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Shaolin Wushu


Our Shaolin tradition has its roots in Shaolin Monastery in Honan Province, China. Its martial art includes both barehand combat and ancient handheld weapons practice and is referred to as Shaolin Wushu 少林武術 translated as Shaolin 'martial techniques' or 'military techniques'.  Our use of the term should not be confused with modern performance sport of wushu*. 


Our usage of this term 'wushu', which has been in existence for centuries in China, refers to "martial methods." Wushu literally translates to "martial art" and is formed by combining two Chinese characters: 武 (wǔ), signifying "martial" or "military," and 術 or 术 (shù), which denotes "method," "technique," or "skill."


This tradition of Shaolin Wushu from Honan Province (河南) has a broad frame. It includes techniques, strategies, training methods, theories, and principles designed to teach and improve combat-related fighting capabilities in hand-to-hand and handheld weapon combat, focusing on efficacy and application throughout the spectrum of violence up to and including deadly force using weapons and 'pressure points'. For this reason, and integral to this tradition is its ethical code. Since ancient times, Shaolin wushu also includes an amalgam of self-defense, the development of physical and mental toughness, health practice, and a code of moral behavior toward others. 


*Modern Wushu, also known as Contemporary Wushu, began to take shape in the late 1940s and 1950s in the People's Republic of China. It was developed as a standardized form of Chinese martial arts with the aim of promoting it as a national sport. In 1958, the Chinese government established the All-China Wushu Association to oversee and regulate the practice of Wushu. The organization played a crucial role in developing and popularizing modern Wushu as a competitive sport, leading to its inclusion in international sporting events. Since then, modern Wushu has continued to evolve as a performance sport worldwide. Modern wushu sport employs simulated props as weapons for training and demonstration instead of real weapons with martial capabilities.


Broadly, Shaolin wushu training and practice include:

Neigong   Internal Energy Training

Shaolin Neigong: includes the following three practices. The first is involves a specific types of diaphragmatic breathing and is practiced in a seated position Zuo Chan 麟禪. Its purpose is to calm the mind and to accumulate Qi (internal energy). The second practice is Yi Jin Jing 易筋經 a series of subtle movements designed to move Qi to the extremities. The third is Shaolin Lohan Qi Gong 少林羅漢氣功, a series of slow movements to develop martial Qi or “useful qi.”


Ji Ben Dong Zuo 基本動作 Basic Skills

Shaolin basics, the absolute, indispensable base, and foundation, include stretching, drills, training to strengthen and toughen the body, sandbag punching (Da Sha Bao 打沙包)‬, finger thrusting (Cha Shou Zhi 插手指), sandbag snatching (Zhua Sha Bao 抓沙包), stone seizing ( Shi Zhua 柯謬), as well as other methods, to develop the ability to evade, strike with sudden heavy strength, to seize, and the 18 basics kicks.


Lian Quan Tao 練拳套: Barehand Sets/Drills

Lian Quan Tao - ‘practice sequence of ‘fists/hands”; also called Lian Quan Jiao 練拳腳 - ‘practicing fists and feet.’ Generally, Shaolin kung fu sets are structured in sections/parts or roads with techniques arranged in a line, so the practitioner travels back and forth as they practice the sets.


Lian Bing Qi 練兵器: Weapon Sets/drills

Lian Bing Qi - Weapons sets. These routines involve using more than 50 ancient Chinese weapons, with origins in the Tang, Song, and Yuan dynasties. However, Shaolin's quintessential weapon is the staff and, without a doubt, is the weapon Shaolin monks specialized in and were most famous for.  

Dui Da 對打: partner sets/drills 

Dui Da and Dui Lian  對練 partner sets/drills.

These drills are the 'bridge' training to combat in reality. The evident and principle characteristic of these 'fighting' drills is practical usage and includes – Barehand vs. Barehand, Weapons vs. Weapons, and Barehand vs. Weapons. Within this tradition of Shaolin, these partner drills represent an extensive part of the curriculum content and an indispensable part of training.



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