There are many martial arts styles, but none can match the influence of the ancient arts created by a group of monks called the Shaolin.
The shaolin temple was formed in 6th century China, with the name shaolin (meaning young forest) referring to the new trees planted at the temple's inception. A Buddhist monk from India named Bodhidharma (or Ta Mo, in Chinese) entered the temple and found the scholarly monks lacking in physical strength. Ta Mo began to teach the monks moving exercises to build strength and stimulate the flow of chi, or life energy. This served as the basis for the creation of shaolin kung fu.
Shaolin kung fu (少林拳 Shàolín quán) evolved into one of the most dynamic and legendary styles of martial arts in the world, featuring smooth-flowing movements, acrobatics, and a variety of stances. Shaolin monks also studied the motions of animals such as the tiger, crane, and snake, which they incorporated into fighting styles. The art of shaolin consists not only of manipulating limbs and body, but eyes and mind as well.
The Shaolin Boxing training and reinforcement methods were renowned to be among the most difficult. Staying balanced on one finger, make one’s skull harder than steel. We’re talking about a total of 72 techniques.
Internal and external artsEdit
Huang Zongxi described martial arts in terms of Shaolin or "external" arts versus Wudang or internal arts in 1669. It has been since then that Shaolin has been popularly synonymous for what are considered the external Chinese martial arts due to the fact that it favors external physical reinforcement, regardless of whether or not the particular style in question has any connection to the Shaolin Monastery. However Shaolin Kung Fu does have an internal style.