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As you all know, taking care of your bodies is essential and caring for your mental well-being is even more important in a modern world with its trials, temptations, and stress. However, many of you ignore looking after your hearts and minds. As a matter of fact, the long lineage of Shaolin masters was aware of the importance of body and mind. That is why they brought up the philosophy of Chan Wu, which means Kung Fu and Zen.
For this retreat, the accommodation will be in a shared double room. The room includes a toilet and a shower.
In this Kung Fu and Zen retreat program, Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat places great emphasis on balance in life, health, and mental strength. Health revitalization is so important in the day-to-day battle to counter the harmful effects of modern day stress. Their past retreats have shown that the exercises in their program are very helpful for those suffering from problems with their back, neck, and shoulders that resulted from long hours in the office.
The academy has designed a series of exercises for health preservation and seminars to illuminate the ancient Chinese philosophy. Master Paul Wang and Master Xingxi’s program uniquely expresses the essence of Chan Wu with a focus on healing, based on their deep understanding of Zen Buddhism and the many years of meditation practice and dedicated study of traditional Kung Fu.
Shaolin Wugulun style Kung Fu is the orthodox Shaolin martial arts. It consists of practical fighting techniques created in the last thousand years by warrior monks of Shaolin Temple through actual combat. In order to facilitate the practice and teaching, they gradually compiled such these techniques into Kung Fu forms.
As vegetarians and practitioners of meditation, Shaolin monks are able to defuse the hostility arises in martial arts training. Through generations of refinement and extraction, Shaolin martial arts grew into a system of martial arts, which integrates Zen practice and practical combat. The unique training method has also turned this system into a brilliant health maintenance and convalescence tool.
The main character of Shaolin Kung Fu is simplicity. It focuses on practicality, internal and external cultivation, and equal attention to hardness and softness. Thus, it improves one’s physical fitness, enlightens one’s spiritual wisdom, and purifies one’s body and mind.
Shaolin Kung Fu emphasizes on power, forges the coordination of the whole body through the integration of heart, mind, and Qi, the synchronizing of hands and feet, as well as swiftness and agility of the body without brute force. One must seek lightness, agility, adhesion and rotation in practice, start from elementary to complex, from complex to simple, and ultimately return to the core values and true principles.
The history of Shaolin Kung Fu is deeply intertwined with the history of Buddhism in China and with the history of the Shaolin Temple itself. There is a Chinese saying that Kung Fu takes its name from the temple and the temple takes its eminence from Kung Fu.
The fortunes of the temple and of the Kung Fu that was practiced there, waxed and waned over the centuries depending on whether the emperor of the time was either supportive or hostile to Shaolin. This historically pattern of rise and demise would be repeated throughout the whole history of the Shaolin Temple.
The Shaolin Temple was initially founded by an Indian monk who came to China to spread the word of Buddha 1,500 years ago. The temple was built under the patronage of Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei Dynasty around 495 AD. Thirty years later another Indian monk, Bodhidharma, settled in Shaolin in Henan Province after coming to China to preach Buddhism in about 527 AD.
He developed a series of exercises designed to promote health and fitness and to improve the practice of meditation. He then developed a set of exercises that later became the foundation of the unique style of martial arts at Shaolin. It is thought that some of these forms were the foundation of Yijingjing and Xisuijing, both highly advanced internal forms of Shaolin Kung Fu.
Because of constant attacks waged on Shaolin Temple by robbers and thieives, the monks evolved these exercises into a method of self-defence. At the same time, other martial art practitioners came to Shaolin and became monks to avoid persecution. They brought with them advanced fighting skills that were incorporated into the Shaolin form of Kung Fu, furthering its development.
The practice of traditional Shaolin Kung Fu is not restricted by space. One can advance or retreat at ease on a line, or flip, skip and rotate on a fixed spot.
When practicing, arms should not be too straight nor too bend, over straighten arms restrict rooms for manoeuvring. It is also vital that strength is exerted from the push of the heels, delivered by the body and express in the fists. Feet are the roots, the waist is the axis, hands synchronize with the feet, elbows with the knees, shoulders with the hip, heart with the mind, mind with the Qi, and Qi with strength.
When the body, the mind, and Qi are united, the whole body will become highly coordinated. Hence, punches will become natural and powerful. The most important of Kung Fu training is foundation building and good foundation comes from good flow of Qi. Therefore, the practice of Kung Fu is the cultivation of Qi and Qi arises from the heart and mind, so the cultivation of Qi is also the cultivation of heart and mind.
Master Miaoxing of Shaolin Temple once explained that the head shakes like waves, the hands move like meteor, the body shifts like willows, and the feet step like a drunken man. All moves arise from the heart and executed instinctively. It looks hard, but not, it looks solid, but empty. Exercising in such manners, through time, one will gain deep insights and attain self-enlightenment.
Zen martial arts practice accentuate the absence of desire, ultimate stillness gives rise to motion, and through motion one reflect upon himself (body, mind, and Qi), so as to keep body, mind, and Qi integrated.
Moral virtue is the source and Zen is the root of Zen martial arts. So, it is necessary to achieve pure heart and clear conscience. A person without martial virtues is an adversity to himself and others. People with good martial virtues are contented and calm at heart. Calm at heart brings about harmonious Qi and cultivating this Qi well enables one to attain supreme martial skill.
One should not train when he is emotionally down for it will affect his training adversely, and brings tightness to the chest and shortness of breath. This will cause hazard to his health. When one’s mind is at ease, Qi will flow smoothly and abundantly. The body will become better coordinated, eyes and ears become sharp and sensitive, and movement become swift and responsive.
It is important for practitioners to pay attention to their diet. Some people think that eating meats can provide substantial nutrition and without it will significantly reduce the vital nutrition the body needs. In fact, these animal comestibles are difficult to digest and generate toxic acid substances, which will slow down the flow of Qi. It is no good for martial arts training. So, a serious Kung Fu practitioner must be vegetarians.
Eating too much meat or spicy food can impair digestive function and hinder the ability to direct Qi in the exercise. Failure to direct Qi causes heat-toxicity, blocking of stomach, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, and potential nose inflammation.
The nose is the pivot among the seven apertures in the human head. When nose is clear and fine hair is slack, the whole body is relaxed. In case of snuffy nose, the whole body will feel uncomfortable feeling, inconsistent limbs, stiffness, stagnancy, and lack of flexibility. Progress will be difficult and slow. Understanding the importance of adhering to a healthy diet together with exercises will help open up all apertures, encourage good metabolism. The body becomes relax and natural.
There is saying in China that all martial arts in China are originated from Shaolin. According to archives of Tripitaka Sutra Pavilion in the Northern Song Dynasty, Zhou Tong learned general gesture of Shunba, who later taught a good number of outstanding disciples, such as Lu Junyi, Wu Song, and Yue Fei. Xingyi hand posture is owed to Zhou Tong’s origination.
In the Yuan Dynasty, Zhang Sanfeng learned major style of Xieba, adapted it, and founded Wudang internal Kung Fu. In the late Ming Dynasty, Chen Wangting learned the skill of Xuzhuang and created Tai Chi. As the saying goes, waist of Tai Chi, leg of Bagua walking, and hand of Xingyi hand posture. Lots of famous styles of Kung Fu schools benefited from the teaching of fore-masters of Shaolin Kung Fu.
According to traditional Shaolin Kung Fu principles, Kung Fu training is also the training of the mind. If the mind does not focus, it will adversely affect quality of one’s training. When the mind is at peace and the heart concentrates, the body will be relaxed and breathing will be smooth, training will achieve better results. Training is about perseverance, dedication, and diligence. Behold, the spirit of constant effort brings success. Haste makes waste and dedication brings success.
Today, Kung Fu has become most well known as a form of cultural exhibition. The sport of combat fighting, Wushu and Sanda, is something that people watch, not something which people think about participating in. Increasingly lost behind this flashy artistic show is the Kung Fu lifestyle, which is a way of being in which combat fighting comprises just one of many components.
The long history and development of Chinese martial arts has reached a point where it is imperative to distinguish between the traditional practices, like the Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi, Xing Yi, and Bagua, and the modern evolution of that art (present-day Wushu sport), and to acknowledge their differences.
Traditional Shaolin Kung Fu, otherwise known as Wugulun Kung Fu, is a practice focused on promoting health and fitness and creating an internal state of meditation, in addition to being an effective combat art. This form is currently practiced by a small group of people from the Shaolin Wugulun lineage, popularized by leading Chan Wu Yi figures, such as Master Shi Dejian. The now-popular Wushu is a regulated sport that might one day be accepted as an Olympic sport.
The global popularity of different practices all casually uttered in the same breath as Shaolin has made it more difficult to determine what authentic martial arts truly are in their purest form.
In the words of Mr. Weijizhong, Kung Fu movies, television shows, performances, and opera are very popular in China and overseas. Especially overseas, Kung Fu, Shaolin monk skills, and similar names have gradually taken the place of (Chinese) martial arts. This phenomenon has caused you to take (modern) Wushu as a national tradition and promote it as such to the world. Should this make you happy or worried? They are afraid that the (Chinese) martial arts community hasn’t taken time to ponder this situation.
Shaolin Wugulun Kung Fu Academy has taken the time to ponder these important questions and cares about promoting and spreading authentic teachings. The academy believes that the world today is a place where sharing these skills and imparting this sacred knowledge on an interested global community should be welcomed.
The Shaolin Kung Fu lifestyle does not just belong to the Chinese, but it belongs to the world. The more people who study traditional martial arts, the better these treasures of human development and ability will be preserved.
Founded in 2004, it was called Shaolin Wugulun Kung Fu Academy before they relocated to Beijing in 2014, "Kung Fu Zen" was dedicated to teach the ancient internal and external aspects of Shaolin culture, comprising three complimentary disciplines, which are Chan (Zen) meditation, combat skills, and healthy diet. In addition to learning the essence of traditional Shaolin Kung Fu and the Chan Wu (Zen martial arts), they have designed several retreat programs with experts giving talks on the building blocks of Chinese culture. Talks will cover Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism in order to provide students with a deeper understanding of the philosophical foundations of Shaolin practices. To complete this holistic approach to self development, they have included internal calligraphy and meditation courses within the retreat curriculum. The academy was founded by an early disciple of Master Shi Dejian and was originally located in a village at the foot of Songshan Mountain, right behind the world famous Songyang Academy in Dengfeng, Henan Province. They have now relocated to Xiangtang Village in the lush countryside surrounding Beijing, very close to the Great Wall and directly beside the ancient Shen En Chan Temple. They have brought a superbly talented team to the academy, with all classes personally supervised by Shaolin Master Xingxi Wu Dang Master Zhang Weifeng and professor Paul Wang.
Master Xingxi was born in 1980 in Hubei Province. In 1998, he became a disciple to the great Master Shi Dejian. He quickly stood out because of his intelligence and diligent approach to training, becoming shifu's most trusted student. From 1998 to the end of 2007, Xingxi studied traditional Shaolin Kung Fu under his master at San Huang Zhai monastery, a branch school of the Shaolin Temple. In 2008, he left the monastery and came down from the mountains, where he became engaged in a wide range of work and activities, such as an overseer at a mine and as a bodyguard for VIPs.
Professor Paul Wang, as a chief master, is now teaching meditation, insight calligraphy, and mindfulness Tai Chi at the Live Zen Center of the China Culture Center. As an invited instructor, he also teaches traditional Chinese thought for international programs at Capital Normal University and the Institute of Education. He has taught international students for over 10 years. His study and practice includes the principal classics of Confucius and Laozi, and three types of Buddhism meditation systems - Southeast Asia Buddhism, Chinese Zen Buddhism, and Tibetan Buddhism.
The Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat is located within Changping district near Beijing in a prosperous rural village with all amenities. The Great Wall of China is visible on the jagged ridges of nearby mountain ranges and ancient temples are within strolling distance. The school itself is housed within a traditional Beijing-style courtyard with red wooden pillars, sloping slate rooftops, and the murmurs of birdsong. The setting is ideal for the study of martial arts.
There are regular buses to Changping town and only 25 minutes from the school to the Beijing subway network where you can freely explore the capital of China and all it has to offer. Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) is about one hour drive away. They are just close enough to the modern and international world for convenience, but far enough away to act as an authentic, first-class retreat.
Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat only provide vegetarian food at the academy and temple. In traditional Shaolin culture, the vegetarian diet that students eat at Wugulun Kung Fu Academy is believed to cleanse the body from impurities in the blood, while making the Qi tranquil and helping to create a peaceful state of mind.
Shaolin Temple is an ancient Buddhist temple. Shaolin Kung Fu and a vegetarian diet have always been part of its culture. Traditional Kung Fu training is about saving and storing energy for every organ. You eat in order to get energy. Energy in natural food comes from the sun, the air, the water, and the earth. By going directly to the earth for their food, vegetarians receive the purest, best-quality energy straight from its source, not already processed by another being, such as an animal.
It is believed that this energy of a finer quality can be used for a higher purpose like Kung Fu and meditation. During the Ming Dynasty, the Manchurians were trying to seize China by force while the imperial government of the Ming Dynasty was corrupt and incompetent. At that time, scholars who were trying to save the country wrote books expounding theories on how this could be done. They also advocated the practice of martial arts.
When the Manchu's finally invaded China, many people with high ideals and integrity did not want to be slaves under a new regime so they fled to the mountains and lived in seclusion. Some entered into a religious life. They focused on martial arts intensively in order to acquire the fighting skills to regain their country. Many of them already had good Kung Fu skills and brought together their collective knowledge of various local styles of Kung Fu to create a refined form.
As time went on, Shaolin Wugulun Kung Fu constantly improved and developed. Another important factor in Shaolin Kung Fu reaching such a high level of skill and importance is the vegetarianism of the Shaolin monks who were all Buddhist and followed Buddhas teachings of eating no meat. The monks saw vegetarianism as a means of reaching a high level of training. In addition, being a vegetarian can aid the practitioner in achieving a higher level of endurance while training and fighting.
For example, animals like horses and buffaloes are vegetarian. Their main diet consists of grass and they have a tremendous amount of stamina while running, even when encumbered with heavy things. On the other hand, tigers and leopards, with their diet of meat only, they are only able to maintain short periods of power.
From a scientific point of view, when an animal is killed, it is known that in their state of shock, an animal undergoes a process by which its cells alter and create poisons in the flesh.
Buddhists believe that these poisons represent anger and fear and remain trapped inside the animals flesh. When people eat this meat, the poisons and impurities enter their body and people can easily get sick, angry, and depressed. When the mind and the body are in this unbalanced state, people cannot continue training on a regular basis. For traditional Shaolin culture, therefore, vegetarianism is not only important for religious beliefs, it is important for maintaining a healthy body, as well.
Vegetarianism is a necessary foundation for attaining a high level of Kung Fu skills. Without a healthy body, Kung Fu cannot improve. In addition, vegetarianism helps to cleanse the body from impurities in the blood, while making the Qi tranquil and helping to create a peaceful state of mind.
Morality, ethics, and honor are other related issues. A Kung Fu practitioner spends his life studying something that in a split second, without a second thought, could be used to harm or kill someone. This ability has to be controlled.
The answer is the cultivation of a caring heart for all living creatures. The first basic principle should be to refuse to kill and eat animals. The anger that is brought out by combat training must be balanced out with a conscious effort to treat all people with compassion, understanding, and tolerance. Such principles of caring help create a balanced and healthy mind in which there is no threat that a Kung Fu practitioner will consider criminal wrongdoing.
As this level of conscience develops and expands, it helps to diminish negative feelings and behaviors, such as greed, anger, violence, and criminal acts of all kinds. This in turn allows the conscience of the Kung Fu practitioners to rise higher and for them to eventually reach a state of enlightenment. An enlightened being has total awareness of his or her own self, body, and surrounding environment.
Enlightened Kung Fu practitioners are aware of fear and danger before ever seeing or knowing the source of those feelings and their reactions to danger, whether in training or in real combat, are much faster. This is essential for mastering high-level Kung Fu skills and vegetarianism is a vital element in reaching this state of total and complete awareness.
It is a concern for many people that vegetarian food does not supply enough nutrition to the body. This is, in fact, not the case. When eating a balanced vegetarian diet, the body will receive ample nutrition for vitality and health. Master Shi Dejian and his disciples are living proof of this. Vegetarianism is essential for those who are serious about mastering the highest levels of Kung Fu.
Please book your flight to arrive at Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK).
When you arrive Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK), take the subway line of Changping to Nanshao station, exit B2, and Kung Fu Zen Garden Retreat will be meeting you there to transfer you to Xiangtang cutural village either by car (10 minutes) or by bus (20 minutes).