The History of Shaolin Gung Fu

Over 1500 years ago Da Mo (Bodidharma) came from India to bring Buddhism to China. He found that the monks at Shaolin temple were very weak in body and spirit so he meditated upon the problem, facing a wall for nine years. The idea of certain exercises came to him and this developed into Shaolin Gung fu. This system is steeped in the tradition and history of Shaolin temple leaving us with a multi-faceted system of martial arts that has many applications and levels.

Shaolin Gung fu includes self defence, physical development, study of Shaolin medicine, mental and spiritual development. This system is aimed at not only producing fighters but complete, well rounded characters, capable of reaching the most advanced levels of Shaolin Gung fu – Ch’an awareness. This is the spiritual realisation of truth or being at one with the universe. In fact the original aims of Shaolin practice are aimed at this ultimate goal.

For centuries Shaolin Temple has been a melting pot of Chinese martial arts – many famous styles originate there – Lau Gar, Hong Gar and many more were influenced by Shaolin.

To quote the adage “All Gung fu comes from Shaolin”


Pictured below: Fighting monks at practise (details from mural at Shaolin Temple)