Could Bruce Lee beat a Shaolin monk?
Shaolin - The secret of inner strength
the Shaolin monks
In the western world Shaolin was first known as »Kung Fu« through feature films, so-called »Eastern«, in which Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan showed their skills. Nowadays the public performances by Shaolin monks are more impressive, in which the fighters throw needles through panes of glass or smash cast iron rods on the skull. But what is behind this martial art?
The term Shaolin refers to the Chinese Shaolin Monastery, which means "forest monastery" ("lin" means "forest") on Mount Shaoshi, and describes a Buddhist philosophy of life based on mental and physical training. The spiritual and ethical basis for Shaolin philosophy is Chan Buddhism, which later became Zen Buddhism in Japan. The aim is to develop inner strength in order to ultimately find liberation from suffering and the path to happiness. The development of inner strength should not only serve one's own liberation, but also help in the liberation of all sentient beings. The Shaolin monks serve this altruistic orientation by strengthening their mind and body and passing on their knowledge. Shaolin Kung Fu is the martial art developed from this mental and physical training in the monastery.
When we speak of Shaolin monks in this book, we also mean Shaolin nuns. The Yong Tai monastery, in the immediate vicinity of the Shaolin monastery, is a pure nunnery. In the only all-girls school for Kung Fu in China, 70 Chinese girls train and are trained as Kung Fu fighters.
Exercises with a long tradition
If the legend is to be believed, the monks of the Chinese Shaolin monastery were originally trained in fighting techniques to repel robbery. In the 8th century, the Buddhist scholar Bodhidharma came to the monastery from India. Inspired by him, the fighting techniques for Kung Fu were further developed and the ancient Taoist energy exercises of Taijiquan and Qigong were included to support the monks in their many hours of mind training (meditation and mental training). What emerged was a mixture of body and energy exercises, mind training, Buddhist wisdom and various breathing techniques - the art of Shaolin, which improves self-discipline, devotion, altruistic behavior, physical and inner strength.
A philosophy of strength
Yan Bao, who contributed to this book, is a Grand Master of Shaolin, one of only a very few in the world. The 34th generation monk lived in the monastery for almost 30 years and is one of the best kung fu fighters on earth. After serving as a kung fu trainer for Shaolin monks for many years, he traveled the world to teach Shaolin techniques.
If you ask Yan Bao about the secret of the Shaolin monks, he gives a simple answer: "You have to strengthen your mind and body." He succeeds so well that, for example, he puts a cast iron rod on his head hits, which then shatters into a thousand pieces (the rod, not his head!). As pressure tests have shown, such blows to the skull are so strong that they cause lacerations and break bones. Not so with Yan Bao and other Shaolin masters: They - in the truest sense of the word - not even a hair curled up. This cannot be explained with our intellect, least of all scientifically. And yet it is so, it is not magic, but reality. Shaolin masters like Yan Bao explain this fact with the rapid gathering and concentration (focusing) of energy in any point of the body. A skill that basically every person possesses if he is willing to learn special exercises for mind and body and to use them regularly. In this book we are going to introduce you to some of these exercises.
Now, of course, the goal of mere mortals is not to learn to hit an iron bar on their head and remain unharmed, or - another Shaolin monk exercise - to ram two spears into their necks without leaving any wounds. But if we could develop some of this enormous inner power, we too would benefit in many ways. We could use this power for our goals
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