Many of you may be aware, but some may not, that there is an official Shaolin subsidiary temple here in Kunming. It's a bit of a haul from city center, being in Guandu Ancient Town, but I highly recommend the trip for anyone interested in kung fu study willing to spend an hour in travel time to train with real Shaolin monks—It's certainly a lot closer than Henan!
I've been training there once a week (I work 6 days a week) for the last several months and it's been a great experience. Training lasts all day for me, with a morning session and an afternoon session, and lunch with the monks in between.
I've seen some conflicting reports on training at the temple, but in my experience the training has been very strictly traditional Shaolin gongfu taught by a well-qualified Shaolin monk straight from the Songshan Shaolin Temple.
As far as cost of training goes, I believe that they are still deliberating on the price. However, this being China, even if they have decided on a set price, I'd say that it's still probably negotiable.
I have an ezine article out on Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine about my experience training at the temple. Unfortunately as a new user I'm not allowed to post links, but I'm sure you can find it with a quick search.
If you have any questions about training at the Guandu Shaolin Temple please ask. Hopefully I will be able to provide you with any information you want.
sounds pretty cool man. are you sure it's strictly traditional though? i thought it was quite difficult to get away from modernized wu shu in china.
i'm not interested myself because i want to start studying taiji or another internal style, but it's good to know there's some genuine shaolin around.
Where exactly does the training take place? There are 8 temples inside Guan Du Gu Zhen: BUS 32, 165, 185, 186, 210, A12, K15.
DOU MU GE – 斗姆阁
FA DING SI – 法定寺
GUAN DU GU ZHEN SHAO LIN SI – 官渡古镇少林寺
GUAN YIN SI – 观音寺
HUA GUANG MIAO – 华光庙
LING YUN GE – 凌云阁
SONG SHAN SHAO LIN SI KUN WU SENG YUAN – 嵩山少林寺昆武僧院
TU ZHU MIAO – 土主庙
Hopefully you can include the article now that you have already posted here.
here's some background:
I studied traditional Shaolin as well as a little wushu for seven years in the States before I came to Kunming, without a doubt this is traditional Shaolin.
The "internal" styles are all great, and if you have your heart set on one of them go for it, but I wouldn't recommend getting caught up in the "internal" moniker. Internal/external is a relatively new division and in my opinion a bit of a misnomer. All styles include both internal and external aspects. Shaolin, for example is classified as external, yet it's practiced by the monks as a form of chan (zen) meditation, Shaolin gongfu without the internal isn't real Shaolin. Either way, IMO, finding the right teacher is more important than finding the right style—all martial arts have good things to offer.
Good luck in your search!
Shaolin is only overseeing four of the temples there: Miaozhan, Fading, Tuzhou, and Guanyin. I'm currently training in Tuzhou, but I started out at Miaozhan. Miaozhan is the central temple and the place to go to enquire about training. Lunch is in Fading. And if you want to buy Shaolin medicine, Guanyin is the place to go. :)
I have been practicing in the Kunming Shaolin 'School' (not the temple) and I can certify that there is no traditional kungfu going on there. If I haven't been separated from the traditional practitioners, which seems unlikely, I didn't see any 'real' traditional kungfu going on.
Also I had to go to some sort of test (on temple grounds) where they wanted to test my skills and it was 100% acrobatic for the jibengong.
It is the same blend of modern and traditional kungfu, you can and will find in Shaolin/ Henan.
About the monks as well I dunno if you are aware of how the real/fake monk thing works, nor have I even got close to train with a real monk in the Kunming Shaolin temple but it seems to me very similar to the Henan version where I stayed for a bit. I dunno I might be wrong but it seems to be better than the original Shaolin but I wouldn't give it the genuine traditional stamp.
All this said, it's a fantastic place to practice, great coaches, cheap, wonderful place to get exercise, but if you are looking for more, you "MAY" get disappointed
If you can go it's a great place but similar to the flagship store in Henan, it's not the real deal.
Strange...you sure we're going to the same place Dudeson? Where is the school?
I've been training during the day on Wednesdays, and it's been virtually a private class...When do you go? Who is the teacher? I'd be curious to check it out, I've got nothing against wushu. :)
Could you tell us a bit about the training? How is it structured? Do you do mostly forms or do you study applications as well? Sparring? How about Qigong? And what kind of Qigong? Also, do you sit Zazen?
I think modernised wushu is a very sad thing - sure it's beautiful and requires really incredible skill, but it's just a performance art and misses the point. This is why I think Japanese arts are very interesting - because they have stayed very close to the Zen principle. I really am, and have been for a long time, totally fascinated by traditional Chinese culture but the problem is that during the last century a guy called Mao Ze Dong came along and took a shit right in the middle of it, so a lot of the really valuable stuff has been suppressed (but definitely not forgotten). I hope that with time this situation can be reversed, and this villain's legacy can be forgotten - in fact I am positive this will be the case.
While we are on the subject of martial arts, has anyone been to Wudangshan?
Here is the link to my ezine article:
It should help answer some of your questions.