Shaolin quan is one of the oldest and most famous martial arts. Shaolin kung fu was gradually developed in the Buddhist Shaolin temple in 495 AD in Songshan (mountain Song), Henan province, China.
There are many legends and theories about the roots of the Shaolin Kung fu. In one of the stories, the first monk to preach Buddhism there supposedly was the Indian monk Boddhabharda( Batuo). He had few very talented Chinese disciples who left important marks in the Shaolin Kung fu history. After Batuo another Indian monk, Bodhidarma (Damo), came to Shaolin in 527 AD.The myth says that after arriving in Shaoli , Damo sat in meditation for nine years in a cave near the monastery. The fruit of his meditation was the origination of the Zen (Chen) Buddhism. True or not, it is a fact that he left behind two books: “Marrow Clensing Scripture ” and ” Muscle Changing Scripture “. After Damo ,the concept of martial art and Buddhism became the same.
The external training and the internal work ( qigong ) were integrated. Shaolin Kung fu has more than hundreds of existing styles. Every style has one or few routines and every routine teaches new methods of fighting and improving health conditions. To learn a complete system, Shaolin monks master a number of each styles. Shaolin kung fu includes fist forms, animal imitative forms, combat training, various weapon forms as well as the famous drunken style. All forms have their practical applications in the martial use.
Shaolin Kung fu focuses on the flexibility, stamina, conditioning and hard and soft qigong. It develops the strength of the body as well as the resistance of the will power. The study of Shaolin quan is methodological and gradual, which makes it beneficial for everyone who seeks to learn Kung fu.
Shaolin study at the Academy focuses on improving flexibility and stamina on a daily basis which is beneficial for all other styles as well and health condition in general. The training sessions usually begin with a warming-up running for about 10-20 min up and down a hill with high elevation. After the warming-up the students work on their stretching, both individually and in couples. The static stretching is followed by dynamic stretching which includes Shaolin basic kicks performed powerfully and with a maximum stretch according to the capability of the student.
Depending on the level and previous experience the students are thought various of Shaolin fist forms as well as Shaolin weapon forms. The Master detaches a form in sections and teaches it step by step with patience. The student will also learn about the practical use of all movements in a real fight as well as the internal philosophy of the chosen forms.