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History of Shaolin kungfu


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#1 Ghost_of_Han

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Posted 10 July 2004 - 11:07 AM

I'm looking for a history of the Shao Lin, its customs, beliefs, anything. And if anyone has any good info on the Wu Dang Mountain.

#2 Gweilo

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Posted 10 July 2004 - 11:17 AM

A few months ago, I did some extensive internet research on the history of Shaolin. Here are the weblinks I found most useful:

-- Links related to Shaolin monastery itself --

http://saolim.tripod...emple_intro.htm <= Shaolin visit website with maps, photos

http://www.shaolin.nl/index.html <= great history of Shaolin, Bodhidharma, and Gung Fu

http://www.marcobres...m/songshan.html <= Shaolin Monastery visit, good photos

http://www.chinatrav...gshan/index.asp <= ancient sites at Mount Song

http://www.geocities...0Shao002.htm#01 <= good history of Shaolin monastery

http://english.ctrip...p?resource=7954 <= description of visiting Shaolin today

http://www.chinavoc....ief/shaolin.asp <= good history and description of visiting Shaolin today

-- Links about Bodhidharma --

http://www.zenmind.c...odhidharma.html <= Bodhidharma's biography

http://www.mvkarate...._bodidharma.htm <= another good biography with his image in paintings

http://www.mindgroun...odhidharma.html <= has complete translations of Bodhidharma's four famous sermons

http://gojuryu.net/h...icaloutline.htm <= Bodhidharma history and Buddhism history

http://www.alohazen....exts/daruma.htm <= good analysis of Bodhidharma's teachings and impact on Buddhism

-- Links about China's history during the time of the Shaolin monastery's founding --

http://www.fsmitha.com/h1/ch28.htm#s3 <= History of China from 3rd - 6th centuries CE, emphasis on Buddhism

http://depts.washing...nwei/essay.html <= excellent Northern Wei Dynasty history

http://www.san.beck....B3-China.html#3 <= another excellent history of Northern Wei (includes civil war)

http://en.wikipedia....ern_Wei_Dynasty <= Northern Wei Dynasty history (rulers reigns)

http://www.chinaknow...ion/tobawei.htm <= Northern Wei Dynasty history
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#3 Yun

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Posted 14 July 2004 - 01:19 AM

Many scholars of Zen Buddhism consider Bodhidharma to be more a legendary figure than a real one. According to the legend, Bodhidharma first arrived in south China by sea during the reign of Xiao Yan, emperor Wudi of the Liang dynasty (r. 502-547). He was unimpressed by Xiao Yan's lavish spending on Buddhist monuments, and went up north to Mount Song 嵩山 near the Northern Wei capital of Luoyang, where he founded the Shaolin monastery.
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#4 TMPikachu

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Posted 26 February 2005 - 06:42 PM

I've been to a few websites about Shaolin history. What intrigued me was the account of 13 (113?) monks who helped Emperor Tang Taizhong fight the rogue general and rescue his son, and Li Shimin's gratitude towards the monks when he became Emperor.

Did these monks wear armor? What weapons were used?

In general, I'm curious about the history of Shaolin temple, particularly the fighting.
I'm also interested in the time during Ming in which upper class would send their sons and daughters to learn from the monks (like a university)

and about Shaolin martial arts/kungfu in general today.
Do you think that what passes as kungfu today is only a shadow or warped version of the fighting arts used in the past? Shaolin temple was burned down by Qing, suffered a fire in 1920's, and was practically wiped out during the cultural revolution, only reinstated by the government a few decades ago. How much was lost?

Edited by Yun, 21 March 2005 - 07:27 AM.

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#5 Zuo Zongtang

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Posted 26 February 2005 - 07:58 PM

Try this on the story of of the monks who rescued Tang Taizong:

http://www.zhengzhou...ory/story08.htm


And this for the history of Shaolin Shi:

http://goasia.about....2/a/shaolin.htm
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#6 TMPikachu

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Posted 26 February 2005 - 10:46 PM

That's a cool story. Another account I heard makes it sound like the rogue general was defeated by an army, with the aid of warrior monks. Quite different from this 13 man commando raid.
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#7 Yun

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Posted 27 February 2005 - 10:56 AM

From my reply to another thread in the Asian History section:

OK, according to this article in Chinese: http://culture.peopl...82/3176905.html

The Shaolin monks' capture of Wang Renze at Baigu Fort did happen, but it was far less dramatic than popular culture made it out to be. They basically conspired with one of Wang's staff officers to capture him and hand him over to Li Shimin. There was really not much of a battle at all. The event is not recorded in the dynastic histories, but is in a letter to the Shaolin abbot by Li Shimin, and also a stele erected in the Shaolin monastery in 728. The monks clearly turned against Wang Shichong because he had taken over their property at Baigu for military use without compensating them, and not out of any loyalty to the newly-founded Tang.
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#8 Yang Zongbao

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Posted 27 February 2005 - 08:56 PM

The monks weren't really as overblown as popular culture makes them out to be.
They were not the begginings of MArtial arts, etc....18 weapons of Shaolin is also bull c**p.
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#9 浪淘音

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 01:01 AM

The monks weren't really as overblown as popular culture makes them out to be.
They were not the begginings of MArtial arts, etc....18 weapons of Shaolin is also bull c**p.

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completely agreed. nice to meet a fellow traditional Wu Gong practioner that isn't blinded by these nonsense Shaolin legends.

#10 Wujiang

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Posted 28 February 2005 - 01:33 AM

I have always find it amusing how people think that martial arts started out from shaolin. Because if that was true, than all the soldiers before the wei dynasty would have been completely untrained in combat....... :g:
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#11 ih8eurocentrix

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 04:34 AM

why do people say that shaolin kung fu now is for demonstration only?
are sholin tricks like getting hit by a spear and not getting hurt
1.some sought of majic trick
2.hardening the skin like karate guys do
3.qigong +hardening the skin
who is better and kung fu bruce or jet li?

#12 RollingWave

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 05:56 AM

I think to say that Chinese Wu Shu today is completely for show is a overstatement that what the Chinese call "一竿子打翻一條船"

First, Wu Shu is a insanely broad term that simply can not be generalized.

The schools around Shaolin are indeed very commercial, with the majortiy of their student wanting to become actors, but many also become body guards/securitiy guards etc.

The Wu Shus on the film screens are obviously mostly acting, that to generalize that into Wushu = acting is a very broad overstatement to say the least.

The spear on the throat thing is not a magic trick, however that doesn't really equat the monks that can do such a feat super martial artist, because it is simply a special way to work your body to make it happen, some people can do it without martial arts training too, its just that the Chinese did seem to find a way to "train" people to know how to do it instead of the usual case where people are simply naturally gifted.

As for Jet Li and Bruce Lee, both men are real martial artist that will certainly dominate any untrained person in bouts. it is pure guess work but Bruce may be slightly better because he developed much of he's own stuff, but then again, part of the reason he did it was also because he couldn't access the true ancient arts that Jet was previliaged to.
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#13 Yang Zongbao

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 08:41 AM

Actually, I think that Jet Li is actually only a Wushu artist, not really an Wugong practitioner. I know he was on the Beijing Wushu team, but I'm not sure if he learned real Wugong.
You know why the Shaolin stuff is said to be all demonstration? Because it IS all demonstation. Breaking slabs of stone with your head, getting spears stuck into you, that's all looks. When are you going to use it? It looks nice, but it's the same as Wushu nowadays.
Oh, and mind you...the spears they use...they're wushu spears. Nothing real. So it's not as dangerous as it's made out to be.
And breaking things on your head...frankly, it turns you into an idiot, qigong or none. I remember when I used to take Shaolin with Shi De Shan in Houston...there was something wrong with his head...he broke things on it alot. That's probably what turned him into the meanest, sickest B****** in the world. You can IM me for details.
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#14 Kenneth

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 09:35 PM

who is better and kung fu bruce or jet li?


Well, Bruce Lee is dead so Jet Li could dig up his grave and stomp his bones.

I hope readers realise I have the greatest of admiration for Bruce Lees ability and contribution to the martial arts as I have quoted his ‘Dao of Jeet Kun DO’ on several occasions when discussing the shortcoming of Wushu.

Wushu to me is not a confusing term. Any martial artist who hears it and is famialir with current world styles should know it refers to an acrobatic form of ‘martial art’ that has come about in the last 50years.
It is certainly more correct to call it ‘modern’ Wushu as it has little to do with the more correct or tradtional meaning of Wushu, which at the most simple level would be more correct than ‘Kung Fu’(time/energy).
Kung Fu is much more broad in the modern usage (again thanks to Bruce Lees influence on the West) and in everyday use has now replaced what once would have been Wushu (=martial art).
(If you follow).
I think Chinese martial artists are better to refer to their school to provide clarity as both Wushu should apply to the PRC, and Kung Fu is far too broad (as Wing Chun is completely different to another long fist ‘Kung Fu’).

As for Jet LI I believe in his day they did teach more traditional aspects of the martial arts to the selected students although undeniably from the beginning his rigourous training was for competition through form and not for combat. I suggest a google search or a visit to tribute pages as I found one good one with several pages of biographical info. He seems to have been taught a bit more than the standard student, as it named specific traditional stlyes, rather than just the official Wushu competition form which is now taught according to age groups.

HOWEVER Bruce Lee was a 100% real fighter, putting his spiritual & personal aspect aside he appropriated any useful or strong technique or lesson from world martial arts and rejected the idea of national ‘stlyes’ (i.e Karate, Kung Fu, Taekwando) and said we all have 2 arms and 2 legs, so as human beings why do we have stlyes for different cultures? Some things must be in common, and somethings simply work better than others. Why promote an inferior technique just out of tradition?
He took combat elements from sport or anything that worked so as to use the best techniques from any.
In this way he wasn’t beautiful in form but he was unusually effective. He was challenged many times and kicked a lot of tough guy A**.
He said when people ask me ‘Are you really that good?, if he said yes he would appear arrogant, but if he said No, he would be lying’
He is a very interesting character and sought out and learnt all he could and deduced many valid observation about martial art mentality. It is a great shame he died so young as he only developed these ideas over a very short time in his later life. He even critically listed the strengths and weaknesses of his own background style, which was Wing Chun. His common sense approach is quite valid. Nothing wrong with traditional forms, but if a boxers simplified hand technique can out punch a complex traditional martial artist fist then why not add western boxing to the training?

Lets be clear, I don’t learn Jeet Kun Do even though a school linked to his original students is here but I accept all of his observations…even if I do still like the traditional karate, or modern Wushu for its art aspect I do admit freely a lot of what is taught at both is really a load of nonsense and will get your head knocked off on the street.
Bruce lee is not the only person to say this, but he did a lot to encourage a new interest in the martial arts.

back to the question;
Yeah, they (Jet & Bruce)are both incredibly fast and can leap 10 feet in the air, but Bruce would use any and all tricks, bust kneecaps if possible, and spit in an eye, and never sacrifice safety for aesthetics or form.
Anyone adopting a fancy but flawed Wushu stance against Bruce Lee would have lost before they had even moved.

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Pow! POW POW!!!

Hope that answers the question. :D
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#15 TMPikachu

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 10:10 PM

Did Bruce Lee know how to grapple though? I think he did.

In modern mixed martial arts, it's been found that people trained only in striking, even if they are very good at it, are dead if they don't know the basics of grappling.

The greatest unarmed fighters ever are alive and competing today, never in world history have people from all over the world come to participate in mixed martial arts tournaments.
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