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Thread: Shaolin Temple Documentaries

  1. #106
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    Curse of Shaolin - luv that title.

    There's a trailer vid if you follow the link. Looks wacky. Which monks are involved in this exactly?
    CURSE OF THE SHAOLIN

    2 Stars
    Year Released: 2012
    MPAA Rating: Unrated
    Running Time: 72 minutes
    Directed by Sven Kamm
    Written by Sven Kamm, Margaret Floyd
    Starring Beate Antares, Sonny Soohoo

    Curse of the Shaolin is a documentary that seems to have lost its focus. Is it a film about the Shaolin warriors of Chinatown in Los Angeles, is it a film about the making of a film about the Shaolin warriors or is it a film about the director’s ongoing health issues? All of the above?

    Let’s backtrack: Curse of the Shaolin sets itself up as a documentary about a troupe of five Shaolin warriors who live, and perform, in the Chinatown area of Los Angeles. At the same time, due to the troubled nature of the filming (failed fundraisers, other plans falling through, the director’s health becoming an issue), the filmmaker, Sven Kamm, begins to question whether the film is cursed, a carryover scenario from the same curse that was rumored to have been the death of Bruce Lee, relating to revealing the secrets of kung fu. Thus, the film becomes less about the warriors, who begin to receive cursory coverage (this is such-and-such’s name, here are the disciplines he is proficient in), and more about the events that occurred during filming.

    Which is fine, except the film actually has a far more interesting subject hidden within it, the modernization and Americanization of this group of Shaolin warriors. As the film goes on, the group begins to change as their exposure to Los Angeles continues. There’s a story there, about where each individual warrior came from, what their personalities are like, how they became Shaolin warriors, the conflicts with their Shaolin values and where they are now. This story isn’t told, however, merely hinted at as the film wraps up.

    Which is a shame, because if it’s to be a film about the warriors, then they’re who I’d like the film to focus on. Not Beate Antares, even if the film was her idea initially and she trains with them. Not the director, even though I’ll admit his story does show the stakes with which he continued the film.

    Now, to be fair, the film does have entertaining moments, and operates on a tongue in cheek level of humor throughout (such as when budgetary restrictions cause the history of Shaolin to be acted out with a puppet). That, plus using dubbed footage from other films, and creating an interview between Bruce Lee and the director solely by editing footage in an interesting way, adds a novelty to the film, but it also makes the film itself a novelty that doesn’t say much.

    Overall, when the filmmaker professes that finishing the film is partly due to an inability to finish another documentary, and a feeling that he must finish at all costs, many of these choices make sense. Perhaps, after looking at all the footage, and being immersed in so many events surrounding filming, Sven Kamm didn’t really know if he had anything, but he knew he wanted to make something, and got lost in what was truly the focus in it all, and just wanted to be done with it.

    The result wound up being the hodge podge that is Curse of the Shaolin. Yes, Kamm finally finished a documentary, and that is a great goal to start with. Hopefully the next goal will be to finish a good documentary.

    Gene Ching
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  2. #107
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    Shaolin Doco - old or a new one?


  3. #108
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    Due to publishing rights, the content you are trying to watch is currently not available outside of Australia
    http://johnswang.com

    More opinion -> more argument
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  4. #109
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    Ah rats....

    The title is called " Inside Kung Fu Inc".

  5. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blacktiger View Post
    Ah rats....

    The title is called " Inside Kung Fu Inc".
    Is that the one with the guy who goes to get the body guard job?
    Kung Fu is good for you.

  6. #111
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    New doc from RT

    Shaolin Documentary on girl student from Epo.

    Ancient kung fu school teaches girls to ‘toughen up’ with martial arts (RT DOCUMENTARY)
    Published time: 24 Jul, 2017 09:41



    One of China’s top martial art schools is now teaching girls how to train with their fists, knives, swords, and other weapons.
    Shaolin Epo Wushu College in the Shaolin Mountains is among the country’s top martial arts schools. Located near the famous monastery where monks have practiced kung fu for centuries, it’s now home to around 8,000 students, some as young as three.

    The boarding school was once limited to male students, but now teaches girls the rigorous training regime their fathers learned for generations before them.



    The girls practice in the same Spartan conditions as their male counterparts, and all children are encouraged to ‘toughen up’ with modest dinners and once-a-week parental visits.

    Students are expected to pass each exam in order to keep their place in the prestigious school, and boys and girls alike are tested at the same level.

    “The bar is set high and there are no allowances for any who fall behind,” said director Aleksandr Panov. “So, despite the hurdles along the way and the unrelenting schedule, every girl soldiers on, determined to make her parents, teachers and country proud”

    ‘Little Miss Kung Fu’ premiers on RT on July 24.
    Gene Ching
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  7. #112
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    Nice Docuseries

    just found this series, though I have seen one of the episodes a couple years ago, it was all subtitled and poor quality, these look like new fresh uploads. anyhow its a great series with a look at Shaolin Temple today from many different perspectives and dynamics .
    heres one episode, the rest are linked from that one

    Amituofo
    "色即是空 , 空即是色 " ~ Buddha via Avalokitesvara
    Shaolin Meditator

  8. #113
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    Another nice series here

    starts with this episode and has 5 more that follow. nice short videos with a lot of substance.


    Amituofo
    "色即是空 , 空即是色 " ~ Buddha via Avalokitesvara
    Shaolin Meditator

  9. #114
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    Sacred Wonders S1E1

    Sacred Wonders
    Series 1: Episode 1

    At Angkor Wat in Cambodia, a man who believes the temples are home to his ancestral spirits risks his life to save them from the jungle. At al-Aqsa in Jerusalem, a young Muslim paramedic battles his own hunger and exhaustion to help other fasting worshippers during Ramadan. And at the Shaolin Temple in China, a Buddhist warrior monk faces a test that will change the course of his life forever.

    Discover just what people do for faith in some of the most stunning sacred places on Earth.
    Less

    Duration 58 mins First shown 7 Aug 2019 Available for over a year
    Unfortunately this isn't available in my region - I get a "BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues. In the UK? Here's some advice." But maybe some of our across the pond members can check this out.

    Nice finds above, Djuan. Thanks for posting them here.
    Gene Ching
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  10. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Unfortunately this isn't available in my region - I get a "BBC iPlayer only works in the UK. Sorry, it’s due to rights issues. In the UK? Here's some advice." But maybe some of our across the pond members can check this out.

    Nice finds above, Djuan. Thanks for posting them here.
    indeed, I will always share em here when its worth it. they added one to thier series yesterday, which was good, speaking with Hu Zheng Sheng again about XinYiBa.

    and I think the one that was only in the available UK is available here now !
    if its the same one:


    for BBC, they did a good job on capturing the training and importance of the sutra study. The student they film has great traditional form. (looks like Chang Hu Xinyimen) or correct me, its nice though.

    Amituofo
    "色即是空 , 空即是色 " ~ Buddha via Avalokitesvara
    Shaolin Meditator

  11. #116
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    fav quotes from these, "the perfection of Shaolin martial arts today, is a mark of faith." ~ The narrator on the BBC doc says this about 2:05 minutes in. https://youtu.be/Zbow21FKJS4?t=125

    "at Shaolin, we use martial arts to enter into Ch'an (Zen),
    Ch'an to enter into stillness...
    and Stillness to enter find silence.." ~ said by the Monk in the Heritage Documentary https://youtu.be/wKBOlR2psxo
    Name:  ChanWuYi.jpg
Views: 66
Size:  92.2 KB
    Amituofo
    Last edited by Djuan; 08-22-2019 at 05:33 PM.
    "色即是空 , 空即是色 " ~ Buddha via Avalokitesvara
    Shaolin Meditator

  12. #117
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    earlier I saw a video of a student who spent a couple years in the Temple recently, I think from 2015 to 2017, do a break down of the BBC documentary, which was very theatrical to say the least.
    groups of people are always on the ready to critique and question when any "inside footage" comes from the Temple in any light, but especially a platform as big as BBC, doing a documentary of this nature.
    so since he is a credible source as a youtuber, they poured in the questions asking him to watch the documentary and do a commentary. He did, and in it, he stated some obvious facts.
    one of the first things he pointed out was superficial, and most of us would catch it and overlook it, is that the narrator said something along the lines of Hollywood restoring popularity to the Temple upon discovering it and revealing its skills in the 1970s, when really it was Hong Kong cinema alone.
    Other than that the things he pointed out were obvious, for the most part, and some things not so obvious. Since I linked the video, I'll share his provided insights.

    namely, he says most of what we saw was purely for the camera, and not at all how these tests are handled when it comes to gongfu or wuseng.
    he says that at thhe age of 18, a student has the option to become a monk or warrior monk, and if they chose to become a warrior monk, a technical, yet casual test is given, on gongfu skill alone, in the wushu training all, while wearing tshirts. lol so BBC did some romanticizing and camera work, to make it fancy and give it that old Shaolin feel. which is fine by me, as I'm not buying into a fantasy, I just like ANY and all POSITIVE looks for the Temple.

    he pointed out that the monk they did the documentary on has been a wuseng for a while and taught large bodies of students while he was there as well. Also pointing out that the monk is a great person and very honest and upright. he says is you can speak Chinese well, and/or are familiar with the Temple and monks, when the cameras are not rolling, you know that what was said was scripted.
    Now I spotted this immediately during the scene where he was "refining" his staff technique. I could feel their relationship was more cordial than the camera was making it and I havent met them personally, the dialogue was just obviously prepared, which is fine by me. for some reason, people expect something else from BBC cameras.
    a lot of opinions are thrown around about whats real and so on, yet those who are so opinionated are not practicing Shaolin Chan or wushu, or any martial art sometimes, they are just there to say "hey that Shaolin stuff is all for the camera."
    I guarantee, none of these youtube trolls have the heart, or physical climate to endure any form of a real DAY of warriormonk training , much less years, coupled with Ch'an study and practice.
    I liked the documentary because it gave a glimpse of the two dynamics working together, which is good to see in any event. As Im watching his critique I can tell he has geniuine love for Shaolin, and is tired of dealing with doubtful trolls, yet willing to deal with them from an open and honest space. which shows he got something from living in the Temple those couple years, something that he cant transmit in words, yet he's willing to defend the Temple. I like that he pointed out when he would ask two masters the same question, he would get two answers. One monk might say, Shaolin gongfu is for pure combat alone, to him. and another monk will say , Shaolin gongfu is useless to him without Chan, that it serves as a vehicle for Chan practice.

    We all know that tourist and media coverage, and to some degree exploitation happens a lot with Shaolin and its expected at this point, so to hand the monks scripts, and for them to put on a "show" of sorts is also expected to a degree. however, this doesnt take away from the truth that Shaolin is still a Temple and has regular monks doing regular monk things all day, along with warrior monks who do the same. the reality might not be so glamorous, yet to a devotee it doesnt have to be.

    so since I posted it, I will address it here, because I will keep sharing whatever I find.
    I was asked by someone close to me, who was listening to the video and to my talk about it, that literally "why does Shaolin have so many haters? They must be doing something right...."
    I loved it and it took me a minute to answer because I had to really process the question and answer. this wasnt the first time this question came about either. so I already had a perspective on the answer.
    its that people are just conditioned to prefer what seems overtly or obviously efficient in a brute force way like "MMA" or boxing, and MA that look more like that and are competition driven, like sport muay thai or TKD, would be the popular choice. Shaolin maintains its intrigue to the unlearned because what you gain cant be explained or measured the same way as in boxing, so its easy to pass judgement on it, plus a lot of people made a bad name in the past using Shaolin the wrong way. still the myth, and the con artist, and the fantasy media and cinema exploits have root in something true and factual. That factual part is what people fear, literally fear, because they know its real, yet its unknown, and we know how the modern human mind has been conditioned to receive the unknown, which is what we see with Shaolin.
    the fear and will to denounce what they are unwilling to pursue, either out of sheer ignorance, or impatience, or both, is what all of these trolls base their arguments in.

    not to mention people love to make any and everything unholy, so the mere fact Shaolin unifies Chan and Wushu, drives people mad. its like they say "how dare you hold enlightenment up to human action and our great combat sports which are only for scorin points and kickin asses!?" lol.....so we have to deal with those "critics" who have never seen the real deal, every time Shaolin gets some shine, which is all the time. A lot of you have been to Shaolin as more than a tourist and know everything has its balance there. If anyone wants to offer a word on the BBC video, that would be cool too.

    one thing I dont see, is real Shaolin monks, denouncing ANY thing ANY one does, or passing it off as not this or that. To be totally immersed in Ch'an you cant think in that way, which is another reason Shaolin takes a lot of garbage from haters, because they wont just beat the people up, lol.....it just wont happen. and its supposed to be that way. no matter how many people dress up like monks and go make a fool of themselves in the ring, or in a mcdoojo, students and monks of Shaolin keep to practice and the truth keeps shining through and growing in strength.

    Amituofo

    https://youtu.be/jHUewEWi9SE
    Last edited by Djuan; 08-23-2019 at 09:17 AM.
    "色即是空 , 空即是色 " ~ Buddha via Avalokitesvara
    Shaolin Meditator

  13. #118
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    video of the BBC documentary evaluation....

    for balance.

    https://youtu.be/jHUewEWi9SE

    Amituofo
    "色即是空 , 空即是色 " ~ Buddha via Avalokitesvara
    Shaolin Meditator

  14. #119
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    Here's the SCMP breakdown of Ranton's debunking...

    Real Shaolin disciple Ranton debunks inaccuracies in BBC’s Shaolin Master documentary
    Popular YouTuber Ranton, who spent three years training with the monks, points out falsehoods and exaggerations in BBC’s ‘Sacred Wonders’ episode
    Film focuses on a Buddhist monk’s final test – but ‘he’s been a master for a long time already, teaching huge groups’
    Nick Atkin
    Published: 5:21pm, 24 Aug, 2019


    A monk trains on the grounds of the Shaolin Temple in the BBC’s ‘Sacred Wonders’ documentary. Photo: YouTube/BBC

    A popular YouTuber who spent three years training with the monks at the Shaolin Temple has debunked several inaccuracies in a BBC documentary that has gone viral.
    The BBC travelled to the Shaolin Temple in China for episode one of its new Sacred Wonders series. It also uploaded an eight-and-a-half minute clip to YouTube titled “The extraordinary final test to become a Shaolin Master” focusing on a Buddhist monk named Yandian.
    The documentary says Yandian will face a test to qualify as a full warrior monk, with the film following his training. It says he has been practising with the monkey stick weapon for 11 years, but still struggles with one move, the “Monkey Going Up The Tree”.
    “When I was at Shaolin he [Yandian] was already a master and teaching huge groups of people. His speciality was the monkey stick,” says YouTuber Ranton, who dissected the documentary in his own video.



    Ranton says young monks can decide when they turn 18 whether to become a full-on monk or a full-on warrior monk.
    “But I’ve never seen a test like this,” he says. “And this guy [Yandian] has been a warrior monk for a long time already. Everybody knows how good he is in the Temple. This might just be a narrative for the camera.”
    Yandian tells the camera he will feel he has let himself down badly if he does not pass his test.
    “The monks do have a lot of media experience. Camera teams are there at least every month,” Ranton says. “I’m not saying they told them word for word what to say. but if you speak Chinese you can clearly see he is saying what he is supposed to be saying.
    “Everyone who’s involved with the temple to a deeper degree knows what to say to the cameras, to sell it. They’re great people, but again nobody talks like that.”
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
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  15. #120
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    Continued from previous post



    The narrator says Yandian will have to prove himself before a panel of senior monks. If he fails it will be 13 years before he can try again. “Shaolin in China is all about who knows who. That guy does not have to wait for anything,” Ranton says.
    In one scene, Yandian receives words of advice from his supposed mentor, Yancen.
    “Mentor? What? So obviously in Shaolin Temple and in China in general, age is very important. So senior people tell you what to do and how to behave. So he does have to listen to him, but he is not his personal mentor, there’s no such thing. He’s just a senior monk but they’re both already masters. They’re brothers essentially, they’re warrior monk brothers,” Ranton says.


    Ranton (left) poses with Yandian, the subject of the ‘Sacred Wonders’ documentary, during his time training at the Shaolin Temple. Photo: YouTube/Ranton

    Yancen tells Yandian he is struggling to do the move well because of “what is inside – your mind is not at peace”.
    “Real talk again, most warrior monks rarely ever meditate. Sorry,” Ranton says.
    “This is not how kung fu is ever taught when the cameras are off. There’s only beatings and yelling. Talking about what’s in your heart and mind, you might have that after your training when you sit down with your master and you drink some tea, then they tell you this, but not during your training.”


    Ranton says this training hall from the ‘Sacred Wonders’ documentary is never actually used for training – only when the cameras are there. Photo: YouTube/Ranton

    The narrator says that the abbot, who is the head of the temple, will be judging Yandian along with three senior monks. Yancen is allowed to watch from the sidelines. “This makes no sense. Yancen is just like the other guys. They are senior warrior monks. One of them was my master for 4 months,” Ranton says.
    “This is a very cool scene but I’ve never heard or seen anything this formal take place. Why would they test his skill when everybody knows how good he is, and why is the abbot there? He has plenty of other things to do. If somebody from outside wants to join the warrior monks, there’s one senior monk who comes and checks it out, in the training hall, no need for all these formalities.
    “It’s a very beautiful, cathartic scene at the end here but no one sits in this hall, no one chills there. This is just for the camera.”


    Ranton (left) with Yancen, the supposed mentor of Yandian in the BBC’s ‘Sacred Wonders’ documentary. Photo: YouTube/Ranton

    The documentary also claims that the Shaolin Temple became world famous as the home of kung fu after being discovered by Hollywood 50 years ago.
    But, as Ranton points out, it was Hong Kong cinema that made Shaolin big again, not Hollywood, in particular Shaolin Temple (1981) starring Jet Li and The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978).
    The YouTuber also disagreed with the film’s statement that kung fu is not just a martial art, but a spiritual practice.


    A monk performs a series of flips in the Pagoda Forest area outside the Shaolin Temple. But Ranton says monks never train there. Photo: YouTube/BBC

    “That highly depends on the person practising it,” he says. “I have met plenty of people at Shaolin who train like crazy and actually separate it from the spiritual aspects. Even monks. One of my masters would never talk about anything spiritual. He would always say Shaolin for him meant war.
    “Shaolin means so many different things to so many people. Some monks really go heavy on that spirituality stuff, and some are just like, if you’re not actually learning how to fight, then you’re not learning kung fu.
    “The whole aspect of spirituality happens right here [in your mind], you don’t talk about it.”


    One of the actual training halls where monks practise at the Shaolin Temple when the cameras are not around. Photo: YouTube/Ranton

    The documentary says that the Shaolin Temple is a sacred place in Buddhism. Ranton agrees in that it is the origin of Zen Buddhism but says that the vast majority of warrior monks are not that well-read or even interested in Buddhist scripture.
    He also points out that the monks would never actually train in some of the areas that the film shows them practising in.
    “We would never train there,” he says about one area. “This is in the middle of the Temple, this is part of the area that is sprawling with tourists throughout the day so you can’t really walk there. This was locked down for the camera team. We trained in the training halls which are outside the tourist areas. But, it looks cool.”
    Anyone know Ranton? I haven't been able to keep up with the Shaolin Laowai over the last decade...
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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