No announcement yet.

Traditional Gong Fu in Shaolin Temple

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Traditional Gong Fu in Shaolin Temple


    Are you aware of any decisions concerning the increase of traditional gong fu being taught to future and current monks, as opposed to wushu? It seems that anyone who actually drags themselves down to Henan are going to be interested in studying traditional stuff, not wushu. And I would imagine that goes for students who are interested in studying with monks who eventually establish schools abroad too. Is the high command not aware of these concerns; surely it's in their best interests to decrease the wushu that goes on there, if only with the monks and foreign students. It's not necessary to go to China to learn good wushu, it is if you're interested in learning traditional stuff. From what I've heard, Yongxins new temple in Austria is run by monks who only posses a knowledge of contemporary wushu and hardly any traditional stuff at all. If that's true then that is highly pathetic to me and is an exact example of what will be happening in the future if it stays this way...

  • #2
    The thing is, wushu is the money maker in China.... And it is there sport..... that is what everyone trains in there for competition. Also the whole thing about teaching foriegners the traditional stuff is an issue with some. There are still a lot of ways into getting the traditional stuff, you have to know how to do it, where to go, etc.....
    I don't like it now too much either, not that I've gone there to study (yet). I think it would be good for the monks to learn the traditional, it is part of the wuseng's chan practice... but so is everything.
    practice wu de


    • #3
      You asked for it, lol. I wrote about this back in September 2002. Clairvoyant mother****er am I.... I repeat it here, for your pleasure (copied from the Archive), as it is a very important topic. Not just the trademark of the Shaolin name stuff, which I include here to make the thread appear to have more "sense", but the changes in traditional gong fu training at the temple. There's a lot to go through, but, as it is a big issue, and probably the biggest issue concerning Shaolin right now, I suggest you spend some time digesting all of this.

      More later...

      The legal ramifications of trademarking the Shaolin name. September 2002

      Well, I think that first, I have to make something perfectly clear. I am not a lawyer.

      I wake up every morning and I praise the various gods that I made the decision years ago not to go to law school.

      With that said, I must admit that I find this issue interesting, to say the least. Especially given Shi Yong Xin’s various stances, or, at least, my interpretation of Yong Xin’s stances, on the wuseng, otherwise known as the martial monks. Maybe a little background information is in order.

      The relevant history

      Historically and presently, there were and are two types of monks, with each type having different and varying degrees of the other type’s characteristics. All the monks were Buddhist, but their training in Buddhism varied, from bare minimal attention, to a life of complete devotion to Buddhist studies. On the other hand, the wuseng, or, the so-called martial monks, primarily devoted their studies to the training of gong fu. The martial monks also trained in Buddhist activities to varying degrees; the so-called Buddhist monks trained in gong fu. Over the past few years, one could find monks who devoted their lives entirely to the study of Buddhism, even though, as children, they were trained in gong fu. One could also find warrior monks, some who dealt heavily in Buddhism, some who demonstrated a moderate devotion, and others who really only cared about gong fu, though, claimed, to be “Buddhist monks”. It was quite the variety.

      Shaolin temple underwent some serious changes over the past few years, partly because of the ascension of the new abbot, Shi Yongxin. Most of these changes, though harsh at the time, have probably been for the better. But, as with all things, there has been some “growing pains”, in my opinion, with the transfer and assumption of power. Yongxin was well aware of the fact that the areas surrounding Shaolin temple had become, to some degree, a circus. Schools of varying quality were scattered throughout the previously beautiful Shaolin valley, stores had been erected, which sold all sorts of trinkets and other shit, right next to the temple walls. Restaurants, theaters, and all sorts of other kitsch tourist attractions enveloped the area. The end result, was a peaceful beautiful temple surrounded by not so peaceful and not definitely not so beautiful surroundings. It was deteriorating into quite the mess.

      Yongxin realized this, and, supposedly, because of pressure from one of China’s major Buddhist organization, he went through the motions to clean up the area. Part of this reason was China’s (and no doubt, Yongxin’s) desire to have the Shaolin temple achieve UNESCO World Heritage status. In order to return Shaolin to the once majestic Buddhist temple that it was, the village, schools, and tourist traps had to go. Also, there appeared to be a move to get the inhabitants of Shaolin more oriented towards a Buddhist life, as opposed to a martial one. The result, at the time, a short few years back, was the apparent alienation of some of the more experienced wuseng. Quite a few of the true martial monk masters felt a desire to leave, and go to other temples, for various reasons. The reasons for this might be varied and complex, and, no doubt they are only known to Yongxin, but, one might suggest one or more of three possibilities:

      One, that Yongxin, at that time the new abbot of Shaolin, wanted to move the orientation of the temple more towards a Buddhist lean, and less towards a martial arts one. Yongxin has martial arts training, but, even more important, is his rather extensive Buddhist training. His personal lean, years ago, in various people’s opinion, was more oriented towards Buddhist studies, and not martial arts. The wuseng might have felt a little “unwanted” when the new sheriff in town didn’t feel a need to have them around.

      Two, Yongxin might have gotten a little disgusted with the performance, actions, and concept of the wuseng. Some, as I’ve mentioned earlier, had great interest in Buddhist studies. Others, had no interest at all. The compliance with the various Buddhist monk “rules” varied to a great deal. Yongxin might simply have felt that, like the circus that had evolved outside the temple grounds, the wuseng had to go. Maybe they just were not going to fit in Yongxin’s new interpretation of Shaolin.

      Third, and more devious, was the possibility that Yongxin just wanted to “clean house”, that is, keep the monks that he knew were going to be loyal to him, and, that were going to support his new position of power, and “move out” the ones that he suspected of possible future disloyalty. Various actions and events over the past few years can be interpreted to support this possibility.

      It’s all educated speculation, based on interpretation and evaluation of various events over the years. The truth, is probably only known to a very few, and in my mind, he’s not going to talk about it.

      So, a few years ago, the martial monks scattered to some degree. The emphasis was on reiterating the Buddhist aspects of Shaolin. This change was noted by various people, including myself, and commentary on this appeared on web sites, my own included. The movement to remove martial arts from the birthplace of martial arts became a relatively hot topic, and, if you search on, you will find, from about one or two years ago, rather extensive discussions on this topic. But, things change, as they always do.

      “Shaolin monk” tours started evolving, and various schools in the Shaolin valley started getting involved with various promoters to do tours, especially in Europe, as genuine “Shaolin monks”. Well, the whole concept of students traveling around the world, doing performances, and presenting themselves as “genuine Shaolin monks”, must have eventually been disconcerting to the powers that be at Shaolin. One reason might be the fact that this was an affront to the sacredness of being a Shaolin monk, the other, might be the fact that, from a capitalistic point of view, Shaolin gong fu is a more successful draw world wide than Shaolin Buddhism. No doubt, Yongxin figured this out over a period of time, and, eventually, one started to see “performances” of Shaolin warrior monks, in a poorly traveled eastern side alley of the temple grounds. Also, decisions were made to rebuild the decrepit wushu guan, in an attempt to lure foreign students, and no doubt, their money, to Shaolin. The whole idea of having foreign students travel thousands of miles to travel with former Shaolin temple monks, in their own schools, away from the financial coffers of the Shaolin temple, must have been slightly disconcerting. Besides, from an economic standpoint, it was a good idea to keep it all with the temple.

      Then came the period of village destruction, which started back in September 2000. The Henan government made the atrocious move to “relocate” the inhabitants of Shaolin village, including the schools, businesses, and homes. It was met with widespread outrage, and local demonstration. Images had been forwarded to me, and I posted them, along with a running commentary on events, as they happened, on a daily basis, on Eventually, the Shaolin community on the internet was buzzing with this outrage, and, eventually, the “relocation” ended. It was only to continue a year later, but, with a more gentle and fair approach. The movement of the village Shaolin schools to nearby Dengfeng and Zengzhou accomplished what the powers that be wanted: to clean out Shaolin village and attempt to return it to it’s previous historical condition. It also had the “unexpected” achievement of eliminating the local gong fu teaching competition.

      The world wide performances were another matter. Eventually, one tour, a performance group chosen by the temple itself, started traveling on tour. The other groups seem to have disappeared. The reason is unknown to me, but, knowing that each country has it’s own trademark laws, and methods of enforcing them, one can only imagine. Yongxin was starting to protect the Shaolin name worldwide, through a simple method of having his boys do the only “certified” performances. It was a good move on his part. The protection of the name, “Shaolin”, was going to be a different matter.

      Definition of trademark

      The US definition of “trademark” is as follows: “A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. (US government). Obviously, the name “Shaolin” implies the Shaolin temple, which in turn not only implies the “birthplace of Chan Buddhism”, but, also, and more well known, the “birthplace of martial arts”. It is a much revered name in the world of the martial arts, and, since, over the past ten years, there has been an increased exposure of Shaolin gong fu and the monks, there is a very popular resurgence in all things “Shaolin”. It is not uncommon for various martial arts schools and systems, to use the name “Shaolin”, for purposes of attempting to legitimize their art, or, increase its commercial value and appeal, all, without any regard to having any sort of connection with the Shaolin arts, as they are taught in the temple. One can liken the commercial usage and association of “Shaolin” with various other arts such as Judo, Kempo, or Shotokan, with the concept of claiming that your Hyundai has a Porsche derived suspension. Granted, all martial arts have, to some degree, roots in Shaolin. But it must be understood, that not all martial arts, are Shaolin gong fu, as they have been, or as they presently are, taught in the temple. There are major differences, and no doubt, Yongxin eventually figured this out. One would think….

      One would also think that Yongxin realized the commercial value of Shaolin gong fu. It seems to be a common movement by these wuseng, now, and historically, to travel and spread their doctrine. Over the centuries, the purpose seemed to have been mutual edification. Presently, another evil has interjected itself into that equation: money. Let’s face it, Shaolin is hot now, and Shaolin has a financial worth to it. What one finds interesting nowadays, is the fact that there are Shaolin monks who have left the temple over the years, to various countries, to spread their doctrine. What is also interesting, is, from various observations, that the temple proper seems to endorse the monks that Yongxin sent forth. The monks who have left prior to Yongxin’s ascension, or, those without any ties, seem to get minimal to no recognition; in fact, some of them are shown downright ignorance or indignation. The reasons behind this are unknown, but, the concept of control and commercialism come to mind.

      Trademark rights

      It is fully understandable why Yongxin wants to control the “Shaolin” name. And to do so, one usually needs a trademark. According to the US government (again, interpretations ans laws vary from country to country), one derives certain rights from having a registered trademark. They are: 1, constructive notice to the public of the registrant's claim of ownership of the mark; 2, a legal presumption of the registrant's ownership of the mark and the registrant's exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods and/or services listed in the registration; 3, the ability to bring an action concerning the mark in federal court; 4, the use of the U.S registration as a basis to obtain registration in foreign countries; and 5, the ability to file the U.S. registration with the U.S. Customs Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods. Having the “Shaolin” trademark, worldwide, would grant Yongxin and the temple certain privileges.

      Relevant court cases

      It’s going to be a tough sell though. There have been many court cases in the US, which discuss this concept of trademarks, more specifically, the trademark of generics. Two cases, one in a state Supreme court, another in a federal district court, demonstrate the difficulties associated with trademarking the “Shaolin” name.

      The first, WSM, Incorporated, Appellant, v. Dennis E. Hilton and Country Shindig Opry, Inc., Appellees, consisted of the following issue:

      WSM first made commercial use of the word "opry" in 1927 when the WSM Barn Dance Radio Program, which immediately followed a program of classical music, was referred to as the "Grand Ole Opry." "Grand Ole Opry" was registered as a trademark by WSM on July 11, 1950. WSM registered "Opryland USA" on February 6, 1973, a design of the same name on February 26, 1974, "Opryland Hotel" on February 17, 1981, and a design on April 14, 1981, "Opryland" for an amusement park on April 28, 1981, and "Opryland Talent Agency" on August 4, 1981.

      "Opry" was registered by WSM on January 12, 1982. Over the years WSM has operated the various enterprises, including the presentation of the Grand Ole Opry.

      Dennis Hilton commenced operating the Country Shindig on May 25, 1970, and used that name until the summer of 1973 when the business name was changed to Denny Hilton's Country Shindig Opry Show. As found by the district court, the name was changed after Hilton learned that potential customers believed that the show consisted wholly of dancing. On February 17, 1976, Hilton became the owner of a registered mark known as "Country Shindig."

      In each of the years 1979 through 1982, WSM demanded that Hilton cease his alleged infringement of the mark "Grand Ole Opry." This action was brought in the spring of 1982 making the following claims against Hilton and the Country Shindig Opry: (1) infringement of WSM's registered trademarks in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1114(1) (1963); (2) engaging in unfair competition in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1125 (1982) and Missouri common law; and (3) diluting the distinctiveness of WSM's trademarks in violation of § 417.061 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri.

      Following a two-day trial, the court entered its order and extensive findings of fact. n2 The court stated that the word "opry" is a dialectical variation of "opera," which has been in common use from the eighteenth century to the present, and that "opry" has been and is now used to describe a show consisting of country music, dancing, and comedy routines. The court found that the public is aware of the different ownership of the Grand Ole Opry and Denny Hilton's Country Shindig Opry Show and has exhibited no confusion in distinguishing them. WSM, Inc. v. Hilton, 545 F. Supp. 1212, 1214-16 (W.D. Mo. 1982).

      It basically boiled down to one issue, and that is, the ability to trademark the word “opry”. The courts decided that this word was a “generic” term, which the courts describe as “A generic term refers to a particular genus or class of which an individual article or service is but a member. The test for deciding whether a word has become a generic title of a product or service is one of buyer understanding, whether buyers understand by the word for whose use the parties are contending.” Basically, a generic term is one that has actual common usage. If a term is generically used, then it is assumed that it is common, and that it is used in association with many different, easily discernible, things. The US legal system considers whether a term is generic or not by using the following test: “The ultimate test of whether or not there is a confusing similarity between a designation and a trademark or trade name which it is alleged to infringe is the effect in the market in which they are used. In any event, the issue is whether an appreciable number of prospective purchasers of the goods or services in connection with which the designation and the trademark or trade name are used are likely to regard them as indicating the same source. That a few particularly undiscerning prospective purchasers might be so misled is not enough.” Basically, if the general public views a term as relating to one identifiable good or service, and that public, because of the use of the term, cannot judge the actual origin of the good or service, than, that term is probably not going to be considered generic, and trademark infringement is likely. “To avoid unreasonably restraining the public's use of the language, the exclusive appropriation of generic words must be discouraged. The public has an interest in the "natural enrichment of the language [and the prevention of the] 'diminution of the language through private acquisition.'" Folsom and Teply, Trademarked Generic Words, 89 Yale L.J. 1323, 1346 n.110 (1980) (citations omitted).”

      It gets a little more complicated. From the above example, it is readily noted that commonly used words, that have no identifying meaning that allocate them to one owner, cannot be a factor in trademark infringement. But, more importantly, and more relevant, is the understanding of what can and cannot be trademarked. The following case is more relevant, with respect to this Shaolin issue.


      The plaintiffs wanted to prevent the defendants from using the term “Christian Science” in any name or organization, not affiliated with the plaintiff’s organization. The story, which is quite interesting, is as follows.

      Christian Science is a religion founded by Mary Baker Eddy in 1866. As the religion grew, there developed an organizational structure. In 1879 The Church of Christ, Scientist, was founded in Lynn, Massachusetts. From 1881 until 1889 Mrs. Eddy was principal of the Massachusetts Metaphysical College, which was replaced by the First Church of Christ, Scientist (the "Mother Church"), established in 1889 and relocated in Boston, Massachusetts in 1892. 2 J. Melton, The Encyclopedia of American Religions 74-77 (1978). Plaintiff Board of Directors is a Massachusetts corporation that conducts the business of the Mother Church. The Church has a separate publishing arm, governed by the plaintiff Board of Trustees.

      The Mother Church, which is the center of a world-wide religious organization, bears the formal name "The First Church of Christ, Scientist." Local members of the organization consist of branch churches or societies, the difference between the two being primarily a matter of size. Branch churches are formally designated "First Church of Christ, Scientist," followed by a geographical designation, unless they are the second or third branch within one city, in which case the numerical designation changes. These names are prescribed by the Church Manual, and are provided for in New Jersey by statute, N.J.S.A. 16:3-2. Typically, the branch churches establish "Christian Science Reading Rooms," where publications relating to the religion are made available to the public.

      The individually-named defendants are trustees of the defendant church (the "Plainfield Church"), which was formerly a branch church affiliated with plaintiffs. The Plainfield Church became an authorized branch of the Mother Church in 1892, the year the Mother Church was first located in Boston. In 1977 a doctrinal schism developed between the Boston organization and the Plainfield Church. On June 16, 1977, plaintiff Board of Directors gave notice that it was withdrawing its recognition of the Plainfield Church as a branch of the Mother Church. The letter of notice also declared, "Former First Church, Plainfield, no longer has the legal right to identify itself publicly as a 'Church of Christ, Scientist' or a 'Christian Science Church' or in any other way use the term 'Christian Science' or similar words to describe any of its activities."

      After receipt of this notice, defendants began taking steps to disassociate the Plainfield Church from the Mother Church. The Plainfield Church terminated its status as a corporation formed under N.J.S.A. 16:3-1 to -11 (which refer consistently to "church of Christ, Scientist," and nowhere use the expression "Christian Science church"), and reincorporated as a general religious corporation under N.J.S.A. 16:1-1 to -12. It adopted the name "Independent Christian Science Church of Plainfield, New Jersey."

      Plaintiffs filed this suit on July 21, 1980. Their cause of action rested on asserted trade mark and service mark rights in the phrases "Church of Christ, Scientist" and "Christian Science." They sought to enjoin defendants
      from using as the name of, or in connection with, any church, religious group, society, association, organization, or service now existing or which may be organized or exist, independently of the Mother Church and its branches, the names or designations, "Church of Christ, Scientist," "First Church of Christ, Scientist," "Branch Church of Christ, Scientist," "Christian Science Church," "Independent Christian Science Church," "Christian Science Reading Room," "Independent Christian Science Reading Room," or any name so similar thereto as to be likely to deceive the public or lead to confusion.

      Plaintiffs alleged that the terms used by defendants so nearly resembled plaintiffs' names and marks (trademarks and service marks) as to be likely to cause confusion, mistake, and deception, to constitute false representation, and to result in unfair appropriation of plaintiffs' name, reputation, and good will. They charged that use of the terms constituted a false designation of origin and a false description or misrepresentation under federal trademark law, section 43 of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C.A. § 1125”.

      The opinion offered by the court was relevant:

      “The fact that defendants seek here to use the name "Christian Science Church" now, after plaintiffs have used the phrase with little competition for a long period, makes no difference. Plaintiffs simply cannot appropriate, from the public domain, the common name of a religion and somehow gain an exclusive right to its use and the right to prevent others from using it. This principle is fundamental to the law of trademarks, the body of law under which plaintiffs seek relief.

      Generic names are regarded by the law as free for all to use. They are in the public domain. * * * To grant an exclusive right to one firm of use of the generic name of a product would be equivalent to creating a monopoly in that particular product, something that the trademark laws were never intended to accomplish. [McCarthy, supra, § 12.1 at 521”

      Basically, people cannot appropriate from the common domain the name of a religion and somehow gain an exclusive right to its use and prevent others from using it. This principal is fundamental to the law of trademarks. Also, generic names are regarded by law as free for all to use. They are in the public domain. To grant an exclusive right to one firm of use of the generic name of a product would be equivalent to creating a monopoly in that particular product, something that the trademark laws were never intended to accomplish

      How this relates to the usage of the term “Shaolin”, is going to be interesting, if, it ever becomes an issue that ends up in the US courts. The law is pretty clear about the use and protection of trademarks; what might remain to be seen, is whether or not the term “Shaolin” is commonly used enough by the public domain, to refer to various things, to enable it to be referred to as “generic”. Quite interesting however, is the fact that if you search the US government trademark database, there are currently twenty seven trademarks issued, which contain the word “Shaolin”. Two of them, appear to be trademarks issued to representatives of Shi Guolin, a disciple of Shi Yongxin. The others appear to be unrelated commercial ventures.

      Now, to your questions:

      “In your mind, does this move by the monks signal a turnaround by mainland companies? Does this signal greater knowledge and vigilance amongst Chinese companies? Or should the move by the monks be considered a ‘one-off’ event?”

      I really don’t have any idea what other Chinese mainland companies are doing, or, what they are concerned about. It does appear, that Shi Yongxin is concerned either about the worldwide presentation of Shaolin, or it’s commercial value, or some combination of both. Moves to trademark the name Shaolin in the US is going to meet a certain amount of humorous conflict, as, it is quite commonplace for martial arts schools here to use the term Shaolin in their name, or in their description, even though those schools might not teach anything that closely resembles what has been, or what is currently being, taught at the temple. If the monks, that is, Yongxin, attempts to trademark the term for his own usage, and, he decides to enforce it, he’s going to be spending a lot of time with US attorneys. He’s not going to be able to sell enough books to pay for those legal bills. It seems like a futile effort. .

      “What has prompted the monks ie. Shi Yongxin to do this at this point in
      time? What has provided the motivation?”

      I think that the motivation, if, one has not figured it out by now, might possibly be considered to be the same factor that motivates the rest of the world to trademark a term for their protection. It has to do with commerce, and value. It has to do with money. Why else trademark a term? Because you like it?

      “Would you be able to provide perspective on the monks’ stance, and also in relation to what the ramifications of their current action will be for you and your organisation?”

      I can’t speak for all of the monks, nor can I speak for the ones that I know. I do know that the monks that I’m friendly with, really don’t care to any degree. Some of them have traveled to various parts of the world, and have used the Shaolin moniker, without Yongxin’s permission. The monk’s feelings on the matter seem to be, that any place that they call home, any place that they use to teach their tradition and their gong fu, is a “Shaolin temple”. Which is why, you find, in almost all cases, that name used in various ways, in the names of their respective schools. It’s been my experience that these guys are not interested in legal or business ramifications; they are more concerned with teaching. Issues such as these are just not relevant to them. And as for my organization, I don’t see how it is going to be an issue. Far too many institutions and people use the term, and sometimes, falsely, for their own commercial gain. As I’ve mentioned, people have already trademarked the term Shaolin in combination with other words, not only in this country, but, already, in others. I just don’t see how creating a trademark of the term Shaolin, if, even possible, is going to prevent the current usage of the term in previously trademarked instances. And with such a widespread use of the term, even though it is used incorrectly, dealing with the process of trying to alter this usage would be incredibly expensive, if possible at all. I understand the concerns that Yongxin has, and I understand the reasoning, but, with my very limited understanding of the law, it doesn’t seem possible for Yongxin to successfully achieve his goals in this respect. What’s right is right, but, sometimes, trying to make it right, is not worth it.


      More on trademarking the Shaolin name

      It's an important topic, with many, many future ramifications for all involved, which doesn't seem to be generating any interest.

      I don't know why.

      But, in my opinion, this whole concept of trademarking the Shaolin name is pretty important, and, it deserves some looking into. I've already presented an opinion, based upon some currently accepted legal theory, which seems to point towards the idea that the term "Shaolin" cannot be trademarked. But this opinion is based upon the fact that, at least in my mind, the term "Shaolin" can be considered to be a "generic" term, that is, one that is widely used by many, to describe, more than one object. (It's a place, a stye, a lifestyle, a "religion" or belief system, etc). Now, on the other hand, the term "Shaolin Temple", which is less used as a descriptor, and more used as a place, and, a specific place at that, would probably not be considered to be "generic", and hence, would probably be easily trademarked. The ramifications worldwide of trademarking the term "Shaolin Temple" would affect the few schools who might use that term in their name, and, no doubt, to some degree, currently use that term wrongly; the ramifications of trademarking the term "Shaolin", would affect far, far more people and institutions, especially if the owner of that trademark decided to pursue action against them. The idea of that owner, retaining legal assistance in various countries, to pursue any individual or institution, that used either term, is unexpected at this point in time, but, in my mind, I think that this is an issue which might evolve.

      I received an interesting email from an attorney friend about this very issue. It raises an interesting and very important point:

      "About trademarking Shaolin and enforcing it. It's doable. It would take time and money, but not as much as you might think. A large law firm looking through the phone directories for organizations misappropriating the trademark followed up by demand letters to all offenders would go a long way to establishing the seriousness of Shaolin's posture. Many would comply immediately. Others could be dealt with short of litigation. Some might require litigation, though odds are they could not afford to defend their school's name in federal court. In time, with diligence, Shaolin could become very exclusive."

      Let's look at some facts, and some unconfirmed though reliable tidbits of information that I've come up with. Just some pieces of the puzzle so to speak. You put it together.

      Fact: There currently is a daily show, presented in the LiYuan theater in Beijing, at noon, which is described as "Shaolin Kungfu". The brochure reads as follows: "Every day during lunchtime LiYuan Operatic Theater exclusively shows you a brand new rolling program, Shao Lin Kungfu that is performed by martial monks of the Shao Lin Temple from Song mountain. They perform profound Chinese boxing of internal organs exercises and secretly handed down kungfu to protect the Temple. Meanwhile, you may enjoy your free lunch (including six cold dishes, six hot dishes, cakes, fruits, and beverage.)" Interestingly, there appears to be a small picture of Shi Xing Wei on the advertisement. I found this brochure in some of the hotels around Beijing. This same theatre presents a nightly presentation of the famed Peking Opera, which I saw many years ago, and didn't understand. I didn't bother going to see the kungfu show, I've seen it too many times at the wushu guan.

      Unconfirmed: There are four schools in Dengfeng, which is nearby Shaolin village (and, which is the new location for all the Shaolin village wushu schools), that train young kids in the Shaolin arts. Just like all the other schools in this town. I walk by one every morning on my daily hike. The thing that makes these schools different than the rest, is the alleged though reliably sourced tidbit, that the Shaolin abbot, Shi YongXin, either has some sort of affiliation with these schools, or, owns them. It appears to be well known that Yongxin draws performers from these four schools to do Shaolin's worldwide performance tour, of which Wheel of Life was one, and, supposedly, also draws students from these schools, to perform at the WushuGuan in Shaolin village. And, you just don't seem to see various performing troupes wandering around the world doing Shaolin gong fu like you used to....

      Fact: The Shaolin Temple Wushu Guan, which is owned by the local Henan province government, is undergoing a major restoration, all financed by the local Henan government, and, a Chinese national tourist association. The whole center is undergoing a complete restoration, which, it desperately needed. But, what is interesting is, the concept drawing of the planned project. The two training halls have been redone, with new floors, mirrors, and paint, but, what is really getting the attention, is the main performance hall. From the looks of the concept drawings, it appears that the plan is to make it look more like a Las Vegas revue than a basic performance center. Mock ups of the Shaolin temple, smoke machines, spot lights, and other special effects appear to be in the works. The descriptor, engraved in stone and which basically states, that the new wushu guan, is going to be the premier Shaolin gong fu training center in the world for foreigners, was not missed by me.

      Fact: The local Henan government is moving forward with the destruction of Shaolin village. The shopkeepers near Shaolin temple have either moved, or have opened shop in tents. There are some tented areas that appear to have been taken down, no doubt, the product of a forceful evacuation. The rest no doubt, are next. All the schools within the gated area of Shaolin have been moved, to newer, and larger locations, in nearby Dengfeng. The Tagou school, which is located outside the village gated area, and which holds over six thousand students, is slated for destruction soon. The rest of the village, which is outside the gate, is also slated for destruction. The Tagou school is currently building a very large training center in Dengfeng. Many of the shops that were within the Shaolin village limits have moved and have reopened in nearby Dengfeng. It is clear from all of this, that, soon, maybe within a year or two, NOTHING will remain within or near the Shaolin village limits. Nothing except the Shaolin temple, the Taoist temple across from it, and the WushuGuan center, with its performance hall, hotel, and restaurant. Oh, it also appears that they are keeping the Henan government owned "Magic Motion Machine" place. Somebody really needs to bomb that.

      Fact: Shi YongXin, abbot of Shaolin temple, is also a high ranking official, supposedly of the Communist Party, who represents Henan province. A few days ago, the Communist Party met, in their 16th congress, to re-elect officials, and do other business, like, re-elect officials, and, take over all the television stations. Oh, and they closed Tiananmen square for a while. I've been told by reliable sources, that five years ago, during the previous congress, one could see YongXin on the television, amidst the other few hundred representatives. I looked for him this time, and couldn't find him. The television crew, for some strange reason, ( ), spent most of their time portraying the Tibetan representatives. Ah, the joys of propaganda. I do not know if he has been re-elected for the current congress. It appears to be, from multiple sources, that Yongxin is by far not a popular representative in Henan, for multiple reasons. No doubt, the destruction of the village, and the way it was initially undertaken, plays some role in that, but, from what I am told, that is not the major reason. Regardless, these officials are not elected democratically, and no doubt, he will be in the Communist Party Congress for the next five years.

      Fact: Yongxin, representing the Shaolin temple or what have you, has made moves towards trademarking the Shaolin name. In the US, his representatives have trademarked their respective temples, which include the name "Shaolin Temple". From the initial email above, it appears that he has formed some type of company to move forward with this.

      Fact: The local Henan government has completed the rebuilding of the main road from Dengfeng into Shaolin village. A new bridge has been constructed, to bypass the horrible little tunnel that we used to have to drive through. The purpose of this new widened road, is to improve traffic capability, allegedly so that tour buses can be brought into Shaolin village more easily. Tour buses, to bring, tourists. Tourists, with money....

      Fact: New cars are coming to China in droves. There currently is a Porsche dealership in Beijing, along with a brand new Ferrari dealership. But, the prices are ridiculous. In order to purchase a Porsche 911 Carrera, a basic, standard model, which costs $60,000 or so in the US, one would have to spend, in Beijing, close to $130,000 US. The reason? Import taxes. I didn't get a chance to look at the Ferrari's, but, having already looked at the Porsche dealership, actually, on the very first day that they opened last winter, no doubt, the model selection is going to be slim. Not so with the Mercedes, which seems to have a wider selection, and, which seems to draw more and more of the China super elite. You can see, oh so every once in a while, a mid to lower class Mercedes Benz, driven by some very well dressed Chinese. Owning a Mercedes in China is definite proof of upper class, in fact, far more so, than in the US, or some European countries. Owning the top of the line Mercedes, the 500 SL sedan, is yet another level. Driving one of those puts you in the stratosphere of mainland China's elite. (Hong Kong is a different story however). The reason? The price. To buy a 500 SL, with import taxes and all, would cost you, in China, well over $300,000. Owning one of these, is a statement, to say the least.You just don't see these on the streets of Beijing. I never have.

      Fact: Oh, and as for the super exclusive Mercedes Benz 500SL's, YongXin has at least one. Whether it has been purchased, loaned, or donated, I don't know. I've seen him being chauffered around in a dark one, one which appears to have been heavily "reconstructed". Seeing it on the streets of Shaolin is like seeing the Virgin Mary in a whore house. It is a veritable sight to behold. Reportedly, he has a second one which is used for important visitors; it has been seen, with his personal one, parked outside Shaolin temple.

      There is a value that can be assigned to the whole aura and tradition of Shaolin and the Shaolin temple, a concept, which, no doubt has not been missed by certain individuals. Where this will go from here, is anybody's guess, but, from the current thinking which I present here, some obvious episodes are planned for the future.

      Got all that? Now put it together. Trust me, it's going to get interesting.


      They all do that....

      I met rather the interesting individual on the plane the other day, on my way to Thailand. A rather large, hairy, and scruffy looking individual, who appeared to be more at home on a Harley motorcycle, terrorizing small US towns, than living in Thailand. "I live here because I got tired of being arrested by the California police...." He met some young woman in Chiang Mai, "not a bar girl" he emphasized, and got married, the result of which was a small child, and a home in the mountains surrounding Chiang Mai. He spent a good deal of time working in China buiding golf courses, which seemed to be a never ending endeavor for the golf hungry Chinese. He spent months at a time in China, tolerating "that damn food", away from his "lovely" wife. To keep her company, he had bought her a dog, a Golden Retriever, which, previously unknown to me, is a rather popular breed of dog in Chiang Mai.

      His wife had called him up one day, telling him that she was going to have to kill the dog. The story, goes as follows.

      She was working in the kitchen it had seemed, when, after finishing coring the fruit out of some melon, she had thrown the rind into the nearby pond. The dog subsequently brought it back, and dropped it at her feet.

      She was rather disturbed at this behavior, but, initially ignored it. She subsequently took the melon, went outside, and tossed it, as hard and as far as she could, into the nether reaches of the nearby pond.

      The dog brought it back, and dropped it at her feet.

      She yelled at the dog, and made it run away. Then, when the dog was not looking, she took the melon and tossed it yet again, as hard and as far as she could, this time, deep into the nearby woods.

      The dog brought it back, and dropped it at her feet.

      She had gotten very angry at this behavior, so she went and got a stick, with which she beat the dog with, as she showed the dog the ill gotten melon, to his face. She beat the dog so hard, that the stick broke. The dog whimpered away and hid, and she took the broken stick and tossed it into the nearby woods, with the remains of the melon.

      The dog brought the stick back.

      Her husband explained to her, that, the dog was a retriever, and that, "that is what they do". Once she understood the natural tendencies of this type of dog, to retrieve things, she took a liking to the dog, and spent part of her days, throwing stuff, so the dog could go get it and return it to her.

      "They all do that..." How true.

      I thought of this story when I was reading an Asian version of Newsweek magazine, here in Thailand. The story got into some well known details of the recent change of power in the Chinese communist party. Jiang Zhemin, at the age of 76, stepped down (he's still president), along with his vice president, and partner, Li Peng. In fact, the whole of the nine member CCP board changed, with some younger and newer faces gracing the powerful committee. Jiang however, was not to be out of power in the communist party, for he moved to some chairmanship of a very powerful military committee. And, five of the new party board members were proteges of Jiang, which basically meant, that Jiang still had some powerful influence in the communist party. Political liasons are important in China, not only for power, but for money as well.

      The privatization of China's state businesses is opening up incredible opportunities for those who have the connections, and the abilities, to take advantage of them. The powerful Chinese politicians have learned this over the decades, and a good deal of them have taken advantage of it. Supposedly, six of the new party board members have had some sort of ties with Chinese "big business"; their family members and friends have been discovered to be involved with all sorts of business dealings and other major "opportunities". In fact, Li Peng's son was found to have been involved with some sort of "opportunity", in Shanghai, worth somewhere around sixty million US dollars. The local populace, a group of people who generally have nothing, and who work very hard for it, took insult at these well known political "behind the scenes" type dealings, and tried to harm Li Peng's son at some time in the past. For a communist country, which does not allow the general populace to express their feelings politically, the general populace, when disgusted with certain types of behaviors, has no problem showing that, some times through acts of violence aimed at the ones that provoke the public's ire. Li Peng's son alleged connections and greed just happened to be one of those things.

      "They all do that..."

      Shi Yong Xin is well known to be a very intelligent man, whose mind is always "turning", as it was described to me. Always thinking, always on the move, always wondering about new opportunities. He's supposedly a smart man, in a scary type of way, to the general public. A member of the national communist party, and, a powerful representative of the Zengzhou area in Henan province, YongXin is not only well known, he's supposedly incredibly wealthy. And, he travels in a circle of very powerful people, of which, some are his close (and allegedly, only) friends. Included in this small circle is the leader of the party based in Zengzhou; the "governor", for lack of a better term, of Zengzhou and Henan province. And, he's also very close friends with Li Peng, the ex-vice president of China. Through that friendship, he has had the ear of Jiang Zhemin, and, from the events that had transpired during this web site's reporting of the Destruction of Shaolin Village (See Fugue/Destruction), one might suggest that Zhemin has had "the ear" of YongXin. (After started reporting the initial destruction phases of Shaolin village, apparently, major news organizations followed the events on this web site also, one being, the Voice of America, which, at one of the UN meetings that was discussing China's entry into the WTO, approached the Chinese ambassador about the "humanitarian issues" at the birth place of Chan, Shaolin Village. The ambassador, knowing nothing about the destruction, contacted Jiang about the public insult in the UN. The wanton destruction in the village stopped immediately, only to be re-undertaken a year later, but, this time, with more provisions made to the people that were forcibly relocated.) YongXin's other friends allegedly include very powerful and very wealthy Hong Kong businessmen, some with interesting alleged ties to certain elements. Hey, it's business in China.

      But, it has a way of working, despite the fact that the common people in China exist without similar, or any, opportunities. One could only imagine how much progress would have been made at the Shaolin temple, and in Shaolin village, without an abbot of Yongxin's abilities and contacts. No doubt his ability to utilize his friendships to his and, supposedly, the temple's advantage, has provided lots of resources that have gone towards all the recent changes in the area. Who will ultimately benefit from all of this, as the Shaolin villagers move out to a future unknown, and as China prepares to submit the Shaolin temple to UNESCO for World Heritage Status, remains to be seen.

      The slow death of traditional gong fu; being careful of how we judge others....

      There's been a lot of progress in the Shaolin temple over the past few months. Many changes, most of which are good, some of which are interesting. As I walked around the temple the other day with Shi De Cheng, which, granted me unlimited access to the temple grounds, (and which I videotaped for you), I noticed many little, "insignificant" changes, changes that signaled some possible interesting background affairs.

      For one, it's clean. And fortunately, because of the cold weather, probably in the low-forties towards the early morning and late afternoon, it was fairly uninhabited by tourists. It gave me an opportunity to really see the true inhabitants of the new Yongxin era temple.

      Now, change is good, provided that it is done with intelligence, planning, and foresight. Change can be good even if it is done haphazardly with little information on which to judge any decisions. There's been lots of changes in Shaolin, and, even though I don't agree with the methods used, the end result appears to be a fairly good one. At least one that needed to happen.

      It all kind of reminded me of the MIddle Ages. The old king is dead, the new one has taken his place. And with the old king, out went the old trusty, reliable, and well experienced knights and other labor. The new king, trusting only his own, fills up his court with serfs and warriors that he is familiar with, that he knows will be loyal to him, and not to the old regime. It's probably not a bad idea, when taking over a new country, to surround yourself with people that you trust, and get rid of the people that you don't. History repeatedly demonstrates this to occur, in many regimes, especially in the last hundred years worldwide.

      One thing that I noticed as I walked around the temple that day, was an apparent change in faces. True, some of the Buddhist monks still inhabited their little pavillions in the temple, keeping them clean and guarded. But, there were many new faces, especially, new faces of something that I didn't see much of when Yongxin first came to power. Martial monks.

      There were lots of them. And of all ages. Not only was there the small demonstration area in the east side of the temple, where some of the younger students of the wushu guan and other local schools, performed, for the absurd price of 100 Yuan (they tried to charge a Canadian 200 Yuan until I intervened), there was a new performance area, in the newly called Shaolin Temple Martial Arts area, previously known as the "museum", where there were many clay figures that had demonstrated various historical scenes (where Shi De Yang used to have his residence). And, covering the fences of these dioramas, were pictures of various martial monks, in various performance poses. The first poster, right near the entrance, had the obligatory picture of Yongxin, with a brief biography. Noteworthy in his bio, other than the acknowledgement of the previously mentioned Chinese National congress representative position, was a statement that he was responsible for the formation of the Shaolin Temple Martial monk performance group, back in 1987. As he was born in 1965, one could assume that he was only 22 when he made this major change at the temple. Next to his bio, was the bio of the head coach of the wushu guan, a monk whose name that I cannot remember, and whose face I'd never seen before, but, whose bio was significant for the fact that he was a disciple of the "gong fu master" Yongxin.

      In fact, I got the impression that all the new faces that were performing the new demonstrations in the temple, were somehow, disciples of Yongxin. The older martial monks seemed to be "not there". Except of course, for Shi Su Gang, who I ran into a few days ago, at the wushu guan. He doesn't seem to have anywhere else to go. Too old to start something new, too Chinese to get an American visa to get out.

      The newly overt presence of the martial aspect of Shaolin, is, well, good, I guess. It's better than a few years ago, when the martial monks, some highly experienced masters, scattered to other temples, because of the new regime. Buddhism was in, gong fu was definitely out. Or, so it had seemed. That was an interesting time, and I remember well the looks on some of the older martial masters, as they wondered where they would go. Lots of young faces now, all picked from various local schools, and some from the wushu guan, all destined to do performances not only at the temple, but on the worldwide tours, which Shaolin seems to have recaptured solely for itself. Some of these individuals will have the opportunity at a later date, when they get older, to take the vows to become monks, no doubt with Yongxin somewhere in the lineage. The others will move on, only to be replaced by younger performers to be. But, one senses something else when one walks around the temple grounds. Something other than the Yongxin books for sale at most every pavillion in the temple. Something other than the renaming of the "Abbot's House" to "Yong Xin". Something other than the very large, and very centrally located dedication stone from the Tagou School, exalting the new abbot and his great deeds.

      One gets the sense of commercialization. The martial arts aspect just seems to be, well, "too much". Now, it's everywhere.

      The areas surrounding the temple have been fairly well "cleaned out". It's actually much nicer now. As opposed to a St. John the Divine cathedral, surrounded by high rises and tenements and traffic in New York city, it's becoming more like the Vatican, a grand religious area on its own grounds. It's becoming rather nice. And, from the Buddhist monks that I've visited with today, it seems readily apparent that the temple is not leaving it's Buddhist roots. True, it is a major tourist attraction, and, the more it gets cleaned up, the more visitation it seems to get. Yongxin, or, the Henan government, or, whoever, is doing something right here. The Buddhist and martial monks appear to be happy, and the temple continues to be rebuilt.

      It's a different temple from when Shi De Cheng, my master, first came here, back in 1980. Back then, the only building that was standing, was the Pilu Pavillion, also called the Thousand Buddha Hall, the very last, and very sacred, pavillion, on the north end of the temple grounds. All the other buildings at that time, previously burned to the ground during the Shi You San raid in 1928, were either in rubble or being rebuilt. De Cheng, his masters, and the few other students of that time, lived in some building just exterior of the northern temple walls. They eventually moved into a newly reconstructed building in the middle part of the eastern section, where we had lunch today (vegetarian monk food, another story), and again, a few years later, moved into the "monk only" zone, in the southeastern part of the temple. That's where I had first met his master, Shi Su Yuan, one of the fourteen of the original monks who had returned after the destruction and craziness of the Cultural Revolution years. (Shi Su Yuan's master, Shi Zheng Xu, had died sometime in the late fifites; DeCheng never met him). The martial monks of that time, all trained in real traditional gong fu, eventually moved to the wushu guan, after its construction in 1988, to better spread the tradition of gong fu, and, interact with foreign students. Besides, at that time, tourism started to increase at the temple, so, it was becoming an uncomfortable place to live. Interestingly enough, it is also during this time, that modern or contemporary wushu training started to appear in Shaolin. No doubt the formation of a performance team necessitated the learning of more performance oriented wushu. To this day, some traditional gong fu is taught at the local schools, the mix appears to be half traditional, half modern wushu. (In the future, expect less traditional training, some schools are leaning more towards wushu for the competition aspects).

      This "movement towards wushu" concept actually is demonstrated nicely by the following scenario. DeCheng learned pure traditional Shaolin gong fu directly from Shi Su Yuan, and from Shi Su Xi (Su Yuan died in 1998, at the age of 78, Su Xi is still alive at 78 or so). Su Xi and Su Yuan learned traditional gong fu from their master, Shi Zheng Xu, a monk, and an abbot, who inhabited the Shaolin temple from the time before the 1928 Shi You San raid. Shi Xing Wei (now 25), DeCheng's disciple, had a few other teachers in the wushu guan, over the ten years or so that he was there. For example, Shi De Lee, a san da master, taught him san da. Shi Xing Hong, another friend of mine, also spent time in the temple, and the wushu guan. Now, consider the fact that Xing Wei and Xing Hong both know a form called "Tong Long Chuan", granted, Xing Wei knows more of the details, as he is more detail minded, just as DeCheng is. But, DeCheng does not know this form; he knows "Chi Xing Tong Long Chuan", which is a tradtional mantis form. The "Tong Long" that Xing Wei and Xing Hong taught me, apparently has been altered from some original traditional form, and is more performance oriented. The same goes with the "Da Lohan" form that DeCheng taught me. Most monks know the first half, few, if any, other than DeCheng (and some of the older martial monks, where ever they are now), know the second half. Too long, too hard, not performance oriented enough. As traditional gong fu wanes at the temple, some monks, such as DeCheng, try to teach as much traditional as they can, to keep it alive. But few learn it, and few want to learn it. The future of traditional gong fu remains up in the air.

      Somebody at the temple, or at the local government, finally figured out, that you can't clean house entirely. Sometimes, you have to keep the revered old knight around the castle so as not to piss off the populace. Shi Su Xi has been well taken care of, when he's at Shaolin. He seems to spend a lot of time at the Fukien temple now, but occasionally, he is in Shaolin. A brand new, and very large, dedication monument, to Shi Su Xi's life, has just been completed, and resides in the Pagoda Forest, the burial ground for the "monks extraordinaire" over the past fifteen hundred years. This monument is not Su Xi's future pagoda; it is solely meant to honor him in life. Truly a nice gesture, much like the very large commemorative stone that the Tagou school created for Yongxin. The effect that this has had, on what appears to be, a new community of monks in the Shaolin temple, is unknown.

      They all do that...

      Lots of changes, lots of progress, from the movement in Shaolin towards a re-emphasis on the martial monk concept, to the rebuilding of the stairs in the nearby "Chinese Stairmaster", to the complete overhaul of Shaolin village and a re-orientation of Shaolin gong fu, there's lots of progress. Progress that one could not imagine happening without some people having some sort of political ties to the all powerful, and, incredibly rich. Yes, it has been commonly alleged that those in power in China are offered different opportunities, and, live on a different scale than the common man, a concept, which is probably a bit emphasized in China, but is no doubt, no different than any other major country in the world. These ties are forging interesting and apparently great things in Shaolin, but, who will ultimately benefit from all of these changes, remains to be seen. The upcoming attempts at trademarking the Shaolin name are just one part of the whole picture.

      Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

      "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

      (more comments in my User Profile)


      • #4
        Now, understand something. I wrote the above back in September 2002, during my trip back there. I brought to attention the apparent dearth of older Shaolin martial masters, and the apparent sway towards competitive wushu in the temple, and disregard for traditional training.

        Let's flash forward now, to, well now. From last I heard, Yongxin is aware of the fact that there is less traditional stuff being taught at the temple. I've been told that now he is in the process of trying to change that, to try to bring more traditional training back to the martial monks. Which, is good.

        If one were to be cynical also, remember that the Shaolin village is no longer in existance. Only one place is around, near the temple, that can teach gong fu: the Shaolin temple wushu guan, which is owned by the Henan government. (Remember, Yongxin is not only abbot, but a very powerful Henan government official). As I've mentioned in one of my journals, they are currently rebuilding the wushu guan to be the largest and most popular international foreigner gong fu training spot in the world.

        Does this go along with the commercialization aspects that we've been discussing? Is Yongxin just trying to hold onto what he thinks is rightfully his? Does Yongxin want to control "Shaolin gong fu" so that it is not misused and abused, as is so commonly seen here in the US and elsewhere? Well, I'm not sure what exactly is going on in his mind, but, there will be changes. Expect more control of gong fu training in Shaolin in the future, by the temple. Expect more traditional stuff to be taught to the monks. Expect a larger growth of other gong fu schools in Dengfeng, with some control of them by the temple. Expect the wushu guan to become the largest foreigner training facility in China.

        Expect the training costs to go up.

        OH, and expect Yongxin's people to be reading this.

        Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

        "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

        (more comments in my User Profile)


        • #5
          Yong Xin's Vienna temple...

 no more.

          Yan Ming's disciple's is still going strong, however.
          "Arhat, I am your father..."
          -the Dark Lord Cod


          • #6

            ...tonight my brother and I went into a USD studio that opened right next door to this dope mexican joint we frequent if traffic sucks. The expressway was a parking lot, due to a service suspension of a major train station, so to get to class tonight was an impossibility. Anyway, as we exited the taco joint, we see in the window a bunch of tshirts on the wall, and a big poster declaring the 33rd abbot of Shaolin accompanying a monk tour out in Cali which is on it's way to the states.

            So naturally, we went inside to check it out.

            I don't know what DeMasco is doing teaching "shaolin" gong fu. But he is cashing in either way. If you've got half a brain the move is plain as daylight.

            Moves like this just make you go hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

            The guy who was there suggested that if we ever wanted to avoid going to the city we should join up there. After some chit chat I told him it was more than worth going to the city.


            "well, if you ever change your mind, we're right here..."
            "Arhat, I am your father..."
            -the Dark Lord Cod


            • #7
              Yeah, I guess the abbot is going to be in California. This whole Damasco thing is somewhat upsetting, another reason that I don't read blackbelt.....

              I had a friend who trained kempo at a USSD and left once the whole "Shaolin" debacle happend... I think he is a smart man. Interesting alliances are happening, I just wonder what will last, a lot of this is just stuff that we'll have to wait and see.

              As far as the wushu stuff goes... I'd rather do shaolin wushu than what some of these guys are teaching as Shaolin gong fu.
              practice wu de


              • #8
                I'm not so sure that they're really pretending to be teaching Shaolin gong fu. If they are, then, in my opinion, it's a travesty. They teach good kempo. As for the abbot continuing his "alliances" with them, I would suggest, after looking into my "crystal ball", that there will be alterations in that too. Remember, the abbot is a smart guy. Tremendously smart guy.

                I would suggest that you might expect some changes in the future. Things will get interesting...
                Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                (more comments in my User Profile)


                • #9
                  I think its interesting that Yongxins coming to see Demasco but not any of his monks here.


                  • #10
                    Wow. Good point. Didn't think of that.

                    Maybe he will find time to visit, though I'm not sure. All I heard is that they're doing a performance in Southern California, and that there is a "financial incentive" for them to come. Though, I would be surprised if at least Guolin, Yongxin's appointed ambassador, didn't meet with him. Maybe the monks are planning on going to Southern California for a "reunion"?

                    What a feather in USSD's cap that would be....

                    And talk about the influence of that on people's (and monk's) reputations....
                    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                    "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                    (more comments in my User Profile)


                    • #11
                      Great thread

                      This thread raises a number of interesting questions. It also answers a few questions I've had for some time. Another good perspective on the state of shaolin today is from Doc's brother, Gene Ching from KungfuOnline. The article on his trip was pretty good.

                      1. Do you guys see the recent 'Ist Shaolin Kung Fu International Symposium' as a solid sign that traditional knowledge is been cultivated once more?

                      2. Since the traditional systems are being encouraged, do you see senior monks that were sidelined after the abbots appointment being slowly reintroudeced into the day to day running of the temple. Specifically those of the De generation.

                      3. What is De Yang relationship with the abbot? I remember there were false rumours of imprisonment etc. Seeing as De Yang seems to be very Buddist driven, surely this would fit with the abbot's desire to find a balance with buddism and wushu.



                      • #12
                        1. NO, not necessarily

                        2. They're not necessarily being reintroduced. Look at what happened to Wan Heng. And, from my friends at USSD, I'm hearing rumors that "my monks", that I'm trying to bring to the US to teach (Shi De Cheng), have been "thrown out of the temple". Amazing the things that people say. Of course, one could imagine other reasons for such nonsense to be bantered about.

                        3. The imprisonment rumors were not false. Somewhere in the site, along with the Emails section, there are discussions about this.
                        Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                        "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                        (more comments in my User Profile)


                        • #13
                          1. But it surely is a step in the right direction. According to reports, it was attended by proffessors, monks, and civilian masters. Gene was apparntly impressed with the level of traditional wushu not usually seen in demos and outside the temple.

                          2. Wanheng was apparntly dismissed for 'unmonk-like behaviour', which any order has the right to do. I think a lot of people forget that once a monk doesn't mean always a monk. I haven't found a clear reason why he was kicked out but from what I've read he's been pushing the envelope for some time.

                          The problem with Shaolin is that there are so many romours flying around making it difficult to know the real story. The abbot has made many enemies and I'm sure they'd like to tarnish his name. Some sites have become clearly anti-abbot in their stances. I believe that these issues are not as simple as black and white. Hell China today is bloody confusing puzzle. Does it surprize me that the abbot of a buddist temple has at least one Mercedes Benz? Only in China. We must judge the abbot by his actions. His attempts to reinforce buddist teaching in the temple must be recognized. The resoration of the temple's surroundings must also be praised, despite the clumsy and harsh manner in which it took place. We got to realize that however it happend, a lot of people were not going to like it as it jepodiased their livelyhoods.

                          3. Gene seems to disagree with you on this according to KungfuOnline. Still, do you know what the relationship is like now?



                          • #14
                            Gene has reasons to disagree with me. Remember, he writes for a magazine, a magazine that does well because of its relationship with the abbot. Come on man, read into things. You don't bite the hand that feeds you. Unless you're a Las Vegas stripper whore.

                            And while you're reading into things, you've got a lot of reading to do in the site. I've been through this change with respect to AWAY from and BACK to traditional forms long before. This is nothing new; it's old news on this site. I've written about it in the site long ago; you'll not only find stuff in the Fugue section, but also in the discussion archive, and in my Journals.

                            As for the Wanheng experience, read the site.

                            As for the Deyang stuff, read the site.

                            Remember something. I've been in Shaolin twelve times over the past seven years. I'm going back again in two weeks. I see things. I write about them. No bullshit from this puppy.

                            Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                            "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                            (more comments in my User Profile)


                            • #15

                              Despite me not being familiar with 'Las Vagas stripper whores', something I hope to address soon, I do take your point. Enjoy your journey and I'll be reading somemore.



                              Previously entered content was automatically saved. Restore or Discard.
                              Insert: Thumbnail Small Medium Large Fullsize Remove