Just south of the majestic Songshan Mountain Range, the Shaolin Templel lies at the foot of its namesake, the Shaoshi Mountain. Covering over 30,000 square meters, the Temple grounds consist primarily of the Changzhu Yard, which is the Shaolin Temple's main building. Here the monks and deacons of the Temple live and carry out their practices. Built adjacent to the mountain, the Changzhu Yard consists of seven main buildings and a wealth of antiques and historic sites, including: the Progenitor Hut, the Forest of Steles, Daxiong Hall, the Hall of One Thousand Buddhas, the Pagoda Forest, Yugong pagoda and Dharma Cave.
Home to the world's most famous Buddhist monastery, Henan's Shaolin Temple also happens to be the birthplace of Shaolin Kung Fu. The world over, the mere mention of Shaolin conjures images of ancient Kung Fu warriors soaring through forests and engaging armies of ill-prepared enemy combatants. And while Kung Fu does not include spectacular fighting skills, the beginning of Shaolin stem from a far more tranquil resplendency.
Built during the turbulent 5th century, the origins of Shaolin Kung Fu began with the legendary Buddhist master, Dharma. Dharma arrived at the Shaolin Temple in 527 AD on a mission to spread the wisdom of Buddhism to the Chinese people. As an observance of stillness and meditation, Dharm's practice favored a locale marked by quiet elegance. With its inspiring springs, forests and hillsides, the Temple and its surroundings was the ideal atmosphere for this new Zen practice. Thus Dharma's work began and expanded deep into Chinese culture and beyond.
Shaolin martial arts began as a simple solution to an unintended problem of monastic life. Because adherence to Zen requires countless hours of sitting in complete stillness, practitioners grew physcially weary and weak. The first version of Kung Fu was merely a form of calisthenics to refresh the bodies and minds of the Shaolin monks. but from these beginnings, the infusion of the monks' devotion transcended their simple exercises into one of the most formidable martial arts the world has ever seen. Today, martial arts aficionados and interested observers visit the Shaolin Temple in Zhengzhou to admire its abundant natural beauty, appreciate the depth of Zen practice and, of course, be dazzled by the astonishing feats of Shaolin's martial monks.
The Shaolin Temple Wushu Training Center upholds these teachings of the Shaolin style of wushu, regarded as amongst the first institutionalized Chinese martial arts. Shoalin monks have been practicing Kung Fu for over 1500 years. The system was first developed by Bodhidharma (Tamo) who taught the monks of Shaolin basic routines to improve their health and eventually defend themselves. Throughout the years, the art form has developed and grown to be the most complete martial arts system in the world. It truly covers all aspects of martial arts, from empty-hand techiniques, to weapons, self-defense, chin na (grappling), and external and internal.
The Shaolin Temple Wushu Training Center offers a comprehensive curricula for students worldwide to study and immerse themselves in the martial arts cutlure. The teachings are used to strengthen and revitalize one's mind, body and soul.