You are on page 1of 7

SHAOLIN Kong fu Training

from the very beginning to the highest level achieved by the high monks of Shaolin temple

Shaolin Kong fu Training Categories are: 1. Basic training, 2. Qigong training, 3. Combat training.
Shaolin () kong fu (, also called : wu shu) basic skills (: ji ben gong) include warmup, endurance, and Childish Skills (: tong zi gong), which itself includes Shaolin stretching and
balance skills. Shaolin monks have published several Basic Training tutorials (at,1 you
can use to accompany this manual. Shaolin martial-power skills (: qi gong) has 2 types: 1. Qigong
meditation 2. The 72 secret arts. Qigong meditation is based on deep lower-abdominal (: dan tian)
breathing and itself has 2 types: internal (: nei) and external (: wai). Kong fu master Yang JwingMing has published true qigong meditation methods.2 The 72, 36 external and 36 internal, secret
exercises of Shaolin temple have close relation with qigong and result in the legendary powers and
martial skills of Shaolin monks. Shaolin temples manuals of these 72 arts have been published.3 In
combat (: san da) training, monks learn and practice various forms (: tao lu) and their combat
applications and sparring in barehanded, weapon, and barehanded-vs-weapon categories. The styles
and weapons in Shaolin kong fu exceed hundreds, but monks usually consider 18 styles (: quan) and
18 weapons. These can be learned from masters or from instructional tutorials.1

Shaolin Kong fu Training Schedule as inherited to Shaolin temple is that one can practice at any time,
whether day or night, in one or several sessions. The typical schedule recorded in Shaolin temple texts
is: Monks must train hard, day by day and year by year. From rainy springs to hot summers, windy
autumns to freezing winters. Every day, except one day a week to rest and do the chores. They get up at
5 in the morning. They do qigong meditation for a half hour. They also do external qigong later every
day and may have more sessions of qigong meditation. Qigong is preferred to be done at sunrise, in the
early afternoon, or before sleep. Then they do basic training, before breakfast, by 15~30 minutes of
warm-up and 30 minutes on Tong Zi Gong exercises. Forms, techniques, and combat typically take
about 1 or up to 2 hours in the afternoons, though some may do it before noon. The 72 secret arts can
be practiced at every time, day or night; practicing each may take about 5~10 and some of them up to
30 or more minutes every day. Shaolin kong fu can be trained at everywhere enough for an ox to lie
down, which means at almost everywhere. According to the Shaolin kong fu saying, after 100 days of
training the skills emerge, after 3 years initial mastery is achieved, but complete mastery needs at least
10~15 years of hard training.

More than 200 video tutorials by Shaolin Temple inheritors: SHAOLIN Kong fu instructional (at

Books: Qigong for Health and Martial Arts, Qigong Meditation: Embryonic Breathing, Qigong Meditation: Small
Circulation, and his other qigong books.

Books: Training Methods of 72 Arts of Shaolin and 72 Consummate Arts Secrets of the Shaolin Temple.

SHAOLIN Kong fu Basic Training

Warming up makes stretching easy and prevents injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Warm-up
has 2 parts, Loosen-up and Endurance exercises:
Loosen-up all joints from toe to head; it is necessary before stretching activities, and is recommended
to be done in beginning of every training session. The following is the typical loosen-up routine of
Shaolin monks; repeat each one several times, for example, 9 times to each side:

Rotate hands around the wrists, to both sides

Rotate forearms around the elbows, to both sides

Rotate arms around the shoulders, forward and backward

Toes down to floor, rotate ankles around, to both sides

Feet apart or together, rotate knees around, to both sides

Feet apart, rotate hips around, to both sides

Feet apart, rotate upper body around the waist, to both sides, arms swing with upper body

Feet apart, twist the back from side to side, arms swing with upper body

Rotate head around the neck, to both sides

At last, loosen up whole body and shake all extremities.

Endurance Exercises are a basic requirement in Shaolin kong fu. Dynamic Endurance Exercises are
categorized as part of warm-up and are done before stretching exercises. Begin endurance training
lightly, but after a few minutes, do not be afraid if the exercises go beyond your endurable level;
endurance increases gradually over time. There are various endurance exercises and the practitioner
can do different ones each day:


Run sideways, front leg bends in knee; switch direction

Run sideways, front leg bends in knee, alternate front and rear feet; switch direction

Run, twist upper body from side to side

Run, raise feet in behind, slap them

Run, raise feet in front, slap them

Run, raise knees high

Run, raise one knee and punch with opposite fist

Run, raise both knees up as you jump high

Run, do flying kicks with both legs

In squat position walk forward

In squat position leap forward

In squat position leap to sides

Roll forward and backward

Sprint forward and backward and many other exercises!


Stretching Exercises:
Begin each stretching exercise with holding the position, then a few, like 3~5, light stretching pulses to
wake up the muscles, then stretch continuously in the position for 9 deep lower-abdominal breaths or
so; then relax for some seconds to begin the next exercise. This way, each exercise takes 1 minute or so.
Do all the exercises every training day until achieving the mastering level, at which you can assume the
stretching Tong Zi Gong postures with ease. This may take 3 years of training. In that level of skill, you
can abandon ordinary stretching training and, instead, do the Tong Zi Gong postures one after the other
in a meditative (video at or combative (video at form. These are a
complete set of typical exercises:

for posture 1: Both hands fixed on wall behind, squat down to stretch.

for posture 2: Feet apart, arc backward, try to land both palms on the floor at behind.

for posture 3: Stand, turn both toes inward as far as possible, bend down.

for posture 4: Stand, turn both toes outward as far as possible, sit down.

for posture 5: Feet apart, lean forward, try to pass your head and shoulders through your legs.

for posture 6: Sit down or stand up, try to hook your feet behind your neck, do with both legs.

for posture 7: One leg squats, other leg straight in front on heel with toes upward, hands clasp and
drag the toes backward, bend forward and press your head to the leg; switch legs. At advanced level,
you can assume front clasping Buddhas foot as a prerequisite for posture 7.
Try front split, legs straight; switch legs. At advanced level, you can assume posture 7 itself.

for posture 8: * It is an advanced variant of front split, try it after mastering front split.

for posture 9: One leg squats, other leg straight to the side on heel with toes upward, hands clasp and
drag the toes backward, bend sideward and press your ear to the leg; switch legs. At advanced level,
you can assume side clasping Buddhas foot as a prerequisite for posture 9.
Try side split, legs straight. At advanced level, you can assume posture 9 itself.
basic stretching kicks: forward kick, sideward kick, inward crescent kick, outward crescent kick.

Begin all with feet near together, palms to sides, both legs straight while kicking, kick at the head level,
take a half step with each kick, then kick with the other leg, repeat each kick 9 times or so with each





Shaolin Tong Zi Gong

(Shaolin kong fu stretching and balance postures):
Tong Zi Gong literally means virgin child skills, and is recommended to be trained since childhood.
However, it can be mastered at any age; many masters have begun practicing it when they have been
more than 50 years old. The reason for this naming is said to be that if one masters Tong Zi Gong, being
as soft as cotton and as light as a swallow, he will feel like being given a second childhood. As the
sayings go, Tong Zi Gong has 18 postures. However, various variants of posture have emerged in the
course of the centuries. These are 18 main postures (9 stretching and 9 balance) together with the most
known variants:

Starting posture: : qi shi, Salute!

Stretching Postures:
(to be as soft as cotton)

1, advanced single-arm variant
lazy monk praises Buddha Buddhist child shows the way
: lan seng bai fo
: fo tong zhi lu

2, advanced variant
arc backward and conceal the flower under the leaf
: ye di cang hua
clasp Buddhas feet
: xia yao bao fo jiao

sun and moon
: ri yue
golden tortoise
: jin gui

4, equal single-leg variant

crossing the river on a reed stem
: yi wei du jiang

head through the legs
6, double-leg variant
green dragon coils in the nest
: qing long pan wo

6, single-leg variant
golden rooster stands on one leg
: jin ji du li

7, prerequisite variant
front clasping Buddhas foot
: bao fo jiao
single/double leg
single/double stretching
7, equal lying variant
7, prerequisite variant
front split and
/: dan/shuang
front split*
clasping Buddhas foot
: shu cha
ba jin
: die cha bao fo jiao

*8, an advanced front split

green dragon clasps its tail
: qing long bao wei

9, prerequisite variant
side clasping Buddhas foot
: bao fo jiao
9, equal lying variant
side skyward step
side split and
: chao tian deng
clasping Buddhas foot
: die cha bao fo jiao

9, prerequisite variant
side split
: heng cha

Balance Postures:
(to be as light as a swallow)
To learn some of these postures, you must first use the help of your hands, lean to a wall, or use another
support at the beginning levels. Assume some of these postures for 36, 72, 108, or even more breaths
every day. Some people make them harder by, for example, doing push-ups or loading some weight to
their body in some of them. There are numerous variants. These are the variants that are practiced by
Shaolin monks, presented from the easiests to the hardest ones:

single-arm support
: dan bi fu cheng

child praises guan yin
: tong zi bai guan yin

arhat praises Buddha
: luo han bai fo
child praises Buddha
: tong zi bai fo

swallow-like balance
: yan shi ping heng
dragon explores out of the sea
: jiao long tan hai

13, simpler variant

single push palm
: dan tui zhang

14, lying variant

sleeping arhat
: luo han shui jiao

14, sitting variant

sleeping fish carries Buddha
: wo yu zai fo
stubborn child praises Buddha
: wan tong bai fo

meeting a Buddhist flying toward heaven
: ying fo sheng tian

double-arm support
: shuang bi fu cheng
body hung on kneeling elbows
: gui zhu xuan shen
a combination of 15 and 16

17, prerequisite variant

upside down loaded monument
: dao zai bei

upside down balance on hands

upside down loaded monument
: dao zai bei

18, advanced variants*

upside down two-fingers meditation
: dao li er zhi chan

Ending posture: : shou shi

Amituofo! _/\_

*18, prerequisite variant

arhat looks at troops formation
: luo han guan zhen