Wugong - Qigong
Meditation - Chan Philosophy
SHAOLIN CHAN CITY
St. Louis, MO.
tel.: (314) 383-3918
Copyright © 2009-2011 Shaolin Chan City, LLC. All rights reserved.
SHAOLIN WUGONG (warrior skills) is the ancient health preservation and self-defense discipline of the Shaolin Monastery which was founded in 495 A.D. by the Indian monk Buddhabhadra (Batuo in Chinese).
Traditional Shaolin Wugong began as simple physical exercises to offset stagnation of energy from prolonged periods of seated meditation. Monks of old would imitate the movements of animals in the mountains and farmers working the fields by hand to derive health benefits. Keeping their bodies strong and youthful this way enabled them to extend their spiritual practice with more ease. (Anyone who has sat in meditation for several minutes knows it is not as easy as it looks!)
Adapted and incorporated into these simple, loose movements were ancient Chinese Qigong (internal energy skills) exercises and theories. Qigong sets were then developed from within the Shaolin Monastery as breathing and stretching exercises, with emphasis on energy transference through the body.
As the Shaolin Monastery began to face the threat of being a target for bandits and other thieves in the area, the monks began to develop self-defense techniques. Fortunately, two of Batuo's disciples, Monks Huiguang and Sengchou, were former military generals who brought with them to the monastery their combat knowledge and training. They were the first to bring martial-art skills to Shaolin.
As the "birthplace of all martial-arts" it is important to remember this evolution within Shaolin Monastery. All training in fact began with seated-meditation. As the saying goes;
"If you want your Wugong to soar like the eagle, you must practice Qigong. If you want your Qigong to soar like the eagle, you must practice seated-meditation."
Shaolin Wugong can be divided into two main components- that of Waigong (external skills) and Neigong (internal skills). However, effective and efficient training of Traditional Shaolin Wugong requires a harmony of internal and external skills- making their separation only visually apparent (slow vs fast movements).
Many of the Traditional Shaolin Wugong sets surviving today are at least 7-800 years old, some well over one thousand, with Shaolin Neigong sets being some of the most ancient.
Fortunately today, rather than using Wugong to fight off bandits and invaders, we use it to combat our poor fitness level, attack our low self-esteem, and destroy our negative emotions and energy. As Ven. Shi Deyang says;
"The days of 'protecting the family and guarding the home' are gone. Now we use Traditional Shaolin Wugong to strengthen the body and improve our health."
Shaolin Wugong training can be a fun hobby, the most intense workout of your life, or a deep spiritual practice. However, it can still provide an effective method of protection should one be faced with the unfortunate situation of an attack. Always remember first, kindness goes a long way, even if you must physically protect yourself. As Shaolin Elder, Ven. Shi Suxi, suggests;
"Welcome an attacker with a smiling face."
Moreover, when you take up the practice of Traditional Shaolin Wugong and enter the movements, you are allowing a 1,500 year old tradition to flow through you. To pay homage to past masters and respect the tradition one must always train without pause, and most importantly, with the right mind.
Ven. Suxi also reminds us;
"Shaolin is Chan, not Quan*".
*Quan (拳) means "boxing" and refers to Traditional Shaolin Wugong.