© 2012 by Honan Shaolin (Cultrual & Historical) Association
SHAOLIN WUSHU SYLLABUS OVERVIEW.
The traditional Shaolin kung fu taught at our association as passed on to us by Master Woo Chia Meng 胡介民師傅 includes:
Neigong: Internal Energy Training
The first purpose of Shaolin training is to improve health and longevity; the second is to develop martial skills. Our older generations have passed on this saying, "Without perseverance in your practice, you will have nothing in your old age."
Shaolin Neigong: 內功 includes the following three practices. The first is involves a specific type of diaphragmatic breathing and is practiced in a seated position 金剛坐/坐禪 Jingang Zuo/Zuo Chan. Its purpose is to calm the mind and to accumulate Qi (internal energy). The second practice is Yi Jin Jing (少林易筋經), which is 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), which is a series of slow movements to develop martial Qi or "useful qi." In addition to the above, Shaolin includes a number of other sets, such as Yan Shou Bagua (少林延壽八卦) (少林長生八卦 Chang Sheng Bagua), which emphasizes soft movements and breathing, designed to harmonize inner and outer energy, to improve health and slow the aging process–even in older people with no previous training.
Ji Ben Dong Zuo: Basic Skills
There is a saying in our tradition, "Shaolin kung fu begins with Ji Ben Dong Zuo (基本動作) and ends with Ji Ben Dong Zuo." In other words, your skill is only as great as your basics.
Shaolin basics include: stretching and strength training, 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 Zhuo - 石捉 ), as well as other methods, to develop the ability to evade, strike with sudden heavy strength, and to seize. Other fundamentals include Shaolin Shi Ba Tui (少林十八腿) – 18 basics kicks, as well as basic sets such as Ji Ben Dong Zuo 基本動作, Tan Tui Shier Lu (譚腿十二路) and Luohan Ma Deng Cao (羅漢馬蹬操), etc.
Lian Quan Tao: Barehand Sets
In addition to the basic skills students are taught, Lian Quan Tao (練拳套) - 'practicing a sequence of a fist'; also called Lian Quan Jiao (練拳腳)- 'practicing fists and feet.' Generally, Shaolin kung fu sets are structured in sections/parts (部) or roads (路) with techniques arranged in a line, so the practitioner travels back and forth as they practice the set. The sets are, in a way, the collective memory and experiences of the ancestors and are the records of successful martial strategies, tactics and are also a method of training. Shaolin sets are grouped in what could be termed "styles," generally including a number of barehand, weapon, and contact sets. For example, Shaolin Shen Long Shier Bu (神龍十二部) is a group of twelve sets. Most often, these groups are traced to a single source or origin. Other sets include Xiao Hong Chang Chuan 小洪長拳, Da Hong Chang Chuan 大洪長拳, Cao Fang Hua 草訪花, Luo Jiao Song Shan 落腳嵩山, Shi Tou Quan 石頭拳, etc. For more information on the sets taught see: ironbodhisattva.blogspot.ca
Lian Bing Qi: Weapon Sets
Weapons sets are termed Lian Bing Qi - 練兵器. Many believe that training at Shaolin kung fu focuses exclusively on barehand combat. However, training there was rooted in the harsh reality of the time, and it would not have been practical for monks to use only their hands since attackers were undoubtedly armed. For much of its history, including the 19th century, martial arts at Shaolin was primarily weapon focused. It was weapons and not bare hands that were used to defend the monastery. Monks first studied barehand basics for one year and then were taught staff fighting-their first and fundamental weapon. Tradition and history tells us that monks at Shaolin did practice the so called “eighteen weapons.” Most of these weapons originated in the Tang, Song, and Yuan dynasties, with the staff weapons being favored because they did not have the stigma of battlefield-killing weapons that blades had. In fact, the oldest surviving manual on Shaolin is on using the staff. See our blog for more information on weapons training at Shaolin. Dozens of different traditional weapons are taught and trained at our Association.
Dui Da: Contact sets
In addition to single forms, contact forms, or Dui Da (對打) and Dui Lian (對 練) – fighting sets, are a large part of traditional Shaolin kung fu and bridge the substantial gap between fundamentals and usage. The clear characteristic of these 'fighting' sets are effective usage and include Barehand vs. Barehand; Weapons vs. Weapons; and Barehand vs. Weapons. For more information on Shaolin contact sets, see ironbodhisattva.blogspot.ca