in Chinese, ‘Kung Fu (功夫)’ means a skill to practice and perfect. Shaolin (少林) Kung Fu is combination of Zen Buddhism and martial art that was developed by the monks of Shaolin temple during the last 1500 years. Kung Fu has 2 categories of skills:
1. Body skills (基本功: jiben kung): Kung Fu practitioner's body should be ‘soft, light, hard, strong, fast, and endurant.’ these are the 6 body skills. the set of soft (flexibility) and light (balance) skills is called the child skills (童子功: tongzi kung) and the set of Shaolin hard, strong (power), and fast (speed) skills is called the 72 arts. besides, energy is developed via internal skills (气功: qi kung), which include static and dynamic meditation .
2. Combat skills (拳法: quan fa): barehanded, weapon, and barehanded vs weapon fighting techniques, tactics, and strategies.
timing: Shaolin monks practice daily except one or a couple of days a week to rest, and their daily training schedule includes:
– flexibility and balance: a half hour or so. – hardness, power, and speed: a few arts are practiced, each for a few minutes. – endurance and fighting skills: a half hour or so. – qi kung meditation: a half hour or so.
these exercises could be done together or at different sessions, at any time.
place: ‘Shaolin Kung Fu is trained in a lying ox’s place,’ which means a small place.
clothes: ‘wear proper clothes in the warmth and the cold, but do not be afraid of the weather.’
results: ‘train 100 days to see difference, 3 years to achieve skills, and 10 years for mastery.’
Kung Fu fight skills (拳法: quan fa) include fighting techniques, tactics and strategies. techniques are the basic moves of fighting. there are: 3 types of defense: dodge, block, parry, 3 types of attack: hit, catch, throw.
the majority of the fighting techniques are common among most schools of Kung Fu. Shaolin is the largest school of Kung Fu and includes the largest number of techniques.
Fighting skills (拳法: quan fa) include barehanded, weapon, and barehanded-vs-weapon fighting techniques, tactics, and strategies. Shaolin kung fu has hundreds of barehanded styles (拳: quan), but the '10 famous styles' of Shaolin kung fu are:
1. luohan shiba shou (罗汉十八手) 2. hong quan (洪拳) 3. qixing quan (七星拳) & chang hu xinyi men (长护心意门) 4. pao quan (炮拳) 5. tong bi quan (通臂拳) 6. guandong quan (关东拳) 7. mei hua quan (梅花拳) & zhao yang quan (昭阳拳) 8. luohan quan (罗汉拳) 9. chang quan (长拳) 10. drunken style.
these 10 standard styles, each with a pair of forms or 1 form, compromise the '18 famous forms' of Shaolin kung fu. these 18 forms teach the famous '36 tactics' of fighting and the core barehanded moves of Shaolin kung fu. though not necessary, people can learn more forms if they wish. this channel has complete instructional videos for these styles and more. there are several videos for each form, to refine your skills to a high level.
- method of learning: first learn a form basically, which takes a couple of days, then learn to do it in the opposite direction, i.e., with the left/right swapped, which takes another couple of days. then learn the form in full details, which takes about a month or so. you can learn the next form after learning one form, which means learning one form in every one or couple of months. you should gradually improve your body moves (身法: shen fa), e.g., in front of mirrors and filming your performance. after learning a form, its combat methods could be gradually learned; at first you just learn some methods from some tutorials; later on, check out all the tutorials on Shaolin kung fu combat methods to see which methods can possibly be done with the forms you've learned. keep in mind that every move in kung fu can have hundreds of combat use, viz. hit, block, lock, throw, support, deceive, avoid, etc; mastering such a range of combat methods takes several years which you'll gradually learn later on. mastery of Shaolin kung fu needs years of practicing. meanwhile, always test and improve your body mechanics by applying methods on sand bags and other objects, and test your skills from time to time against unarmed and armed opponents in single and in groups in free fightings. _____ - note on the names of forms: Shaolin kung fu forms may be called by different names in different sects. Shaolin kung fu styles usually consist of a pair of forms; here, for these couples we use the standard 'small & big (小: xiao & 大: da)' naming. small luohan quan is called small because it is smaller in size than big luohan quan. but sometimes it is about age, for example, big pao quan and big tong bi quan, which are smaller in size, may be called big sometimes because they are from older historical eras than the small pao quan and tong bi quan, which are bigger in size. in this channel, we--put history aside, because all these forms are old enough historically, and--just care about size and call the smaller form 'small' and the bigger one 'big'.
Shaolin kung fu has hundreds of weapons, but monks usually consider the '10 famous weapons' (or '18 famous weapon' forms, counting the various forms of weapons). one who has mastered 10 or so weapons is at a mastery level and can easily use anything as weapon. this channel has complete instructional videos for the 10 weapons and more. there are several videos for every weapon to refine your skills to high levels. the weapons are: staff, spear, knife, twin knives, sword, twin swords, saber, twin sabers, long-handle saber, chain whip, and other weapons like the cane, monks' spade, flail staff, 3-section staff, twin spears, twin chain whips, flying hammer, rope-dart, and tens of others.
* a few words on applications: Shaolin kung fu weapons mostly have no direct accessibility or applications in our daily lives nowadays. however, the theory behind is that every Shaolin kung fu weapon is a model for many easily available daily tools. after mastering every weapon, all those tools can be used in self-defense. for example, a staff, spear, big saber, a spade are all different models for long tools, like any wand or staff, any long piece of wood or metal, like a shovel, broom, rake, a tree branch, a piece of pipe, a ski, etc; swords, sabers, and knives are models for various kinds of tools, like all kinds of kitchen knives, wrenches, screw drivers, pens, hoes, mattocks, axes, clubs, quarterstaves, pans, and anything with a tip and/or a hitting edge and a handle; a cane is the model for a walking cane or crutch, a big wrench, a quarterstaff, a club, like a golf club, a car steering wheel lock, a vacuum cleaner pipe, a hoe, a hammer, a mattock, a bucket, basket, bin, kettle, pot, bag, suitcase, or anything with such a handle, and many other things; chain whips, a 3-part staff, and a flying hammer or dart are models for a piece of chain, hose, lash, wire, anything with a power cord, like a mobile or computer charger, for belts, a necklace or a pocket watch with a chain, or any piece of flexible thing like sling, string, wire, chain, etc, with some objects tied to one or either of its ends; twin knives, twin spears, twin swords are all models for any two heavy or sharp objects you can hold as weapons, like suitcases, pans, shoes, and many other things; any simple hard thing in your pocket, like any coin, key, or any piece of stone, any big screw, needle, scissor, can opener is a hidden weapon. after mastering Shaolin kung fu weapons, with combination of skills from various kinds of weapons, one can masterfully use any available tool as effectively as possible as weapon. this is the goal.