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The Fighting Monks of Shaolin Temple

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The Shaolin Monastery was founded at the foot of Mount Song in Henan Province, China in 477 CE.

Although Buddhist tenets emphasize peace and non-harming, the monks of Shaolin found themselves called upon to defend themselves and their neighbors many times during China's tumultuous history. As a result, they developed a world-renowned form of martial arts technique, known as Shaolin kung fu.

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Monks at the Shaolin Temple study Buddhism and the martial art of kung fu.Shaolin Monk Demonstrates Kung Fu KickShaolin Temple is the home of the famous Shaolin style of kung fu, developed by the monks.Tourists Visit the Shaolin TempleSince the fifth century, monks at Shaolin have trained mind, body and spirit.A Meal at ShaolinThis young monk displays intense focus.A Shaolin Monk Demonstrates Kung Fu Technique
Learning all of the weapons involved in Shaolin martial arts takes years of training.Shaolin Monk Defies GravityStrength, flexibility and agility are all essential attributes for Shaolin's fighting monks.Shaolin Monk Shows Off FlexibilityThis monk stands in a kung fu Shaolin pose.With Flair, Shaolin Monk Demonstrates Kung Fu StanceThe shang guo is sometimes called the "tiger hook sword."Shaolin Monk with Twin Hook Sword or Shang Guo
Note the precision and compact form of this martial arts move.Shaolin Monk Leaps with SwordShaolin martial arts include empty-hand and weapons fighting.Two Shaolin Monks SparringThe guan dao resembles a heavier version of the Japanese naginata, and was also popular in Korea.Shaolin Monk with Polearm Weapon or Guan DaoThis is a useful scouting technique.On the Watch | Shaolin Monk Balances on Staff

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