The Shaolin Monastery is recognized as the originating site of the Shaolin Kung Fu. Shaolin Kung Fu was refers specifically to a martial art system developed within the Shaolin Monastery of the Song Shan mountain.  It was established within the Buddhist culture and rooted deeply in the spiritual nature of Buddhism.  It also reflects fully the inner wisdom of Chan Buddhism. The traditional cultural system in manifested through the martial arts demonstrations by the monks from the Shaolin monastery.  The system has three characteristics, a complete fighting system, the sole heir of the unique Buddhist culture and the seeker and preserver of the indomitable Shaolin spirit.

As a result, Shaolin Kung Fu is considered one of the top Chinese martial art styles because of its long history and it is fully developed training program according to the records handed down in the Shaolin Monastery, there are 708 Shaolin Kung Fu sets in existence, out of which, 552 sets are designed for fist methods and various weapon. The remaining 156 sets cover 72 secret techniques and training methods for grappling, free fighting, joint locking, attacking acupuncture points and Qi Gong.

The physical manifestation of Shaolin Kung Fu centers on using the may confront in combat.  Each set contains a series of movements which are based on the human anatomy and natural movements of the body.  The movements within each set emphasize the mixing of action and repose, balancing of Yin and Yang energies, combining soft and hard movements, and exhibiting one's spirit of vitality in the postures.  Among the movements principles, the most important one is the 'The Six Coordinations'.  They are; the coordination of one's hands with the feet, one's knees with the elbows, one's shoulders with the hips, one's mind with the intent, one's intent with Qi, and one's Qi with the physical strength.  Training involves not only the training of one state of mind, but also one's whole body, which covers the hands, eyes, body, footwork, and the knowledge in martial applications, so that they will act as one, naturally and effortlessly.


Qi Gong is a technique of using energy to heal the body.  It works on the same scientific principle as acupuncture and is often used alongside it to prolong the benefit of the treatment.  Some people call it a moving meditation; others describe it as a Chinese yoga.  The Shaolin Temple define it as a science of the mind and body, and it is a practice they have time tested for more than one thousand five hundred years.

There are thousands of different forms but the most important one in the Shaolin Temple is called Yi Yin Jing (Muscle/Tendon changing classic) and Xi Sui Jing (Bone Marrow cleansing classic).

In the past the teaching methods of these Qi Gong forms, were passed down secretly to only a very few Shaolin disciples in each generation.  The Yi Yin Jing and Xi Sui Jing taught the monks how to use Qi to clean the bone marrow and strengthen the blood and immune system, as well as how to energize the brain, which helped them to attain Buddhahood.

The Eight Treasures (sometimes called Eight Pieces of Brocade and in Chinese Ba Duan Yin) comes from these books and is possibly the most popular Qi Gong in the world.  It consists of a series of gentle movements designed to dramatically improve health, increase energy and revitalize the body.


Chan is a school of Mahayana Buddhism, also known as Zen (Japanese).  This word is derived from the Sanskrit "dhyana", which means "meditation".  The Shaolin Temple is considered the ancestral home of Chan Buddhism since Chan Buddhism was established by South Indian monk Damo (Bodhidharma) during his nine-year meditation in a cave on Mount Wuru behind the temple around 527 AD.  Damo is recorded as having come to China to teach "a special transmission outside scriptures" which did "not stand upon words". 
Chan is also thought to have developed as an malgam of various currents in Mahayana Buddhist thought and of local traditions in China.  As the center of Chan Buddhism, the Shaolin Temple attracted many emperors' attention in China's history.   The Empress Wu Zetian (625-705) paid several visits to the Shaolin Temple discussing Chan philosophy with high monk Tan Zong; the founder of Yuan Dynasty, Kublai Khan (1215-1294) ordered all Buddhist temples in China to be led by the Shaolin Temple; there were eight Princes during Ming Dynasty turned themselves into Shaolin monks.