the genuine arts of
the Fukienese Shaolin Temple
We are extremely proud of the strength and tradition of our Shaolin arts. Ours are the genuine arts of the Fukienese Shaolin Temple (which inspired so many other martial arts, including Karate). We practice our arts the way they were taught by the Nam Yang founder, Master Ang Lian Huat (1924-84). These are not competition, gymnastic or demonstration arts but genuine Kung Fu. These are the arts which made the Shaolin monks so famous, These are the arts practised by the secret societies which overthrew the last Chinese emperor. These are the genuine, secret arts only recently revealed to non-Chinese.
Our arts train the body’s ‘Qi’ – the energy which permeates all living things and has profound effects on our health and well being. They transform the muscle and tendon of the body so that it becomes elastic and can snap out techniques with incredible speed and force. They train us to respond so sensitively to touch that we can feel an opponent’s move before we can see it counter it in a split second.
Our arts are what set us apart
COMBINATION KUNG FU
Classic Fukienese Kung Fu! This art trains the body’s tendons to knit together into one energized whole, which snaps out devastating power from short range. It also employs body mechanics so that small people can overcome the strength of larger people. The Tiger-Crane Combination art is a close-range art using mostly hand techniques including striking and seizing.
SUN-FROST WHITE CRANE
SOFT AND GENTLE ART
Usually referred to as “Shuang Yang” for short, this is the rarely taught soft form of the Shaolin White Crane art. It looks similar to Tai Chi but follows the Buddhist Shaolin tradition.
This is a very relaxed, fluid art which develops suppleness, mobility, calmness and balance. It energizes the tendons and charges the body with ‘Qi’. It massages, cleans and strengthens the internal organs making us healthier and more resistant to disease.
The Shuang Yang art is suitable for most people, even the elderly and unfit since it is performed in a slow, relaxed fashion. Make no mistake, however, this is a real martial art capable of use in serious fights.
Learn a soft, meditative art that will boost your health, strength, concentration and energy.
The Shaolin weapons have captured the imaginations of many generations of people all over the world. Although the weapons of ancient China are now seldom used for war, we still teach the original fighting forms as taught to Master Ang Lian Huat by Tan Kew Liong (9 Dragons Tan), the Chief of the Herbal Medicine Peddlers in The Chuang Cho district of old Fukien China.
Weapons training is a workout for the whole body and develops strength, coordination, concentration and balance. It is also great fun.
SOFT QIGONG FOR
HEALTH AND LONG LIFE
‘Qi’ (Chi) is a natural energy which pervades all things. Chinese medical theory is based on the understanding that if the body’s Qi is balanced, clean and circulates smoothly, health and vitality will result.
Qigong is the practice of charging the body with fresh, balanced Qi, eliminating stale Qi and circulating Qi through all of the meridians and to every cell of the body. The location of the mountain retreat was chosen carefully for the exceptional quality of its Qi. It is thus a perfect place to practice Qigong.
Practising Qigong helps people remain young and healthy, boosts energy levels, speeds recovery, calms emotions, counters stress and enhances the senses. Martial artists tend to practice Qigong because its physical benefits can enhance their performance, but in fact, anyone can benefit greatly. Qigong is also an excellent basis for spiritual development.
Here at the Kung Fu Retreat, we practice Tong Ling (clearing and circulating) Qigong – an easy and efficient system, suitable for beginners.
Sometimes known as Hard Qigong or Martial Qigong, Kung Fu masters use this Qigong to perform amazing feats such as breaking bricks, being hit with hammers and walking in broken glass! The famous “Iron Shirt Qigong”, in which Nam Yang specializes, is an extreme form of martial Qigong.
Hard Qigong trains Qi energy into the tendons where it is stored ready to be released in a whip-like action – rather like letting go of an elastic band. It trains all of the body to be capable of absorbing heavy blows and snapping out incredible force.
Hard Qigong packs Qi into the internal organs, boosting their performance and making them highly resistant to strain.
The legendary feats of the Kung Fu masters of old were usually demonstrations of the mastery of martial Qigong.
‘Sum Chien’, meaning Three Wars or Three Battles is the original Shaolin internal power training exercise. The three battles in question are those which we fight within ourselves: the mental battle to master our mind, the physical battle to master our body and the spiritual battle to master our Qi (Chi) – which could be interpreted as both energy and breath. Collectively these ‘battles’ are the stages involved in mastering ourselves. They are a life’s work. Not everyone who embarks in the war to master themselves wins. The few who do are what we know as ‘Kung Fu Masters’.
Sum Chien is one of the most potent forms of Qigong (Chi Kung) training and is practised by many different styles of Kung Fu and Karate. To us it is the most basic routine (because it is the one we learn first) and also the most advanced (because it is the one with the most depth and the most power and the one that we still practise even if we do not have time to practise anything else!).
To perform Kung Fu well requires a good level of physical fitness. Our workouts are fairly short and compact and emphasise training the whole body, especially the core. We have a number of specialised methods to do this. Some make use of specialised equipment, some do not but all have been tried and tested by generations of old Chinese Kung Fu Masters.
We are particularly proud of our flexibility training methods. We may not get you right down into the splits but you should expect to leave a lot more flexible than when you arrived! Those who make long stays here often do achieve the splits and other dramatic feats of flexibility.
/ STICKY HANDS
We react much faster to our sense of touch than our sight (please ask one of our instructors for a demonstration). Hence the White Crane Art (considered to be the most advanced of the Shaolin arts, as it was the last to be developed before the burning off the southern temple) always seeks to make touch contact with an opponent at the outset of a fight and use it to manipulate and overcome them. We constantly train touch sensitivity drills usually referred to as pushing / sticky hands. These drills provide direct, hands on contact and train speed, reactions and strategy while remaining safe.
To defend yourself should you need to, it is important to know what to expect and how to use your martial arts in a realistic context. All of our martial arts are taught in a very practical context, with explanations as to how to apply everything you learn in a potentially dangerous situation. More than this, we train a lot of partner drills which teach you to react effectively to common attacks, disarm attackers with weapons, drop people to the floor and apply restraints. We also teach assertiveness, positive body language, eye contact, and psychology – all of which make a great deal of difference in the real world.