Frequently Asked Questions
Here you’ll find answers to some common questions about becoming a student. Remember, students always work at their OWN PACE and can JOIN AT ANYTIME.
My doctor recommends some kinds of stretching and exercise. Can I do Shaolin?
Many experts today encourage activity to keep us young and flexible. We have passive conditioning classes, breathing exercises that build and continue on to more involved classes, such as Tai Chi Chaun.
What kind of mental training might I expect?
Most students comment that Shaolin provided so much more than they expected! In addition to the physical training and conditioning, mental conditioning is also emphasized. Correct breathing techniques are taught, as well as, forms, which are an excellent way for the brain to learn new patterns. Experts say this is critical in achieving a healthy mind and body as we get older. And of course learning an authentic and ferocious martial art!
Is there a specific time in the class cycle when I should start my training?
No! Students WORK at their OWN PACE and new students can JOIN at ANYTIME.
I’m over 40 – can I do Shaolin?
YES! We have many students from all walks of life interested in getting in better physical and mental shape. Students that cannot participate in particular areas of conditioning have an abundance of other material that will help get and keep you in shape!
Is Shaolin Kung Fu suitable for women?
Absolutely, we have many women in the art, various ages and rank. Besides learning the self defense aspect, the conditioning and mental training ensure a long, healthy life! The techniques developed in Shaolin Kung Fu were designed for a smaller practitioner to defeat a larger more powerful attacker through superior skill, strategy and technique. Studying Shaolin is the perfect preparation for a woman seeking effective and universal self-defense skills. In fact, the founder of Wing Chun, the style of Kung Fu that Bruce Lee studied, was a Shaolin nun.
What about kids?
Yes! We have an excellent children’s program designed to improve confidence and self-esteem to empower your child. Kung Fu encourages respect for one’s self as well as others. Kids are encouraged to learn at their own pace. Strength, flexibility, focus, and coordination are important skills developed in our children’s classes. Self-defense is taught as a means of protection, not aggression. Every child is unique; therefore, we try to develop the child’s individualism using their natural gifts and talents.
The recommended age is 7-11 for our youth program. For 12+, we recommend our regular adult program and to try 1 month before fully signing up.
Is Shaolin Kung Fu applicable for self-defense on the streets?
Definitely. The techniques taught in Shaolin Kung Fu have been combat tested for generations, and our instruction emphasizes a full understanding of the applications behind all of the movements taught. We further condition each technique and style for timing, power, snap, focus and understanding. There are no wasted movements in traditional Shaolin. We further gain understanding through sparring, glove and bare-knuckle. Advanced students practice push-hand/sticky hand sparring (blind folded) and grappling (chin-na).
I thought there was only one Shaolin temple, why do you refer to others?
In fact, after the first burning of the original Shaolin Temple, the art was dispersed through a network of 7 Buddhist temples and Taoist hermitages across China as a means of keeping the knowledge fully intact for generations to come.
Why do you wear Japanese uniforms, and use a Japanese belt system?
The Japanese style uniform is virtually identical to what the monks wore when training (crossed tops, loose pants and colored belts to denote rank). Historical resources such as the frescoes from the Thousand Buddha Hall at the original Shaolin temple show this in their depictions of the martial monks training. The frog-button, silky uniform that people often associate with Kung Fu is actually a relatively recent innovation, dating to the late Qing dynasty. Hence these fancier types of uniforms are both less historically accurate, and ill-suited to the intensity of traditional Shaolin training. For much of the training, the silk-frog button suits will not hold up.
How is Shaolin different from other martial arts like Tae Kwon Do, Karate and Jiu Jitsu?
Shaolin Kung Fu is much older than all of these arts, so it has had a much longer time to develop an advanced repertoire of effective fighting techniques. It is said that “all martial arts come from Shaolin.” This refers to the fact that many other styles were created by someone wishing to share their exposure to Shaolin’s fighting methods with a new group of students. Karate has traces back to the Southern temples during the cultural exchange, Aikido, Judo and Jiu Jitsu borrow concepts from Tai Chi Chuan, Chin Na and Suai Chiao, Wing Chun comes from the Southern temple hand techniques and Tai Chi sticky hand principles…The application of Shaolin Kung Fu is pragmatic and ferocious with an emphasis on the elegant delivery of finesse-based techniques. You will find concepts and techniques from every art within the Shaolin training.
What is the sparring like? Are there competitions?
We do not have any competitions. Shaolin Kung Fu is not a sport. The free sparring, practiced both in pairs and larger groups, is a strategic exercise working on intelligently applying the techniques you are learning in class in a fast-paced, safe and creative environment. As a laboratory for exploring the effective application of techniques, you are allowed to work on a much wider variety of applications than would normally be de-emphasized or considered illegal in a competition-oriented sparring environment. We do not train for points. The sparring is full contact, but not full force and will always be held at your current comfort level. We do offer full glove-sparring for advanced students, bare-knuckle, push hand/sticky hand sensitivity sparring and Shaolin ground fighting.
Do we do demonstrations? What is Wushu?
We do not do performances. Demonstrations are rare. We train primarily for health, longevity, martial application and fun!
Most schools throughout modern China and the U.S. teach ‘Wushu’. This is a blanket term for the many styles within Kung Fu, and tends to heavily de-emphasize the original martial intent, application and details of the individual arts; while focusing on performance, demonstrations and point based tournaments. Wushu has replaced most traditional kung fu training since the early 80′s and abroad. If your main goal is performance and point-based tournaments, we suggest to seek your training elsewhere.
Are there trips to China?
Yes. Every 3-4 years; we provide trips to China and the orient. All current students in good standing are welcome. Each trip is completely unique and different as we explore and see sites that relate to Shaolin and Chinese history.