On this page you will find the first 'Shaolin Kung Fu', that what the Shaolin did after loosing their temple, they found that just practicing movement and breathing exercises was not enough to keep them safe.
We may never know what the actual movements were that the Shaolin developed in the time after their temple was burned down and they decided that they needed to protect them selves. But what ever they did, it made them famous in the Chinese Martial Arts world, so much so that the Chinese Emperor sought their help when all else, including the Imperial Army failed! It was in the time of the Tang Dynasty, around 7th Century CE that Shaolin become the No1 Temple in the World, becuase they save the Emperors son who than become Emperor himself. And thus the legend that is Shaolin Started.
The concept of a Kung Fu 'style', as just being just limited to a series of movement and possible sounds, as often depicted in Hong Kong Cinema, is only part of the story and often incorrect. A complete and true style will have a number of facets and the purer styles will have specific key tactics and strategies uniquely paired with the movement and techniques. Often these are also specific to an area in China and even to a particular type of person (ie. White Eyebrow Kung Fu) with the view to maximize the practitioner's skills, natural abilities, attitude, body size, reach and intelligence.
This is also the challenge in traditional Kung Fu, that half the learning, the beginning is standard and the other half is very specific. The system is designed over millennia to sort out the militants and wanna-be's from the true of heart, body and mind.
Each of the 72 Fist levels introduces a set of 8 Routines with associated strategy, defence and offense principles and even a way of thinking. To advance to the next more complex and involved level, you need to fully immerse yourself into each of the fists and understand the unexplainable and show this in your grading. You are either kung fu or you are not!
In a time of great turmoil, only 60 years after the founding of the Shaolin, the temple had to be rebuilt. Around 570 CE the temple was partially destroyed in the first large scale anti-Buddhist wave towards the end of a period of Disunity (also know as the 6 Dynasties Period). In Northern Zhou (557 - 581 CE), Yang Jian, who was born to the noble class and was the Chengxiang (Prime Minister) of the last emperor, monopolized the political and military power and suppressed the separatist forces as well as some other royal forces. In 581 CE, Yang Jian replaced Northern Zhou with Sui and proclaimed himself Emperor Wen; thus Sui was founded. In 589 CE, the Sui Court defeated the last of the Southern Dynasties, Chen, and unified the whole nation. As a result of the reunification, the society became stable and peaceful; which encouraged economical and political development.
Around 600 CE Shaolin was back to being used by Shaolin Buddhist Monks. It was clear that the original way of managing the temple and relying on their status as a Buddhist order would no longer protect them. It was evident that Shaolin needed to have it's own protection, it's own security force. But, although many Buddhist temples were rich (and one of the reasons for the revolt against them), Shaolin was not, and thus could not afford to maintain or employ mercenaries or bribe the local government for protection. Shaolin decided that they would need to maintain their own safety in line with Buddhist principles but also with the realization of the current and future turbulent times. They needed Kung Fu.
Shaolin had a relatively tough regime of Yoga and breathing exercises and some rudimentary Kung Fu, predominately for purposes of self protection of journeying monks. This was no longer good enough, they needed better and more substantial skills. Kung Fu teachers, fighters and masters were invited in to the temple as visitors with the purpose of 'sharing' skills. How long it took and the exact nature of the progress and development of this period is not well detailed but we know that by 618 CE, 13 Shaolin Monks helped save the future Tang Emperors son which shows that they had a very high degree of Kung Fu and Iron (Bronze) Staff competency.
They collected a number of techniques and tactics; outcome based Kung Fu that would allow them to quickly and safely counter most any attack. Rather than an actual style this was a collection of 72 'Combinations' of moves for a number of given attacks or situations. Why 72? possibly the combination of 8 (the lucky number) times 9 (the Dragon Number and two 9's, 2 Dragons are the Emperors reserved symbolism) possibly some other reasons. Records just seem to refer to the 72 Fists/Moves/Combination of Shaolin. It is suggested that this 72 Fist style only lasted some 20 years where it was redeveloped to the 170 Moves of Shaolin. Speculation is that the 72 Fists were to violent for Buddhist Monks (it was still before the official 10% Warrior Monks of Shaolin being allowed by the Emperor) and that, again, with the help of external masters and warriors, the style was soften and redeveloped.
Cause and Effect, attack and the three step response; Avoid, Block and Stop (ABS); Avoid being hit, Block follow-up and Stop any further attacks. Only when the opponents are very evenly matched and limited (through rules, ethics and/or honor), will a bout last longer than several seconds. Most unregulated encounters are over in just a few seconds (for the most). The principle is a bit like Chess, where, although there seems to be an unlimited amount of different moves and counters, the person who know the best openings and counters and combination is the person who is more likely to win. And 72 Fist Kung Fu gives 72 (initially) such counters and counter-counters. For example, an underlying principle in the chess strategy of the chess opening is to try to control the center of the board. The chess board's center is typically defined as the four squares right in the middle of the board (http://www.chesscentral.com/Chess_Strategy_a/201.html). Exactly the same rule applies to 72 Fist Kung Fu in that you try and control the center line between yourself and the attacker; the four points being head, Neck, Solar Plexus and Groin.
But this is not the only way of dealing with an attacker. If you can not control the Center Line, you still can control the outcome in much the same way, Avoid the Attack, Block the Follow-up and work around the Center line. From this you can see that the 72 Fists break down in Direct and Indirect counter attacking; although there is quite a bit more to them. After the initial simple direct action Fists, you will learn some more complex tactics, strategies, combinations and even some very unusual techniques.
The main principle of the 72 Fists is not attacking first and when attacked countering these attacks efficiently and effectively. Aside from this, there is no one guiding principle, set of rules or techniques. This is the early time of Shaolin Kung Fu where individual attacks had set defensive and countering responses and for that time this was a very advanced form of defence and protection. Of these, the first 72 are considered the main and core responses but there are also the lesser fists.
The 72 Fists are most suitable for teaching street self defence and can be altered to be used for sparring and ring fighting. Training is performed in a traditional sense with low stances (to build up leg strength, good center of balance and positioning) and long techniques (for targeting, ranging and body development) but in practical application stances are of medium height and techniques are usually a bit shorter, depending on the attacker and situation.
It is important that the fists are trained and learned in the traditional way. All human beings are different with their abilities, strength, coordination, etc. The traditional way of learning with low stances and long slower techniques, prepares their body for the techniques they are learning. Once the fists are correctly learned and trained, you video everything (write to Sijo for details) and send it t the Shaolin Academy for Assessment. Only when it is confirmed that you are doing everything fairly correctly and safe would you proceed to start to practice the technique and make them more usable. This means that only when you have graded each of Fist level successfully, can start bag work and sparring. Although some light bag work may be necessary to get the right feel of each Fist and execute it correctly.
If you really want to learn the 72 Fists of Shaolin Kung Fu, you need to go through the stages of learning; learn the techniques, learn the body movements, put this together into a coordinated flow and Grade (receive feedback from the Shaolin Academy) then you go into phase two and start practicing using bags for impact and partners for the workout. Again you grade and then and only then do you proceed to enter challenges and competitions. Should you wish to be accredited as a 72 Fist Instructor, then you also need to be evaluated in the ring and in simulated street response situations.
Using the information on these pages is free but is conditional on your agreement to the following terms and conditions; whilst training, learning, practicing or using Shaolin Academy Kung Fu, whilst on Shaolin Academy premises or in Shaolin Academy uniform;
There are two types of people in the world; those that believe that there are two types of people in the world and those that don't! There are two types of people in the world; those who want to be champions by beating everyone or those who want to be champions by being the best person they can be; and there is a difference between the two schools of External or Internal focus thoughts.
Conflict is an integral and essential part of life. It is how we manage the conflict, that makes the difference. Sparring is a very clever way or learning to manage all types of conflict without the need to get very serious and dangerous. This is very much in spirit of Shaolin Kung Fu. Shaolin 72 Fists teach the principles of conflict management through Shaolin Kung Fu. They translate into the principles of Negotiation, Discussion, Argument, Verbal Sparring, Tactics etc. If you, the practitioner can link the physical aspect of thye 72 Fists with everyday living you will be practising both external and internal internal Kung Fu. Shaolin 72 Fists can be just a sport and self defence but it can be so much more; provide many insights, learning's and self-recognitions. You can use the 72 Fists to learn to win over others or you can choose to learn from it how to be successful in life; You choice, works both ways.
So what is the difference between Sparring and Fighting. Sometimes not much, except that in Sparring there are rules and an adjudicator and in Fighting there are not!there is though another difference between the two, possibly the more important difference. In Sparring, both parties are willing participants and often in a fight that may not be the case! Shaolin do not fight! Shaolin Kung Fu Academy does not teach fighting, it teach's Situation Management through TAASK, Talent, Attitude, Ability, Skill and Knowledge. And our Attitude is one of non-violence; although we do not mind mutually agreed conflict, like sparring!
Shaolin were/are, for the most Buddhist Monks with Daoist and Confucian overtones. Buddhist do not believe in harming any living, sentient being, not even worms. Some believe that if they do they restart their spiritual evolution again, in their next life, by coming back as a worm. Yet, as strange as this seams they were able to spar with each other, even cause harm to other human being without consequence if done in the right frame of mind. It is a lot like in the Star Wars movies where the Jedi avoid Emotions as they can betray you. And so also for the Shaolin, who believed that emotion often overpowered reason and created unnecessary and unproductive conflict. If any form of emotion, envy, fear, hate, greed, etc., was involved, than no action reasoning can be taken and thus no action should be taken!
The principle of this is very simple. When you feel love, caring and enlightenment act with good consciousness. If you feel fear, heat, greed, etc; go in a corner and meditate it away! Even if you were being attacked; if you have no fear, no hate for the attacker and if you believe that the general well being of the universe is promoted, you can choose to 'teach' the attacker the error of their way. And this is said without any undertones or back doors. Which finally brings us to the third difference between Sparring and Fighting, Sparring should not be with any form of emotion but just with the will to win honorably. Don't fight!
That is why Shaolin monks learned sparring, physical conflict management without any emotion or any want for personal gain. And much like the Super Powers in the time of the Cold War, the knowledge that Shaolin could handle themselves prevented most people wanting to attack them and they were able to be mediators, conciliators even protectors. Unlike the modern Super Powers, they did not do this for personal gain, prosperity or greed but because that is the Buddhist and Shaolin way. Only for the good of Life and the Universe.
But Shaolin Masters understood that to be human is to make mistakes. They understood that you give your students a good foundation, education and understanding of what is the 'true path' and which are the dark paths. They also understood that humans would stumble and sometimes even have to walk the dark path but not blindly. It would be a choice, an experiment, a flexing of possibilities and Shaolin Students would be shown the right path; not forced or convinced, just shown. An essential aspect of this skill to know what is the right path and the wrong path was Meditation and the achievement of Enlightenment. Initially only for seconds but as you become more and more versed with meditation, you would spend hours in this state and all you decision were derived from being in this state. Meditation and the acquisition of Enlightenment is the true reason for Shaolin training and exercise. As only in an Enlightened state were able to make Enlightened decisions. Else you are like a child playing in a sandbox making decisions about your future; at best guessing and worst being an idiot.
Control/Protect the Center Line. It is amazing how effective you can be when you protect your own centerline and look for openings in the attackers centerline! All comes from the center of the martial artists body. Every move is reflected on the opposite side. Any attack not aiming at the center line can be managed by a simple twist or short step. Only techniques aimed at the center line will have a full impact. Thus sometimes taking an off Center Line hit to deliver a Center Line strike may be a viable option.
Patient Reactive Pro-activity. Most styles have a success formula. A way that they teach their students to be successful according to their tried and true methods. Especially the styles that focus on specific competitions and events. Students are trained according to the rules of that competition and this become their whole sparring/training world. This allows students to be successful at these events and achieve a high level of proficiencies; and this is good....and bad. Give yourself time to understand these strengths of your opponent, their training style and strength by being Defensively Reactive. Let them lead with attacks and you make the most of these until you are ready; until you wish to take control of the bout. Also, Shaolin never ever attack first or even second but usually manage the situation upon the third attack. Be Shaolin.
Smart Distance Management. A good an easy way to add a level of advantage to a conflict is to observe the attackers distancing; which is the distance they are most comfortable with. Each style and person have their preferences, so by being observant and defensive initially, seek to understand your attackers strengths and either beat them at their own game if you can, else use different distancing to put them of their own game. Brain rather than risk is the key here.
Understanding Timing & Speed. Not only in martial arts is Timing Important. In sparring the person to launch their attack first usually wins; in fighting the fist to attack may not win, if the other is prepared. If you defend and attack immediately, you will probably score. If the attacker is moving into you and your Kung Fu is good, you can use the attackers strength to add to your own; but you need to be quick, it takes a quick human 0.15 of a second (or 150 milli seconds) to react. Punches can travel at up to 20km/h and in a period of 150 milli seconds a punch can be delivered twice over before you react. Timing is everything. So, understand your opponents timing but also understand your speed and timing.
Smart Evasion and Avoidance. Eighty to ninety percent of competitors slide back and forth and on the odd occasion may go side wards. On very rare occasions, they will jump or duck. Often they give away their favorite and most effective evasions very quickly. It is important that you have well rehearsed and well managed avoidance patters. Not all of the 89 ways of moving are needed but all should be tried and trained. If you master 23 or even just 13, you will be well ahead of most everyone else. Not being there when attacked is the best way of not loosing!
Yes, attacking first is a good way to surprise an attacker and in really serious situation, where family and children are at risk i would make that choice if i was sure that it is serious. Consider that every conflict has consequences and therefore how you manage the initial encounter will echo through your life long after the encounter is over. If you hit first, you will usually be the aggressor and loose the 2nd and possibly third round, Criminal Court and Civil Court.
There are always consequences of an encounter, no matter what. So it is good to consider these well before you actually do have any encounter. Rehearsal is good as when the pressure is on you will not have time to think but will act as you have prepared, if possible. So consider the following 5 consequences of an encounter before you pre-think what you response will be to an attack or perceived attack!
The Encounter. Are you ready for what is happening; do you feel you have some measure of control over your actions or is your fear, hate or other emotion is doing all the controlling. If you are emotional, walk-away, safely, if possible. If you are in control than consider the consequences of action or in-action? Is the person clearly the aggressor or can it be construed that 'you started it'? Can you still set the scene and be the voice of reason and peace? Walking away may not always be the answer!
Immediately after. When things have settled down and assuming no one requires medical attention or psychological counseling. Review the situation and recall; what happened when; what started the event; who was there as witness; what is the general feel of the people around you towards you; review your surroundings and the area, time, weather, etc. If possible note it down and even seek witnesses!
Later on. You need to do a dispassionate review of the event and seek the Why, really the Why first and then the who before you review the what. Why did you allow yourself to be drawn in? Were you protecting someone or just being a cock in a cock fight? Was it really necessary to raise to the occasion and would you do it again in similar circumstances. What impression did you leave behind with your friends or the people that were with you or know you. Was it worth it? How could it have gone better? See if you can replay the event in your mind with a more suitable outcome; learn and be wise. Anything you replay in your mind that improves the situation is more likely to be your course of action if a similar situation happens again. Be Smart learn to better direct your future!
Record the event! If it was a physical encounter and even if not, it may be best to write down what happened, who was there, time of day; capture the whole event on paper as you remember it. Focus on the facts, just the facts initially. But you may also want to capture the emotions at the end. Putting it on paper will not only have value for possible follow-up actions but also for quieting the mind. This is also another way of dealing with the emotional consequences of what happened!
Healing Meditate. A better solution, a better outcome and how you could better prepare yourself for greater control and efficiency. Often a diplomatic solution strengthens the ego more than a winning solution. Meditate on alternate possibilities; allow your mind to wander about and see if you find what is truly best and in your nature.
As a dual holder of Associate Diplomas of Engineering (Electronics & Communication Technologies), Sijo Robert Z, Shaolin Academy Founder, was put into the difficult area of Communications Engineering Development for staff (of a large Australian Communications Organization) that are located in remote and rural locations. Two years of development saw a program being developed that was mainly based using Video Training supported by some guiding and written material! This program proved a success and was translated to WEB based or on-line learning somewhere in 1999.
It is in the 90's that the professional workforce became very mobile. A number of Shaolin Academy members needed to travel a lot and often missed their training. It was especially frustrating for those living in Hotels as there was enough spare time (being away from friends and family) to do training but frequent short term relocation made it virtually impossible to find local training for any meaningful period. So, in 1994, the principles established in the Engineering Cyber Program were used to develop the Shaolin Kung Fu Academy Cyber program.
Initially, the program was meet with great skepticism with some interesting opinions being shared when the program was released onto the WEB. Yet, at the same time a curious development took place where former Shaolin Academy members reconnected with us. They had moved to a different location both for professional reason but also because they found a new home, and wanted to continue their training. In addition this this, initially very sporadic, new members in remote locations were found who wanted to train Shaolin Kung Fu. Initially it was mainly Canada, remote areas of the US and Australia but before then end of the decade we had over 300 members in around 50 different countries.
As all the material was initially on VHS Tapes (PAL & NTSC) we do not have the originals anymore but to the right is a sample into recording from around 1999, 2002. ⇗⇗⇗
Over the past 10 years many people have successfully Learned, Trained and Graded with the Shaolin 5 Animal Kung Fu Academy although they never trained once with us in our Kwoons (Training Studio). Many of these people lived in remote areas of the world where access to a Martial Art school is difficult, let alone a Shaolin Kung Fu Style. Many have been many members who train with different styles and have used the Shaolin 5 Animal Kung Fu Academy System to compliment their training, so to say, Cross-train with the us through the use of the materials we provide on our WEB pages and call the Shaolin Academy Cyber Kung Fu program (Est 1994).
Although there are some draw-backs to training from an online program, the Shaolin 5 Animal Kung Fu Academy has now spent around 2 decades perfecting our Cyber Kung Fu program t make it the best on-line WEB based Kung Fu training Program in the World. It has proven to be very successful in many ways and for many, many Cyber and Kwoon members. Some just found a way of gaining a different perspective on what they are learning and thus understand their style better. Especially those training 5 Animal Kung Fu found our Explanations and accompanying Detail to be a great benefit to their understand of Chinese Kung Fu and the techniques they are learning. Many have commented on the quality and amount of detail explained which often can not be done in a Training Environment. Especially the ability to view the same material over and over again has been reported valuable for mature aged members.
As a rule, those training 5 Animal Kung Fu, Kung Fu, Wushu, Wing Chung, Hakka, Gar, Fut and even Wudang styles have reported achieving great success in a better understanding of their own style and art. But also Japanese styles (especially Okinawa), Korean and Vietnamese martial artist have often commented favorably on the program and the ability to have a look at sometimes fairly common techniques and the detailed differences between tee styles (not often possible to do in real life); but also about the explanations and descriptions of application and usage of advanced and rare techniques and methods.
It is particularly effective if you have any knowledge or inclination towards Visual Meditation. In 1984 the Russians realized that Olympic athletes who mentally rehearsed their sport experienced a positive impact on their performance. Since then the area has been widely studied. In the 1990s a researcher showed that just five minutes of mental visualization, versus five minutes of basic tasks yielded a significant difference in overall performance and the dramatic increase in performance wasn't limited just to experienced professionals, the researcher showed that it applied to novices as well ( Isaac, A. R. (1992). Mental Practice- Does it Work in the Field? The Sport Psychologist, 6, 192-198.).
If you would like to know more about our methods, techniques and practices scroll down, read the warning and disclaimer and then have a look. If you wish to know more about the Shaolin Academy Cyber Kung Fu program you can have a look at the Recording to the left or click on the LINK which will open a new window and explain the Cyber Program in great detail (and there are move Recordings including the one to the left.). When you are finished there is a host of links at the bottom of the page or close the window and come back to this page!
Good luck and have some Safe and Interesting time perusing our Pages and Style.
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The form on the right→ is information presented to all students who enter the Shaolin Academy Venue and wish to try out the training. We expect that they and you follow these rules when training or using Shaolin Academy teachings and Kung Fu!
We expect that if follow the conditions and indemnities set out on the form to the right&rarr: and that you agree to abide by these. Please read the form carefully and if you do not agree with this move on to another site and style. If there are any aspects that you do not understand or are not sure about, please write to us immediately and we will seek to understand and clarify if possible! I have a question about the indemnity conditions and details
In addition to the Indemnity, Blue Form, we also speak to our prospective new members and clarify the important points and rules. Please look at the following closely and again, if you disagree with any point either write to us for clarification or go away!
Safety first and Always. If you can hurt or damage yourself or someone else, do not do it!. Shaolin Kung Fu is a way of life and health, not pain and anger.
Lawful when training, at the Shaolin Academy or in the Shaolin Academy uniform fully or partially. Unless your safety is compromised or the safety of the persons in your charge stay within the bounds of the Law as you know it.
Equality means that all humans are equal even if we sometimes do not see it; treat all with respect and dignity. No, do not treat them as you would want to be treated as this assumes your wishes are everybody's wishes; treat them with respect and dignity considering their special needs if any!
Honor is the way of Shaolin and the Shaolin Academy. Our motto is "Of Word and Will" which means have the will to keep your word and speak the true word of your will; but with dignity and compassion. Be honorable.
Appropriateness means that you only use Shaolin Kung Fu for fitness, competition, fun, development and only when needed for self defence and protection. Never initiate the course of violence. Most importantly, Fun, have fun learning.
Drugs and Alcohol; can be deadly when misused or when the effects are not considered before taking any actions. No matter what type of Alcohol or Drugs, everything has a side effect, some more than others. If there is any doubt, err on the side of caution. Have a look at your eyes in the mirror. If they are blood-shot or there are very visible streaks of gray make sure you are really ready for a good workout; else make it a light session!
Sickness and Unwell-being; It's really stupid to tax your system, when it is trying to heal it self. Gentle exercise may be OK but than again, have you consciously had a 'good look at yourself' and seen how you feel? IF YOU ARE NOT CONTAGIOUS you may be able to come to training and participate in the stretching or even do some light training. But at home, by yourself, err on the side of caution!
Things going wrong Are you having one of those days? Many reason contribute to use 'not being all there'. Stress, bad night rest, oncoming sickness or simply not enough me time. But if it is such a day, again, you can join in to the warm-up but tell the instructor that it has been 'one-of-those-days' and take it easy. If you home training, take a rest and if the feeling persists, see a suitable Medical Professions
Respect the Area Please Bow in and Out of every class and training area where you train. be it with the Academy or at home. Stop before entering and Bow to the Area or to the Instructor. check that all is as it should be. Same when just leaving the training area, even for a few minutes for a bathroom break. Bow in and Out of the training area always!
Interruptions In training Stop means Stop! Or if you are training at home, if someone enters your training area, or there is any distraction, stop and attend to it before continuing training.
Energy Levels if you need to sit or lean during training, your training session is over. Perform the cool-down and call it a day. Leaning and sitting down suggests that you do not have enough (safe) energy to continue training. It is good to recognize when your energy's are down and it is good to act accordingly. If you are too tired to stay standing, then stop training and cool down!
Peace; is paramount, not only world peace but your inner peace where it all starts. Switch of any phones, noise, radio, etc. if you can and remove any distractions during training (if possible, don't throw the baby out the window!). Chatter, comments and such can be very disruptive to those who are concentrating on learning. Unless it is an essential to the technique or a requirement of training . . .shut-up; even at home. This is your Emei Shan moment.
If in any doubt about any of the above Rules, your training, a technique or anything; contact SijoChoose Wisely the people you listen to,
If you can not agree to these conditions click on this line, else continue on down to the training information.
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This information will not make an expert out of you, or a Champion or a Warrior; but it gives you are good grounding that will enable you to specialize, if you wish, in a direction you care to take. If you work within the framework of the Rules and Guides given above and put in a lot of smart, safe and guided work, your efforts can lead to make a Expert, Champion or even Warrior but it is a long and arduous path. Make sure though, that you do not damage yourself or others along the way. Although a cliché, the dark ways are easier, quicker but also more dangerous. Staying Safe and Honorable is the key, working hard and not taking and short cuts is the way!
Before you attempt the next level, ensure that everything you have learned in this level is correct. As you progress, many, many of the techniques that follow are based around, founded or along very similar principles as the ones from the 1st levels. Fix any problems and details now before you learn new techniques and carry through the errors thus doubling and tripling the effort to fix them later. And as an old and new wisdom stated "It is 5 times more difficult to fix a habit then it is to establish it!
Apply for a Level Review before you commence on the next level! When we receive the PayPal confirmation we will contact you with further instructions.