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Henan students toughen up with Kungfu

Henan province, China: Shaolin temple is not only a famous place that attracts thousands of visitors every day, but Henan province also has the largest number of Chinese Kungfu students in the world.

A Shaolin Kungfu performance at the Warrior Monk Training Base in Henan province, China.

The famous temple and its Kungfu school are located at Songshan mountain, about 13 kilometres from the city of Dengfeng.
A Chinese tour guide at the temple, Mr Winston, told journalists from the programme’s China, South Asia and Southeast Asia Centre that on Saturdays about 35,000 Chinese students come to practise Kungfu at the school.
“Right now this school has the largest number of Shaolin Kungfu students in China and in the world, to protect Chinese culture,” he said.
Many people appear to have some experience of Kungfu. But the General Manager of the Theatre of Meditation in Henan, Mr Shiny Wong, told Vientiane Times he didn’t know exactly what percentage of the Henan population was learning Kungfu. Henan is the place of origin of Shaolin Kungfu and has about 200,000 people learning the martial art in its schools.
Shaolin temple was built in 495 AD at Songshan mountain by Emperor Xiaowen of the northern Wei Dynasty for the Indian monk Batuo.
Some 32 years later, another Indian monk Bodhidharma arrived at Shaolin temple. He was the first monk to preach Chan doctrines there and was honoured as the first Patriarch of Chinese Chan. Thereafter, Shaolin temple was recognised as the seat of Chan Buddhism.
Legend has it that Bodhidharma found the monks to be weak and unhealthy after practicing the religion for a long time, so he developed martial arts to strengthen them, which formed the basis of Shaolin Kungfu.
The unique characteristic of Shaolin culture is the combination of Shaolin Kungfu and Chan Buddhism.
Tour guide Mr Winston said the word Shaolin means young forest.
The temple has thousands of monks, and has become a famous Buddhist temple known as Kungfu.

By Khonesavanh Latsaphao
(Latest Update May 9, 2017)

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