Si Ping City Shao Lin Martial Arts Academy
What People Are Asking
Where does the term Shaolin come from?
Shaolin is the name given to the temple from its mountain name "Shao Shi Sheng". Shaolin itself means "Young Forrest". The local people living under the temple gave the Shaolin Temple its name. In China there are many temples famous for their martial arts, such as Wu Dang and O Mei, amongst others.
What does "Wu shu" and "Kung Fu" mean?
The term "Wu Shu" directly translated, means "martial arts". What started originally as a method self-defense has now blossomed into a form of physical culture.
The term "Kung Fu" refers to the work, effort, and time spent in martial arts training. In China we train Kung fu in Wu Shu schools and do not call the art itself Kung Fu. While Gong Fu is the skill that one attains from long, difficult practice.
So, while Wu Shu is the martial art itself, one must practice thier Kung fu in order to develop good Gong Fu.
Our academy focuses on traditional and modern aspects of the practice of Wu Shu. We take pride in teaching our students the best aspects of real traditional Shaolin Kung Fu as well as other tried and tested martial arts and Qi Gong. Qi Gong is a set of exercises that focus on strengthening ones health, mental and physical constitution through the breathing, stretching and promotion of circulation.
This place seems too good to be true, are you guys for real?
If you have any questions regarding the authenticity of the academy or its masters, feel free to ask the academy staff or Mr. Che about the authenticity of our academy through an email prior to your trip here. We will be happy to prove this academies credentials. If you wish to reach us, visit the contact section of this website for details.
How can I communicate with the masters?
Our academy offers translation services during training sessions so that you may fully understand the purpose of your training and develop your skill in the best way possible.
What is the best time of year to come and train?
Our facilities are open to train students throughout the year. Although there are certain times of the year when there are national holidays (Chinese New Years) and preparation periods before major competitions/performances, when the masters may be on a short holiday or be busy preparing for an event. For those who are coming for a short term period of study, it is best to ask the administration if their planned arrival date coincides with one of these times, so they may alter their travel date and avoid these times of holiday or preparation in order to get the most out of their training stay.
How many students are at the academy?
The number of students throughout the year does vary, but you can expect to be training along side between 10 to 40 other foreign students. Class sizes are usually between 4 to 12 for each master to ensure that everyone can receive individual attention in their training.
How big is the academy?
The academies yard is approximately thirty thousand square meters and there is ten thousand square meters between the living and training facilities on the mountain, one definitely has room to stretch out and breathe up here. As we are up in the mountains, there is very little pollution so it's easy to breath
If I have a major illness or disability, can I still come to train?
Unfortunately, due to our academies simple accommodations, the academy cannot provide training for those with serious physical or mental illness, disabilities or injuries. But if someone with a condition wishes to visit our academy, they are welcome to do so at any time.
The gentle and slow movements or Qi Gong (Chi Kung) and Tai Ji Quan (Tai Chi), primarily used for centring oneself and promoting health are taught here at the academy and are great to practice. No matter your age or how good or poor your physical condition, it is encouraged that one partakes in these exercises in addition to their regular training.
Can I come to train if I have recently overcome a major injury?
If one has acquired a recent or prior physical injury and/or is still under the care of a physician, you must provide a letter from your doctor, which is signed, stating that you have a clean bill of health and are able to study martial arts and the exercises that come along with the practice.
How long can I stay and train at the academy?
A students stay at the academy depends on their relation with the masters, fellow students and academy staff. One must have sincere drive to their studies and practice good moral conduct in order to stay for a prolonged period of time. You must be able to financially support yourself for the duration of your stay in the academy as well. If you can comply with these requirements, you can continue to stay for quite some time.
Can I work and earn some extra money while I stay at the academy?
There is no employment for those that come to China that are on a student visa. Due to the strict government regulations regarding visa laws, if you come here as a student, you are not able to obtain employment.
May I have any training discounts, or any free instructional material?
As there are no free rides in this world, there are no discounts for training or any free supplementary material provided, regardless of the students country of origin, creed or financial condition.
But, since Mr. Che came from a humble background himself, he does keep the tuition prices at the academy rather low so that people passionate about learning Chinese martial arts may have to opportunity to learn top quality martial arts from high level masters, at a reasonable rate.
Before making your way to China, you must ensure that you have the financial aid required to cover your training, stay and any other expenses one may encounter. Make sure you have extra money for toiletries, clothing, travel and recreation before coming here. Be sure to take in account the currency exchange rate.
What should I do to prepare myself for training in the academy?
The best thing one can possibly do in preparation for your arrival at the academy is to eat a healthy diet, engage in any physical activity that will boost your endurance, flexibility, strength and hand eye co-ordination such as: running, swimming, tennis, hiking, cycling, gymnastics, high diving, trampoline, jump rope, ping pong, ice skating, skate boarding, aerobics, dance, etc., any physical activity that will highten any of the previously mentioned attributes is good to do. Any sport or hobby that breaks down muscle tissue so it can be rebuilt, stretches and tones your muscles and builds improved cardiovascular fitness. One of the most important things to do is pick an activity that you find enjoyable to do, that way you will be able to keep it up effortlessly.
How much will I learn in 2 months, 4 months, 1 year etc.?
Those that have prepared themselves physically and mentally will learn faster and absorb more information than those who have done nothing. Asking what you will learn overall is pointless, for that is determined by your effort, natural ability to learn and passion behind your practice. Everyone learns at a different rate, everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, therefore we all learn at a different pace. Usually in one year of constant practice, if a student trains diligently, it is possible to reach a beginning rank of 1st or 2nd degree in Chinese martial arts. To reach a fourth degree rank you need to complete at least 2 years of constant, hard practice and must fit the pre-requisits that are determined by the Wu Shu Association. To see the description of the levels and their requirements, visit the Duan Level Ranking section of the website. In Chinese Martial Arts, the western belt ranking system is disregarded.
Do I need to have any "Special" abilities to learn Shaolin Kung Fu?
New students need not worry about their previous skill level before coming to the academy, We accept any skill level of martial artist to train here, from beginners all the way to seasoned martial artists, all are welcome to come and train. If you have previous experience in any other martial arts, it could help you to catch on quicker and learn more advanced techniques at a quicker rate.
Does the academy accept any responsibility for any of my goods that may be damaged or lost during my stay?
We cannot assume liability for a students personal possessions, their luggage or its contents. Students are given a key to their rooms upon arrival at the academy. It is advised that you err on the side of caution and lock your room when you are not inside it. Each student is advised to check their luggage thoroughly to ensure everything is in order before their trip back home.
If my family or friends want to send me something, which is the best way to do so?
When sending letters or packages to students at the academy, use the postal service, not FedEx or any other shippers. Since we are situated in a rural area, this is the most reliable way to ensure delivery.
What is the seasonal weather like at the academy?
Since we our academies facilities are located in northern China, we experience all four seasons, in approximately equal lengths, in all their beauty.
The springs at the academy are cool in the mornings, warm throughout the day and cool off once again after sundown, the temperature throughout the day fluctuates between -5 to 15 degrees Celsius. This is a good time of year to train, for it is not too hot or cold. One can see the landscape and the valley below come to life in a lush green landscape, flowers blossom and the lovely fragrance of the trees flowering hang in the air for about 2 to 4 weeks.
Summers at the academy are rather hot and is the perfect time for hard training, for the weather builds ones endurance and is also easier on the joints. The Valley and surrounding mountains are covered in a blanket of vibrant green from the trees, rice and corn fields. The temperature at this time of year will range between 20 to 32 degrees Celsius. The weather is a bit humid from time to time, considering that it rains between 1 to 3 days a week. In some years there are dry spells though and it can become a bit arid.
The Autumn at the academy is still quite warm at the beginning, temperatures ranging from 10 to 20 degrees Celsius and towards the winter become more cool, usually ranging between 10 degrees in the day to -5 degrees at night. The colour of the fields change in the valley from green to a sea of gold right before the harvest, the trees raining down their red, gold and yellow leaves. One can take advantage of the endurance they have gained throughout the summer in this time of year and really work up a sweat without overheating.
The Winters at the academy are cold but quite beautiful, with a blanket of white snow covering the land, it gives the area a sense of calm and purity. We heat our training hall in this time due to the temperatures usually settling between -10 to -25 degrees Celsius. There is the occasional cold snap that comes through that can push the temperature down below -30 degrees Celsius. Although this is quite rare, we strongly advise students to have clothing appropriate to endure such weather if they should take the trip into the nearby villages or city on the weekend. One must pace themselves while training in this time of year, which makes winter is the optimal time to train ones strength and practice meditation.
What type of clothing should I bring?
One should bring the basics for the time of year that they plan to come and train: Athletic clothes, socks and underwear, street clothes and a towel are the basics. Depending on the time of year you plan to arrive, do bring clothes that suit the weather. While we do have a heated training hall in the winter, you will want to bring warm clothes
What type of toiletries should I bring that cannot be found in China?
Some items not available for purchase in this area of China are commonplace in western countries. For ones oral hygiene it is advised you bring your own dental floss if you choose to use it. Feminine hygienic products such as tampons are not sold in the area and it is advised that you bring an adequate supply along with you, or have them sent to you through the mail if your supply runs short.
How long can I extend my visa for?
Due to the nature of your stay being for study, the longest a student can extend their visa for is a 6 month period, we are unable to obtain residence permits for students. This can be renewed as needed be, there is no need to leave the country for a period of time for renewal. Just remind our office staff one month before your visa expires in order to give a safe amount of time for its renewal.
If a student is applying for a six month visa, they must undergo a medical examination at a local government medical facility to ensure they are not carrying any contagious disease or have any issues that may put their health in jeopardy. The fee for this examination is rather low at 160 Rmb ( approx. 28 US dollars ).
Our academy founder Che Wen Long
The Founder of our academy, Mr. Che Wen Long was born in February, 1965. For the first few years of his life he was a child stricken with illness, having to take injections for terrible stomach pains that would keep him awake throughout the night. One day, at six years old, he awoke at 5 am and went outside for a walk, when he was outside, he saw his neighbour, Uncle Zhang going out for a morning run, so young Che followed him down to the Meihe river. When they arrived at the river, Uncle Zhang started to do his morning exercise routine of punches, kicks, strength conditioning and Talou (forms). Young Che was astounded at the skills his neighbour possessed and followed him every morning for the next three months down to the river to practice martial arts.
Eventually after some time Uncle Zhang had to go home to his family, since he came to the village only for work. When Che found this out he was devastated, bursting into tears, not wanting Uncle Zhang to leave him behind. Che's parents had no idea why he was acting up, but eventually found out the reason. Since young Che could not be consoled or made to be quiet, his mother took all of her savings, 100 RMB, which was alot of money at the time, considering his fathers wage was only 40 RMB per month, having to feed a family of four and gave it to Uncle Zhang, asking him to please bring young Che with him so he may continue to learn martial arts. Uncle Zhang accepted, Much to young Che's excitement.
When Che arrived at Uncle Zhang's home, he was surprised to see that he had may disciples of his own, the eldest of which was 45. Uncle Zhang was around 60 years old at the time, but Che dared not ask his true age for politeness sake. Uncle Zhang did not have much money though, having to feed five children of his own and after a short period of time, sent young Che to his brotherhood who trained with Shifu Shi De Qian at the Shao Lin Temple. From there Che was accepted to train at the Shao Lin Temple from 1972 till 1975 under Shi De Qian.
During his time training in the Shao Lin temple, his health improved, the training strengthening his body inside and out. Eventually, he did not have to take his medicine anymore, shaping him into a strong young boy. Che's master Shi De Qian was one of the prominent Shao Lin Figthing monks in the temple at the time wrote many series on Kung Fu, including the famous "Shao Lin Encyclopedia". While Mr. Che trained in the temple, he learned the Xiao Hong Quan, Da Hong Quan, Seven Star Sword, Shaolin seven section iron whip and cudgel forms. What laziness existed within him was driven out through countless hours or exhausting training.
As all things must come to an end though, Mr. Che's father sent him a letter instructing him to come home and attend school as other children did. So, in the winter of 1975, he went home and pursued his formal education. Over the following years he continued to practice what he learned in the Shaolin Temple. While in university in the year 1990, he was granted permission by his master Shi De Qian to start instructing other Chinese people. In 1995 Che was granted permission to teach foreigners in order to spread the teachings of Shaolin Gong Fu around the world. In 1998 Mr. Che rented two yards in the rebuilt ancient Ye He Castle (which is an important area for the establishment of the Qing Dynasty) and proceeded to live with and train his students for almost five years while bringing in more talented martial arts masters from the Shaolin and Wu Dang Temples, as well as many other talented martial arts masters from varying backgrounds.
Through this action, he opened the first official school in Ji Lin Province and one of the first in China to open its doors to many foreign students. While before there was the occasional foreign student taken on every now and than in China, most masters would always deny westerners any training.
Mr. Che is quite proud of his many foreign students over the years as they have gained much skill and won many gold medals in various competitions held throughout the years. Some of them have even went on to open their own schools around the world. Since Mr. Che started to teach in 1995 and officially opened his school in 1998, he has helped over 2000 foreign students train in traditional and modern Chinese martial arts.
The following is a personal message from Mr. Che. He does ask that you forgive his poor english:
I'm very appreciate you can bravely come and could be focus your mind on training. I'd like do my best for all of you. I believe every master in our academy is great, if you really want to have serious training, You can definitely attain great results. Show your better morals, good behaviour, great spirituality, for you are one of the members this international family which I hope you honor for whole your life. Take good care to this gong fu home. I believe you will.
Che Wen Long
In the years after the opening of his academy, Che Wen Long used his connections and good business sense to become an influential person and a prominent businessman in the area of Si Ping. As his other duties now demand his attention, he is away from the academy much of the time, but he always tries to make it back to the academy for special events and student testing as he is still quite proud of his academy. If you ever have any questions or concerns while staying at the academy, feel free to contact him to discuss such matters, he will be happy to discuss with you.
A note from Mr. Che
Mr. Che would like to further add that he understands that the masters know how to train you in order to progress in a timely manner. Whether you seek training in traditional physically demanding traditional styles such as Shaolin Kung Fu, Sanda or Baji Quan or you want to develop you health the academy also offers training in Soft Qi Gong, Wing Chun and Taiji (Tai Chi) Quan. Our masters will put their attention into your training, but remember, you get out of it what you put into it, so train hard.
If you have issues at your home that are stressful to you, it is advised that you first resolve these matters, prior to your journey, so that you may get the most out of your training. In Chinese, hard training is expressed as "Quan Lian Qian Biang, Qi Yi zhi Xian", which translates to, " You must repeat the exercises thousands of times or each routine quan". The original meaning of what these forms were developed for will naturally appear in your mind through practice, slowly realizing the purpose of the exercise through repetition. So, focus your mind in your training in order to grasp its meaning, this is quite important.
Upon coming here, you become part of our martial arts family and we will assist you in how we can to make your training and journey a pleasant experience, whether it be through helping you reach places you may wish to travel, or assist you through any of your difficulties.
If after reviewing the website, you have any further questions about our academy, feel free to contact us for any further queries.
I hope you enjoy your stay and achieve your goals through training.
We would like to express our appreciation to the China Si Ping City opera company who created a modern day theme song as a gift to the academy, entitled Dragon Flying around the world" (Musical score by Yang Dan Cheng, lyrics by Guo Dan Fei, lead singer: Jin Gang). We hope you enjoy the music.
-Che Wen Long
Shi De Qian: Master of Che Wen Long
"At the time of this writing, the northern Shao Lin temple great grandmaster is Shi Yong Xin (pronounced Shur Yong Shin). Great grandmaster Shi Yong Xin is the current chief manager (Zhu Chi) of the Shao Lin Temple, and is soon to be the Fang zhang (first abbot) of Shao Lin since the late 32nd generation Shao Lin Temple monk Shi Xing Zheng (one of the four original monks who faithfully remained at the Shao Lin Temple during the 1970s Red Guards attack). The previous Fang zhang was the great grandmaster Shi De Yang. The Shao Lin grandmaster who visited the U.S., Shi De Qian is from our temple, and from our temple is another well- known grandmaster who participated in the Japan competition two years ago, the famous grandmaster Shi Xing Bo, and another of the grandmasters of our Shao Lin temple is the well-known Shi Yan Ming, who came to the U.S., and was second champion in the domestic big China Wu Shu meeting."
We also received the following information from Mr. Che about his sifu (who is now deceased, passing in 2008):
"About Shi De Qian: He was in the Shao Lin Temple when he was 15 age of years, and stayed there to be a shao lin protection monk for 31 years, until 1992.Then he lived outside of the temple, as a Shao lin layman monk.
Shao lin layman monks compare with the temple monks (who still live in the temple) the only difference is they can eat meat or drink beer and other foods and beverages, but the rest about them is the same. So All shaolin temple monks who live outside of the temple are shao lin layman monks too. They have a certificate which was issued by their sifu from shao lin temple, as I have. Because we all trained in the Shao lin temple in previous years everybody is still permited (and proud to say) they are shao lin temple Wu Seng (fighting monks, or protection monks).
Shi De Qian sifu is very highest skills in the shao lin temple and he still writes many shao lin kung fu books and his sifu Shi Shu Xi and also himself just do not mean to let some highest secret kung fu lose for it not easy to get and they don't want to see these secrets lost with the years going, as I did with recorder of kung fu forms not only for profit, but also in this meaning. Shi Yang Ming (shao lin temple 34th generation) who is in the USA is still like this, and he has certificate from shao lin temple as I have".
Note: Shi De Qian was co-author, publisher, and contributed many treatises to the famous Encyclopedia of Shaolin Martial Arts - 2 Volumes Co-authored and published by Shi de qian