Do the Shaolin Temple fighting monks sparr?
Do the fighting monks in the Zen (Chan or Ch'an) Buddhist Shaolin Temple, in China, sparr? Do they to wear protective gear or spar bare knuckle or hands?
I read that, as of 2009 according to Bill Porter's book Zen Baggage: A Pilgrimage to China, most of those monks practice Zen meditation and some of them practice kung fu. They're not just a tourist attraction, but also have separate areas for their own practices. (Of course, it's doubtful that the government appointed monk leaders do either practices)
Does anyone know? No BS answers, please.
Some of them spar under sanda rules. You can see a fight on Human Weapon:
One presumes they train the gear mandated by the rules of that sport.
There is a very funny book called "American Shaolin" by Matthew Polly that answers your question, although is possibly a little bit dated, since a lot has changed at the Shaolin Temple (and China in general) since the time that he stayed there and trained with the Shaolin monks.
Originally Posted by charlie echo
Basically, some monks focus on meditation and Buddhist studies, and some do martial arts. Of the ones that do martial arts, some only do forms, and some do San Da (aka San Shou). San Da is a full-contact competitive combat sport, so to answer your question: some monks spar and some don't.
The short answer: there is no one type of "Shaolin" anymore. Some pray, some meditate, some spar, some just do flips, some woo crowds by letting people punch them in the nuts.
The long answer is :
...Once upon a time, it was a specific sect of Buddhist priests at a temple on a mountain in China, but over 1500 years it has grown into so many things and changed the martial arts landscape of the culture surrounding the temple for miles and miles.
Yes, there are zen monks who meditate in peace and yet paradoxically fight their pals using kung fu to master their physical pain.
Yes, there are performance artists who get paid by the PRC to do 720 degree flips to awe the crowds so they'll send their kids for kung fu training ($).
The definitive, academic reference on Shaolin history is this book: http://www.amazon.com/Shaolin-Monast.../dp/0824831101, parts of which have been published in peer-reviewed journals.
The book mostly covers the Shaolin from their origins around 500AD to 1900, so thankfully, it cuts away a lot of the communist-run capitalist-inspired bullshit that goes on at the modern Shaolin Temple, which today is largely a big Chinese tourist attraction that brings in gobs of cash.
That said, the Temple and its legacy are two of history's greatest cultural treasures and the best part is that they are not even dead...the Shaolin tradition survives after 1500 years. Even when you strip away all the cinematic embellishments and outright fabrications, the Shaolin story is still as amazing as ever.
Gene Ching wrote a great article on this that is referenced in the book, but here's something you need to understand that will help break your notion of what "Shaolin" really is.
There are generally four types of Shaolin-associated person..this applies to today as well as a thousand years ago:
- Ordained Buddhist priest Shaolin monks who live in the monastery (the rarest)
- Former Monks who completed the temple's program and have gone on to military or professional careers
- "Fake" or "Performance" monks who are essentially hired martial artists/actors, they don the same robes and are the ones normally associated with "Shaolin" in the media, because they do the 720 degree flips.
- Lay disciples from the county surrounding Shaolin Temple who have had some training at the temple but are not monks. (the largest group).
If you try to think about Shaolin culturally instead of a "brand", it's easy to see how regardless of what the actual monks did at the temple(s), their martial arts spread from the temple over centuries and now is part of the cultural history of the immediate region...fathers and sons learning the Monastery art over generations and some of them built schools around that, to the present day.
In the West, however, we got the movie (read: commercial) version first, instead of the cultural version. To really study the value behind Shaolin we have to strip so much baggage away.
And...Shaolin is present in MMA today, too, but a lot of people are close minded about it and would never credit it.
When Onassis Parungo won his UFC7 match with classic Hung Ga techniques, he was using a Shaolin-derived tiger style.
When Lyoto Machida does the crane kick to win his UFC129 fight, he's using a karate kick derived from Shaolin Crane.
Last edited by W. Rabbit; 9/22/2011 10:31am at .
No no no no. No? No!
Originally Posted by W. Rabbit
Denial! False Assumer!
Duk gerk fei hok, baby, you flap the wings in your enemies face and he never sees the inside kick coming.
Hey there is arsenic in apple juice, and there is Shaolin in Karate. What more can I say?
Shaolin is debatable from jump which, has nothing to do with America. There is enough evidence out there to question the Daruma myth, the fighting monk myth, the martial myth, and having their own martial arts.
Last edited by It is Fake; 9/22/2011 11:00am at .
Fake, I used accepted academic literature and the Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies as my sources, as usual.
Originally Posted by It is Fake
Feel free to "dump it into YMAS" if you think it's off-topic or comedy worthy, but the truth is that you just said about the same thing I did.
OR, post your evidence and follow your own fucking rules.
Well hurry up and source your material and not a link to Amazon.com. You know better. My rules? You know better. Especially since you run around and tell everyone else to do the same thing when there aren't enough sources or the right sources..
Do I need to get your posts to remind you?
Wait, srsly, we're doing this again?
Do we have to?
Ah **** it, it's a slow day anyway.
Kama Sutra blue belt.
Originally Posted by Emevas
Originally Posted by Rock Ape