ABOUT WUSHU

Chinese Wushu* orginated in China even as far as the era of Chun Chiu and Chan Kuo, but the name of Shaolin was not used until very much later.

It was during the reign of Emperor Liangwuti (A. D. 520) that Damo (Daruma Taishi), Bodhidharma or Ta Mo, an Indian monk came to China to preach Buddhism. After he had been received in audience by the Emperor, he went to the Shaolin Temple of Mount Songshan and meditated there for nine consecutive years. During his stay in the temple, he taught the monks the art of health nourishing exercises. The three main courses he taught were "Sup-Pat-Lo-Han-Sow" also known as the eighteen movements of the Arahan Hands, or 18-monk Boxing, the "Sinew Changing Course" (Eki-Kinkyo) and the "Marrow Washing Course". These courses are believed to form the foundation of Chinese Boxing, had a great influence on the art of Chuen-Shu, so much that Damo is now treated as the originator of the Shaolin Style of Wushu or Shaolin Pugilism.

During the Tang Dynasty, the monks of Shaolin temple had fought with astonishing skill in the battle fields, and had become famous for their skills in
Chuen Shu.

After Damo's death in A. D. 557, his disciples dispersed and the art of l8-monk Boxing was nearly 1ost. Then during the Yuan Dynasty (A. D. 1260 - 1368), a wealthy young man and an expert pugilist and swordsman, surnamed Yen, became a priest and took the Buddhist name Chuen Yuan (also known as Kiok Yuan) in Shaolin. He toured the continent to look for men of great calibre in the field of Wushu to coach the Shaolin Monks the arts of self-defence. In Lanchow of Kansu Province, he met an expert, Li Ch'eng who introduced him to Pai Yu-Feng of Shansi, reputedly matchless man in Shansi, Honan and Hopei. As both Li and Pai were great masters of the manly art, Kiok Yuan invited them to the Shaolin Temple to instruct the monks. The three masters combined the best of their individual skill to consolidate Damo's 18 and Chuen Yuan's 72 movements into 170 actions which are the basis for our Shaolin today. The 170 actions were embraced in "Five Forms Fists" : Dragon, Tiger, Leopard, Snake and Crane which represent respectively the five essences of man namely the spirit, bone,strength, ch'i and sinew. These essences must be merged and synchronized into an efficient oneness. It was by that period that the Shaolin Branch of Wushu had founded a new and effective style.

In the years 1520-1590, the two masters of the art of Shaolin Wushu Ching Chung Dou (1522-1587) and Chi-Chi Kuang (1522-l587) further improved the Shaolin Branch of Wushu, and this branch is still being practised and held in high esteem today. Shaolin self-defence movements resemble those of various animals which are provided with natural 'gift weapons' like 'Tiger Claw', 'Eagle Claw', 'Twin Dragons fighting for Pearl', 'Crane Beak', 'Phoenix's Eye', 'Dragon Head', 'Leopard punch', and 'Himalayan Ram punch', and movements such as 'Lion Opening its mouth', 'Twin Dragons Emerging from Sea', 'Monkey Grabbing the Peach', 'Tiger Coming from Forest' and 'White Crane Preying Food'.
The words Shaolin mean 'Young Forest'. A young forest has resilience - its limbs can give with a strong wind and rebound with force. Thus is the essence of Shaolin art of self-defence. It does not advocate meeting the opponent force with force. Its basic philosophy emphasizes the ideal of giving with the adversary, to bend slightly and spring back stronger than before, to adapt oneself to the opponent's movements without striving or resisting.

In 1644 A.D., the Manchus overthrew the Ming Dynasty and established the Ching Dynasty. Many underground movements and martial arts school were formed with aim of overthrowing the foreign control of China. One of the most famous of these school was the Shaolin Temple.
Many former officials of the Ming Dynasty took refuge at the Shaolin Temple, disguised as monks to avoid persecution by the Manchu officials. These former officials become the expert teachers at the temple, teaching their martial arts to the disciples there. However, the Manchus got to know of their activities and their whereabouts. The Shaolin Temple was burned during during the reign of Yung Cheng (1723 - 1535) of the Ching Dynasty. A few of the former escaped and formed "Triad Societies" to prepare for the revolution.

THE HISTORY OF WUZUQUAN ( FIVE ANSECTORS BOXING)

A monk, Wu Siin, who belonged to a royal family of the Ming Dynasty (the dynasty which preceded Ching Dynasty) seek refuge at the "Tung Tang" Monastery and later became a hermit at Mount. Tung Yat of the Quanzhou, Fujian Province where the present Fujian Shaolin Temple is. In the Monastery, started teaching the art of Tai-Chu. He had so many students who later became expertise in the art. The zeal and enthusiasm of the students continued to grow at a tremendous rate that Tai-Chu became well-known throughout the provinces of China.

During the reign of Thung T'zi of the Ching Dynasty, Li Junren of Yung Chun District learned the arts from Kuan Yee Ren, a disciple of Monk Wu Siin from Kiang-Si. Several years later, he returned to Yung Chun province and reviewed "Pai Herk Quan" or 'White Crane' and "Houquan" or "Monkey Style". After more than l0 years of self-studies and meditation, he concluded that each of the branches of families of Chinese Martial Arts had its own subtleties and weak-points. Bearing this in mind, he set out to travel to all the provinces of China, studying and gathering all the unique aspects of the families' styles prevailing at that time, and integrating them into the core of Shaolin Wuzuquan. He started teaching the art of Shaolin Wuzuquan to many disciples. It was in the person of Li Junren that Shaolin Wuzuquan took its present shape. Shaolin Wuzuquan is a combination of 5 styles namely:

(1) Tai-Chu Chuen
(2) Lo-Han Chuen
(3) Pai-Herk Chuen or "White Crane"
(4) Ho-Chuen or 'Monkey Style'
(5) Shyuan Nee Chuen

Li Junren publicised his Shaolin Wuzuquan broadly and accepted many as his disciples. During the reign of Kuang-Hsi (The last emperor of the Ching Dynasty, 1875-1909), Li Junren passed on his Shaolin Wuzuquan nephew the late Kan Teck Guan who amplified and further developed the arts of Shaolin Wuzuquan.

Later on, Kan migrated to Southeast Asia and spread in Singapore. Great Grandmaster Kan passed away in 1946. His sons, the late Kan Oh Hai, the late Kan Oh Cheong, Kan Oh Nam and some of his disciples continued with the teaching of the Wuzuquan in Singapore, Brunei Darusalam and Malaysia. One of his most gifted followers, Grandmaster Lim Leng Huat, who is an expert not only in Shaolin Wuzuquan but also in other associated aspects of Shaolin, is the first Chief Instructor of the Nanyang Wushu Federation of Sarawak, and an Honorary Instructor of several Associations in Singapore. He passed away in 1994. His disciple, Prof. Dr. Song Swee Hee, the present Instructor-in-Chief was entrusted with the duties to further promote this time honored traditional martial arts of Chinese origin.

* Chinese Wushu is also known as Chinese Kuoshu , Chinese Chuen Shu, Chi Chi in the past

The Hierarchy of Wushu


PATTERN DISPLAY


White Crane Style

by Yeo Liew Yian

BroadSword Display

by Yeo Liew Yian

BroadSword Display

by Yeo Liew Yian

Elbow Strike

by Yeo Liew Yian

Lion Opening Its Mouth
by Yeo Liew Yian

Cudgel

by Yeo Liew Yian

Changquan

by Lai Lee Sze

BroadSword

by Lai Lee Sze

Sword Display

by Lai Lee Sze 

Sword Display

by Lai Lee Sze

BroadSword Display
by Prof. Dr Song Swee Hee

BroadSword Display

by Prof. Dr Song Swee Hee

Broad Sword Display

by Prof. Dr Song Swee Hee

'Kuan Tao' Display

by Prof. Dr Song Swee Hee

Southern Style of Shaolinquan

by Prof. Dr Song Swee Hee 

'Kuan Tao' Display

by Prof. Dr Song Swee Hee