Shaolin Zen Meditation, Martial Arts and Medicine

Shaolin: Zen Meditation, Martial Arts and Medicine

The Shaolin Temple in China is the center for traditional martial arts in China, and in recent years has become the focus of quite a cult, with very high prices even to visit the Temple.

What is little known is that it actually has three schools within its tradition, and this documentary focuses on the least known, but most holistic, which incorporates both meditation (chan), the martial arts (wu) and medicine (yi).

The film basically centers around the life and traditions of the legendary master Shi Dejian and his principal student Wu Nanfang, who demonstrate the practice throughout the documentary.

Shi Dejian has become something of a cult figure himself, and there are many videos of him balanced precariously on precipices weaving back and forth in the Songshan mountains, and from which he never seems to fall.

The documentary shows how Chan or meditation forms the basis of the other two arts, and how they work together to provide a holistic solution, balancing mind and body in a healthy way.

One of the more interesting things it that it shows how a lot of the movements in Wu have actually come from stylised forms of work, like sweeping, hoeing and so on.

The monks in this tradition are living quite remotely, without all the glamour of the more famous Wu monks, living out the traditions they have inherited, rather than exploiting them.


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