 AM
Shaolin=young forest, so to me, I see myself as a young forest, roots firmly entrenched in the earth,just starting my growth-but with potential to expand upward, reaching towards the heavans. Young trees are still growing, adjusting, settling, yet humble-"nothing is more humble than bamboo-the taller it grows, the deeper it bows"
The legacy of Shaolin is always inspiring to all martial artists, despite the comercialization of the temple today. I haven't been there yet, but I definately plan on going to both Temples (the one in Fukien seems to be becomming even more of a tourist trap than the northern one)just to be there, to touch the soil, breathe the air, and 'take in the vibe'-so to speak. To absorb the energy that was once Shaolin. There must be a tremendous spirit there still. I was at the opening of the Chung Yen Temple in NY, one of the largest Buddhist Temples in the USA, and despite the commercialization, there was a sense of awe that is indescribable.(to me, at least. To my fiance' who is Buddhist, well, frankly, she was disgusted!)

CJ Max
01-14-2001, 09:40 AM
Shaolin is Kung Fu!
Kung Fu is Shaolin!
The Crane and the Tiger!

CJ Max

01-14-2001, 03:12 PM
Tentigers, do you teach Hung Gar?

I go to the Chuang Yen Monastery fairly often, and I think it's quite nice. I'm all for the commercialization of Buddhism, for Buddhism is about living well and not about attrition.

I'm less awed by the monuments and such than I am by the devotion of the monks and practitioners like myself.

01-14-2001, 06:23 PM
I think that Shaolin has meant different things to me at different times of my practice.

At first it symbolized an ideal to strive for and a mystery of foreign culture.

As I practiced more, it came to mean more about my personal practice and carrying on a tradition of learning. I am less concerned with "kicking butt" as I am with mental health and right mindfullness and right practice.

Shaolin is more of a concept than a place, a Unicorn to pursue and understand.

Just a few pennies from a pig......


01-14-2001, 10:13 PM
Huang, yes I do Hung Ga. In Huntington, L.I.

01-14-2001, 10:15 PM
I think the main Hall is breathtaking, and the Gwun Yum (Kuan-Yin) pavillion at the lake is serene-my personal favorite.(I only wish it were more secluded.)

fiercest tiger
01-14-2001, 10:35 PM
to me it means money making and communist, wushu crap. sorry but thats what i means to me, ive been there 4 times, no more real kung fu in shaolin, the monks arent real and its all money making.

but i love my style! :D



Black Fist
01-15-2001, 12:55 AM
Shaolin may not be what it was, but there is still an interesting feel when one approaches the main halls, the old paintings, the plaques etc....
That feeling of wow what it must have been like.

A Style is just that but shaolin is a beautiful temple of history that touches on every martial art even your own in some way or another. I mean a school that one studies in may not even be shaolin but some still use the shaolin name. That is how wonderful the shaolin name is, it is more of a way the past has affected our present, "we are today but from our thoughts of yesterday"

Shaolin is more akin to the spirit within.

01-15-2001, 05:59 AM
Tentigers, we know each other.

You'd know me if you saw me, though I no longer practice HG because I'm not attending our sifu's school.

If I recall, you had once competed in an internal forms tournament using the Tiet Sin form - to the consternation of the judges.

I'm using Kwong Wing Lam's Northern Shaolin video series now, but I do visit the HG school from time to time.

I'm practicing hard and will come by your school at some point.

MonkeySlap Too
01-15-2001, 06:56 AM
Shaolin represents all long fist styles to me. Even the Muslim ones. The reason for this is that the term has been used by Chinese instructors that way for years. So this, to me, is the current meaning in relation to Shaolin martial arts.

Lucky Red
01-15-2001, 05:33 PM
what shaolin Means to me
i think something my sifu told us the first Training he said that we where all like a young forest supporting one another and sometimes one tree rose above Others but that was only beacuse of the Support by the Other Trees something like that i really like that thought

Gentle Giant

CJ Max
01-15-2001, 06:23 PM
Hi Lucky Red,

Do you know Shaolin Kung Fu?

CJ Max

01-15-2001, 07:25 PM
Feel free to come by any time! We're on 188 depot rd in Huntington Station NY, we have noon classes mon-thurs, and evening classes as well-ngoh-ge mo-gwoon, hai nei-ge mo-gwoon! (me casa-well, you get it,)Yes, I competed in internal division with the Iron Wire form-took second! The judges didn't quite know what to make of it. One told me, "I knew it was internal, but I didn't know what it was!" It was good to educate the judges, because most people look at Hung Kuen as purely external, and are not aware of the internal side.(frankly, I don't think it is external at all!)

01-16-2001, 12:03 AM
It was YOU who gave me advice to seek out the KWL videotapes, TenTigers.

I've grown by leaps and bounds as a martial artist, and I'll definitely stop by to see you - who were once my sifu.

Lucky Red
01-17-2001, 06:42 PM
No i Havent Trained Shaolin kung fu Only Hung gar
i dont know Where my sifu got that Quote from
i really think it is good Thought

Gentle Giant

Shaolin Temple
02-08-2001, 06:59 AM
What does Shaolin mean to you all?

It is a place of cultivation for yourself and to yourself only. The art of Martial Arts arises from the idea and philosophy that a healthy mind requires a healthy body.

Before the body can be strengthened, one has to realise that Shaolin upholds Buddhism because it is an education systems from which modern post-graduate and continuous education originates from.

Buddhism in itself is not a religion. It is a form of education. Over the centuries, due to the influence of taoism, when Buddhism was introduced, many followers have a habit of offerrings to the Heavens that they find hard to abandon...so they adopt it.

These monks that some of you mention that gets married are not true monks. In Shaolin, people may enter as outside disciples or Reverends. the reverends cannot marry, eat meat, etc. They will have 6 eyes burned to their scalp. One for every text of rules.

The ones without the eyes on the scalp are probationary monks who are there to learn the art of Martial Arts and nothing else. they are not interested in the cultivation aspects of it. If they are, there is available another group in the Temple that they may enrol into for further education.

for some of you who say kung fu this and kung fu that...here's a small history to begin with.

The north is famous for its kicks. The south for its punches.

Many true Southern Shaolin techniques emphasize the importance of stance and it is from stance and the ability to be solid that the power of the punches are recognised.

A small history first...

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

So at the end of the day...North versus South...as Sifu and Abbott would say...there is no permanence.
The more Shaolin there are, the better.


Shaolin Temple
02-08-2001, 07:06 AM
- Remarks on Shaolin Kung Fu -

As recorded by the practitioners of the Shaolin Monastery when Master-Monk Kan-Fa discussed with his teacher Master-Monk Hsing-yin over hundreds of years ago.

The Master-Monk Kan-Fa said to the Master-Monk Hsing-yin:
"My master's superb arts are incomparable, and I have been most fortunate to meet you in
Shaolin. Many are the outstanding martial-art-lovers who achieve nothing simply because of the lack of a whole-hearted teacher".

The Master-Monk Hsing-yin replied:
"If the person who comes to me is not a righteous one, I will teach him nothing even if he were to
give me lots of gold. You can change rock into gold, once you get the true ways of martial arts
from Shaolin."

The Master-Monk Kan-fa said again:
"There may be heroes in the world, but one seldom meets them. There may be masters in the
world, but a great one finds no peers even if he meets them. The true art of martial exercise must
be learnt from Shaolin, where great heroes and great masters are found."

Kan-fa, the Master-Monk, gave this advice:
"Shaolin's Art of Fighting consists in the manipulation of, not only the limbs and the body, but the eyes and the mind as well."

Master-Monk Hsing-yin elaborated to his disciples:
"If you succeed in learning all these 108 movements, you can break through the toughest wall of stone. Manipulate your body to generate the strength required, and make sure you are fearless in order to have the courage. When you turn, be fast and forceful as a gale that can move the starts out of place, and yet you yourself should be in the right position. Stretch your arms as if clouds are enveloping the moon, and stand firmly on your own legs like a mountain. Your waist should solidify your stance with pressure, so that you shall not be overthrown. Practise and practise
again and again, never stay idle if you are serious. When you succeed, do not disclose your art to anyone. Never teach any man morally unworthy of the way of martial arts, for such people are the cause of innumerable trouble. You will find it too late to regret if you make a faulty decision.

Although short cuts are short, they may be risky to take; to be on the safe side, never loathe to
go by the ****her way. In these days when people talk better than they behave, when one hardly
can tell another's mind from his face, be careful to judge a person not by his words but his
deeds. Avoid having anything to do with small-minded people even if you know how to deal with them, for you never can tell what tricks they can be up to. Your master's words are as good as gold, and I wish you take them to heart forever!"

02-18-2001, 03:31 AM
Shaolin to me is a code by which I can live my life. It teaches honour, restraint and tolerance amongst many things - good rules to live by.

Talk softly and carry a big stick.