Legend says that more than 1,500 years ago, an Indian monk named Bodhidharma (whom the Chinese call Damo) sat meditating before a wall for nine years on Mount Songshan in northern China. Bodhidharma taught the monks of Shaolin Temple that meditation lead to enlightenment that was called Zen. Zen is based on the Sanskrit Dhyana meaning meditation. However, the long periods seated mediation also atrophied the monks bodies. So Bodhidharma developed a series of calisthenics that monks were already practicing certain forms into Kung Fu (Martial Arts).

Shaolin Temple is probably the most famous temple in China, not only because of its long history and its role in Chinese Buddhism, also because of its long tradition of Chinese martial arts and Zen, as the saying goes "All martial arts (Kung Fu) are from Shaolin." Shaolin believe meditation clears the mind, prepares for purer action. Kung Fu is also an expression of Zen, which also helps a weak or sick body, promotes clarity of thought, builds the body, and completes meditation.