Shaolin monks have been the talk of many a Kung-Fu movie goer because of their unique look, acrobatic skills and almost superhuman like fighting abilities. However, we must separate fact from fiction. Can these men really dodge bullets, walk on air and various other unimaginable things?
Well, I know that they were almost superhuman. To be a Shaolin monk and learn the secrets of kung fu, you had to pass thruogh a labyrinth filled with skilled warriors, creatures, and traps. At the end, they had to lift a 500 or so pound urn out of the way of a door, and while lifting it, their arms were branded with the symbols of twin dragons to symbolize that they had gotten through "initiation".
Once in the labyrinth, there was no way out but to get past the urn. Many died tell to become bona-fide Shaolin monks.
Or at least, that's what I've read. ^^ I know alot about the martial arts, but I don't take kung fu. I'm a lowly purple belt in Shorin-Ryu karate *blush*
I am of the belief that Shaolin monks were/are very skilled, quick and unique, but they are still human. Kung Fu movies have created an aura around these monks making them look super-human, but realistically we cannot assume this. I dont think that they can fly or dodge bullets, but they can sure do some amazing things, making them seem superhuman to the rest of us.
The Shaolin Monks go thru a rigirous training regime everyday. The scenes you see in the movies are superhuman. The feats they perform like flying, walking on water etc are based on legend. It is said that certain monks attained such a level of shi control they could've performed these feats. If you notice they do not fly in the movies but really walk/run on air. It is said that these monks could've "shot" chi energy from the bottom of their feet, basically using them as stilts. I am not saying I believe this, I am not saying I dont either. But it is the explaination as to why these movies are like that. The monks train harder than any other martial artist in the world today. These men can do two finger hand stands and walk that way. That is some incredible strength that not even the most skilled gymnast can perform. They develope their internal Chi energy to do these acts. Chi energy is seen to some as mystical, however it is a big part of Chinese medicine and Chinese/Oriental/Asian culture. Just my 2 cents, plus a dime.
I had the experience of seeing a few Shaolin monks in action and yes, some of the feats they accomplish are mind boggeling. They were able to break a baseball bat (!) on one of their backs. Also, their reflexes and movement speeds were unbelievable. They said it was just a matter of training and proper discipline.
If Shaolin monks ever come into your area to do a show, I can only recommend that you go!
I recently saw a documentary by National Geographic called, 'Shaolin Kung Fu: Myths & Facts'. It goes into the history, training and techniques of the monks. Their rigors start from a very early age and you can see why they are able to accomplish all the things that they do. I recommending viewing it if you want to understand what these monks can and cannot do, but I will add... they are merely humans that have fine tuned their minds and bodies to such a degree that what would not be normal for the average human is routine for them. By the way, flying and catching bullets is not part of their routine.
They are truly amazing.
I watched a show on ITV (In the UK) I don't remember the name exact but it was 6-8 episodes long.
Mind, motion and kick donkey moves. something along those lines.
It took a look at some of the super natural things that Martial Arts masters could do.
Some of the things were truly insane. Like the walking fire without pain, jumping on broken glass without cutting their feet. Walking on Light bulbs without smashing them. Bending solid metal spears using their throat.
One thing that did really boggle my mind was a 70 year old who can suck his testicles inside without moving, so that he cannot get kicked in them. Very bizarre.
But amazing none the less.
So id say that these guys can do crazy things, with the right discipline and endurance, you can defeat the laws of gravity
Does anyone still think that these monks can dodge bullets and fly? They seemed to be largely portrayed that way, but it is just a matter of devoting their whole lives to this. Monks are not part time trainers.... they do this ALL the time, developing body, mind and spirit.