Shaolin Monks Daily Routine And Training

Shaolin kung fu monks history

Shaolin monks of Shaolin Kung Fu practitioners,also regarded as the most loyal soldier. The origin of all martial arts leads back to the famous Shaolin Temple in Henan Province in China.Chinese historical records, like Spring and Autumn Annals of Wu and Yue, the Bibliographies in the Book of the Han Dynasty, the Records of the Grand Historian, and other sources document the existence of martial arts in China for thousands of years. For example, the Chinese martial art of wrestling, Shuai Jiao, predates the establishment of Shaolin temple by several centuries.Since Chinese monasteries were large landed estates, sources of considerable regular income, monks required protection. Historical discoveries indicate that, even before the establishment of Shaolin temple, monks had arms and also practiced martial arts. In 1784 the Boxing Classic: Essential Boxing Methods made the earliest extant reference to the Shaolin Monastery as Chinese boxing’s place of origin. This is, however, a misconception, but shows the historical importance of Shaolin kung fu.

Shaolin monks training

Shaolin temple established
In 495 AD, Shaolin temple was built in the Song mountain, Henan province. The first monk who preached Buddhism there was the Indian monk named Buddhabhadra (佛陀跋陀罗; Fótuóbátuóluó), simply called Batuo (跋陀) by the Chinese. There are historical records that Batuo’s first Chinese disciples, Huiguang (慧光) and Sengchou (僧稠), both had exceptional martial skills. For example, Sengchou’s skill with the tin staff is even documented in the Chinese Buddhist canon. After Buddhabadra, the monk Bodhidharma (菩提达摩; Pútídámó), described as either Central Asian or Indian and simply called Damo (达摩) by the Chinese, came to Shaolin in 527 AD. His Chinese disciple, Huike (慧可), was also a highly trained martial arts expert. There are implications that these first three Chinese Shaolin monks, Huiguang, Sengchou, and Huike, may have been military men before entering the monastic life.

To rectify monks’ fitness problem, Dat Mo devised exercises combining physical movement and breathing, thus strengthening the bodies and minds of his disciples. This enabled them to pursue the spiritual path with more vigor. Since Dat Mo was himself of the warrior Caste (Ksatriva) it is possible some of the exercises were drawn from the Indian martial tradition. It is evident, therefore that early Shaolin Kung Fu was largely internal in nature, being designed for the improvement of health, control of the mind and the perception of the Buddha nature. The content of this training has come down to the present time as:

Ye Gun Kung – Exercises designed to strengthen the physical body by working the tendons

Sai Choi Kung – The art of cleansing (the body – mind)

Sime Kung – Meditation practice incorporating: stationary or moving exercises training the practitioner to sense, improve and finally control the movement of the Chi in his body; and spiritual training, an effort to directly perceive one’s ‘Original face’ or ‘Buddha Nature’

Shaolin Kung Fu is not a creation of one person, but an accumulation of works by millions of people. Shaolin Kung Fu is the pearl of Chinese wisdom, which was handed down by numerous generations of China’s top martial artists. Shaolin Kung Fu has a vast content and numerous forms.

Shaolin monks Kung fu fighting

Shaolin monks can perform incredible feats of mental and physical prowess that appear impossible. They balance precariously for hours in a crouching position on wooden posts buried in the ground. They bang their heads against each other to harden their skulls and repeatedly strike vessels of water and other objects to develop palm strength. They run up and down stone stairways on all fours without getting tired. They hang upside down and do headstands for long periods of time.

These monks carry out these exercises seemingly with ease. While many of their extraordinary acts seem like stunts, they’re not. These monks spend many hours a day honing their skills. It takes practice, training, and mental discipline to carry out these incredible feats of strength.

Shaolin monks daily routine

Since the ancient times to the date, daily life of the shaolin warrior monk at Shaolin temple have included to study and practice Chan Buddhism, to study and practice kung fu, and doing the temple affairs, like cleaning the temple, working at the farms, guarding the area, etc.

When a novice monk arrives at the temple, the first thing they have to attain is stamina. Think of stamina as energy for training. Without stamina, there’s no training. This is why, when students ask me what they need to prepare for the summer camp, I tell them, just run. I don’t mind if they’ve never done any martial arts before. All I ask is they have stamina.

Stamina is key for a professional Shaolin Martial Artist. Our stamina training is similar to the stamina training of a boxer. A combination of explosive stamina and endurance. Don’t underestimate endurance stamina. It’s a way for the body to recover and it’s also a great way to boost stamina. You need to do both for exceptional stamina. I recommend varying your long distance runs. Build up during the week so it’s 5k, 6k, 8k, 10k. And each time you run, time yourself and give yourself a goal for each run so you’re always challenging yourself. Run your 5 and 6k runs as fast as you can. At the end of your run, do a series of sprints. Hill sprints are great if you have hills near you. If you’re not able to run you can skip. This is your warm up. You’re now ready to train.

Shaolin monks training methods
Shaolin training is something of interest to many in the western world. Ever since the Chinese kung fu movies arrived people have been trying to learn their moves. Shaolin monks train their whole lives in various disciplines. They train in kung fu, mindfulness meditation and many gymnastics-style physical skills. They also have strict nutritional guidelines that they live by.

5:00 am: rising from bed,
5:15–5:30: sitting qigong,
5:35–6:30: morning kung fu practice: warm-up and basic skills.
6:40–7:40: morning Buddhist lessons,
7:45–8:30: morning meal,
9:00–11:30: doing temple affairs, like working at farms, chopping wood, commercial affairs; elder and child monks attend Buddhist classes.
11:30–12:30: lunch
12:40–14:00: noon rest time,
14:00–17:00: afternoon kung fu practice: martial exercises and combat skills.
17:10–18:40: evening Buddhist lessons,
18:50–19:30: dinner,
21:00–23:00: 1 hour of night kung fu practice: reviewing and every kind of exercise.
23:10: going to bed.

In all practices of the Seventy-two Arts at first the basic theory is studied and only then exercises are done. At first those who practice the arts train the softness of their sinews and bones and try to make agile all their joints and articulations. Then they set into motion the main breath zongli, strengthen the internal organs fu, improve blood state, consolidate body strength, control the cinnabar field and concentrate energy in it, overcome their desires and requirements. The strength spreads on the four extremities and the hundred joints and articulations, now a fighter is in command of unlimited power and he can move off one thousand jins. Your arm weighing only ten jins can move a thing weighing ten thousand jins with a stroke. Your arms are a head, your legs are a tail. Everything is permeated with a single movement, the body moves like a dragon.

Teachers said: “Shaolin exercises develop forces of the whole human organism, all joints and bones; you are capable of striking with all parts of your body.” There is one more saying: “The fist is the source of all arts and the leg is the base, the root of the fist.” Ordinary practice of pugilism consists of seventy percent of leg training and thirty percent of fist training.

This is accomplished through drills and exercises like reaction time drills, continuous repetition of martial arts techniques, progressive physical skills, obstacle courses, weapons drills, partnered coordination exercises and many other things that they practice on a daily basis. This sort of training is conducted for many hours per day.

Shaolin monk training Qi Gong

Shaolin monks may enter the monastery as young as the age of three. Their days are long and filled with extreme mental (chan) and physical (quan) training. They learn how to control an energy force known as “chi” through meditation. It takes discipline and awareness to embody this concept.

The monks use Qi Gong and a special method of breathing with the lower abdomen to transform their bodies into armor. This allows them to withstand powerful blows, including those from dangerous—and sometimes sharp—objects. By cultivating their inner calmness, they are able to ward off mental, physical, and emotional stress. They also use Qi Gong to ward off injury.

Meditation helps with pain. Breathing and relaxation are known to combat discomfort. To take one’s mind away from the source of pain, an individual may focus his or her mind on other parts of the body.

While Shaolin monks seem to achieve the impossible, they have simply developed their minds and bodies in ways that allow them to perform extraordinary feats of mental and physical strength by tapping into their internal energy and through physical conditioning.

If you are searching for a good place to learn kung fu in China, just follow you heart. But if you want further tips, I’m glad to help.

Email:chinashaolinskungfu@hotmail.com