The Brutal Training to Become a Shaolin Monk

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Image: via What’s On Xiamen

Man being carried with spears in neck and chest

One man hauls up two ropes and hooks them under either arm as suddenly their tautness threatens to split him in two. Harnessed to the other end of each rope is an ox, a pair of beasts pulling with all their weight and power in opposite directions. Grimacing, the man in the middle of this struggles to keep his limbs, let alone his balance, and yet he stays centred like a rock. The man is a Shaolin Warrior Monk, and tasks like these are de riguer – part of the brutal daily training through which he will achieve not only formidable strength and resilience but physical, mental and spiritual harmony.


Image: via Z.K.’s blog

Practicing the meditative art of qigong, a profound wisdom and mysterious power that uses controlled breathing and graceful movements to circulate qi – or energy flow – throughout the body, Shaolin Monks gain the ability to perform near superhuman feats. As these disciples of Kung Fu learn to summon qi, they can direct this life energy to different parts of the body, which are thus bestowed with incredible toughness – made as strong as steel and able to withstand and deliver tremendously powerful blows.

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Image: via Hatena Group

Monk punching a wooden post

It is through qigong that the crown of a man’s head can break stones and iron plates; that the hands can smash bricks and break solid sticks, and the feet splinter rocks and staffs. Even the most vulnerable parts of the body can become impervious to otherwise deadly attacks from bladed weapons such as swords: the stomach can resist lying on the sharp point of a trident or the throat the thrust of a man’s spear simply through gathering qi to that region of the body to prevent it from being injured.

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