Shaolin Kung fu Techniques and Training in China

Shaolin Kung fu Forms List and Classification

Shaolin kung fu is a comprehensive martial art, it’s hard to classify in a simple way. The common classification is by the training forms: Barehand forms and Weapon forms. Most of the bare hand forms are Quang shu (fists and palm forms). For weapons, there are 3 big types: long, short, and soft weapons. The stick, spear, pork, cane, and broadsword with handle are long weapons. Straightsword, double hooks, and dagger are short weapons. The 9 section whip, 2 section stick, and soft whip are soft weapons. All these weapons have their own techniques and can training in pair sparring.

One upon, there are lots of shaolin temples set in China, and there have been a southern Shaolin temple in Putian, Guangzhou. By the location, the main shaolin kung fu also classified in Northern Shaolin kung fu and Southern Shaolin kung fu.

From the type of training methods, there are 6 main types: internal & external, hard & soft, Qi Kung, and Qing Kung. Internal kung fu and Qi Kung practice to hold the Qi (Chi, essential energy) in body, contral breath, and blood circulation. External kung fu and Hard kung fu are practicing the strength and force of a special part of the body, like Tietou gong(iron head) and Yi zhi chan (1 fingers chan). Qing kung is training to jump higher and farther. Soft Kung is training the softness and twist angle of joints, neck, and waist.
Shaolin Kung Fu Forms and Skills List


The Shaolin kung fu have so many forms, and no one can master all. And most kung fu forms have special ask for personal body condition, also need different time and methods to practice. For example, if you like one type of fist or weapon in particular you can choose one to learn.

Shaolin Kung Fu Techniques & Training Mothods

Techniques for Shaolin kung fu depend on the style in which you are interested. Some styles are better suited to big physical size, strength, and ability than others. King kong hammers and Tiger fist fit strong and big guy, while some short weapons will great for girls training freely.

There are four major shaolin kung fu techniques: kicking (踢), hitting (打), wrestling (摔) and grabbing (拿). A complete system will necessarily include all four types of applications but each style will differ in their training focus. For example, most Northern styles are said to emphasize kicking, Southern styles have a reputation for their intricate hand techniques, there are short words of ‘Southern fists, northern legs (南拳北腿)’. Shuai jiao practitioners train predominately in full-body close-range techniques, and Eagle claw fighters are noted for their Chin na expertise. There are varioues forms to choose from, so how to begin?

Training shaolin kung fu step by step

For the Shaolin kung fu learning and training, the first thing you should do basic technique training to get your body in preparation. And the Ji ben gong includes flexibility(softness), strength, endurance, balance, speed, and power.  And then, you should learn the Shaolin kung fu conception, understand the natural ideas about Chinese kung fu. These Shaolin kung fu tutorials will help you to get the true meaning of kung fu.

When you have prepared your body, raised your mind, and now you can choose one kung fu form to get further training. Here is a detail list of all Shaolin kung fu:

Shaolin Kung Fu Forms and Skills List Details

The basic Shaolin kung fu training  instructional

(Shaolin kung fu fundamental training)

These exercises were created thousands of years ago so why do Shaolin Monks still study them? Because they’re the only movements where every muscle is engaged and you’re simultaneously building flexibility, strength, endurance, balance, and power in one fully integrated unit. They then teach you how to move in your modern life, whether that’s carrying your groceries home or climbing the stairs to the subway. Everything becomes part of your training: total mind-body wellness.

Flexibility & Stretching: stretching your legs, do the splits and waist can training your softness so that you can do more difficult movements. Shaolin Monks stretch the whole body from the neck down and include dynamic stretching as well as static.

Stamina Training: Shaolin stamina training consists of short bursts of intense exercise. Research has shown that it’s one of the most effective ways to build fitness levels and lose weight. Frog jumps, Cossack jumps, duck walks, step-ups, squats, squat jumps, sprints, toe jumps (don’t bend the knees at all), one-legged jumps.

Stances Training: stances are commonly found in each style of Shaolin kung fu. The horse stance is a common stance used to develop thigh strength, endurance, and patience. Known as Zhan-Zhuang, or stance training, this position provides a foundation for training in learning intermediate and advanced kung fu moves. Stand with your feet farther than hip-distance apart. Bend your elbows close to your sides, with hands fisted and facing upward in front of you. Sink down into a squatting position until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor; hold the position for as long as you can, for 2 to 5 minutes.

Kicks Training: these kicks are one of the reasons Shaolin Monks are so flexible. Don’t underestimate them. They open the hips at the same time as stretching the leg.  And they are a great warm-up for fighting kicks and bag work.

Punch & Strike: while not recommended for the beginners, this traditional Shaolin technique can make a lasting improvement to the strength and power of your strikes. Traditionally used as a black belt test for students graduating from the Shaolin Monastery’s fighting curriculum, this exercise involves wearing a blindfold and breaking boards as you perform your Shaolin forms and techniques.

For some people who want training at home, they can learn basic training from videos.

Shaolin Kung Fu Fundamental Training Vidoe

Shaolin Kung Fu Fundamental Training

Learn Shaolin Chan Kung Fu & Train Your Mind Up

Combinations are ancient forms that come from nature. They awaken the body, helping us to let go of our small self and experience a connection with the very fabric of the Universe. Shaolin kung fu is based upon peace-keeping and self-defense. In Shaolin kung fu, the way of the tiger is primary and based upon an ancient Chinese proverb:

When two tigers fight, one is killed and the other is severely hurt.

Tiger blows are swift and dangerous.

Self-discipline and conservation of motion characterize Shaolin kung fu techniques. Kicks are direct, punches swift, movements are in large, circular, swiping motions, like a cat. Shaolin kung fu strikes go for the most vulnerable body areas — throat, knees, and eyes.

When you learn the Basic knowledge of Shaolin Kung Fu ( Shaolin Kung Fu customs; fundamental kicks, steps, and sweeps, punches, palms, hand shapes ); rudimentary movements of Shaolin fist, staff, and broadsword, then you can go further about the weapons and Sanda for real combat use.

Learn Shaolin Chan Kung Fu & Train Your Mind Up

Shaolin Kung Fu Taolu Training

Taolu refers to the set routine (form) practice component of kung fu. Taolu routines comprise a continuously connected set of pre-determined techniques, choreographed according to certain principles and philosophies which incorporate techniques and stylistic principles of attack and defense. These include hand techniques, leg techniques, jumps, sweeps, stances & footwork, seizing, throwing & wrestling, balances, etc.

Taolu practicing is a great way for kung fu training. Traditionally, Taolu routines were originally compiled to preserve the techniques and tactics of a particular lineage or system, and would “imprint” a tactical order into practitioners. Taolu routines include individual routines and group routines, as well as partner/duel routines with 2 or more practitioners involved. They have a rich and diverse content utilizing a wide variety of techniques and includes both bare-handed routines and those performed with weapons. Now the Shaolin forms have 708 Taolus, 552 for fist and weapon forms, 156 Shaolin secret skills. Of course, there are some very special training methods.

Special Shaolin kung fu training exercises

Shaolin kung fu training mothods

You may see some strange Shaolin monks’ training methods in the Tv or Movies: they cut water in big pot, they hold to tip bottom wooden barrels running quickly without a moment rest, they stand on the top of piles with one foot or moving around,…these Hanging handstand, Xiao wu Kung (little kung fu), Zhan Zhuang Kung (piles top standing) are not just in movies, it’s a true method the monks use to enhance their physical fitness.

Shaolin qigong training: there is an old Shaolin trick to increase jumping height would be to dig a small hole and jump just using the calf (not bending the knees). When that was achieved, the hole would be dug slightly deeper, then deeper still. I’ve seen my masters jump to absolutely incredible heights, having according to them practiced this as children.

Shaolin iron body training: the Shaolin monks use their bare hands to stirfry the iron sand, over and over again, then their hands will be very tough and strong, can cut a metal band easily.

Shaolin Quang Forms ( Fist Forms) Training

Shaolin Quang is strong and powerful, both use hard force and soft skills, all moves are useful for combat fighting. When they combating, the stances of attacking or defending are flexible and agile.

Shaolin Da Hong Quan (Big hong fist) is a representative form in Shaolin and is one of the most important parts of Shaolin training. It knocks down any opponent unexpected tricky moves and is therefore regarded as distillation in Chinese Shaolin martial arts.

Shaolin Xiao Hong Chuan (small hong fist) is one of the basic Shaolin forms in Chinese Shaolin martial arts. The movement is simple and plain but attack and protection are very exact and precise. The position is small and requires sudden and quick strength with a secret force, as well as coupling hardness with softness and the compulsory form.


Shaolin animal style kung fu: Monkey fist, Tiger fist, Dragon fist, Crane fist, and Snak fist.

You may have heard the “5 animals kung fu forms“, they are not only named with animals but also played like animals. As we know, the chinses people admire nature, they try to find principles from nature. The ancestors learn from animals, plants, water, and other elements to understand nature in special ways. When we see the five animals kung fu forms, you will find most kung fu forms are based on the characteristics and attack methods of more than a dozen different animals, including the snake, the tiger, the monkey, the dragon, and the cobra. People imitate animals to practice the body for health. You may see more about it, you can get funny forms from <Kung Fu Panda>


Shaolin Weapon Form Training Techniques

Shaolin 18 Weapon Form Training Techniques

Dao Shu (Broadsword): As one of the prominent short-bladed weapons in Chinese history, the broadsword was widely practiced throughout China. It is a single-edged curved blade and its practice is characterized by vigorous attack and defensive techniques. Its fierce and powerful movements primarily utilize wrapping and entwining techniques with relentless hacking, upper-cutting, slashing, blocking, thrusting, and circling. Its performance requires great strength and coordination between the practitioner’s body and the weapon.

Red or Black Chinese Kung Fu Sword

Red or Black Chinese Kung Fu Sword


Jianshu (Straight sword): The straight sword is one of the most widely practiced short-bladed weapons in Chinese history; its influence goes beyond the realm of Wushu (martial arts) and has deep cultural connotations. It is a double-edged straight-bladed sword and its practice is characterized by graceful, elegant, brisk, agile, and naturally flowing motions. It focuses on a harmonious balance between hard and soft techniques with variable and flexible changes in speed. Its primary techniques include thrusting, pointing, tilting, shearing, and sweeping combined with intricate footwork, and flexible bodywork.

Gun Shu (stick, cane): Considered the “father” of all weapons, the long cudgel is fast-paced which focuses on far-reaching sweeping techniques. Combining offensive and defensive techniques, it is characterized by quick and heavy movements, with fast and numerous changes. The most commonly used techniques include chopping, butting, sweeping, smashing, and rotating. (If you want to try this Shaolin Stuff Kung Fu, you can buy one from here>>)

Qiangshu (Spear): The spear is considered the “king” of all weapons, and is the major long-shafted weapon practiced widely throughout China. Its practice is characterized by agile footwork, flexible bodywork, smooth transitions, fast and precise techniques, with both short and long-range techniques. While its core technique is thrusting, it also includes coiling, circling, circular blocking as well as slamming movements. The spear requires unity between the body and the weapon and relies on force generated from the entire body. This creates a breathtaking and mesmerizing display.

Except for these main types of weapons, Shaolin has lots of uncommon weapons form with a long history. There are Spade (or shovel), Rope Dart, Double Hook, Moon Fork, Grass Sickle, Hammer, Qian Kun Wheel, Double tiger head hooks, Damour Rod, Group Soft Whip, Double Whip, Shepherd Whip, Wood Fish and 18 weapons sparring you can try.

Shaolin Sanda Techniques for Real Combat and Fighting

Sanda is a modern unarmed combat sport that developed from traditional wushu techniques, and primarily makes use of punching, kicking, throwing, wrestling, and defensive techniques. It should be noted that there is a big difference between traditional Shaolin forms and modern Sanda. Sanda is real fighting forms, it draws on Shaolin Qin Na and other combat kung fu form, get techniques and skills to strengthening the body, and involving movements more effective, make people do better in defense and attack.

Sanda (San Shou) has used dozens of Shaolin 2 person sparring forms and skills like quick-moving ba, mind ba, tiger forward ba, mass cross ba (shi zi luan ba) and so on. And the Shaolin monks and coaches have collected useful combat skills for Shaolin Qin Na (San Shou). Now, there are ‘Small Qin Na’ and ‘Big Qin Na’, 36 Qin Na forms, and 10 combat skills.

Small Qin Na uses the palm, fingers, and wrist to control opponent. Big Qin Na uses the elbow, shoulder, head, and leg to control opponent. The main techniques are to use various anti-joints forms and acupoint forms to attack opponents and force them to give up, of course, there are also techniques about getting rid of your opponent’s control. That why more and more people learn it for special jobs need, and girls learn it for defense.

Sanda techniques traning Qin na skills

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For the Sanda, Competition Bouts comprise of 3 rounds in total, each lasting two minutes with one minute rest period between rounds. Apart from illegal blows and methods, Sanda athletes may employ punching, kicking, and throwing techniques from all styles of wushu. Valid striking areas are the head, the trunk (including the chest, abdomen, waist, and back) and the legs. The full-contact bouts are free-flowing and exciting, and athletes are awarded points by the sideline judges for successfully executed techniques based on the scoring criteria. An athlete will be declared the winner if he or she wins 2 out of the 3 rounds in the ring, or if their opponent is knocked out.

Most professional athletes take Sanda training for competition. and most boxing lovers also go Shaolin kung fu school to learn Sanda and go for a boxing career. If you have the same dream, you can try the magic Sanda and you will love it!

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