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Study Shaolin Wugulun Kung Fu, a significant form of Kung Fu. Learn the real Shaolin Kung Fu. Experience living the Wugulun Kung Fu style in a very idyllic location. Meditate and eat healthy food prepared according to the Chan Wu Yi system. Book your vacation now and visit Shaolin Wugulun Kung Fu Academy, where culture, tradition, and martial arts combine.
Accommodation is dormitory-style and is clean and comfortable, with air-conditioning for very hot days and heating for extreme winter conditions.
Because western students have a limited time to study, there are no set times for courses. Tuition is on an individual basis and students can arrange their study schedules to suit the times available to them. You are taught according to your own level of skill and you train at your own pace.
Training is focused but relaxed and there are frequent rest periods. Students used to Wushu styles of training will need to make some adjustments; for example, running is not part of the Wugulun training. The emphasis is on correct breathing and strengthening qi energy in the dentian.
It is requested that you trust the Masters experience and understanding of Kung Fu training. Many foreigners come to the academy and dont follow the Masters instructions. They start training differently, because they think their own way is better.
In the beginning, many people have difficulty with the slow movements and the basic (sometimes not very exciting) training. Please be patient but persevering and accept that real Kung Fu skills take a long time to develop.
You are taught according to your own level of skill and you train at your own pace. Training is focused but relaxed and there are frequent rest periods. Students used to Wushu styles of training will need to make some adjustments; for example, running is not part of the Wugulun training. The emphasis is on correct breathing and strengthening qi energy in the dentian.
Meditation is an important part of Wugulun Kung Fu training. The new school now has a meditation room where students can go and meditate quietly whenever they feel like it. Group meditations happen as well.
Master Wu Nanfang is keen for students to explore some of the origins of Kung Fu. In the old days, people did not have so much time to practice their Kung Fu training because they were busy working in the fields.
They therefore incorporated their practices into their farming movements such as drawing water from wells, grinding grains into flour or hoeing the fields. The Master is unique in teaching these origins and has included the old well from the original old farm and a grinding mill in the grounds of the school for students to practice on.
Shaolin Wugulun Kung Fu is a little known yet a significant form of Kung Fu now overshadowed by the more popular sports and performance oriented Shaolin Wushu. Recently, however, there has been a rekindling of interest in this original Kung Fu form and a slowly growing group of Chinese and Western students have come to the Wugulun Kung Fu Academy to learn these ancient skills. Shaolin Wugulun Kung Fu is based on the holistic philosophy of living, Chan Wu Yi.
It is a practice focused on the development of optimum health and fitness through the use of appropriate movements, breath control and healing arts, and the creation of an internal state of meditation and a compassionate heart. It is also an effective and highly skilled combat art. Wugulun Kung Fu is significant for all those who are interested in Kung Fu as it is the origin of the modern better-known Wushu. The forms, developed hundreds of years ago, are slow, graceful, incredibly intricate, and meditative, yet deadly when used in fighting.
When working in Kaifeng the Master trained every day after work in a secluded place in a quiet park. A man who practiced Wushu started to come with his friends to jeer at Master, mocking the slow, seemingly gentle forms and insulting the Master, saying that what he was doing was useless and not real Kung Fu.
When the Master ignored him, the man got more and more angry and finally one day he suddenly attacked. Master Wu Nanfang reacted with lightning speed and immobilized the man with a neck hold. He told the man that just a fraction more pressure would result in a broken neck.
The slow, almost meditative, movements of Wugulun Kung Fu aim to develop and store qi energy and at the same time create such a state of alertness and awareness that the individual can respond with lightning speed and total power to any situation.
The practice of Chan Wu Yi (Buddhist Kungfu Medicine) is central to the Shaolin tradition. It is a way of life in which the heart, body and chi are in total harmony with each other and with nature. The principles of Buddhism are adhered to but the practice is not Buddhist: it is a practice that has been developed for over a thousand years by monks at the Shaolin Temple in China. The elements of Chan, Wu, and Yi should always function as one whole; they cannot be divided into separate parts. However, to understand Chan Wu Yi, it is helpful to initially look at each part separately.
Chan is the training of the spiritual heart to be compassionate, calm, peaceful, and aware in everyday life. The student should follow the path of the Buddha; have a caring heart; constantly watch his own faults; be happy in helping others; feel others pain as if it is his own; help them to confront their difficulties and to live happily; be constantly aware of love in the surrounding world.
Wu is the natural movement of the external body - what we know as Kung Fu - which is aimed at creating a healthy body and a strong chi. The understanding and mastering of Chan is the essential basis from which to practice these movements because, for the movements to be relaxed, flowing and natural, they must start from a compassionate, peaceful heart.
So, for example, to try to practice Wu from the space of anger is dangerous both for the student and the people around him. The student should learn the ways to move naturally by constant practice until he masters them. This will take time.
Wu involves a number of theoretical concepts about the movements that the student initially has to be aware of but which, once mastered, become spontaneous, and automatic. It is difficult to explain these very abstract concepts in Chinese, let alone in English, so the following is very much a simplistic and abbreviated attempt.
The basic concept is SanJie - 3 parts of the body. SanJie involves external movements which move simultaneously but have different functions: first, the upper section - arms, hands, and head, which starts the movement; second, the middle section - waist and belly, which follows through on the previous movement; third, the lower, root, section - hips, legs, knees, and feet, which grounds the body. The relationship between the three sections has its own unique function.
For example, when a movement is performed from one of the three sections, the other two sections must be in harmony in order to generate the power from the movement performed. This means any movements must be supported by the power generated from the whole body. Combining the power of the three sections is the basic step towards mastering the highest level of Kung Fu. It is therefore very important for practitioners to understand SanJie.
SiShao - reaching the four extremities, is another concept, a further step, in creating a greater power. When the power in the whole body is very strong these extremities have such power that, symbolically, in the case of the teeth - the ends of bone, something as hard as metal can be cut; in the case of the nails - the ends of the tendons, there can be a penetration to the bone; in the case of the hair - the end of the blood system, a hat could be lifted off the head; and in the case of the tongue - the ends of the muscular system, the muscles are fully tensed and primed for whatever action is necessary.
To try to explain this in laymans terms one can consider the phenomenon of anger. When a person is extremely angry he is generating so much energy that he can destroy, maim, and kill. His eyes bulge, his teeth are clenched, his lips are compressed, his muscles are bunched, and he emits grunts or growls of anger, which come from deep inside. He is full of power but has no awareness of what he is doing. The movements in 'wu' simulate the energy and movements of anger, without the emotion, and with total awareness of the power.
The outward appearance of the harnessing of this internal energy shows in the characteristic compressed lips (so the chi does not escape), the bulging eyes, the particular body stance, and the vocal grunts, which happen as the chi arises from the dentian or hara. In this way, the power of the chi is, in the case of the student, increased, or, in the case of the master, maintained or utilized. (In drawings, the great Master, Bodhidharma, is often depicted as angry or ferocious. He wasnt. Simply the ancient artists understood the phenomenon of wu and so were depicting him in a typical Gong Fu pose of chi energy and power.)
When considering Yi, the five elements: metal (lung, nose); wood (liver, eyes); water (kidney, ears); fire (heart, tongue); earth (spleen, mouth), which are the basis of Chinese philosophy should be kept in mind.
Yi is the practice of creating health and strength in the internal organs. Yi has two aspects: keeping oneself healthy and imparting this understanding to others so they can also be healthy. In order to keep ourselves healthy we must know the relationships between the internal organs and the meridians through which vital energy-chi circulates and along which the acupuncture points are distributed.
The importance of chi should be understood. Chi includes two points: the innate chi energy found in the kidneys and the acquired energy that comes from grains - fresh food from the earth. Chi comes from the integration of these two sources. It takes constant intensive practice to develop and maintain the chi energy. Diet is all-important. The Shaolin style of vegetarian food has been developed over many years.
The food should be light, not oily or greasy, and not strongly flavored or spicy. This kind of diet reduces the inner heat of the body which allows the chi to flow more smoothly and efficiently. Aperture (Qiao) therapy is also important. The smooth flow of essential elements though the 9 apertures of the body keep the internal organs, which play an essential role in the bodys metabolism - healthy and strong.
Using chantong herbal medicine improves the functioning of the 9 apertures. Another way to conserve ones vital powers and maintain good health is by the practice of internal Gong Fu. This is extremely difficult to explain but it involves working on the breath until breathing becomes as natural as that of a new-born baby - breathing deeply from the belly (the Chinese dentian or Japanese hara) rather than from the lungs and diaphragm.
Few people breathe at anywhere near their full capacity; normal breathing is shallow and inadequate. With right breathing the organs and nerves of the body are filled with oxygen and nutrients, thus reaching their potential power to function at an optimum, unknown level. The immune system is also strengthened. In addition, the person falls into a state of deep relaxation suffused with feelings of being deeply at ease and full of silent joy, a state of deep meditation. Shaolin Wugulun Kung Fu should perfectly integrate all three parts: Chan, Wu, and Yi.
The origins of Shaolin Chan Wu Yi and Wugulun Kung Fu date back to the sixth century. When Bodhidharma, who is credited with bringing Buddhism from India to China, settled in Shaolin there was already a Buddhist temple there. While sitting for nine years in a cave behind the temple, Bodhidharma developed Zen Buddhism, which he introduced to China and which later spread to Japan and the rest of the world.
Needing some form of exercise to maintain the health of his and his disciples bodies, he developed a series of movements or exercises designed to promote health and fitness, based often on the movements of birds and animals they observed around them and at the same time to deepen the practice of meditation.
Herbs from the mountainside were collected and used for healing. Due to Chinas turbulent history, the Shaolin Temple, with its highly skilled fighting monks, was sometimes in favour with ruling dynasties, sometimes not. It was destroyed and rebuilt a number of times. Around 1870, it was again in disfavor with the rulers of the Qing dynasty and the temple was in imminent danger of being destroyed yet again.
The Temple Master instructed one of his foremost monks, Wu Gulun, to leave the temple and carry the traditions of the Shaolin culture with him to preserve them. He had, however, first to fulfill a rule of the Temple: that anyone leaving the temple should fight and vanquish all the monks to prove his strength and suitability to cope with the secular world he was entering.
As the top Kung Fu student, Wu Gulun easily achieved this feat and disappeared into the mountains to live in an isolated village, Bai Yu Gou, where he continued to practice and preserve the secrets of the Shaolin heritage. As he needed to be able to pass on this knowledge he married and had a son, Wu Shanlin, to whom he taught all the ancient secrets.
Master Wu Shanlin became the second Grandmaster of the Wugulun lineage. Continuing to live in the small village, Wu Shanlin married and had two sons, Wu You De and Wu Tian You. To his sons and also to his nephew, Qiao Hei Bao, and a young orphaned student, Zhang Qing He, he passed on the traditions. Wu Tian You had a son who sadly died when he was quite young.
This son was Master Wu Nanfangs father. From an early age Wu Nanfang studied with his great grandfather, Wu Shanlin, then with Qiao Hei Bao and Wu You De and later Zhang Qing He. He is thus the direct descendent and inheritor of the Shaolin Chan Wu Yi and Wugulun tradition. The 1920s in China was a period of huge unrest and turmoil.
In 1928 a general, Shi You Shan, was looking at the Shaolin temple as a possible source of resistance and danger so he sent one of his underlings there to try to gauge just what kind of a threat the fighting monks posed. The underling asked who the best fighter was as he wanted to fight him and see how strong he was. He was told that actually the best fighter, Wu Shanlin, was not in the Temple but in an isolated village in the mountains.
The underling found Wu Shanlin and challenged him to fight with his sword. So powerful was Wu Shanlins qi that he paralyzed the mans sword arm with just a look and a shout, causing the sword to fall uselessly to the ground. Within two days of Shi You Shan hearing about this incident, he decided the Temple was indeed a threat and destroyed it almost totally.
As Master Wu Guluns greatest desire was that the Shaolin tradition should be returned to the Shaolin Temple when the time was right, Wu Shanlin returned to the devastated Temple with his son, Wu Tian You, with the intention of helping rebuild it and restore the traditions and heritage which he had been preserving.
He found to his dismay, however, that the monks were demoralized by the defeat, and most decided to either return to a secular life or join the army. The remaining few were men of poor character and Wu Shanlin felt he could not pass on his knowledge to them as it might be used wrongly, maybe to hurt people rather than to rebuild the Temple.
He stayed for three years, teaching a few basic Wugulun Kung Fu moves, but then returned to his village to wait for a more auspicious time. Many current Kung Fu teachers claim that they know the original Kung Fu forms from their teachers who had practiced under Wu Shanlin. In reality they know only a few very basic forms.
Qing He, the third Grandmaster, was an orphan who was rescued and looked after by the monk, Chun Quan, in a small temple on the Luoyang side of Song Mountain. Chun Quan sent him to study with Master Wu Shanlin when he was about twenty years old. Zhang Qing He also qualified as a doctor and was in fact better known for his medical skills than for his Kung Fu.
In about 1988 Master Zhang Qinghe came to live at the Shaolin Temple to treat his beloved Buddhist Master who was very ill. There he came into contact with a young monk, Dejian, who was studying and teaching at the Temple. Dejian started training in the Wugulun Kung Fu style with him.
In 1990, Master Zhang Qing He requested Wu Nanfang, who was teaching Wugulun Kung Fu nearby to come and introduce Dejian to Wu Nanfang. They are brothers, because they are fellow apprentices of one and the same master. After the death of Master Zhang Qing He in 2004, Wu Nanfang and Dejian are currently concerned with the preserving and passing on of the Shaolin Wugulun Kung Fu tradition.
Master Wu Nanfang is the great, great grandson of Master Wu Gulun. He was born and brought up in Bai Yu Gou, the village of his ancestors. From an early age, he studied Wugulun Kung Fu, firstly with his great grandfather, the second Grandmaster, Wu Shanlin, and after he died, with his granduncles, Wu You De and Qiao Hei Bao and lastly Zhang Qing He.
Master Wu Nanfang has thus inherited the original Shaolin culture and traditions - Gu Lun Sect that include Buddhism, the original Shaolin Wugulun Kung Fu, Medicine, and the secrets of Xin Yi Ba, which have been passed down through the generations of the Wu family lineage.
Sadly Master Wu Nanfangs father died when the Master was a young child so, as the only son of the family, he took on the role of caring for his mother and sisters and later his own family. Never for a minute, however, did he forget his heritage and he continued to practice Wugulun Kung Fu at every available opportunity.
He tells the touching story of how he would visit Master Zhang Qing He, who was a doctor, to study Kung Fu with him. He would practice quietly by himself while the Master was attending to patients and then, in short intervals between patients, he would quickly have a lesson.
With the Master he discussed the lack of time available to him to practice and learned a valuable lesson: Zhang Qing He told him that everything he did, every minute of each day, was an opportunity to practice, even riding his bicycle back home!
Master Wu Nanfang travelled in Henan teaching his Wugulun Kung Fu to many students but in about 1988, he needed to return to his home to take care of his family. Many of his students followed him there and he continued to work and teach in the area.
In 1990, Master Zhang Qing He requested him to come to the Shaolin Temple and introduce Dejian to him. Dejian, Wu Nanfangs elder brother (Because they are fellow students of the same master they refer to each other as brother.).
This was an important event for two reasons: Master Wu Nanfang became a Buddhist disciple of the then Shaolin Abbot, Master Suxi, who gave him his Buddhist name of She Defang, and he met Dejian for the first time, thus beginning a friendship that exists to this day.
As time went on, Master Wu Nanfang and Master Shi Dejian became increasingly frustrated with the noise and chaos of the Temple and its focus on tourism, financial gain, and the promotion of the Wushu style of Kung Fu with its obvious money-making potential. They could no longer find a quiet space to practice or teach.
In 2003, they both left. Master Dejian went to San Huang Zhai, then just a tiny temple inhabited by two nuns and, with the nuns happy agreement, embarked on an ambitious project to build a large monastery and healing centre there to further the traditions of Chan Wu Yi, with an emphasis on herbal medicines and healing.
Master Wu Nanfang had already opened his school at the foot of the mountain to teach Chan Wu Yi and Wugulun Kung Fu and to continue to pass on his familys heritage. Both Masters, in their different ways, are dedicated to the teaching, preservation and promotion of the ancient Shaolin traditions of Chan Wu Yi and Wugulun Kung Fu.
In the past few years, due in part to greater internet coverage, in part to word of , and possibly in part of the BBC documentary Extreme Pilgrim, more and more people, both western and Chinese, are finding their way to Song Mountain to experience for themselves the origins of the Shaolin Kung Fu tradition.
Shaolin Wugulun Kung Fu is a little known form of Kung Fu practiced by relatively few people in Dengfeng, Henan Province, China. In around 1870, when the Shaolin Temple was facing yet another possibility of being destroyed, the monk most skilled in the arts of Shaolin Kung Fu and Chan Wu Yi, Master Wu Gulun, was told to escape to the hills to preserve these skills and the secrets and traditions of the Temple.
Master Wu Nanfang is the great, great grandson of Master Wu Gulun and has inherited the original Shaolin culture and traditions of Chan Wu Yi, the Wugulun form of Kung Fu, and the secrets of Xin Yi Ba, which have been passed down through the generations of the Wu family lineage.
He has spent his life teaching the Shaolin traditions and is dedicated to promoting and preserving them, particularly as they are in danger of being forgotten due to the current interest in the more popular Wushu Kung Fu forms. In 1996, he formed the Shaolin Wugulun Kung Fu Academy in Dengfeng to pass on his knowledge.
The Shaolin Wugulun Kung Fu Academy was founded in 1996 by Master Wu Nanfang to teach and promote the original Shaolin Wugulun Kung Fu and the Chan Wu Yi culture and medicine, thus continuing to preserve and foster the traditions of his family. The Academy is a small, family-run school located in the foothills of Song Mountain, near the Shaolin Temple, in Dengfeng, Henan Province.
As interest in this form of Kung Fu has increased with a resulting increase in both Chinese and western students, the original rented school building was no longer fit for purpose. Master Wu Nanfang had long wanted to build his own school according to his own design, requirements and aesthetic sense.
Two years ago he started searching the local area for a suitable site on which to build the school of his dreams and last year a place was found on the opposite side of the valley, still with a magnificent view of Shaoshi Mountain, but away from the noisy main road and interfering and prying eyes of locals and tourists. The site was an old abandoned farm with a ruined farmhouse.
Because there was already this old building, planning permission on this protected area of the mountain would be possible although difficult. Predictably local council officials created many problems but finally with a lot of persuasion in many ways, they granted permission to build. Towards the end of 2012, construction commenced.
Friends of Master Wu Nanfang helped with donations, architectural planning, and the use of essential fengshui principles and, ever practical, the Master also saw this as an opportunity to expand his students Kung Fu skills by showing them how to use them in the building processes. It was a communal project in every sense. Many difficulties were encountered.
For example, there was no electricity at the site and conservation rules did not allow electricity or telephone poles and lines to show on the mountainside. Master and his students thus set about digging a 1 and 1/2 mile trench from the nearest village to hide the necessary cables bringing these utilities to the school. A well for water also had to be bored.
In six months, an astonishingly short time, the project was completed and in April 2013, the school was reopened in the new property and training commenced. The building now provides very efficient facilities for all aspects of life at the school: three terraces for training, a spacious kitchen for the special Chan Wu Yi food, a shop for personal necessities, an elegant reception room, and a meditation room.
Quarters for the Master and his family who are all involved in the running of the school, and big dormitories complete with air-conditioning and heating units and a wing for toilets and showers was also built. Without doubt, this is now a very beautiful school, fit to welcome both Chinese and western students who wish to train in and study this very important system of Chan Wu Yi Kung Fu and traditional medicine.
Students should at all times respect the master, the other students and the academy routine and not create any disturbances.
Students should respect cultural and political differences while in China. You are here for your personal training.
Students should attend all training sessions unless permission to be absent is given by the master.
Only vegetarian food should be eaten during the course of training.
No smoking, no alcohol, no drugs, and no partying during the course of training.
The academy reserves the right to ask students to leave if it becomes difficult for them to follow the academy routines or if they create a disturbance in the school or surrounding village.
The Academy provides three home-cooked vegetarian meals a day prepared according to the Chan Wu Yi system which does not include hot spicy foods, garlic or onions. The food is sometimes bland but at all times healthy, allowing the body to optimize its resources for efficient training.
The easiest, but more expensive, way to get to Dengfeng is to fly from Beijing to Zhengzhou. Book a flight which arrives in Beijing in the morning (e.g. Finnair is cheap, good and arrives at about 9.30 a.m.). You can then take an on-going flight to Zhengzhou leaving at about 3 p.m. It takes about one and a half hours.
Allow 5 - 6 hours between your time of arrival and the departure time of the ongoing flight as you might have to transfer to the old airport (easily done but takes at least 45 minutes on a small connecting airport train) to catch a domestic flight. It depends on which domestic airline you use.
It is not very easy to book internal Chinese flights using a western credit card but Expedia offers flights at around 800 CNY. You can also try: http://flights.english.ctrip.com/International/SearchFlights.aspx or http://www.travelzen.com.cn/flightResult.php whose prices seem to be about 700 (calculate 10.2 CNY for 1 GBP)
If you travel with a Chinese airline e.g. China Air or China Southern Airlines, you can usually book a flight right through to Zhengzhou on their own domestic flights. This has the advantage that, if the flight is late and you miss your connection or it is cancelled. They are responsible for booking you another flight or putting you up in a hotel.
The second way to get there is to stay in Beijing for one or more nights and take a train. The fast train (5 hours) costs about 280 CNY and leaves around midday. There are many hotels and hostels in Beijing almost all of which will get you the train ticket for a fee. The Far East International Youth Hostel (www.fareastyh.com) is a good choice although the new part is very bland. It is well situated with very helpful staffs who speak English. Arrange the train booking as soon as possible because Chinese trains are always heavily booked and it is hard to get good seats.
Or you can take the very good Zhengzhou / Dengfeng bus which depart from opposite the train station. (It is good to learn how to use this bus.) The journey costs about 28 CNY and takes about 2 hours. Buses leave every half hour. It is usually a double-decker bus and if you go upstairs you have a good scenic view.