It has been a long time since we added to our Shaolin pages. There are a number of reasons for this. First is that that word "Shaolin" as a designation can be used in a very general sense sort of like the word "non-fiction" which definitely does NOT mean "fact". At the same time the quality of the Shaolin offerings have ranged from very good to just-for-tourists. Here we have a new collection with expert advisors including our friend Professor Kang Ge Wu. Because these are for the most part authentic traditional forms you can expected some performances by some very old pratitioners. While not always athletically impressive the very fact they kept up their practice and preserved their arts through China's recent history makes many of these demonstrations worthy of attention not to mention there is here contained a compendium of strange weapons, good mentoring, some downright great sets and taste of a wine no longer being produced.
NOTE: Though this extensive collection looks to be well chosen we will continue with our mandate and review and hand select for sales only those presentations we deem deserving of note.
Buy any two DVDs from this page and get a ten percent (10%) discount,
About 60 Minutes each, Mandarin/ English subtitles
#24804 Shaolin Six Harmony Duet
Demonstrator: Liu Bao Shan A Triple DVD
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Here Liu Bao Shan sits in the background as advanced students perform
the Liu He paired boxing. Don't expect extreme subtlety, this is
a conditioning set where gang (hard) meets gang. This is the best
performance of this set, created in the Qing dynasty, by the monk
Zhan Ju, which we have seen yet. Even the highly ritualized “passing
steps” make sense in this content. Liu Bao Shan learned it
from his father Liu Jin gWen. At one point Liu Bao Shan actually
performs the entire set with his disciples though slowly and a little
tentatively. The set may seem quite long but it is not too complicated.
It's just that both sides are repeated without pause so you could
learn one side, practice for a while and then add the “facing”
side later. If you want an authentic two person routine from the
Temple itself, consider this.
#24806 Shaolin Six Harmony Spear on the ground
Demonstrator: Li Bao Shan A Double DVD
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This is one of the few two person spear forms we are familiar with. A first note, we STRONGLY suggest that, should you chose to practice this form, you use blunted spear heads or just staves. Spear can be a very dangerous weapon to fool with. This is a symmetrical set, meaning when you practice one side you immediately flip and assume the opposite role. The actions are lively and fast but not theatrical. This Double DVD gives enough instruction for a couple of dedicated students to actually pick up the moves. Nice variety, one and two handed actions, a number of nice “loops” which can be extracted from the set and taken for more specific skills practice. The initial demonstration is with the elder player Li Bao Shan himself playing with his students. The teaching sections are Li’s students who are well versed in the form..
Boy, did we sell out quickly on this one! We're digging around for more, but until then, add your name to the want list and we'll let you know when these come back.
#24814 Shaolin Rooster Claw Sickle
Demonstrator: Cui Xi Qi
Yes, this is one of the seldom seen weapons. This demonstration by elder Cui Xi Qi (born in 1922! And a student of Li Gen Sheng )shows the use of these double handed weapons. The form itself is relatively short and though measured in inches some of the jumps could certainly be performed in feet. The restrictions of age aside this is obviously a traditional and not contemporary set. The imprimatur of authenticity is supplied by the appearance of Kang Ge Wu in the introductory notes of the entire series.
What do we notice about the usage? The overall structure of the set might be substituted with a pair of Tiger Hooks. The construction being a little different there is probably more emphasis on hooking and pulling. Not a difficult form to learn if you have some basics. .
#24819 Shaolin Meteor Hammer A Double DVD
Chen Tong Shen is quite expert at the Meteor Hammer (Rope Dart). This form is also solid and based strongly on traditional uses of the weapon. What that means is that the actions are not altered by a weapon so light that there is no danger element in wielding it. As one might assume, the explanation of the movements is particularly important here. Though not always perfect English the explanations here are just about as good as you can get considering the requirements of the execution. In this case having a Double DVD is definitely to your advantage, the more details the better.
#24826 Shaolin Seven Star Fist A Double DVD
Wang Zhan Yang, Dharma name De Yuan, boon in 1900 from Deng Feng. His father was Wang Chao Fan a famous boxer. He was apprenticed to the director of Shaolin, Su Xi. He's won many championships. He is the president of the Song Shan Shaolin Jing Wu school.
This fist is famous. Its requirements are to move the head like a monkey, the body like a dragon, and walk like a rooster. This is a powerful form with emphasis on a distinctly Shaolin movement where you compress the body a great deal then explode outward. It is casual yet powerful with some semblance, energetically, to Xing Yi. There are no garish movements, as the narration states. Not a terribly long form it repeats some sections and is learnable, though will require some stamina to perform well.
Wang Hai Ying gives a vigorous performance of Shaolin Eagle Claw. Not only is this hefty practitioners surprisingly fast and agile, but he is fast. Is there some trace of Contermporary Wushu here, probably, but that will be the fact of the future. Yet there is far less posing and a much greater variety of usage here than we see in the eagle-wannabes. Not an easy set if you actually want to do the broom, tornado, jump, turning crescents et al. Eagle Claw is a beautiful and acrobtic boxing but it is best when there is content accompanying the skill. Wang himself if a native of the DengFeng area around the Temple. He was taught by Wang XiBi (his father), Monk Su Xi and Monk Wang Chao Fan. He teaches at his own school, police academies and for large production companies presenting Shaolin as performances arts. He is considered by some to by one of the 100 top boxers in China.
#24831 Shaolin Heaven and Earth Saber
Qian Kun saber
This is performed with a thick, ghost head saber, though it can be performed with a normal broadsword. A short set but with some unusual movements this exercise is, to our eyes, relatively easy to learn and fun to perform. A nice, compact experience with an unusual form of "knife".
#24863 Shaolin Big Six Harmony Boxing
Demonstrator: Shi Xing Sen A Double DVD
The Six Harmony seems to be an entire lineage and branch of the wider Shaolin system. This "big" version comes from Li Xia, a respected teacher in DengFang county. It was released to the public by Zhang Shu Ji. A relatively simple set it relies on the explosive power of the shuffle for most of the footwork. It also has the characteristic that when one leg kicks the other follows in a jump kick or some foot movement. This is a good one if you want to learn a Shaolin set that is appropriate to younger, energetic students but not too hard to catch.
#24868 Shaolin Pouncing Tiger Boxing
Demonstrator: Shi Xing Sen
This inheritance comes from the famous Shaolin Buddhist monk, Fu Ju, in the Song Dynasty. It is said to have dated back to an exhibition where Fu Ju invited 18 masters to Shaolin. Demonstrator Shi has studied under many experts including Zhao jiang and Zhang Guang Jin, also Liang Song Hua and Wang Zhang Yang. This is a short form with a lot of action and very few movements that "look" like Tiger (more of a Southern Kung Fu style). But it is fierce with leaping action, uppercuts, dynamic tension and quick movements. Easy to learn. As a side note we saw Shi Xing Sen perform in Zhengzhou International Shaolin Competition way back in 1994.
#24800 Background on the Shaolin Temple
This DVD comes with a warning. At the top it says "Follow Me in Chinese" but they don't necessarily mean your are going to hear English. While it definitely does have English subtitles we would more correctly call them "fractured English". It's a stretch to follow the story but the scenes of Shaolin and the background is very interesting including the story behind why a Taoist temple (which Shaolin was) would convert to Buddhism, the key place it played in the spread of Zhen, and many legends and stories. Think of listening to them at bedtime from a grandmother with a HEAVY accent.