History of Chinese Martial Arts Several terms for the Chinese martial arts became popular in China. Guoji (National Skill) has been used in the past, as have guoshu (National Art), zhongguoquan (China Fist), quanfa (the Way of the Fist), and quanshu (Fist Art). The term kung Fu does not refer specifically to the martial arts. It is more a slang usage found in the United States and in some parts of southern China. Wushu (War Art) is perhaps the more proper term for Chinese martial arts. The term wushu has been officially adopted by the People's Republic of China. The terms wushu and Kung Fu (in their reference to classical martial arts) are both generic terms encompassing all the different styles, weapons, routines and other aspects of the Chinese martial arts in general. It must be noted that today there are hundreds of styles and sub-styles within the Chinese martial arts. The different styles often mold their techniques around a central theme, such as Taoist gods, animals, antics, etc. The styles of tanglang (Praying Mantis), baihe (White Crane) or yingzhao (Eagle Claw), for instance, model their techniques after the respective animal characteristics comprising their names. In China today, the term Wushu refers to a sport based on the movements of classical martial arts. It is the Western countries, Hong Kong and Taiwan that are keeping the traditional martial arts alive. Over 2000 years ago, classical martial arts emerged to serve the needs of the war in China, and war was plentiful. The martial arts became a way of life for many, evolving into a highly structured institution. Records of exercises known as "hit and thrust" were practiced as far back as the Shang dynasty (17th - 16th century B.C.), while the Western world birthed Stonehenge and the Trojan War. Individual and group exercises with weapons extended back as far as the Zhou dynasty (1066 - 256 B.C.), near the time Homer penned his Iliad and Odyssey. Bronze swords similar in shape and size to those seen today turned up in the "Spring and Autumn" as well as "Warring States" periods (722 - 211 B.C.), a time spanning the founding of Rome and the conquests of Alexander the Great. The Qin dynasty (221 - 206 B.C.) saw a form of combat known as jiaoti introduced to the military as a major form of combat and athletic pursuit, while a combat form with bare hands called shoupo, and formal swordplay emerged during the Han and Jin periods (206 B.C. - 420 A.D.). In the Xui and Tang dynasties (581 - 907 A.D.), the sword was used as a theatrical prop when dancing. The upper classes began adopting the weapon as a symbolic emblem for the nobility. The poet Li Bai, for instance, excelled in the art of jianshu (the sword art) during the Tang period. The Yuan dynasty (1279 - 1368 A.D.), arose as a result of Genghis Khan's invasion from the north. The Khan unified scores of individual tribes which were routinely attacking the northern borders of China. He successfully pushed through the "Middle Kingdom's" (China) defenses and set in motion the master plan for Chinese subjugation, later revived in a dynasty ruled by their close neighbors, the Manchus. The Mongolian dynasty eventually faded near the early part of the 4th century with the ousting of its "foreign" (non-Han) rulers. A period of relative productivity and peace among the Chinese followed during the Ming dynasty. This was short lived. China was again overrun by "foreign" powers, this time from the northeastern borders. The Manchurians pushed through China's northern borders capturing the city of Beijing, which later became their capital. Here they constructed the walled-in city no Chinese could enter - the "Forbidden City." Much of the classical martial arts that the Western world has come to know is reminiscent of the styles and attitudes forged during the Manchurian rule. The Qing dynasty, the last great dynasty of China, produced scores of revolutionary sects formed to overthrow the government. Secret societies knitted themselves around classical martial artists. The most widespread grew in southern China. Canton, then known as the "City of Revolution," became a focal point for this activity, partitioning it from any kind of potential affinity toward the Manchurian rule in the north. Although the martial arts had been practiced by people of all levels of social classes, they were primarily practiced by the upper classes who had the time and money to pursue them. Slowly, however, the arts (or, at least, many styles comprising the arts), began losing their distinction as toys of the upper classes during this period. Political turmoil gave the lower classes the motivation they needed to organize for revolution. The year 1840 proved turbulent for China. The secret societies provided a continual thorn in the side of the existing government (still under Manchurian rule). The Bagua, Hong, White Feather and White Lotus sects represented only a few underground organizations centered around a martial art theme. Chief among the secret societies of this era was the Triad or Heaven, Earth and Man society, reputedly formed by the five Shaolin monks who survived the government-destroyed temple that was located in the Songshan mountains in Honan province. This partially preserved temple still exists today. Though many secret societies were formed in China for political reasons, some were formed for a variety of other reasons. The Elder Brothers society, for example, based its organization upon a concept of friendship modeled after that of General Guan Ye and his two brothers (legendary figures in Chinese history). The Red Eyebrows came into existence around the beginning of the Christian era and were originally a body of rebels who painted their eyebrows red. The Boxers, who became highly visible during the anti-foreigner Boxer Rebellion around the turn of the century, practiced a strain of classical martial arts steeped in magic and witchcraft called Xiangong. Though the Boxers gained a wide following during their war against foreign involvement in Chinese affairs, many participants in the revolution were convinced that the incantations they recited would render them impervious to their enemies' bullets. Religious sects felt the brunt of Qing dynasty's wrath. In the 17th century, when the Manchus (a Mongolian race from Manchuria which conquered China in 1644) established their rule, the Chinese (specifically the Han people) were ordered to wear their hair in a pigtail as a sign of submission. Many scholars, artisans and martial arts masters turned their backs on this practice. To avoid wearing the pigtail, they withdrew from public life and entered monasteries such as Shaolin, where their heads were shaved. Adding to the growing internal strife, another threat loomed from outside as foreign powers moved to establish trade routes with China. The year 1840 marked the beginning of the Opium Wars, the first lasting a full two years, which ended with Great Britain forcibly opening China to foreign trade, granting territorial concessions and the rights of inland navigation, supporting missionary intervention and taking over the island of Hong Kong. Other foreign powers found China somewhat easier. The country was technologically backwards. Confucian cultural and political systems concentrated heavily upon education for the upper classes but viewed technology as gadgetry unworthy of the dignity of a scholar. The martial arts in some forms had developed into an accept- able, quasi-scholarly pursuit as well as a method for personal defense. During this time the Chinese economy was collapsing, adding to the internal pressures. This culminated in the Taiping Rebellion of 1850. The Taiping Rebellion was one of the more significant events in 19th century China. Social unrest brought into conflict the basic elements of traditional Chinese society: the Confucian way of life. Taiping "troupes" were schooled in the martial arts handed down from one family or another - or from the oral traditions surviving from the Shaolin temples. By 1864 the rebellion was squashed, however, with the enlisted help of the very foreign powers which caused much of the problem in the first place. Millions of people died during the battles that followed. Those members of the rebellion not killed in battle were marked for execution by the government. For many of these dissidents, the only alternative was to flee the country. Between 1848 and 1900 over 200,000 Chinese emigrated to America from Guang-dong province. Some stayed in San Francisco's Chinatown, the second largest community of Chinese outside Hong Kong and China today, while others joined the gold rush or worked their way east on the railroad. In San Francisco's Chinatown the secret societies took root again. They became the infamous Tong Brothers. With these expatriate revolutionaries grew the first western vestiges of classical Chinese martial arts, forming a large part of the philosophical base of many of the secret societies. During the mid-1800's Chinese martial arts were cloaked in secrecy, as they had been in China. Outsiders knew nothing of them. Not until much later were they available for the non-Chinese. When the martial arts did come within grasping range of a non-Chinese, they were viewed as a mysterious, secretive, magical practice used strictly for fighting, because that was the image projected by the secret societies. Grandmaster Neal looked upon his Grandmaster as a mysterious & magical person the way he moved and the way he talked of the many different forms and the uses as they were used many years ago by the temple master. The student learned under one master for a time then moved to another, The Madison Martial Arts Academy Teaches this one time secretive art in the form of the Chinese Shaolin Kung-Fu / Karate system Headed by Grandmaster Michael Neal. The Japanese Gi was used as well as the Belt, Due manly to the fact more people knew of the "Karate" Gi. The ranking system was also used to give the student more motivation to learn, instead of just 1) Student 2) Master 3) Grandmaster, they had 7 steps to work at just to get to the (Sho-Dan) 1st Degree Black Belt. It was more like a "College" with the under Black Belt Ranks "Grade School" and Black Belt starting "College". Grandmaster Neal has worked many years to bring this System out into the public eye, It is a practical art with no move that does not mean something or has a use (No wasted movements). We are the Shaolin

Two prominent publications about Shaolin were published in 2007, including the first ever photo
documentary on the temple entitled Shaolin: Temple of Zen, published by the non-profit Aperture Foundation, featuring the photos of National Geographic photographer Justin Guariglia. The Shaolin Abbot, Shi Yong Xin, has written the foreword attesting the authenticity of the project. These became the first photographs seen of monks practicing classical kung fu inside the temple. American author Matthew Polly, also has written a book recounting his story of his two years living, studying, and performing with the Shaolin monks in China in the early 1990s. A third, more academic book published by the Israeli Shaolin scholar Meier Shahar in 2008 about the history of the Shaolin Temple. While some of these are clear commercial exploitation of the Shaolin Temple and its legends, they have helped make Shaolin a household name around the world, and kept the temple alive in the minds of many young generations. To date, no other temple in the world has achieved such wide spread recognition.

List of styles currently taught at the temple:

1.     * Xiao Hong Quan - Little Red Fist
2.     * Da Hong Quan - Big flood fist
3.     * Tong Bei Quan - Through the back fist
4.     * Liu He Quan - Six harmonies fist
5.     * Taizu Chang Quan - Emperor Taizu's long fist( this refers particularly to the 1st Emperor of Sung
dynasty who was a military commander)
6.     * Qixing Quan - Seven star fist
7.     * Da Pao Quan - Big cannon fist
8.     * Xiao Pao Quan - Small cannon fist
9.     * Chang Hu Xin Yi Men - Forever preserve the heart-mind link/door
10.     * Meihuaquan - Plum flower fist
11.     * Luohan Quan - Arhat fist
12.     * Tongzigong - Shaolin child training
13.     * Dan Dao - Single sabre technique
14.     * Long – Dragon technique
15.     * Qi Lu Quan - Seven animal fist

In 1934 Jin Jing Zhong published a book variously known in English as Shaolin 72 Shaolin Arts Practice Method or Training Methods of 72 Arts of Shaolin. This work lists what are alleged to be authentic Shaolin training methods that can produce extraordinary skills and abilities; examples of these skills include iron body techniques (both offensive and defensive), jumping and wall scaling techniques, pole-top leaping dexterity training, pressure-point and nerve manipulation, and a host of other feats. Most of

these skills require anywhere from three to ten years to master, according to the author. Jin claims to have witnessed many of these skills himself or to have learned of them from a scroll given to him by Shaolin Abbot Miao Xing, though the work tends to exaggeration and embellishment. Contemporary Training at the Shaolin Temple While most warrior monks tend to be focused on performance geared toward the touring troupes, a smaller cadre of Shaolin warrior monks seek the traditional route that focuses somewhat more on self-defense and authenticity of techniques. In many ways, the contemporary performing warrior monks are comparable to contemporary wushu artists who focus on beautiful, elaborately dazzling form rather than original martial application and fighting prowess. The 72 Shaolin Arts are more indicative of the
older, original Shaolin temple fighting system and theory. Also, performing monks are not pressured to practice or study Zen, while inside the temple, at least a show of deference for the Shaolin customs is expected by the masters of their chosen warrior monk disciples.

Diamond Finger (Yi Zhi Jingang Fa)

Diamond Finger is a Gong Fu exercise that is one of the 72 arts of the Shaolin Temple. Anyone who masters this exercise can knock a hole in the chest of their enemy and injure their enemy's internal organs. A practitioner's finger should strike any hard object repeatedly over time to increase in power to gradually master this exercise. This exercise usually requires a three year training period

Twin Lock (Shuang Suo Gong)

Twin Lock is a hard Gong Fu exercise that was done historically at the Shaolin Temple. When this exercise is perfected a person can block weapons with their bare arms. Training in the art involves mutually hitting the forearms together, and then later repeatedly hitting the shins and feet with the forearms

Striking with Foot (Zhu She Gong)

Striking with Foot, or Zhu She Gong, in one of the 72 arts historically trained at the Shaolin Temple.

Mastery of this art allows the practitioner to do great damage with their toes. During training, a
practitioner strikes progressively heavier stones with their toe Pulling out Nails (Bo Ding Gong)

Pulling out Nails or Bo Ding Gong is one of the 72 arts of the Shaolin Temple. Mastery of this art allows the practitioner to heavily injure their enemies at acupoints by making locks with their thumb,

forefinger, and middle finger. Training involves pulling out at first regular nails, and later rusty nails, from a board of unabi, or jujube wood. Slight injuries such as blisters are commonly caused by this, and the practitioner usually washes their hands in lake salt afterwards

Ringing Round a Tree (Bao Shu Gong)‎

Ringing Round a Tree, or Bao Shu Gong, is one of the 72 arts of the Shaolin Temple. A practitioner who masters this art can lift a weight of 250-350 kg with both arms. Training involves attempting to pull a tree out of the ground several times each day. Mastery is when the tree is pulled straight out of the ground

Four Part Exercise (Si Duan Gong)‎

The Four Part Exercise, or Si Duan Gong, is one of the 72 arts of the Shaolin Temple. This exercise is good for building a foundation in martial arts. The exercise consists of a set of four basic movements that help focus Qi

One Finger of Chan Meditiation (Yi Zhi Chan Gong)

One Finger of Chan Meditation, or Yi Zhi Chan Gong, is one of the 72 arts of the Shaolin Temple. A practitioner who masters this art can cause a vascular spasm that cannot be reversed without special medicine with only a weak blow to their enemies. Mastery takes several steps. At first, a weight is hung, and the practitioner pokes it with little force. This continues until the weight will move if the poke does not touch it. After this, lamps are lit at a distance of 6-7 meters from the practitioner and they have to extinguish the flame with their finger. Later, the lamps are protected by paper shades, and finally glass. Mastery is when the flames in glass lamps can be extinguished

Iron Shirt (Tie Bu Shan Gong)

Iron Shirt (traditional Chinese: 鐵衫; simplified Chinese: 铁衫; pinyin: tiě shān; Cantonese: tit1 saam3) is a form of hard style martial art exercise for protecting the human body from impacts in a fight. This is one of the 72 arts of the Shaolin Temple. Some martial arts are based on the idea that a correctly trained body can withstand more damage than one that is untrained. Iron Shirt is said to be a series of

exercises using many post stances, herbs, qigong and body movements to cause the body's natural energy (qi) to reinforce its structural strength. Practitioners believe that directing energy to parts of the body can reinforce these parts of the body to take blows against them. In the Shaolin version of Iron Shirt, the practitioner would do things such as lying on a stump or supporting tablets of granite on the chest with the goal of toughening the body.

Iron Head (Tie Tou Gong)

Iron Head, or Tie Tou Gong is one of the 72 arts of the Shaolin Temple. In this art, the head is hardened by wrapping layers of fabric around the head and ramming the head into a hard surface repeatedly.

Incrementally, layers of fabric are removed over time. The head will eventually become hard enough to resist most blows. A famous practitioner named Hong Chan could easily break a stone tablet, and he could walk quickly with a stone weighing 170 kg on his head when he was 80 years old.

A Series of Blows (Pai Dai Gong)

A Series of Blows, or Pai Dai Gong, is one of the 72 arts of the Shaolin Temple. This art is very similar to Iron Shirt (Tie Bu Shan Gong). It is purely external, and contains none of the internal elements of Iron Shirt (Tie Bu Shan Gong). A practitioner hits their body with first a block of wood and progresses to a brick and later a block of iron. The body becomes invulnerable to bare-handed strikes after mastery of this art, but not weapons

Sweeping with an Iron Broom (Tie Zhao Zhou Gong)

Sweeping with an Iron Broom, or Tie Zhao Zhou Gong, is one of the 72 arts of the Shaolin Temple. If a practitioner masters this art, they can break bones and tear muscles with a kick. In the first part of training, a practitioner must practice standing in a horse stance until they can stand in it for two hours.

Later, a practitioner will kick progressively larger poles and then a large tree repeatedly until they can kick down a tree. At this point, the art has been mastered

Hand - a Bamboo Leaf (Zhou Ye Shou Gong)

Hand - a Bamboo Leaf, or Zhou Ye Shou Gong is one of the 72 arts of the Shaolin Temple. If thisexercise is mastered, a practitioner can break most objects and massively injure their opponents.

Training methods for the art include hitting a bag filled with iron filings with a palm heel strike. At first, a 15 kg bag of this type is hit, but the weight of the bag is progressively increased to 60 kg. A practitioner has mastered the art when they can hit the 60 kg bag at full force and continually without tiring

Jumping Centipede (Wu Gong Tiao)

The art of Jumping Centipede, or Wu Gong Tiao, is one of the 72 arts of the Shaolin Temple. This art increases the power of the practitioner's fingers and toes, and allows a practitioner to jump quickly in a fight. Training in this exercise involves movements similar to those performed in western Push ups. First, the exercise is performed on the palms of the hand, but the practitioner advances to performing it on the fists, three fingers, and later one finger. If it can be performed on one finger, mastery of this art has been reached

Raising a Weight of 1000 Jins (Tie Qian Jin)

The art of Raising a Weight of 1000 Jins, or Tie Qian Jin is one of the 72 arts of the Shaolin Temple. If a practitioner masters this art, they can severely wound their enemies by just grasping them. Mastery of the art occurs when a practitioner can grasp a weight of 50-60 Jins for about an hour with their fingers.

Training starts with the practitioner attempting to hold weights of 10 Jins, and the heaviness of the weight that is held by the practitioner is gradually increased over time . A "Jin" is a unit of weight that weighs just slightly more than a western pound.

Celestial's Palm (Xian Ren Zhang)

The exercise Celestial's Palm, or Xian Ren Zhang, is one of the 72 arts of the Shaolin Temple. In this art, the practitioner at first strikes a wooden object repeatedly with their four fingers, and then later repeatedly strikes a hard stone with their four fingers. Mastery has been achieved when the practitioner can strike a stone hard enough to leave a dent in it

Method of Hardness and Softness (Gang Rou Fa)

The exercise Method of Hardness and Softness, or Gang Rou Fa, is one of the 72 arts of the Shaolin Temple. In this art, a practitioner performs repeated blows against a bundle of spoiled paper. At first, a bundle of paper about 66 cm long a wine is placed above a large wooden table with fixed outer boards and removable inner boards. The practitioner at first strikes the bundle of paper with their right hand while holding it with a cord in their left hand, but later exchanges hands. At first, the paper bundle should weigh about 10 kg, but later, lead shot should be progressively added to the bundle, until the bundle weighs about 50 kg. Even later, boards should be removed, until only the fixed outer boards remain. Mastery of this art occurs when a practitioner can hit the heavy bundle of paper over the large gap in the boards and return it with their opposite hand

Cinnabar Palm (Zhu Sha Zhang)

This exercise is one of the 72 arts of the Shaolin Temple. The benefits of this exercise are extremely great. However, the claims made by any supporters of this exercise are not supported by any type of modern science. If someone trains in this art, they will at first fill a vessel with sand. They will then continuously rub their hands in the sand until their hands become tired. As they progress, they will move their hands farther and farther away form the sand, until they can move the sand even if their hands are 30 cm away from the sand. After this, the sand is replaced by iron shot, and later heavier iron balls. If a practitioner can move the iron balls without touching them, mastery has been attained. This art has been said to take 15 years to master. If it is mastered, a practitioner can supposedly cause their enemies to die in a period of 10-15 days just by striking at them with their palm, or other movements, even if they are a great distance from their enemies

Lying Tiger (Wo Hu Gong)

This exercise is another one of the 72 arts of the Shaolin Temple. This exercise increases the power of a practitioner's hands, feet, fingers, and toes. This exercise is similar to standard push-ups. At first, the exercise is performed on the palms of the hands. However, it is later performed using only the fists, then it is performed using only the fingers and toes for balance, and finally it is performed using only three fingers of each hand and only one toe. At this stage, progressively heavier weights are added to the practitioner's back. This exercise is mastered when the practitioner can perform it with a weight of 50 kg on their backs for a long period of time

Swimming and Diving Skill (Qiu Shui Shu)

This is an exercise that improves a practitioner's swimming skills greatly. The training methods for this exercise are very similar to the training methods used by modern competitive swimmers. The only difference is that Qi is focused to increase the power of the swimmer. Training includes practice of the dogpaddle, the backstroke, diving, swimming underwater, and some underwater combat techniques.

Sluice Shutter Weighing 1000 Jins (Qian Jin Zha)

This is an exercise that greatly improves a practitioner's physical strength. A practitioner begins training by standing in a horse stance for a long period of time while raising their hands toward the sky. Later, a practitioner will hold progressively heavier weights over their heads for a long period of time. Finally, the weights are replaced with a progressively heavier sluice shutter attached to two wooden posts. The art is considered to have been mastered when a 500 kg, or 1,000 jin, sluice shutter can be held overhead

Wushu & Kung-Fu


Honorable Abbot Shi Yong Xin The Thirtieth Buddhist Shaolin Monk

of the Shaolin Temple in  Henan, China