When you hear “Shaolin,” you probably think of the iconic style of Chinese martial arts. From the famous, 1982, Jet Li film Shaolin Temple, to modern entertainment like Kung Fu Panda, the name of Shaolin Kung Fu is known all over the world!
Let’s take a look at 5 facts about Shaolin that you might not know…
- It’s not just about the Kung Fu!
Most people associate the word “Shaolin” with the intense martial art that bears its name. However, this type of Kung Fu actually gets its name from the 1500-year-old Shaolin Monastery in Henan Province, China. The Kung Fu is practiced by the monks who live in the monastery.
- It was established by an Indian
Certainly, the Shaolin Monastery is a Chinese development, standing for over a thousand years, but Shaolin was actually started by a Buddhist monk from India. Buddhabhadra (or Batuo), arrived in China in 464 CE to spread Buddhist teachings.
- The Monastery was almost lost in 1928
Warlord Shi Yousan set fire to the monastery in 1928, causing it to burn for 40 days and destroying many ancient documents in the process. One of these documents was the Sanfena Zhang, which was important to Taijiquan, or Tai Chi.
- Shaolin isn’t the only order of martial arts-wielding monastics
While it might have the most iconic warrior monks, Shaolin isn’t the only Chinese monastery where monks are physically trained. Centuries before Batuo appeared in China, there were many other temples and monasteries in China whose monks trained with weapons and martial arts. There were also Indian warrior monks, like the Naga Sadhus, as well as Japanese and Korean monks.
- Shaolin didn’t create Kung Fu
Shaolin Kung Fu is the most popularly-known Kung Fu, but it’s not the source! Kung Fu’s origins may date back as far as 800-500 B.C.
We have more facts about Shaolin coming up! What else do YOU know about this amazing discipline?