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  1. Cullion is offline
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    Everybody was Kung Fu fighting

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    Posted On:
    5/25/2006 5:20pm

    supporting member
     Style: Tai Chi

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    My understanding of Shaolin MA history :-

    About 1500 years ago an indian monk came to the monestary and found them in unhealthy shape, too much time indoors studying, so he taught them some yoga-like exericises.

    This PT routine eventually got developed into some kind of basic military training so the monks had a bit more of a chance when transporting valuables through the countryside.

    This evolved into a CMA style resembling what is now known as 'Lohan' style.

    Over centuries of china being occupied and ruled by mongols and manchurians, because the various Shaolin monestaries (there was more than one) were remote from central government authority, they were used as kind of 'safe houses' for Han chinese military personnel and revolutionaries. These people brought all sorts of other CMA training with them, and when they met, they sparred, swapped ideas, and some of the stuff that seemed more impressive got recorded. These periods are apparently what made Shaolin monestaries famous (at least in China) as places to learn CMA.

    Fast forward another few hundred years to some time around 1900 (give or take a few decades) and lots of shaolin monks get killed, because the shaolin monks had a reputation for aiding and abetting anti-Qing radicals.

    Fast forward to about 20 years ago, the northern shaolin temple gets rebuilt as a sort of kung fu theme park, and is staffed with wushu performers in monk costumes. Some of the wushu performers decide that they want to fight for real, so they also adopt modern chinese military San Da training (whilst carrying on the wu shu forms as a form of PT, and for aesthetic reasons), and as religious restrictions in mainland China slowly get liberalised, start studying buddhist scriptures again.

    Today: There are Shaolin monks living in Europe and the US teaching 'Shaolin Kung Fu and Tai Chi' classes. They have studied buddhist texts and apparently some of them can spar pretty well. The UK branch of the 'Shaolin Temple' has started to do OK in amateur San Shou.
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  2. heng fa is offline

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    Posted On:
    5/25/2006 8:57pm


     Style: shaolin temple

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Kind of...allow me to elucidate.

    The first martial artists at Shaolin were two disciples of the founding Abbot, Batuo. This is a matter of historical record. Temple was founded in 495. 532 marks the arrival of Damo. His disciple Ji Guang was also a martial artist, having been a former warrior who sought refuge in Buddhism. He cut his arm off with his sword- that's why the Shaolin bow with only one hand.

    The Shaolin consider themselves to have 4 martial forebears- Seng Chou, Wei Wong, Damo, and Hui Ke, Damo's disciple.

    These first 2 martial artists' skills are mentioned in contemperary records and also Shaolin texts- such as Taiping Guangji, Shaolinsi Zhi and Gaoseng Zhuan- all of which mentions some of Seng Chou's martial abilities.

    There is an unbroken lineage from the MONGOL appointed Fu Yu to post 1928 Shi You Sun attacks at least, and also post Cultural Revolution- for example Shi Xing Zhen, the first appointed abbot after the CR, had as his master Shi De Bao, who was born in 1914...

    Fu Yu is credited with expanding the Shaolin Temples, and while some may have been refuge to retired military men I think their association with "rebel" and "secret society" stuff is stretchy beyond that Buddhist temples were often refuge for retirees and people with change of conscience. There are several recorded instances where the government tapped monks for martial assistance- there is even a picture of monks in uniform with guns being led into battle receiving a blessing.

    Here is where a lot of conjecture and oral traditions come in...some of which are known stories and fabrications. Regardless, what we do know about Henan Shaolin is that the lineage descended from Fu Yu is not broken.

    The acting abbot in 1928 was Shi Miao Xing. Also Shi Su Yun, one of the 4 monks who maintained the transmission during all this time traces back to Shi Zhen He- Su Yun was 8 when he entered the Temple and was born in 1913...Shi Cheng Xu was an abbbot pre '28 warlord attack and he passed in the 50s, but not before he trained Su Yun and others. Shi Su Yun passed in 1998. One of the last of the oldest monks to maintain the transmission recently passed, Shi Su Xi. Shi De Yang is his direct disciple.

    Speaking of Shi De Yang, in addition to this there is the library to consider- many assume this to have been destroyed- but one of the functions of the monastery was as a holding place and archive- archives make copies and a monk named De Ding- outside the Cao Dong lineage- had such a set of copies of many of the lost martial manuscripts that went to the fires of 1928. Other monks escaped with more books and later deposited them back at the Temple. These were buried and hidden especially during the CR and recovered and entrusted to present day monks like Shi De Yang, and Shi De Qian- some parts of this have been published for public perusal- all in Chinese.

    The destruction of the temple often conjures up slightly erroneous images- first of all the 'Temple' is more accurately a complex of various Buddha halls and such, not a single building. So even while the front part of the Temple was badly damaged the monks retreated to the rear, whose buildings were relatively unharmed and there continued their practice and transmission, master to disciple.

    In addition, many monks could retreat further into the mountains- on Shao Shi San alone are several other complexes and Temples- one Daoist, and a Shaolin Nunnery is there too...so it's not like they were eradicated or unable to transmit. Song Shan is one range of mountains and it is centrally located and considered sacred- composed of 72 peaks, each of which possesses temples and religious buildings.

    Now enter the PRC and you see the problem, because many of the people at Shaolin are not monks at all but employees needed because the monastery functions as a tourist destination- and the government moved, to put it nicely, many of the wu seng into teaching responsibilities to non monks- something they never really did before in such a way- out of the Temple complex proper and into a coaching facility called the Wushu Guan- just means a training hall but when you say the Wushu Guan everyone at Shaolin knows you mean the one built by the government.

    Couple this with the growth of the wushu guans all around the area by both non monks, secular gong fu masters, and monks, and the issue is even more convoluted. Shaolin also transmitted some material to secular or what are called "folk" masters, and these never left the area and never really suffered any overt persecution such as what Su Xi suffered.

    Most of the san shou people see which is Shaolin are sets of moves taken directly from traditional forms, such as qiandengtui, gouquan, zhirquan, beiquan...but there are tons of "Shaolin" wushu guans in the area too.

    The situation as it stands today is a sad one- with the passing of Shi Su Xi an era has really ended at Shaolin, and the gov appointed Abbot is in control. There is still Su Xi's martial and Ch'an family but many will leave the Temple proper.
  3. Killing Moon is offline

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    Posted On:
    6/01/2006 11:36am


     Style: Chinese Martial Arts

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by heng fa
    Kind of...allow me to elucidate.

    The first martial artists at Shaolin were two disciples of the founding Abbot, Batuo. This is a matter of historical record. Temple was founded in 495. 532 marks the arrival of Damo. His disciple Ji Guang was also a martial artist, having been a former warrior who sought refuge in Buddhism. He cut his arm off with his sword- that's why the Shaolin bow with only one hand.

    The Shaolin consider themselves to have 4 martial forebears- Seng Chou, Wei Wong, Damo, and Hui Ke, Damo's disciple.

    These first 2 martial artists' skills are mentioned in contemperary records and also Shaolin texts- such as Taiping Guangji, Shaolinsi Zhi and Gaoseng Zhuan- all of which mentions some of Seng Chou's martial abilities.

    There is an unbroken lineage from the MONGOL appointed Fu Yu to post 1928 Shi You Sun attacks at least, and also post Cultural Revolution- for example Shi Xing Zhen, the first appointed abbot after the CR, had as his master Shi De Bao, who was born in 1914...

    Fu Yu is credited with expanding the Shaolin Temples, and while some may have been refuge to retired military men I think their association with "rebel" and "secret society" stuff is stretchy beyond that Buddhist temples were often refuge for retirees and people with change of conscience. There are several recorded instances where the government tapped monks for martial assistance- there is even a picture of monks in uniform with guns being led into battle receiving a blessing.

    Here is where a lot of conjecture and oral traditions come in...some of which are known stories and fabrications. Regardless, what we do know about Henan Shaolin is that the lineage descended from Fu Yu is not broken.

    The acting abbot in 1928 was Shi Miao Xing. Also Shi Su Yun, one of the 4 monks who maintained the transmission during all this time traces back to Shi Zhen He- Su Yun was 8 when he entered the Temple and was born in 1913...Shi Cheng Xu was an abbbot pre '28 warlord attack and he passed in the 50s, but not before he trained Su Yun and others. Shi Su Yun passed in 1998. One of the last of the oldest monks to maintain the transmission recently passed, Shi Su Xi. Shi De Yang is his direct disciple.

    Speaking of Shi De Yang, in addition to this there is the library to consider- many assume this to have been destroyed- but one of the functions of the monastery was as a holding place and archive- archives make copies and a monk named De Ding- outside the Cao Dong lineage- had such a set of copies of many of the lost martial manuscripts that went to the fires of 1928. Other monks escaped with more books and later deposited them back at the Temple. These were buried and hidden especially during the CR and recovered and entrusted to present day monks like Shi De Yang, and Shi De Qian- some parts of this have been published for public perusal- all in Chinese.

    The destruction of the temple often conjures up slightly erroneous images- first of all the 'Temple' is more accurately a complex of various Buddha halls and such, not a single building. So even while the front part of the Temple was badly damaged the monks retreated to the rear, whose buildings were relatively unharmed and there continued their practice and transmission, master to disciple.

    In addition, many monks could retreat further into the mountains- on Shao Shi San alone are several other complexes and Temples- one Daoist, and a Shaolin Nunnery is there too...so it's not like they were eradicated or unable to transmit. Song Shan is one range of mountains and it is centrally located and considered sacred- composed of 72 peaks, each of which possesses temples and religious buildings.

    Now enter the PRC and you see the problem, because many of the people at Shaolin are not monks at all but employees needed because the monastery functions as a tourist destination- and the government moved, to put it nicely, many of the wu seng into teaching responsibilities to non monks- something they never really did before in such a way- out of the Temple complex proper and into a coaching facility called the Wushu Guan- just means a training hall but when you say the Wushu Guan everyone at Shaolin knows you mean the one built by the government.

    Couple this with the growth of the wushu guans all around the area by both non monks, secular gong fu masters, and monks, and the issue is even more convoluted. Shaolin also transmitted some material to secular or what are called "folk" masters, and these never left the area and never really suffered any overt persecution such as what Su Xi suffered.

    Most of the san shou people see which is Shaolin are sets of moves taken directly from traditional forms, such as qiandengtui, gouquan, zhirquan, beiquan...but there are tons of "Shaolin" wushu guans in the area too.

    The situation as it stands today is a sad one- with the passing of Shi Su Xi an era has really ended at Shaolin, and the gov appointed Abbot is in control. There is still Su Xi's martial and Ch'an family but many will leave the Temple proper.
    This was quite possibly the most informative post I have ever come across in regards to any Chinese Martial Arts history. Thank you for this, sincerely.
  4. Fantasy Warrior is offline
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    Misguided style basher

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    Posted On:
    6/01/2006 2:19pm

    Join us... or die
     Style: Kata

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by heng fa

    The first martial artists at Shaolin were two disciples of the founding Abbot, Batuo. This is a matter of historical record. Temple was founded in 495. 532 marks the arrival of Damo. His disciple Ji Guang was also a martial artist, having been a former warrior who sought refuge in Buddhism. He cut his arm off with his sword- that's why the Shaolin bow with only one hand.
    Just curious, but what are the sources of this "historical fact"? And how is Dama's arrival substaniated?
    You are a total Douchbag. Train more, post nevermore.
    FickleFingerOfFate -08-21-2007 08:59 AM

    just die already.
    Plasma - 08-20-2007 11:45 PM


    Aikidokkkkakkakakakaaaaa
    Best MA website ever!!!!!: http://www.dogjudo.co.uk/
  5. heng fa is offline

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    Posted On:
    6/02/2006 10:31pm


     Style: shaolin temple

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by kickcatcher
    Just curious, but what are the sources of this "historical fact"? And how is Dama's arrival substaniated?
    Hey Kick- several contemporary mentions of Batuo's disciples exist. Historical fact is a loose term, but better to say what is reasonable to believe, and there are enough mentions both within Shaolin and outside to point to Batuo's two disciples to be the first to practice MAs within Shaolin. It's pretty safe to say that CMAs did not get their start at Shaolin, and it's telling to note that the monks do not hold this view either. The Temple itself is sometimes victim of it's own hype as I have certainly seen some Shaolin material refer to itself as the "birthplace" or "fountainhead" but again that is usually meant symbolically and also again it's rare for the monks to propagate that.


    According to Taiping Guangji, which I think was a collection of older stories and assembled in the early Song dynasty, Seng Chou could jump over a man, lift inordinately heavy weights, throw punches quickly and fiercely, and move without sound...take out animals, that kind of stuff.


    Other references mention older source texts, and there are also texts like Shaolinsi Zhi, and the Gaoseng Zhuan- Biographies of Eminent Monks, in which Seng Chou's Gui Yi Fo, Fa, Sen is recorded as occuring in the 19th year of Taihe- which in my notes I have as 495.

    That book has some pretty crazy stuff mentioned in it- I mean take it with a grain of salt or kernal of truth however you like, but like some of the burning monk entries, the guys who immolate themselves are given some pretty intense biographicals:

    check out this biography:
    Faguang was from Longxi in Qinzhou. While he was still young he had faith. When he was twenty nine he left home. He practised austerities and did not wear silk. He refrained from the five grains and ate only pine needles. Later, he vowed to burn his body, and from then on he ate pine resin and drank oil for half a year. On the twentieth day of the tenth month of the fifth year of the Yongming reign period of the Qi, within Jicheng si Longxi he gathered firewood to burn his body in fulfilment of his former vow. As the flames reached his eyes the sound of his recitation could still be heard. When it reached his nose it became indistinct. Suddenly it ceased. He was forty one.
    Pretty nuts.

    Also in the Xu Gaoseng Zhuan we have some references to Damo- which points to a record recently found, called in short form "the Two Entrances" that was written by T'an Luan, a disciple of Bodhidharma, who backed up what was contained in some Luoyang texts...there is also "Record of the Masters and Disciples of the Lankavatara Sutra" as this was said to be the one Sutra Damo held in high regard and taught from.

    It's interesting to note that the Shaolin hold that Damo came to Shaolin in 532, and it is only a couple hundred years after they engaged an army in combat. There is record of Damo's arrival in the area if not exactly at Shaolin proper. The monks actually say that when Damo came to Shaolin he did not enter the monastery grounds proper, but instead went to a cave on Five Breast mountain, and I for one, being a fan of the Bright Moon Curves myself, don't blame him. anyway the record that mentions Damo's arrival in the area is called the Record of the Buddhist Monasteries of Luoyang (547).This record doesn't say he was at Shaolin, but the monks of Shaolin say he did not enter the temple there until 9 years went by.

    Some of the buildings and surrounding place names of Shaolin also speak to Damo's time at the temple- such as the Standing in the Snow pavillion, where it is held that Ji Guang (later given the name Hui Ke) cut off his arm to make red snow fall. Also, the nunnery is named after Damo's female disciple and she was a princess, so there is historocity there as well.

    NOw of course some of that can all be made up after the fact but it is mentioned only to show there is a body of "evidence" with varying degrees of weight. The nunnery i s pretty heavy. Some of it may not be good evidence, lol, but it's there. There is of course the merits of oral traditions, the emphasis of which in Ch'an Buddhism in particular should not be overlooked. Every lineage I know of traces to Damo.
    Last edited by heng fa; 6/02/2006 10:34pm at .
  6. Fantasy Warrior is offline
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    Posted On:
    6/02/2006 10:40pm

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     Style: Kata

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    What I was really getting at, is whether the sources are contemporary with the event. Ok, if we work from the 532 year of arrival, when was the first recording of his presence there written?
    You are a total Douchbag. Train more, post nevermore.
    FickleFingerOfFate -08-21-2007 08:59 AM

    just die already.
    Plasma - 08-20-2007 11:45 PM


    Aikidokkkkakkakakakaaaaa
    Best MA website ever!!!!!: http://www.dogjudo.co.uk/
  7. heng fa is offline

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    Posted On:
    6/03/2006 1:55am


     Style: shaolin temple

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    ...Record of the Buddhist Monasteries of Luoyang (547)
  8. Fantasy Warrior is offline
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    Misguided style basher

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    Posted On:
    6/06/2006 4:40pm

    Join us... or die
     Style: Kata

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Has that been carbon dated?
    You are a total Douchbag. Train more, post nevermore.
    FickleFingerOfFate -08-21-2007 08:59 AM

    just die already.
    Plasma - 08-20-2007 11:45 PM


    Aikidokkkkakkakakakaaaaa
    Best MA website ever!!!!!: http://www.dogjudo.co.uk/
  9. heng fa is offline

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    Posted On:
    6/14/2006 6:46pm


     Style: shaolin temple

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by kickcatcher
    Has that been carbon dated?

    sorry kick- been in mexico.

    as far as I know the provenance and authenticity of the textual source was not problematic.

    I don't believe carbon dating was necessary, lol...
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