Features

Shaolin Crane Style

Martial artist demonstrating Shaolin Crane style

No Shaolin master is a mindless master. Shaolin is like a great nest of ants. Some are moving grains of sand out of the nest, while others are focused on keeping the tunnels clear so that the entire nest may remain sound. Yet others pick up a grain of sand and become obsessed with the fate of the single grain of sand. It is for this reason that Shaolin Kung Fu has a repertoire of more styles than anyone has actually counted.

Necessity necessitates styles

The topographical location of the Shaolin temples and their cornerstone philosophy of observing nature to achieve a Buddhist goal of seeing past illusions were the reasons styles metamorphosed. It is said that even as early as the 20th century, Chinese trade caravans required heavy security as protection against thieves and marauders and wild animals, but the Shaolin monks moved and travelled with much greater freedom than the average Chinese citizen purely because of their combat skills, which had adapted and evolved over time.

Nature Nurtures

Nature per se is not more idyllic than the human world. As Darwin’s friend Herbert Spencer describes, “Nature is red in tooth and claw.” The survival law of nature is “Kill or be killed, eat or be eaten, slither silently but carry a formidable arsenal.” It must be said that nature’s study was not intended to emulate animals under study because an observing Shaolin practitioner is human and basically humane by nature. These observed principles and movements of nature’s wild were meant to nurture skills for self-defence to be used as an advantage against adversity.

Subscribe to The Teenager Today print / digital editions to read the full article.

Stanislaus Louis

Stanislaus Louis is a Ketsugo blackbelt, 4th degree Unarmed and Armed Combat.