The Songshan Shaolin Temple is the first and original Shaolin Temple
Shaolin Kung Fu refers to the Songshan (Song Mountain) Shaolin Temple Buddhist culture in that particular environment. It also encompasses the history of the formation of this unique faith-based and martial arts system. It is a traditional cultural system that fully embodies the wisdom of Chan (Zen) Buddhism. It relies on the Shaolin Temple martial monks to continue and preserve its wisdom and tradition.
In reality, Shaolin is a meditation practice used to determine the state of affairs lying beneath the surface of a human being. It is a way to observe the universal wisdom or intelligence that lies beneath the patterns of movement of the human body. Chan Buddhism deals with the true nature of humankind. The true nature lying beneath the mind’s reality. Kung Fu practice is believed to have given birth to the Chan sect within Buddhism. The Shaolin Temple is known as the place where many Chan Buddhist ancestors fully developed the theology of Chan Buddhist thought.
Therefore, Kung Fu is brimming with the possibility of experiencing the light of illumination and the enlightment promised by following the Buddha’s Way. Its defining characteristic is the unity of Chan with the physicality of martial arts.
Temple Form Practice
Shaolin Kung Fu is a complete technical and theoretical system in which martial arts techniques and the forms of martial art routines have been combined with the practice and wisdom of Chan (Zen) Buddhism. This combination creates a unique faith and culture.
Shaolin, at its most basic, is a means of self-defense – first, for the human body and second, to protect the Buddhist Temple. It is also a physical exercise that allows a person to enter a meditative state through physical movement, resulting in the development of a human being’s fullest potential. The Kung Fu forms lay the foundation on which the esoteric aspects of the complete practice is built upon.
These forms are so potent in their practice that even people with little physical health and internal stamina can, with consistent effort, fully blossom into strong human beings. The Kung Fu open hand forms can develop a person with no power and no inner confidence into one who can, for example, fully engage in real combat if needed.
Under careful examination, one can see the physical sets are not diluted with empty and flowery movements, loud extraneous noises or sloppy, muddy techniques. At their highest level, the Kung Fu forms are a series of simple and unadorned physical movements embodied with spirit. These are the Shaolin form’s most defining characteristics.
Shaolin Kung Fu can be practiced anytime, anywhere.
The Shaolin Temple did not always exist as a place to practice Kung Fu. Exterior pressures,chaos and politics sometimes forced its near extinction. (Over the years of its long history, like a bull laying in the grass, it rose up again and again.) One only needs a rectangular space about 6 meters long and a half meter wide to practice Kung Fu. Because of this, large training areas or elaborate Temples do not need to be the setting for the practice.