With a history of more than 1,500 years behind, Shaolin monastery is a home to Mahayana Buddhism, a cradle to martial arts, and, along with Wudang of Daoist tradition, the indisputable regal seat of the world kung fu.
Shaolin training is something of interest to many in the western world. Ever since the Chinese kung fu movies arrived, people have been trying to learn their moves. However, there is another dimension to the supreme conditioning and discipline of Shaolin monks. On the surface it’s all kung fu, fancy skills and extreme conditioning, but that’s not really the point of the discipline.
Shaolin monks train their whole lives in various disciplines. They train in kung fu, mindfulness meditation and many gymnastics-style physical skills. They also have strict nutritional guidelines that they live by.
The whole magic of Shaolin training is in their consistency, not their “secret” methods. Shaolin monks practice their arts every single day, rain, hail or shine. There are no days off or breaks to go watching TV or go drinking with their friends.
The primary training of shaolin monks is mindfulness meditation. This is a practice of meditating whilst sitting and practicing awareness whilst walking and performing daily tasks.
Mindfulness meditation is simply consistent training of extreme awareness. When a person practices this sort of meditation, they are training to be aware of the present moment without judgment or attachment in any way. The attitude is that things and circumstances are what they are and nothing more. There is no good or evil, positive or negative, everything serves a purpose.
This sort of practice develops extreme mental awareness of a person’s surroundings and enables the practitioner to develop laser-like focus.
Shaolin training also consists of extreme physical conditioning. This is evident in the exhibitions and shows they perform around the world. The monks, despite their size, are able to perform phenomenal feats of superhuman strength, agility, coordination, speed etc.
This is accomplished through drills and exercises like reaction time drills, continuous repetition of martial arts techniques, progressive physical skills, obstacle courses, weapons drills, partnered coordination exercises and many other things that they practice on a daily basis. This sort of training is conducted for many hours per day. This is why Shaolin monks appear to possess superhuman abilities.
Written by Xiaoxiao @ InteractChina.com
Posted by Yuqing @ InteractChina.com
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