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 practiced 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 ‘chi’ – 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
About our arts:
Tiger Crane 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.
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 ‘chi’. 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, co-ordination, concentration and balance. It is also great fun.
‘Chi’ is a natural energy which pervades all things. Chinese medical theory is based on the understanding that if the body’s chi is balanced, clean and circulates smoothly, health and vitality will result.
Chi kung is the practice of charging the body with fresh, balanced chi, eliminating stale chi and circulating chi 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 chi. It is thus a perfect place to practice chi kung.
Practicing chi kung helps people remain young and healthy, boosts energy levels, speeds recovery, calms emotions, counters stress and enhances the senses. Martial artists tend to practice chi kung because its physical benefits can enhance their performance, but in fact anyone can benefit greatly. Chi kung is also an excellent basis for spiritual development.
Here at the Kung Fu Retreat we practice Tong Ling (clearing and circulating) chi kung – an easy and efficient system, suitable for beginners.
Sometimes known as hard chi kung or martial chi kung, kung fu masters use this chi kung perform amazing feats such as breaking bricks, being hit with hammers and washing in broken glass! The famous “iron shirt chi kung”, in which Nam Yang specializes, is an extreme form of martial chi kung.
Hard Chi Kung trains chi energy into the tendons where it is stored ready to be released in a whip-like action – rather like letting go an elastic band. It trains all of the body to be capable of absorbing heavy blows and snapping out incredible force.
Hard Chi Kung packs chi 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 chi kung.
Chinese boxing is competition kung fu. It is fought full contact wearing gloves and other protection. It develops distancing, timing, accuracy, stamina and the ability to read and move with an opponent. It uses punches, kicks, sweeps, throws and takedowns. Chinese boxing is an optional part of our training and is ideal for those who enjoy competitive boxing/fighting.
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.
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 of 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.
Meditation is an optional but recommended part of our training. We teach a number of meditation exercises which support our training, calm our minds, relax our bodies, circulate our chi, enhance our awareness and accelerate our spiritual development.
We maintain a very traditional training ethos, which we believe leads to the best possible progress for all.
- We all constantly strive for improvement
- We train together constructively and co-operatively, trying to help each other progress – not out do one another
- We practice diligently and safely
- Senior students help teach more junior students and lead training sessions
- Instructors are expected to explain, demonstrate and lead; students are expected to follow lessons and instructions, and practice until proficient
- There is respect among all guests and instructors at all times
Resident students train at least twice daily, morning and evening and are encouraged to put in extra training in the middle of the day if they have the energy. Training takes place five days a week with Wednesdays and Saturdays as rest days. Attendance at training is strongly encouraged but not enforced.
How much can I reasonably expect to learn during my stay at the Retreat?