Many people rightly believe that Shaolin Kungfu is the greatest martial arts in the world. Historically, Shaolin Kungfu is the most senior martial art in the world, with a continuous history of more than 1,500 years, while some martial arts have barely 100. From the perspective of technique, Shaolin Kungfu contains virtually all the techniques found in all the world’s major martial arts: all the punches in Karate, all the kicks in Taekwondo, all the throws in Judo, all the locks in Aikido, all the holds in Wrestling, all the jabs and hooks in Western Boxing, all the elbows and knee strikes in Siamese Boxing, all the subtle twists and turns in Malay Silat. Its range of weapons, totally absent in some modern martial arts, is bewildering.
The principles guiding the application of techniques in combat are both deep and extensive. For example, while some arts advocate meeting force with equal force (which is not usually appropriate when women fight hefty men), or aim to strike the opponent in the shortest time (which may in certain situations be disadvantageous), Shaolin fighters are guided by useful principles to asses all relevant conditions so as to select the best move to meet the particular situation. At the same time, they are able to provide themselves with the best possible cover in case their opponent goes for a sudden or all-out counter attack with no concern for his own safety, which can result in mutual injuries.
In force training while some martial arts aim at breaking bricks and planks, the accomplishments of Shaolin Force training are outstanding: smashing granite blocks with the head, withstanding punches, kicks and weapons attacks on the body without sustaining injury, and affecting internal damage on an opponent with a palm or finger without leaving any external mark.
Yet the greatest benefits of Shaolin Kungfu are not fighting skills. Aesthetically, a demonstration of Shaolin Kungfu is beautiful to watch. It is poetry of strength, agility, gracefulness and artistic patterns in motion - very different from a demonstration of other martial arts. From the perspective of health, Shaolin Kungfu is excellent for promoting physical, emotional and mental well being, whereas the practice of some martial arts is actually detrimental to health - when an internal injury sustained during sparring is not treated satisfactorily, becoming aggressive due to the nature of the training itself, and taking punishment to the head which can impair mental faculties!
It is mainly for its excellent health-promoting benefits qualities as well as for training mind, that Shaolin Kungfu is practiced and taught in our school, Shaolin Wahnam Institute, and shown here as a prelude to Zen meditation. But these set of exercise can be practiced and bring great benefit as a prelude to the practice of any sport or physical activity.
As physical exercise, The Art of Flexibility can make your legs strong and flexible; Like Qigong exercises, it can strengthen the heart system, generate a better flow of energy, and increase vitality, as these exercises help channel vital energy into the legs. However, the benefits are not just for the legs. As the body is interconnected by countless meridians or energy channels, inducing a better flow of energy in the legs is sometimes necessary to solve problems in other parts of the body. Someone with kidney stones or an opaque intellect can overcome their problem more efficiently by incorporating these exercises. They also promote the health of the stomach, intestines, spleen, and liver. Dancing Crane, for example, cures Endometriosis and promotes elegance.