Learn About Shaolin Kung Fu - Chinese Martial Arts Style

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Shaolin Kung Fu Wiki

Shaolin Kung Fu is a well known style of Kung Fu. This Chinese martial arts was developed by the monks at Shaolin Temple, Dengfeng, Henan Province, China. Nevertheless, Shaolin Kung Fu has evolved as the temples spread across the world, to countries like Malaysia and Singapore.

Shaolin Kung Fu incorporates 'Hard' and 'Soft' fist systems. HARD FIST is based on speed, rhythm and spectacular hand and foot techniques - this is an EXTERNAL school. SOFT FIST is based on slow movements that flow together - this is an INTERNAL school.

Main Elements of Shaolin Kung Fu

History of Shaolin Kung Fu

According to Shaolin Temple Overseas Headquarters, "At the end of the 5th century, a monk named Ba Tuo, arrived in China from India. Emperor Xiao Wen of the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534), a devout Buddhist, had deep respect for Ba Tuo and ordered the construction of the Shaolin Temple at the foot of the Shaoshi Mountain. Here, Monk Ba Tuo would disseminate Buddhism in the peaceful surroundings of lush forests to Buddhists who came from all over the country. Ba Tuo not only on imparted and taught Buddhism, he also wanted his disciples to be intelligent, capable, and good at martial arts. His favorite disciples were Hui Guang and Seng Chou for their superior Kung-fu. Clearly, from its founding days, the monks at the Shaolin Temple practiced martial arts.

Later, Bodhidharma also a Buddhist monk, arrived at the Songshan Mountain and taught Zen at the Shaolin Temple. Facing the cliff on the peak behind the Temple, he sat in meditation for nine years. The monks grew weak from sitting in meditation for long periods so they created a series of martial arts to stimulate circulation and to limber up muscles and joints. Yi jin Jing (The Boxing of Limbering up Muscles and Joints), Arhat Boxing, Shiba Shou (18-Style Hand Exercises) were probably the earliest Shaolin Kung-fu.

By the end of the Sui Dynasty (581-618), the Imperial Court was tottering. In order to safe­guard the Shaolin Temple, a guard monk army was organized. The Shaolin guard monks headed by Zhi Cao, Hui Xi and Tan Zong rescued Li Shimin (598-649), the Qin Prince, captured Wang Renze, and forced Wang Shichong to surrender. After taking the throne of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Li Shimin offered official posts to the Shaolin monks, and issued an order that the Shaolin Temple would have guard monks. This is recorded in an inscription on a stone tablet at the Shaolin Temple.

From the end of the Tang Dynasty through the Five Dynasties (618­-960), the Shaolin Temple had a weak existence, but revived in the Southern Song Dy­nasty (1127-1279). During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), all monks at the Shaolin Temple prac­ticed martial arts, and Shaolin Kung Fu became well known nationwide. The Shaolin guard monks also took part in the fight against the Japanese invaders, and won several victories."

Demonstration Video of Shaolin Kung Fu Techniques


  1. Shaolin Temple Overseas Headquarters, History of Shaolin Temple, http://www.shaolin-overseas.org/KungFu_History.html, Added - 8/15/13
  2. Hop Kuen Do Shaolin Kung Fu, for more information join us on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/hopkuendo

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