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Learn About Zen (advanced) combat techniques in Shaolin Kung Fu
Zen means 'advanced' in Shaolin Kung Fu. In combat techniques this is about taking an existing action, and making it much more effective. The first step in this is for the practitioner to unify their minds and bodies, which is where chi gung (also known as qi gong) is an effective tool. Once the practitioner is 'self aware', they can learn to channel chi, providing an extreme focus point for actions and strikes. The biggest requirement for this is a calm and relaxed mind, and a flexible and relaxed body. When delivering strikes, or blocks, the muscles should be completely relaxed, relying on the extreme speed of the elasticity of sinews, only tensing the striking point a fraction of a second before it lands.
One of the secrets behind why Shaolin Kung Fu is so devastating, is the damage which can be delivered. This actually comes from pure science; physics states "Force = mass x velocity". You can not change the mass of your fist, do the only remaining option is to increase velocity. If you move something fast enough, even tiny things can do substantial damage. To put this into an easily understandable example: which would you rather be hit by? A 600 ton train moving at 2 miles an hour, or a 2 ounce bullet moving at 600 miles an hour? The huge train would gently push you out of the way, but the 2 ounce bullet would hit you so fast that it passes straight through you, and probably kills you.
This is the same science which allows strikes to break through large pieces of thick wood and bones, with apparent easy, and without any damage to the striking hand. At the highest levels, practitioners of Shaolin Kung Fu are expected to be able to punch so fast that they can break boards, measuring at least 1 foot square by at least 1 inch thick, which are mearly stood on their edge, without any support, such that you could push them over easily even with a finger tip. The science which allows this top happen is that the fist is moving so fast that, upon impact, the board does not have time to bend, so instead it breaks.
So long as a board brakes when you punch it, there is no damage to your hand, however, if you punch an object at speed, and the object does not break, then the force is reflected back into your own hand, and could result in breaking your own bones. This is a hand mental block to get over, and simply knowing it can make you tense up before impact, which causes you to slow down, which in turn causes you to fail. So this is another part of Zen training - the ability to clear your mind of thoughts (and stress) even mid fight, and KNOW that you can do it.
In the picture below you can see the brown belt breaking completely free standing boards, hitting them so fast that they break before they have time to bend. Breaking 20 such boards in a row is one of the requirements for black belt.
In the video below you can see Shaolin monks demonstrating some of the almost super human feats possible with channeling Chi and applying Zen techniques. It should be remembered that Kung Fu means "hard work" - you achieve these masteries via a lot of training over several years; it is not unusual for a student to take over 30 years before they are regarded as a black belt. Shaolin Kung Fu is something which you can learn for life and still not know everything there is to know, always discovering exiting new things.
Demonstration Zen and Chi Gung (Qi Gong) Shaolin Kung Fu Techniques
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