Why does the way of Shaolin imitate animal movements?
To reach development of the mind and spirit through the discipline of the body. The Shaolin Monks studied the movements of animals and found that they could be applied to human bio-mechanics and ultimately various systems grew out of these discoveries.
What are the most important values in Shaolin?
- Loyalty to the system
- Respect and loyalty to your Shih Fu and all your instructors
- Respect and reverence for all life
- Passion and enthusiasm in the pursuit of learning the art of Shaolin Kung Fu
- Mercy and compassion
- Mindfulness in all that you do
What is self-defense?
- Avoid rather than check,
- Check rather than hurt,
- Hurt rather than maim,
- Maim rather than kill.
Is Kung Fu a violent art?
The Shaolin paradox is the following: one is taught to defend one’s self, which may result in a violent act of self defense. Simultaneously, we are taught mercy, compassion, love, and respect for all life. Herein, lies the apparent contradiction which really is not a philosophical conflict. We never engage in self offense. However, since all life is sacred, including our own, we do have the right to protect ourselves.
What does each animal teach us?
- Tiger: “Strength, Tenacity and Fearlessness.”
- Crane: “Poise, Balance and Grace.”
- Leopard: “Speed and Power.”
- Snake: “Suppleness, Deception and Rhythmic Endurance.”
- Dragon: “To ride the winds (Achieve the impossible).”
How do we evaluate our Kung Fu skill level?
We engage in subjective and objective evaluation. We are physically tested to demonstrate the level of our Kung Fu skill and mastery of the material we have been given. Spiritually gauging our progress is more difficult. How we treat others and how we interact with our environment is the true test.
How do we improve our Kung Fu?
Practice, practice and more practice, along with following the instructions of our teachers.
What are the eight goals of the system?
- DISCIPLINE: Training toughens the body, polishes the spirit, and calms the mind. This is discipline, the ability to proceed in an orderly, willful fashion toward a specific goal.
- HONOR: Personal integrity, making commitments and keeping them regardless of the consequences.
- INTEGRITY: The ability to be respected for what one stands for and living life with fairness, respect, and a strong sense of moral behavior.
- RESPECT: Honoring your teachers, the art that you are learning, and yourself.
- SELF-CONTROL: The capacity to influence your outer environment through the mastery of your emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual selves.
- PERSEVERANCE: Continuing strength or patience, withstanding difficulties or resistance, striving for a goal. Keeping a course of action!
- LOYALTY: To your teacher, the system, yourself, and the commitment you have made to learn the art of Shaolin Kung Fu to the best of your ability. Loyalty also extends to your training brothers and sisters.
- PERCEPTION: Ability to foresee unseen possibilities. To expand one’s conscious mind prior to action.