The Shao-Lin Temples


            The ancient Shao-Lin Temples may be compared to a martial arts university. Each temple had several Shao-Lin Masters who were experts or specialists in a particular area of training. Thus, the students could learn from the best in every field. There were 3 classes of Shao-Lin devotees namely monks, priests and practitioners. The most difficult part was to gain admission to one of these temples. Young students had to wait outside the temple for an eternity before they were accepted or rejected based on their temperament and attitude based on the monks discreet observations. They had to endure months or years of doing menial chores before they were accepted as disciples. Those accepted would receive an education in philosophy, fine arts and the martial arts.

In order to graduate from the temple, they would have to exhibit phenomenal skills and pass through 18 testing chambers in the temple. If they survived the first 17 chambers, the reward for their hard work was a 18th chamber. With over 110 mechanicly activated diveces, the percent that came out was far smaller than the ones who didn't make it. At the end of this 18th chamber there was a large iron couldron filled with hot coal which they would have to grip, usually weighing between 200, 250 pounds, with their bare forearms and have the raised relief of a tiger and dragon burnt into their arms. These marks were the signs of a true Shao-Lin Master.

For thousands of years the Shao-Lin Masters drew upon their experiences to refresh and renew the Shao-Lin art with new styles and forms of training. At the same time, the priests and practioneres instructed worthy laymen in various styles. In time, many of these laymen initiated their own variants of the training they had received. The priests and practioners also brought back to the temple innovations in the martials arts that they encountered in their travels.

The following are the various temples that existed at one point in time and a brief list of styles attributed to have been developed by them.



Northern Fist, Ground Dragon, Monkey, Praying Mantis, Cotton Fist, Eight Drunken Immortals,10,000 Lotuses Blooming, Golden Snake, Staff, Spear, Jointed Sticks, Single Broadswords, Double Broadswords, Tiger Hook Swords, Double Edged Sword, Three Sectional, Chain Whip, Double Daggers, Double Hand Axes, Single and Double Butterfly Knives



Southern Fist, Golden Centipede, Sparrow, White Monkey, Wild Horse, Iron Bone Training, Iron Palm Training, Iron Shirt Training, Short Fist.



Shantung Black Tiger, Tan Family Leg Techniques.



White Crane, Eagle Claw, Golden Cock, White Swan, Ostrich.



Tiger-Crane System, Fist of Ch'a, Golden Roaches, 10,000 Bees Attacking.



T'ai Chi Ch'uan, Pa Kua Chang, Hsing I Chu'an, Liu Hsing Ch'uan, T'ai Chi Broadsword, Spear, Ta Mo Sword and Double Sword and Spear, Seven Star Sword.



Classical Fist of Hua, Modern Fist of Hua, Chang Ch'uan.