What is Kung Fu & Shaolin?

Shaolin Academy Info Page 1

Sijo Robert Z, Master of the Shaolin Kung Fu Academy

Welcome to the Shaolin Academy Mobile information page on Kung Fu. I am Sijo Robert Z and if you have any questions about Kung Fu, e-mail us or call use and we will help in any way we can!

Kung Fu?

Kung Fu is the collective name given to Chinese Martial Arts by the west. It was popularized by the 1970's TV show Kung FU, with David Carradine† but shot to fame through Bruce Lee† with his 4½: films in the late 60's. A spade of 'interesting' kung fu movies followed in the 70's and 80's thus manifesting the term Kung Fu as the name for Chinese Martial Arts; at least in the west.

Kung Fu the legend


There is no 'Chinese' language as such. There are more than 8 'major dialect groups' with Mandarin being the official language but Cantonese still being one of the more popular dialects. With 5000 years of official history, the Chinese have many, many names for the many, many martial art styles they have including Chuan Fa, Guoshu, Neijia, Shuaijiao, Chin Na... Yet, the Chinese Government has united all these into the modern term Wushu.

A World of Martial Arts

Every country in the world developed some form of bare hand combat. Many though did not record or formalize these. Much the same also in China where styles were handed down by word-of-mouth and training mainly as 99.9% of Chinese did not have any real writing skills to record what they taught or learned. The exception to this was the Shaolin Temple, possibly also some Imperial learning centers and other Temples like Wudang.

The 6 Skills of Shaolin

Shaolin Kung Fu posture

The Monks at Shaolin were taught the 6 skills, Brush Skills (lettering and painting), Mathematics, Poetry, History, Buddhism and Kung Fu. Each and every Monk at the temple spend a their day between learning, working, meditating, training and sleeping. Once they returned from their Journey years (if they returned) they would then specialize according to their wants and the Temples needs.

Shaolin Journey Monks

All returned Monks continued the learning and continued to practiced Shaolin Kung Fu, a combination of Yoga (Shaolin Kung Fu training was started by a Yoga Master), Chi Kung, Tai Chi, Kung Fu and Weapon Play. This exercise was mainly focused on the health and fitness aspect of the training not the martial arts. It was their way of staying fit, strong and self reliant. This was needed to survive in the relative wilderness where they lived. Yet, there were usually about 10% of Monks that did choose to go down the path Guardian Monks.

Shaolin Kung Fu meditation is essential for health and well being

No. 1 temple

For millennia now, Chinese Emperors did not usually allow 'citizens' to have private army's. Yet, after saving the Tang Emperors son, the Shaolin Temple was named the 'Number One Temple Under Heaven' and allowed to have up to 500 of Guardian/Warrior Monks. And this is how the Shaolin Kung Fu style grew well beyond the original intention and became both, a health and fitness style as well as one of the safest and best martial art styles in China and the World.

Shaolin Kung Fu Fighting!

No way. Shaolin is very deeply routed in Buddhism and a Shaolin practitioner does not fight. Fighting and even hurting another human being is not the Buddhist way. Even in self-defence, the Shaolin Way is to moderate any form of conflict and manage a situation rather than fight. Although, if there are living beings at risk from an aggressor, a Shaolin Monk will take suitable steps to protect those that can not protect themselves.

Shaolin Styles today

From a top down view there are three legitimate reasons for having Shaolin in your Styles name. The official Shaolin Wushu, now managed by the Chinese Government. A derivative of Shaolin, a style that some time in the past originated from Shaolin. Finally, if you are following an original Shaolin Style like the 5 Animal Kung Fu as we in the Shaolin Academy are training and practicing.

If you would like more info, tap on the link below for a full history of the Shaolin Style and Temple!

More on our Main Page, much more.

Back to Main page