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Shaolin Monks

The Founders

For over fifteen hundred years the Shaolin Monks from China's Henan Province have applied the discipline of martial arts as a unique manifestation of their religion. The name Shaolin has become synonymous with the finest and most extraordinary feats of discipline, strength and courage; and with the growth in popularity of modern Kung Fu, the reputation of the Shaolin Monks has become established throughout the world.

Soldier Monks

In the early years immediately following the founding of the Shaolin Temple in 495 AD, the first Soldier Monks created a set of eighteen different fighting actions - the original Kung Fu - which utilised all parts of their bodies. These were combined with the use of various weapons made from simple farming tools and were initially a means of providing daily exercise and as a form of meditation. Later they were used as a means of self defence.

Wushu Retreat

What contributed to the Shaolin Monks' awesome abilities was the geographical location and distinct historical circumstances of their Temple. Its location in the Central Plains of China became an ideal retreat for retired generals, assorted malcontents and fugitives from the law who were drawn to the Temple because of its tolerant atmosphere. Most of these people were already Wushu experts and could, therefore, pass on their skills to others.
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Photographs by Diana Scrimgeour
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